[[folder: You see, you are having a near death experience, which inescapably means that I must undergo a near ''Vimes'' experience. Don't mind me. Carry on with whatever you were doing. I have a book. ]]

-->-- '''Death''' (to Commander Vimes), ''Discworld/{{Thud}}''

A character almost dies, but is given a chance to or is forced to return. Often overlaps with ItIsNotYourTime and MyLifeFlashedBeforeMyEyes. Sometimes overlaps with NearDeathClairvoyance. If the near-death is a near-suicide, may overlap with ItsAWonderfulPlot. To some extent TruthInTelevision, and heavily overlaps with DontFearTheReaper.

A FlatlinePlotline is about deliberately inducing these.

Compare with SerendipitousSurvival, where a character avoids death by being elsewhere due to sheer luck, when under normal circumstances they would have died.

'''As this is a DeathTrope, expect unmarked spoilers!'''



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This happening to the protagonist in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' in his childhood is his primary motivation for most of the routes in the game, and indeed lost his own sense of self because of this. Having been the only survivor of the incident, he does not want anybody else to go through that, even if it means his own sacrifice.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'': Nearly every single movie has a Pokémon die and come back to life, or barely avoid dying in the first place.
** In the third episode of Sun & Moon, Meowth got hexed so badly trying to peek under Mimikyu's outfit, that he suffered a near-death experience. He walked down a tunnel, then [[GoIntoTheLight ran toward a light]], and found a Glaceon, Gardevoir, and a Lopunny calling for him. But those were really projections by Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar. Then everything disappeared, and he fell into an abyss. At this point, Jessie and James dumped buckets of water on him, reviving him.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' '''loves''' this trope. The protagonist first narrowly escapes death as a child [[spoiler:when all of his clan except for him is slaughtered]], then again when [[spoiler:he technically does die, but Akiha gives him half of her life force so he can live (this experience is actually what gives him his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception)]], and for the entirety of the game he is almost a papers-width away from death. He can sense his own death so well it borders on precognition, allowing him to barely survive against some of the strongest beings in the world.
** He gets another one [[spoiler:during Ciel's True Ending, where he's briefly trapped in a near-death coma dream after "killing" himself and Roa. He realizes that it's fake, and decides to risk never waking up by ending it]].
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'':
** In a rare serious arc, Ryōga dies when the superhumanly-strong Lime crushes his windpipe. He finds himself in a field of flowers with a river in the distance, and his grandpa and grandma yelling, from the other side of the river, not to come closer. But when he hallucinates Akane happily saying goodbye to him, together with Ranma, Ryōga is [[BigNo shocked]] back to life, depressed enough to summon the [[KiAttacks Shishi Hokodan]] and crush Lime with it.
** This is parodied in a later, much more comedic story, where Ranma, Ryōga and Mousse are competing to eat horribly bad-tasting noddles. The food is so lethally bad, all three fall unconscious and find themselves on the shore of the same river, with Ryōga commenting that he'd already been there before.
* Near-death experiences are a dime a dozen in ''Manga/HellTeacherNube''. Once, a moribund Hiroshi ran into a cute girl while in the fields of the afterlife, and fought valiantly to bring her back with him... only to have her turn out to be an ''ancient'' old woman in a hospital who was suddenly quite smitten with him.
* Nanoha in the SnowMeansDeath FlashBack of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers''. Caused her to reassess her training regimen to so that her trainees won't end up in a similar situation.
* In the ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce'' manga, [[spoiler: Signum and Agito are nearly killed by Cypha of Huckebein]].
* In the 4th novel of ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', [[spoiler:Kyon experiences this]]. In his own words: "Damn it, [[ThisIsGonnaSuck I'm about to die]]."
* A major part of the manga ''Manga/PlusAnima'', because you can only get an Anima if you're near death.
* Hei in ''Manga/DarkerThanBlack'', several times. He barely made it through the PhlebotinumWar and the first season finale, and comes up against a couple of overpowered characters (CombatClairvoyance and a GravityMaster, in particular) in the {{interquel}} who very nearly manage to kill him. Though frankly, anyone with his [[ProfessionalKiller job description]] is likely to have near-misses on a regular basis.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' [[spoiler:Kakashi had one of these when fighting Pain. His chakra exhausted, he died for a short period of time and his spirit met with his father, who had waited for him. When Pain resurrected the fallen, Kakashi returned to life happier than when he had died]].
* Hyatt from ''Manga/ExcelSaga'', who has a near-death experience about once or twice a week. She has them so often that her senior Excel commented that one of them was 'pretty cliche'.
* Happens to Mugen three times in ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo''. Each time it happens, he is shown floating in an empty white space surrounded by grim reaper like beings. And each time, he tells them that he's not ready to die, and that they can shove it.
* In ''Manga/YakitateJapan'', Azuma's recipe for Ja-Pan [[FourIsDeath #44]] briefly sends whoever eats it to heaven because [[ImpossiblyDeliciousFood it's just that good]].
* In ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureDiamondIsUnbreakable'', [[spoiler:Okuyasu is seemingly killed during the final battle, only to return in BigDamnHeroes fashion. He explains that he had a dream where he saw [[GoIntoTheLight a bright light]] and met his dead brother Keicho and realized that he must have died. However Keicho, who'd always done the thinking for both of them, told Okuyasu that it was time for him to decide for himself what he was going to do; he decided to return to Morioh and help his friends, and woke up just in time to save Josuke.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
%%* [[ComicBook/IronMan Tony Stark]].
* ComicBook/TheJoker nearly dies at the end of the ''Last Laugh'' crossover. This is possibly the first time the reader is able to experience one of his numerous brushes with death with him.
* ComicBook/ThePunisher has this in ''ComicBook/ThePunisherBorn''. [[spoiler: At the end, during the big battle, he makes a deal with Death. He is given the option of dying there in Nam or having supernatural protection and thusly, a guarantee to see his family again. But the latter option will have a price. Hint: it's his family.]]
* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} is only allowed to have these. Because of his healing factor, even when he dies, it's never permanent. Which sucks for him because he's in love with Death.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Lampooned in ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'', where it happened to Opus, but made very little sense. (The guy who told him ItIsNotYourTime was famed high school principal Joe Clark, who "expelled" him to send him back to the living world, and reminded him to watch ''Film/LeanOnMe'', which had just been released.)

