29 People Who Were Clinically Dead Tell Tales of the Afterlife | 22 Words
silhouette of people working out of a tunnel. Light at End of Tunnel

Ever wonder what life after death is really like? I'm sure we all have. But few of us have ever been pronounced clinically dead.

That's why we have the internet! Users on Reddit chimed in with their experiences with the brink of death and some of their stories are shockingly similar.

A quick PSA.

Before we get started, some of these stories can be quite intense. We don’t condone a lot of the behavior of the people in this article, and if you are feeling suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The people in this story have varying feelings about life and death and while we respect their opinions, everyone’s experience is different.

Let's get started with a classic -- this person's heart stopped after surgery and they were pronounced dead.

I coded after surgery. I remember being able to see and hear everything and understand what was happening, but I couldn't physically feel anything. It was deeply unsettling. -Redshirt2386

NOPE! I never want to be awake for a surgery. Give me the gas. Even if it's for a tooth getting pulled.

My heart also stopped after surgery 3 years ago. I only remember them getting me back and drifting between darkness and seeing the nurses' panic. Like you mentioned, I felt nothing and was just an impartial observer. The aftermath was the worst. Realizing how close I was to oblivion and recalling the dissociation was horrifying. People often say "Oh I'm not worried - she's a fighter..." when someone gets very ill. But me? I feel like I was just ready to watch myself fade into the dark despite being content and having things to live for. Unsettling is exactly the right word. -fugnuggetino

This girl definitely went to another dimension -- and then woke up like it was nothing.

This happened well before my gf and I got together but she intentionally overdosed on methadone and was clinically dead briefly at the hospital. She said she could see the doctors and her husband in the room from above and then she found herself in a meadow with her first boyfriend just talking like nothing had happened. Then she felt herself getting pulled out of there abruptly and suddenly sprang up with her eyes wide open and she was back to life. -tallardschranit

The amount of people who are fully aware of what's happening is scary -- like this next person.

It's like the emotional part of my brain stopped working before the intellectual part did. I basically was just patiently waiting to find out whether I was going to be dead or not. I had no feeling about it at all at the time. The unsettled feeling came later. -Redshirt2386 Those are the unsettling ones, but there are a few heart wrenchers too...

Some of these stories are just heartbreaking.

My wife and I discussed this at length. 4 years ago, she died twice in 3 months, needing full resuscitation both times. Both were lengthy rescues (one resuscitation was off-and-on for nearly 40 minutes). I asked her later when she had recovered if she remembered anything at all during the times she was clinically dead. She remembered nothing. Blackness. No light. No relatives and former pets waiting for her. Just...black. Thankfully, also no pain. She finally passed 18 months ago, and I hope she felt no pain or worry the final time. -Ed-Zilla

And some of them are so depressing, you just have to laugh.

I don't know what I experienced while I was dead but when I woke back up (so to speak) I remember wanting to experience it permanently. -PlanetaryGenocide

That scary feeling where all of a sudden, everything goes black...

See I don't think I can really post my experience here because I wasn't deemed clinically dead. But I did get hit by a car once when I was about 13 and I will never forget the experience that came afterward. I was biking when a lady hit me with her car, I had a moment prior to being hit where I knew it was going to happen but it was far too late for me to actually do anything about it. I braced for impact, got hit, and went straight into this state of complete utter silence. I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything, no smells, no thoughts, no feelings. I just simply existed in this peaceful black bubble and it was the most at peace I've ever been in my life. It felt like I had been there for hours honestly, but really it had only been a few seconds before I woke up and everything came back. The loud noises, the pain from being hit, seeing all the cars etc. It's crazy though, it was one of the most amazing feelings I've ever experienced. -maggiedoesmeowoften

This person compares death to a sensory deprivation tank.

A friend of mine described death (she was technically dead twice) as being surrounded by darkness and floating with some sort of warm gel-like substance covering her. She never wanted to leave that state. -KKAPetring

Some of these stories make me want to run as far away from the hospital as possible.

When I was 15 I was scheduled to do a tilt table test (they lean you up at an angle on a table) because I was consistently experiencing dizziness and fainting spells. After about 20 minutes the doctor tilted the table back and I could feel myself passing out. I got severe tunnel vision and lost like 95% of my eyesight, like looking through a straw and then I blacked out. I remember hearing the dr call the code and my father cussing at the dr that he "killed" me. I remember hearing a lot of slamming and banging around, which I assumed was the crash cart and nurses shoving into this small testing room. I felt a pressure on my chest, like when you have someone stand on your back to crack it, which I found out later was the nurses doing CPR. I saw an array of vivid colors kind of dancing around forming objects in the dark. The scariest thing was how peaceful it felt, just pure 100% peace. No panic, no pain, no sadness, nothing just bliss. I coded for just under two minutes and as soon as I came too and opened my eyes, I felt seriously angry and hostile, I started ripping off whatever I could get my hands on and yelling at the dr to get me off the table. -Ozarkblood Click through to the next page for more haunting stories.

