A near-death experience (NDE), refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light, which some people interpret as a deity.
These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or otherwise very close to death, hence the term near-death experience. Many NDE reports, however, originate from events that are not life-threatening. With recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques, the number of reported NDEs has increased. Many in the scientific community regard such experiences as hallucinatory, while paranormal specialists and some mainstream scientists claim them to be evidence of an afterlife.
Popular interest in near-death experiences was initially sparked by Raymond Moody's 1975 book Life After Life and the founding of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in 1981. According to a Gallup poll, approximately eight million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience. Some commentators, such as Simpson claim that the number of near-death experiencers may be underestimated, mainly because some such individuals are presumably afraid or otherwise reluctant to talk about their experiences.
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