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Doctor Finds 'Oldest' Record of a Near-Death Experience in Antique Medical Book


"Never of all his life had he had a nicer moment."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

So-called "near-death" experiences are nothing new. In fact, one that is being called the "oldest medical case" was recently found.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

According to Live Science, Dr. Phillippe Charlier, who is both a medical doctor and archaeologist, found the record in an antique book he bought for just 1 euro. In a paper about the find published in the journal Resuscitation, Charlier described it as the "oldest medical description of a near death experience."

"I was just interested in the history of medicine, and medical practices in the past, especially during this period, the 18th century," Charlier told Live Science. "The book itself was not an important one in the history of medicine, but from a historian's point of view, the possibility of doing retrospective diagnosis on such books, it's something quite interesting."

The near-death experience included a patient who, after falling ill with a fever and going through "many blood-letters," became unconscious. When he came to, he was able to recall his experience. Here's more from Charlier's report about the case:

He reported that after having lost all external sensations, he saw such a pure and extreme light that he thought he was in Heaven (literally: in the Kingdom of the Blessed). He remembered this sensation very well, and affirmed that never of all his life had he had a nicer moment. Other individuals of various ages and sexes reported a very similar sensation in the same circumstances. These observations seem to be comparable to those of a 12th c. theologian, who said that at the moment approaching our body and soul dissolution, the latter is lit by a primary light ray (luminositas lucis primae)?’

The medical account written in 1740 by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux in "Anecdotes de Médecine" included the French doctor's own thoughts on what could be happening, biologically, during such an experience. 

According to Live Science, Monchaux wrote that such an experience could have been had by the patient because of the blood letting he endured, which left more blood in the brain, causing such visions. The science website though went on to say that modern scientists believe that it's a lack of blood, and therefore oxygen, to the brain that could result in such an experience.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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