This person "died" twice in the same night.

Not necessarily "clinically dead" but I was pronounced dead two times in the same night after a car accident I was in when I was 16. My great grandma pulled me out of the car and we walked through this really peaceful field of flowers. When I woke up two weeks later she was sitting on the edge of my bed and told me to tell my mom that everything was going to be okay. My great grandma died when I was 10 and before that she had been bedridden after a stroke. I never saw her walk or heard her talk in my entire life. It was amazing and beautiful. -hopefulhusband

When your entire existence turns off like a light switch:

Clinically dead on two separate occasions. I didn’t experience any visions or light and I didn’t feel anything at all. It was like a switch was flipped and my existence was just shut off. Coming back was another story. Slowly I was able to hear the voices of those around me fading in, and they slowly got louder until I was able to open my eyes. That’s it. Nothing spectacular. One second you’re here, one second you’re not. -TheWiebat

Some people get angry at other people for saving their lives. Like this next person!

Not mine but the head of my program was in a horrible car accident. She was dead for a few minutes on the scene while paramedics worked on her. She said it was the most amazing feeling she’s ever experienced. It was blank black nothing, but that was perfectly fine, and she felt a comfort she can’t even explain. She remembers being angry at the man working on her when she finally came back to her body because she wanted to stay there. She told us she can’t wait to experience it again when it’s really her turn. -foxykittenn

When you're dead, time works in weird ways.

I was electrocuted by about 13,800 volts. The doctors say it's likely the first hit stopped my heart and the second one started it (before I was pulled like a lifeless corpse to safety). I remember experiencing the darkest dark and the most silent silence. I ceased to care that I was dying; time seemed to change, it could have been hours it seemed. It was only about 30 seconds. I felt as though I was floating and floated toward something that I eventually realized was my body and reality. Upon joining with whatever it was I was floating towards, I became self-aware in my body and heard the electricity making horrible noises and knew I was in danger. From there it was a horribly painful experience where I lost most of my toes due to tissue death and had severe electrical burns on all four limbs. More surgeries than I care to count and seeing the round bone ends of my toes that were freshly amputated still haunts me a little. -Mr-TeaBag-UT_PE

And some people lose their fear of death entirely.

Friend of mine described it as deeply relaxing and that she could feel herself drifting away, but was brought back just as she was ready to "leave". After that, she embraced life and death. She said she doesn't fear death anymore since it was so relaxing to experience. -A_Ron24 This next story has probably the craziest thought process of a dying person I've ever heard.

This person decided to save themselves...some embarrassment.

I nearly choked to death once, while alone in my apartment. Let me tell you, death chemicals are AMAZING. I can remember everything going blue and black as I laid on the floor, and it's like the beautiful voice started going "This isn't that bad. Things could be worse. You're not on fire or anything...." I was days away from my big wedding. I had a giant, loving family. None of that was on my mind, just this calming, slightly numbing "this is okay" momentum. It was then I realized I could see my front door from where I was, which meant when my roommate came home, she'd find my corpse. So I'm like, okay maybe I can move myself to somewhere so she only sees my feet. Maybe I can hide? I rolled over just slightly and was too weak to hold myself up, so I dropped back down onto the floor and dislodged the obstruction and could breathe again. I honestly think I just laid there on the floor for another half hour because almost dying was exhausting. -nfmadprops04

Oh by the way, if you have an allergy, keep that Epipen close!

My girlfriend is anaphylactic, and it is triggered by a chemical called salicylate (found in pretty much every food). When she was in high school she had her first big reaction, and the school nurses refused to administer her epipen (adrenaline shot) until the ambulance got there. Now obviously, having an anaphylactic reaction doesn’t give you a lot of ‘waiting time’, so by the time the ambulance got to her school she was in pretty bad shape and barely conscious. The paramedics immediately administered one of her epipens, called the nurses “fucking twats" and loaded her into the ambulance as her mother arrived. She continued to fade, so they gave her a direct injection of adrenaline this time, still nothing. They give her a second direct injection of adrenaline and this time it hits her about 30 seconds later all at once, and her heart fails. She stops breathing, no pulse, nothing. Dead to the world. For about 2 minutes and 46 seconds she was clinically dead. And the scariest thing is, she saw nothing. She tells me that when you are losing consciousness you can’t tell the difference between waves of drowsiness and when your body actually shuts down. All she saw was the darkness of her eyelids, and it felt like going into an extremely calm sleep where she couldn’t hear or feel anything, and she didn’t mind it. All despite the fact her mother and the paramedics were screaming at her to keep her eyes open and the ambulance was flying towards the hospital. She miraculously just came back to life almost 3 minutes later as they were giving her chest compressions, and the cardiologist that assessed her later stated that all the adrenaline in her body was enough to not only stop her heart but to also restart it with the little help from the paramedic pumping it around. But still do this day, she can’t differentiate falling asleep after a long day, and dying. -tisJosh

Some people are excited to slipping back into that state when the time finally comes.