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/IceAge2TheMeltdown'', Scrat has this at the end of the movie. Right as he is about to enter the gates of acorn heaven, Sid revives him.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The entire film of ''Film/{{Flatliners}}'' is a plot built around this. The protagonists are medical students ''purposely'' inflicting these on themselves so they can record what the afterlife looks like. It's a kind of IronicHell where they're faced with the vengeful spirits of the people they wronged in their lives. They can only stop the spirits tormenting them by [[CrossingTheBurntBridge making peace with the people they wronged]]. [[spoiler:In the one case this does become a problem when the person in question themselves [[DeadAllAlong died years ago]]...]]
* In ''Film/{{Hereafter}}'', Cecile De France plays a French reporter who is caught in a tsunami and suffers a near death experience, causing her to become obsessed with the afterlife.
* The main character in ''Film/{{Fearless|1993}}'' survives a plane crash which radically changes his outlook on life.
* In the climax of ''Film/{{Pi}}'', Max experiences his greatest migraine attack so far. As he goes mad from the pain, he suddenly finds himself in a white void and recites the numerical designation of God's name which [[TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow he was never supposed to discover]]. His neighbor begs him to come back and comforts him in her arms when he is resuscitated. [[spoiler:Then it turns out that he was hallucinating all of it and is truly alone.]]

* [[spoiler: Harry Potter himself]] in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows''. Under normal circumstances, he should have been killed. However, because [[spoiler:Voldemort used Harry's blood to give himself a new body back in ''Goblet of Fire'', Voldemort inadvertently made it so as long as he was alive, Harry can't die.]]
* Literature/{{Discworld}}: Due to there being more and more "Bloody Quantum" around these days, Death is increasingly unsure of when anyone will die. He makes the best of it, helped by the fact that apparently only main characters get a 'quantum out'.
** A literal example of this trope tends to happen to Commander Vimes, as his version involves seeing the GrimReaper himself, who on one occasion notes that Vimes having a near-death means that he has to undergo a "near-Vimes experience". The Grim Reaper in Discworld is GenreSavvy enough to see Vimes's PlotArmor and acknowledges him for it.
** Rincewind also has more than his fair share of Near Death Experiences, though his first in the series is entirely accidental. He runs into Death in the middle of the street, much to their mutual surprise, as Death was expecting to see Rincewind in an hour or so halfway across the Disc. Death offers Rincewind a "very fast horse" to make the appointment, but Rincewind politely declines before hightailing it.
** Rincewind undergoes a ''lot'' of these: As a result of all the implausible events he's been involved in, being [[CosmicPlaything Lady Luck's favourite game piece]], Rincewind's hourglass isn't so much an 'hourglass' as an 'MC Escher creation in glass'. Even ''Death'' is unsure when he'll die, and consequently, he shows up every so often to check up on matters when it looks like it ''might'' happen.
** He seems to be [[OnlyMostlyDead at least slightly dead]] during the course of the game ''Discword II: Missing Presumed...'', having survived the explosion that tossed Death quite a ways and later commenting that if he stands still for too long, flies converge on him and he sees zooming star-fields (though considering the form the player's mouse pointer takes, this is more a case of BreakingTheFourthWall).
** Rincewind's seeming inability to just roll over and die is referenced and parodied by Death on one occasion, where Death remarks [[/folder]]

