Remember the film Heaven is For Real? In it, four-year-old Colton Burpo has a near death experience during an emergency surgery and tells his skeptical father that he met his great-grandmother, his unborn sister who died from a miscarriage, as well as Jesus Christ himself. This, of course, is in addition to having seen everything that was happening to him while he was on the surgery table.
Heaven is For real was a for-real hit, raking in over $90 million on a $12 million budget. Its success rested on one thing. People are fascinated with near death experiences.
A significant percentage of participants recalled being aware of their surroundings during the time they were technically dead. In fact, 39% of people studied described being aware of their surroundings, with a smaller percentage even describing what was said and done in the time they were dead.
Technically, that's how you get the time of death – it's all based on the moment when the heart stops. Once that happens, blood no longer circulates to the brain, which means brain function halts almost instantaneously. You lose all your brain stem reflexes – your gag reflex, your pupil reflex, all that is gone.
Under certain unfamiliar and confusing circumstances — like near-death — the brain becomes overstimulated and hyperexcited. Like ‘fire raging through the brain’, activity can surge through brain areas involved in conscious experience, furnishing all resultant perceptions with realer-than-real feelings and emotions."
This can give us a framework to begin to explain these [near death experiences]. The fact [that people] see light perhaps indicates the visual cortex in the brain is highly activated - and we have evidence to suggest this might be the case, because we have seen increased gamma in area of the brain that is right on top of the visual cortex.So those visions people have during near death experiences may not be false after all.