I was dead for a very short period of time, like 30 seconds to a minute. There's a big misconception about it. It's not like sleeping at all. I'll try to explain. There's always a sort of white noise in the back of my mind. It quiets down when I sleep but it's still there. I never noticed it before I died, but I do now. I don't want to romanticize death, but when I was out, it was like this perfect nothingness. And nothingness is so hard to imagine normally, but once you "experience" it, and they bring you back, part of you wishes you could have stayed. There's no positive feelings there, obviously, but it takes away everything bad too. All your stress, the nightmares, the troubles. All gone. Just nothing exists. It's beautiful in a way. I'm not suicidal at all and hope to live the rest of a long and happy life. But I'm very much looking forward to a lack of consciousness when I do eventually pass again, and I can honestly say I don't fear death anymore. -thebestjoeever

For this next one, was it the drugs or was it the death??

I know 3 people that have been clinically dead and have come back. What they described is something much different than what people are talking about here. They all said, if you paraphrase, that it feels as if you're passing out. Someone compared it to OD'ing on whippits (Nitrous oxide) – a feeling of your conscience slowly getting focused into one point in the exact middle of your head, while your limbs lose feeling in a tingling, pleasant way and then you lose consciousness. One girl said that when she came back into conscience she was hallucinating because she had no idea what was going on and that she started dreaming of something 'safe' - i.e her mother hugging her in a warm bed. -mdi5c0rd

Let me say it again. Say no to drugs! Or at least like...this many drugs...

I think I had a near death experience while I was tripping on LSD in college. I took a big lungful of no2 and I watched as my field of view tightened to a point, all color from my peripheral was gone and I could only see red in a circle directly in front of me (I was looking at a multicolored visual on a TV at the time) Then as I lost consciousness, my world seemed to turn off like an old tv screen, all the light closing to black horizontally and finally closing together. I remember my last thought was "Oh fuck oh fuck I'm dying, I broke my brain, this is it, why the fuck did I do this?" When I came too I was standing in the hallway outside of the room I was sitting in. Don't do drugs kids, unless you're looking for a transcendent experience. -sendnewt_s Get ready for some actual ghost stories on the next page.

I don't think I believe in ghosts, but these stories are starting to convince me.

Former co-worker of mine died during heart surgery. I think she was out for 90 seconds or close to it. She wasn't religious or anything. She said that she remembered being in the room and seeing her dead uncle and cousin standing at the far end of the room watching everything going on. -TheSharkFromJaws

I'm not crying over ghost grandpa, you're crying over ghost grandpa.

I saw my grandpa. We talked for a while and he said I could go back with him, or stay. I looked down and saw myself in that hospital bed with my brother holding my hand. He felt it turn cold and I never saw him cry that way before. Went back into my body and felt more pain than I knew in my life. Been a year of recovery and I lost most of my memory but I’m happy. (Skull fracture/traumatic brain injury from heat exhaustion) -Signifikantotter

And of course, no death story would be complete without something that sounds straight from The Exorcist.

Not me personally but my grandmother after giving birth to my uncle was clinically dead for a bit. She told me that she felt herself rising out of her body and she ended up in the top corner of the room with a view over her bed and the doctor. It was then that she willed herself back to her body and was alive again. -Spanner_25

Did someone say drugs are back on the menu?

That description is very similar to my DMT experiences. It always starts with me looking down at myself as if my back is on the ceiling, but my body is just laying in bed. It comforts me to hear experiences like this because DMT is still one of the most blissful, life-changing experiences I have ever had. If death is anything like it, then I am prepared for when that day comes and will embrace it with open arms. -THC_IPA

I feel like I'm starting to sound like a prude with all these scary drug stories, but here's another one!

One of my old frat brothers was clinically dead for like 40 seconds because of Xanax. He said that he saw himself floating above his body in the hospital room. He said that he could see doctors and nurses working on him and family in the room. He said he slowly floated above the hospital and towards a light. He said the most peaceful feeling he has ever experienced washed over him. This is a person who has done MDMA and coke in college. He said its almost impossible to describe the feeling with our vocabulary. He said it feels like a weight was lifted off you. He said he saw some long gone family in the light but they told him it wasn't his time. He said he was angry because he felt so good but floated back down to his body. I have no idea if he is telling the truth but he is a trustworthy friend. He never used drugs again. -DownvoteDaemon Okay, no more drug stories on the next page, I promise. But they do start to get freakier!