[[folder: Damn; I feel as if I've had another near-Rincewind experience ]]
* A rather strange example occurs in ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfAncientDarkness Ghost Hunter]]''. [[spoiler:Torak actually does ''die'', but whilst he's confusedly and aimlessly wandering around on the Mountain of Ghosts, Wolf comes and guides him back into his body.]]
* ''Literature/{{Passage}}'' centres around near death experiences.
* Despite being [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids marketed for children]], ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' has quite a few of them, and they're all pretty jarring/frightening. In rough order, [[spoiler:Barda has the everloving crap beat out of him by [[BlackKnight Gorril]] (saved by a special miracle cure), Lief suffers a several story fall and breaks nearly every bone in his body (also healed by the miracle cure), Jasmine is poisoned by the frog demon Geelick's minions (saved by one of the gems), Barda and Jasmine are nearly murdered by Ol assassins ''in the same book'' (saved before the final blow could be landed), and finally, Barda is secretly poisoned by another Ol assassin (saved by one of the gems).]]
* Happens in ''Literature/OfFearAndFaith'' to Lilac and Aiden. Their group is caught in a system of underground tunnels when they start collapsing and the two of them stay behind and use their magic to stall the collapse, allowing the others to escape but sealing their own fates. Vatra manages to rescue them just barely in the nick of time, and the event leaves a strong emotional impact on Aiden that he tries to come to terms with in the following chapter. Lilac is just very, very happy to be alive afterwards.
* Witkacy undergoes this in ''Literature/ShamanBlues'' after the wraith pulls his soul out of his body after it itself is pulled into the afterlife. The Old Ones would keep him there, too, if it wasn't for Vulture's [[BigDamnHeroes timely intervention]].
* In ''Literature/TheCurseOfChalion'', the eponymous Curse can only be broken by a man "willing to lay down his life three times for the House of Chalion." This leaves poor Cazaril getting just-barely-not-killed twice (once in the backstory and [[TakingYouWithMe once performing death magic]]) so his soul is open enough on the third death that the gods can unmake the curse through him. Yes, he had to ''practice dying''. Strictly speaking only the third time is a real NearDeathExperience, where he gets a full glimpse of the gods' realm and the Lady of Spring gives him the choice whether to return to life or not.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Jean-Luc Picard has a NearDeathExperience featuring Q and the origin of his artificial heart in the episode "Tapestry" on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''.
* Nate on ''Series/SixFeetUnder''.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** In the fifth-season episode "The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari", Londo (naturally enough) had a NearDeathExperience in the wake of a near-fatal heart attack.
** Stephen Franklin's "walkabout" actually does end with him meeting himself, in a hallucination after being stabbed. And then there's what happens to Sheridan after he blows up Z'ha'dum, although how close he actually came to dying is an open question.
* Meredith on ''Series/GreysAnatomy''
* Buffy (repeatedly) on ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
* [[spoiler:Jack Harper]] on ''Series/TruCalling'', though this was part of the character's backstory, and not revealed for some time.
* Everyone on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''.
* Fraser in ''Series/DueSouth'', in the season 4 episode "Dead Men Don't Throw Rice".
* In ''Series/{{House}}'', the main character had one, when he had the infraction in his leg which caused his limp ("Three Stories"). Always the skeptic, he believes that it was just a hallucination.
** In the episode "97 Seconds", a patient had a near-death experience, which made him feel so good that he electrocutes himself to have another one. Intrigued, House also electrocutes himself, but pages Amber right before so he would be revived. He sees nothing. This doesn't make much sense, since House already had a near-death experience - or two, if you count his hallucinations in "No Reason". Wilson even tells this to him afterwards. [[spoiler: It's actually a symptom of his deteriorating mental stability, which comes to a head at the end of the season.]]
* Hiro has one of these on ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' [[spoiler: during the operation to remove his brain tumor.]] He's put on trial for [[MisappliedPhlebotinum ir]][[WithGreatPowerComesGreatResponsibility responsible]] use of [[TimeTravel his powers.]]
* Happens to (or is mentioned by) several characters in ''Series/TheXFiles''. Very notable is AD Walter Skinner, Mulder and Scully's superior. He says he died in Vietnam and that there was nothing "near" about it.
* ''Series/{{Wiseguy}}''. Happens to Frank [=McPike=] after he gets shot. He sees a dog leading him towards the Tunnel of Light, only to be called back by the sounds of the long-silent churchbell his friends start ringing.
* In the ''Series/CurbYourEnthusiasm'' episode "The End", Larry dies and goes to FluffyCloudHeaven, but after getting into a petty argument with his guide angels, he's sent back to his body.
* In "Sea of Fire", ''Series/TheEqualizer'' takes a [[ScareEmStraight class of juvenile delinquents]] to speak to a former hitman about his near-death experience where he allegedly spent a brief moment in Hell (the sea of fire in the title). At the end of the episode Mickey Kostmeyer scoffs at the idea and asks [=McCall=] if he saw anything on an occasion when he flatlined after getting shot in Africa. The episode ends on [=McCall=]'s silent expression.
* Mac on ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' has a whole episode of this after being shot in 'Near Death'.
* Brennan has one on ''Series/{{Bones}}'' and sees her mother.
* Happens to Sophia ''twice'' on ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'', and she is briefly reunited with her deceased husband Sal in Heaven both times.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. PlayedForLaughs in "Revenging Angel". Crichton is in a coma and sees his world through the eyes of... WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes?
* ''Series/TheSopranos'': After Tony is shot in the season 5 finale by a senile Uncle Junior, he goes into a coma where he dreams about being in another city when his wallet and ticket back home get stolen. Before he wakes up he's standing in front of a house party where a person he had killed offers to take his bag and tells him to come inside, but he's distracted from moving on by voices in the wind calling for him (his family in the hospital).
* ''Series/TheFall'': Spector appears to undergo one after being shot.

