They Died and Came Back to Life: Real People Explain What They Saw on the Other Side

While scientists, doctors, and new-age medical treatments save millions of lives every day, there will come a time when we all learn what happens when we pass on. For the vast majority, this is a one-time deal — but the same can’t be said for everyone. Near-death experiences happen a lot more than you think — and some folks clinically die before they’re brought back to life.

Maybe it’s a trick of the brain, or perhaps it’s something more. But these are the people whose hearts have stopped beating long enough for them to recall their wild experiences in the afterlife.

One man remembers turning into an animal outside of his body

Man leaning with hands against wall, dark room.

He came back to life and is telling his story. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

VICE retells the story of Guido, a 75-year-old man who was clinically dead for a few minutes before being revived. Guido said when he died, he was “fully engulfed in darkness” and aware of his body even though he no longer felt a part of it. He then had a memory of being an animal dragging his limp corpse behind a billboard. He recalls feeling relaxed as he tucked his body away — and then everything went black once more.

First responders brought him back to life — and Guido hasn’t been the same since. He claims something was lost in the darkness, as he’s not as “aggressive or passionate about anything” as he was before the incident. 

A drug user sat with a loved one at a picnic table in the afterlife

A picnic table among trees.

Will he come across this person again? |

The Huffington Post published one interesting account of near-death from a heavy drug user. According to a family member, the man overdosed, causing his heart to stop for a full two minutes. And during his unconscious state, he recalled sitting at a picnic table near the house he was raised in. Someone he loved was with him, too, though he didn’t recognize the person’s identity. The man was revived shortly thereafter — and the mysterious loved one said, “I’ll see you later, remember me,” before the revival. 

This Redditor said there was no euphoria — just a slow fade to darkness

A faded dark background.

Many people recall seeing darkness. | Surachet99/Getty Images

A Reddit thread asked users if anyone had ever been revived after being declared clinically dead — and one woman answered with an unsettling account of her own. She said after going into septic shock and experiencing organ failure, death felt like finally going to sleep after weeks of staying awake. “I had no feelings of euphoria, just blackness,” she continued. The user also said her vision faded like the way an old-fashioned TV’s image slowly shrinks when you shut it off. After one more close encounter with death, she now lives to tell the tale. 

Lightning struck this neurosurgeon — and he wanted to stay dead

View of intercloud lightning at night.

Was life really better in the afterlife? | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

According to National Geographic, neurosurgeon Tony Cicoria was with his family on a picnic when a bolt of lightning hit the phone he was on during a call. His heart stopped, and he recalls traveling up stairs without actually walking and having the ability to move through walls. He even saw his mother-in-law screaming at him and children painting their faces.

He awoke when a nurse nearby brought him back — but he says he didn’t actually want to return to the living after his experience. Interestingly enough, many other “death travelers” who have had similar experiences also regret waking up.

This drowning woman spoke with spirits while she went without oxygen for 30 minutes

A river seen flowing on a bright day.

She saw her friends bringing her back to life. | Andreas Gerhardinger/Getty Images

It was during a kayaking trip with her husband and friends when Mary Neal’s kayak flipped, trapping her under water, CNN reports. During her final moments, she recalls feeling her spirit “peeling away” from her body as her friends tried to revive her. As the rescue efforts began, Mary recalls having an out-of-body experience. She watched her group pull her body to the shore and perform CPR.

Mary then says spirits approached her, and they led her to a brightly lit path toward a domed structure. Before she could reach the structure, the spirits told her it wasn’t her time to die after all. She returned to consciousness after 30 minutes. 

Another Reddit user said they saw a garden when their heart stopped for 6 minutes

This person recalled seeing a garden and a merry-go-round. | FCerez/Getty Images

While many people see a dark void of sorts during a near-death scenario, reports one Reddit user had quite a different experience. They said they saw a garden filled with dust and patchy grass when their heart stopped for six minutes following an allergic reaction. There was also a merry-go-round in the middle of the garden, where two children played.

The Reddit user said returning to the living was difficult, as it felt like they were stuck in place. Finally, they came back to life after asking the unknown presence for a safe return.

This man says he died twice, and he never experienced heaven

Sun peeking out from clouds.

A very different experience for each person. | Dovapi/Getty Images

The Daily Express recounts one man’s experience of dying not once, but twice. The first time came as a result of a motorcycle accident, where he died for two minutes. The second time he “died” was following surgery, where his pulse dropped to just 10 beats per minute. His respiratory system also failed during the second incident.

During both times of death, he said it felt like a long, dreamless nap. “I experienced something, and that something was nothing,” he says. The publication notes many others who have nearly died also were disappointed to see the afterlife for them was just bleak darkness.

Follow The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!