I love stories about people watching themselves as they die. It's so creepy!

I was 6-7 years old and one day I got rushed to the hospital by my parents because they heard me breathing really loud and hard. The last thing I remembered were faces of the doctors and nurses above me while I was lying on my back. Then I flatlined. The weirdest, unexplainable thing happened then and there - I suddenly could see the whole scene as a spectator, like I was a floating spirit in that room. I could see myself getting revived, saw my mom crying and my dad comforting her. Then, I saw a white entity shaped like my body, falling through the ceiling and slowly, like a leaf in the wind, falling down to eventually land inside my body. That's when that experience ended. I was put in a medically induced coma, and I woke up after some days, I don't remember. I had stuff plugged into me, an IV, red glowing elastic ring on my finger etc. Anyway, I later mentioned to the doctors that I saw it all, I saw them using the defibrillators, my parents etc. No one really believed me and told me that I was probably dreaming and biasing my memories due to watching tv, but I know what I saw! -Mostuu

This one is straight out of the end of Harry Potter. No spoilers!

I don’t share it much but I’ve had 4 heart surgeries, and in my first and third one I coded. You had to be conscious for these surgeries to get your heart to react appropriately. The first time it was just nothingness. Black. Just nothing. I can’t even explain how long it felt like nothingness. And then I remember waking up with them over me saying we lost you for a second there, are you okay? The second time is the hard one to share. I woke up in a type of subway feeling thing but everything was white. The subway, the tunnel walls we were speeding through. I didn’t have a body per say, it felt like I was the subway at times, and the. At times it was like I was just looking out a window at the tunnel wall. It came to a stop and it was just black nothingness again. And then I heard a voice of a much older man. He said, “Are you ready to go?" And I just had nothing. Like I didn’t know how to speak. “We’re going now if you’re ready..." And something inside me felt so ready to go. Like I was a magnet to it... this unknown destination in the black nothingness ahead. I remember finally saying “o..ok". He said another time with a slightly different tone. “We’ll be leaving here. You are ready to go?" And finally something in me snapped, and I remembered I had a life, and people I’d leave behind. And my first thought was “I can’t leave my girlfriend. I couldn’t do that. And my Mom and Dad. My puppies. I can’t leave any of them. My family, my friends.." And I made a decision I couldn’t leave. I didn’t even have to say it. Once I decided I couldn’t leave and I was for sure staying I woke up and came to consciousness with the medical team all around me. -silverstars13

Honestly, if I were about to die, seeing a middle-aged guy in a Hawaiian shirt try to comfort me would send me over the edge.

Anaphylaxis wasn't breathing, I considered all the hallucinations I experienced likely due to hypoxic episode until I told my Mom what I saw. A middle-aged man who wasn't in scrubs standing still at the end of my bed while all staff were running around and doing their business. I was having a non-verbal conversation with him and he was telling me to calm down, focus on breathing. He wore a tropical style button-down shirt, one of those old-school news boys hats and had a very pleasant demeanor. Mom showed me a photo of my grampa that I never had seen before, and it was the guy at the foot of my bed, and he died before I was even born. -MakeeDru

So many ghost family members!

When my grandfather was dying at home from cancer, he would often see his sister and brother-in-law. He would tell us when they would come to see him. The hospice nurses said it's very common. It brings me great comfort to know they probably welcomed him when he finally passed. -Bee0617

And finally -- we had to have one -- a motorcycle story. Here's a GIF of Paul Rudd to make you happy before you never want to look at another motorcycle again.

So this is second hand from my dad but he was always a little shaken up when he told this story. Years before I came along my dad was cruising around on his motorcycle when a little dog ran into the road straight at him barking. He swerved so he wouldn't hit the poor pupper and a car in opposing traffic did as well. My dad got clipped and thrown off his bike. It was on a hill so he slid pretty far until his body hit a parked car. Now the weird part, he always got this sort of haunted look when he talked about it which wasn't very often, he says he remembers plain as day standing at the bottom of the street on the corner watching as a man got hit off his bike and tumbled through the air and down the hill. He says he remembers thinking "that guy is definitely going to die". He woke up the next day in the hospital with a nurse picking gravel out of his back. He had reconstruction surgery on his hand and arm which consists mostly of metal pins now. Remember kids if on a motorcycle always wear your leathers and helmet. Without them my dad would have died and I wouldn't be around. -corsair1617