* "Go Back" by CountryMusic singer Chalee Tennison is about one. In the song, a truck driver is asked to "go back" and visit his wife after she gives birth to their newborn child. On his way, he crashes the truck and "slip[s] into the light", when an angel tells him to "[[DualMeaningChorus go back]]" because it's not yet his time to die.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* In the ''Series/{{Dinosaurs}}'' episode "The Last Temptation of Ethyl", Grandma Ethyl has two near-death experiences. After the first one, she gets her own talk show telling the world about the afterlife. In the second, she briefly reunites with her husband Louie, who warns her not to obsess with the afterlife or profit from it anymore, or else she'll end up in an {{Ironic Hell}} instead.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Orpheus}}'', a character must have at least one near-death experience to work for the Orpheus Group (or any of its rivals). The more you have gone through, the more likely it is the company will take an interest in you.
* Likewise, ''TabletopGame/GeistTheSinEaters'', a spiritual successor to Orpheus, has it so that Sin-Eaters come into power after a near-death experience. Well, it's not so much a near-death experience as it is actually dying and being led back by a [[OurGhostsAreDifferent geist]], but still.

%%* Lucy in ''Theatre/AvenueQ''.
* Just when Mimi in ''Theatre/{{RENT}}'' seems to have died like her equivalent in ''Theatre/LaBoheme'', she suddenly revives, and claims she was heading toward a warm light when Angel, who died earlier in the show, appeared and told her to go back.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The "plot" of VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution tracks "Healing Vision" and "Healing Vision: Angelic Mix" (if you have the background animation turned on) suggest near death experiences. In Angelic Mix you even hear an explicit flatline about halfway through the song (and the arrows freeze momentarily) and a ghostly angel fades into view.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'' has a ''boss fight'' take place during one of these after Snake jumps off a cliff into a river some 50-100 feet below to escape from an enemy base. There you meet The Sorrow, a medium and [[spoiler: former]] member of [[QuirkyMinibossSquad The Cobras]], and you have to face everyone you've killed in the game before you can come back to life.
* A variant in ''VideoGame/MurderedSoulSuspect'' has detective Ronan thrown out a fourth-story window while chasing a serial killer in the beginning of the game. When he sees his body lying on the street, he initially thinks he's dead, but notices some movement. He tries to return to his body, but it's unknown whether or not it would've worked, as the killer shows up and shoots him ''[[NoKillLikeOverkill seven times]]'' just to be safe.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/PowerpuffGirlsDoujinshi'', [[spoiler:its made pretty clear that the only reason Blossom didn't die in the Mandark arc was because Angel!Dee Dee convinced [[WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy Grim]] to hold off on claiming her for a few extra seconds...which were thankfully exactly long enough for Dexter to save her.]]
* An important plot point in ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'' is that Monica and Shelly both had near-death experiences on the same day long before the comic started. [[spoiler:They were both saved by Jin.]] A third major character actually did die that day.
* In ''Webcomic/TheBeastLegion'' Xeus is almost killed at the hands of Dragos in Issue 04, before Brilight saves him.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2894 God through a Death puppet announces he just gave Slick one.]]
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', as a world filled with [[MadScientist Mad Scientists]], has quite a few -- although some possibly count as ''actual'' death experiences.
** The killing of Gil, Tarvek and Agatha was the subject of the particularly lengthy ''Si Vales Valeo'' arc - it was necessary for all three to have near-death experiences to cure them of [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Hogfarb's Resplendent Immolation]].
--->'''Tarvek:''' ''[weakly]'' I... I don't think I'm '''''at all well'''''...\\
'''Agatha:''' No, no! It's all going to be all right! We're just going to '''''kill you''''', and then you'll be '''''fine'''''!
