During clinical death 80% of the blind report being able to see. That is correct; your eyes are not deceiving you. This holds true even for people who are born blind and have never experienced vision. This is the stunning finding of research done by Dr. Kenneth Ring, Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and his co-researcher Sharon Cooper. Dr. Ring co-founder of the International Association for Near Death Studies has been researching near death experiences (NDE) for over 20 years and is a well-known author in the field.
NDE has become the acronym for that set of phenomena that people all over the world report during periods of clinical death. By now many people have heard about these phenomena that occur when people die and are resuscitated. During the period when they are considered dead about one third undergo an NDE. The NDE’s usually have several common elements. These include the experience of leaving one’s body and viewing oneself, the people and environment in the immediate surroundings. Many also report traveling through a tunnel and coming out on the other end in the presence of a Being of Light, frequently identified as Jesus Christ. They often report going through a review of their lives. The most important impression that these people are left with is a feeling of intense, total love that they experience from the Being of Light. Those who experience an NDE almost universally report not wanting to leave this love to return to Earth. Most people who undergo an NDE report that the experience transforms their lives and leaves them more focused on the truly important things such as loving and serving others and appreciating what they have, especially their families.
Interestingly, when the blind have NDE’s they report exactly the same phenomena. They see both this world and the next. When people who are born blind recover their sight through a natural process, such as a medical procedure, they report an initial period of disorientation because it takes their minds sometime to learn how to interpret the new visual input. This is exactly what the blind report during an NDE. Those who were blind from birth report having difficulty relating to what they are seeing, whereas those who lost sight later in life immediately recognize the return of vision.
This research is reported among other sources in the Summer 1997 issue of “The Anomalist”. Given the rather amazing result the authors try to come up with a naturalistic explanation for this phenomenon. They are able to eliminate certain explanations such as fantasy by independently verifying details through corroborating evidence. For example those who died in surgery were asked to describe the surgery room, the hospital and other environmental factors, which a blind person could not know, were there. This sometimes included such observations as relatives in the waiting room that they had no way of knowing were there at the time. Dr. Ring and his co-researcher Sharon Cooper were also able to eliminate a host of other natural explanations for why the blind can see at death, such as dream based explanations, sensory-cueing, skin based sight and a host of others.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT!
Ring and Cooper searched thoroughly for a naturalistic explanation for their findings. This is not surprising because they are scientists and scientists in most cases argue that the proper focus of science is the realm of the natural. Many and possibly most scientists would argue further that there is no supernatural realm. However, it is not clear what the conclusion of Ring and Cooper is in this case. Their determination as to what is the cause of sight in the blind near death seems to be somewhat muddled. This is not surprising because of the clearly supernatural implications of this research.
How can the blind possibly see at death? They were blind before and they are blind after the NDE, yet during the death period some can describe what only a sighted person can perceive. They cannot see these things with their eyes, so how do the blind transcend their blindness near death?
The answer is obvious but hard to swallow for many. This is clear evidence for the existence of a transcendental part of the human being. It points to the existence of a Soul or Spirit. Vision can be impaired in the physical body with blindness resulting, but when the Soul is separated from the body this impediment is removed because the Soul does not depend on the physical body for vision. Therefore during death sight is possible but leaves again upon resuscitation.