Researchers at the OOBE Research Center, LA, have implicated REM sleep-related lucid dreaming states in the occurrence of “near-death experiences” at clinical death, by experimentally reproducing near-death experiences during lucid dreaming.
One of the most typical Near-Death Experience (NDE) narratives involving out-of-body perception and self-awareness, is of flight through a tunnel, a feeling of euphoria, ecstasy or joy, light at the end of the tunnel, and meeting deceased relatives, loved-ones or other "beings" at the end of the tunnel.
Researcher Mike Raduga of the OOBE Research Center, suggests that Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) and a class of experiences referred to as Out-Of-Body Experiences (OOBEs) may be identical in nature, both occurring directly in REM sleep. Raduga had shown, in previous work reported by Digital Journal, that OOBEs are identical with the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, both being directly associated with REM sleep.
Raduga's latest study was with the aim of demonstrating experimentally that REM sleep can be implicated in NDEs at clinical death, and that lucid dreaming, OOBEs and NDEs are identical states of consciousness, all being associated with a transformation during REM sleep in which the subject becomes "lucid," that is, assumes waking-state level of self-awareness while still in REM sleep.
In order to test the hypothesis that NDEs are a form of lucid dreaming or OOBE, Raduga set out to experimentally reproduce the near-death experience of flying through a tunnel towards a light, using methods for inducing REM sleep-related Out-of-Body-Experiences (OOBE) he had previously developed. The set objective was to "repeatedly and most faithfully reproduce" under experimental conditions, the salient features of near-death experience as reported in over 2,900 cases of spontaneous near-death experience collected by the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF).
Raduga reports that subjects were trained to achieve lucid dreaming states using indirect methods developed by the OOBE Research Center over 2007-2011. The method consists of attempting to separate from the body immediately upon awakening. If the procedure was unsuccessful in a particular subject, he was told to alternate other special techniques for 3-5 seconds over a period of a minute. Raduga explains that the procedure makes use of a "brief transitional state upon awakening that occurs when the mind has already woken up, but the body is still asleep. This state mimics that of the anesthesia-induced narcosis that the majority of near-death experiences occur in."
According to the study, in late January, OOBE Research Center specialists trained four groups of volunteers in special procedures to perform during night and morning awakenings. 18 subjects subsequently succeeded in reproducing the out-of-body experience of flight through the tunnel towards the light as reported by many subjects at clinical death. According to Raduga, comparative analysis demonstrated that the 18 experiments outcomes were fully consistent with 2,900 actual near-death experiences collected by NDERF. Some of the subjects not only succeeded in reproducing the out-of-body flight experience, they also experienced ecstasy typical of actual experiences. Many reported flying all the way to the light and meeting with deceased relatives.
Out-of-Body Experience (OOBE)
Raduga notes significantly, that each participant's narrative of the flight through the tunnel was unique, each individual delivering a unique description of the appearance of the tunnel and the flight through it, including encounters with friends, relatives, loved ones and "beings" at the end of the tunnel. He notes that the longer the subjects stayed in the tunnel the more unique the experiences reported.
Raduga notes also, that frequent reports of NDEs in patients under anaesthesia suggests that it can briefly induce REM sleep before onset of clinical death. He points out that the indirect method developed by the OOBE Research Center, which makes use of "subwaking states," mimics anesthesia-induced narcosis. He also notes that brain activity may not stop instantly at the moment of cardiac arrest and cessation of breathing and that it cannot be ruled out that brief REM sleep continues over the first few seconds after clinical death.
The study concluded that REM sleep may explain at least a portion of NDEs, this being vouched for by the ability to artificially reproduce details of reported NDEs using techniques for achieving Out-of-Body Experience (OOBEs).
The study did a comparison of a few cases of artificially induced NDEs and documented cases of spontaneous NDEs:
A. Philip Y.(artificial)
I tried to separate from my body during a morning awakening, but was unsuccessful. I then began doing the techniques of rotating and observing images… A moment later, I found myself in a tunnel with a light at the end. The sensation of flight towards the light lasted for 5 to 7 seconds. It was accompanied by a pleasant feeling and full awareness of what was going on...
Susan P., #1434, Pleasant feeling pattern (spontaneous)
…Then, it’s like I saw nothing but blackness and I could hear echoes of their voices. I didn’t feel afraid though, I felt fine and at peace but couldn’t figure out why…
B. Lyubov S.(artificial)
As I tried to fall asleep in the morning, I saw a shimmering gleam with my inner sight. I tried to move my awareness towards that point of light, and then found myself moving towards it while inside of a dark tunnel. The tunnel began gradually contracting around me. I tried to touch its walls – they were similar to soft, brown-colored rope. I got the desire to stand up tall, and it turned out that the tunnel was about six-and-a-half feet in diameter. I continued moving forward towards the light, but everything still seemed somewhat dark. I had expected to reach the light, but was instead thrown back into real life.
Christinal, #2796, Standing in a tunnel/diameter patterns
…Then I found myself standing in a vertical tunnel. I say “tunnel” for lack of a better word. It seemed more like a well and I was standing at the bottom of it. The top was about three feet above my head…
C. Irina L. (artificial)
I become conscious while dreaming… There is a platform for the spiral staircase leading up into the sky. Ascending the stairs… We turn to the right. It envelops a dense fog, but very dark. Ahead of the tunnel narrows, from there a warm light silver shines… Out of the tunnel, silver light envelopes the whole space. Inside is warm and cozy. Under the left arm I have see someone. This is a girl-angel! She has hurly hair and a long white robe. Around me is a green meadow with a river and weeping willows. The grass under my feet is just like silk. Plays soft music. So ethereal. At the shore an old man sits at a table with an open book. Then I wake up.
Jennifer H., #1587, Staircase pattern(spontaneous)
…As soon as I was under the anesthetic I seemed to travel at speed along a dark tunnel, vortex. I reached the end on a sort of moving staircase...
Gloria M., #586, Angel encounter pattern(spontaneous)
… Suddenly I was standing in front of a massive being an Angel I think. The beautiful white wings were stretched out.. It was so big I couldn’t see the face or head…
Head researcher Raduga explains the practical and theoretical significance of the experiment: "Our experiment finally makes it possible to re-evaluate the findings of near-death experience researchers like Dr. Raymond Moody. For the first time, we can not only collect and analyze near-death experiences, but also deliberately reproduce them. This achievement casts doubt on earlier theories regarding the nature of this phenomenon."
Digital Journal reported that Raduga's OOBE Research Center in 2011, artificially reproduced the experience of alien abduction. Digital Journal also reported the research center demonstrated that religious OOBEs, such as Elijah's encounter with an angel, may be linked to REM sleep-related lucid dreaming states.
OOBE Research Center was founded by Michael Raduga in 2007, to study the phenomena of out-of-body experience and conscious, or "lucid", dreaming.