Given such stark phenomenological differences, Murphy concludes:
He was in a very bright light that she could not describe other than by saying that it made her feel good. He was sitting there with a round belly and a red hat, looking like Santa Claus (Morse and Perry, "Transformed" 125).
Is the Temporal Lobe Implicated in NDEs?
One possible answer to this argument is anticipated in Blackmore's model of the NDE: There are different kinds of anoxia, and rate of onset, amount of time before oxygen restoration, and similar factors have to fall within the right ranges before an NDE can take place. Apparently, for the vast majority of cardiac arrest survivors, this does not happen, and so NDEs are rare among them, no matter how close they come to death as measured by some objective criterion. Another possible answer, perhaps complementary to Blackmore's, is suggested by : If only a small minority of those who come close to death are physiologically predisposed to have NDEs, the vast majority will experience nothing—and this is exactly what we find.
Aside from cases where the persons encountered during NDEs are obviously culture-bound projections or could not possibly reside in the afterlife at the time of the experience, many near-death researchers urge us to take what NDErs report at face value. If an NDEr reports feelings of peace, an OBE, traversing a tunnel, and entering an illuminated garden where he encounters his deceased grandfather, researchers often advocate interpreting the account literally as a vision of the afterlife. We are typically encouraged to think that the NDEr really left his physical body, traveled through the physical world in a disembodied or astrally embodied state, traversed a tunnel from the physical world to a transcendental realm, and actually communicated with his deceased grandfather. It is only when an NDE contains obviously hallucinatory features that such near-death researchers resist interpreting it as a literal glimpse of the afterlife.
Groth-Marnat, Gary. "." . No. 19 (1994): 7-11.
(2) Exaggerated claims of psychic power are not limited to NDErs who write best-selling books about their experiences. In an interview with a woman who had three NDEs, journalist Art Levine sought to test her reputed psychic powers. Among other things, the woman claimed to have predicted the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Levine notes that, although he carelessly supplied some information about his life to the woman, she revealed nothing about him that couldn't have been guessed by the average person and many of the details she provided were flat wrong:
Abanes, Richard. . Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.
It would not be surprising for NDErs to come back from 'the other side' with vague or false predictions if near-death experiences are really a particular kind of brain-generated hallucination. But if NDEs were literally journeys of one's soul or double into 'the next world,' it would be surprising for denizens of that realm to offer false information. In Brinkley's case particularly, it would be surprising for otherworldly beings to provide him with accurate predictions about future events occurring before the publication of his book, but false predictions about future events occurring after the book is published. Dare I suggest that Brinkley just might have exaggerated claims about the accuracy of his pre-publication predictions?
Abramovitch, Henry. "." . Vol. 6, No. 3 (Spring 1988): 175-184.
Elaborate as these visions are, none of the events predicted to occur after was published in 1994 have come to pass. The prophetic visions Brinkley gained during his NDE appear to be no different than those of any other run-of-the-mill prophet. Even the Fenwicks comment that while "pre-publication happenings came into Dannion's head with pinpoint accuracy," "those events due to take place after 1994 are foretold with less precision" (Fenwick and Fenwick 167). Brinkley did tend to be vague in places—omitting dates or using phrases like "some incident" or "sometime before the end of the century." But his predictions were precise enough for us to recognize not only that they never came to pass when he predicted they would, but that nothing even close to those events came to pass.