** Tarvek's sister Anevka was saved from her near-death experience, following her involvement in one of her father's experiments, by Tarvek connecting her barely-living body to a clank that she would be able to control. [[spoiler:This didn't exactly go as planned, as according to Tarvek her body died anyway, and the clank continued living Anevka's life without realizing it wasn't her.]]
** Tarvek has had a couple of other near-death experiences separate from his illness and the Si Vales Valeo -- one when he was stabbed and then shot in Sturmhalten, and then another when he was stabbed by Martellus and poisoned with something that should have made him ''dissolve'' within half an hour. [[spoiler: Luckily for him, that was when the Baron set off the timestop, and Gil was able to heal him once he pulled him back into realtime.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Big Bob Pataki, ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'', "Big Bob's Crisis", which plays out as a FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome.
* Stewie Griffin in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Untold Story''.
* Mr. Krabs in ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants''.
* Rocko's ''car'' has one of these in ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', complete with encountering the Grim Tow Truck and meeting St. Peterbilt at the Pearly Garage Door.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Bart has one in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car" when he [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin gets hit by a car.]] In a weird variation, he goes to Hell, and ''the Devil'' is the one who tells him ItIsNotYourTime, saying he isn't supposed to be here until the Yankees win the World Series, which he claimed wouldn't happen for 100 years. (Or course, [[HilariousInHindsight it actually happened in 1996...]] Call customer support, Old Nick.)
* ''WesternAnimation/AlfredJKwak'': After Alfred and Henk visit the sawfish to ask for his help, they're caught in a storm and Alfred is thrown overboard. He almost drowns and has a trippy nightmare in which he imagines being alone in the world, before being resuscitated in Captain Stoppel's home.
* ''WesternAnimation/OverTheGardenWall:'' Greg's dream adventure in [[FluffyCloudHeaven Cloud City]] as [[SnowMeansDeath the temperatures slowly drop]] in "Babes in the Woods" can be read as an in-story example of this trope; more vitally, [[spoiler: Wirt and Greg are drowning in real-time, making the entire series a near-death experience]].
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' animated series had an entire episode revolving around this. Dilbert gets hit in the head in a gas station parking lot and winds up seeing the afterlife, which, much to his chagrin, turns out to be an office cubicle in the middle of a white void. He recieves a second head injury near the climax of the episode, where he finds that ''Wally'' is now in a cubicle next to his (in accordance with the beliefs of the Wallyites, a cult who had established a religion based on Wally due to a series of events during the episode).

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Near-death experiences do happen in the real life. There have been proposed scientific explanations of them, but NDE proponents remain unconvinced.
* While there many known cases, only a few have been well observed, with actual proof that the brain was inactive during the "experience." One of them is Pam Reynolds. Watch here [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNbdUEqDB-k]] or here [[https://vimeo.com/25629985]].
** If those statements by Pam and the scientists turn out to be true, then CessationOfExistence will be subverted for everyone who hadn't believed any afterlife existed, and averted for those who always believed an afterlife did.
* Those who believe that near-death experiences are purely the result of processes of the brain and not supernatural in nature will counter that we don't know at what moment they happened and that we shouldn't assume that it was while the patient had no brain activity, as well as that at times, there might actually be brain activity when none has been registered as the instrument used may have been able to measure only surface brain activity.
* In ''Proof Of Heaven'' neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander recounts his own near-death experience and asserts, using his own experience as a brain specialist, how his physical brain simply could not have generated the "hyper-real" world that he experienced. In his own words, Eben's experience as a brain surgeon, his passive atheism, the detailed scans taken of his brain showing almost no activity, the hairs breadth he came to actual death, and his remarkable full recovery essentially made his the "perfect storm" of near-death experiences. Regardless of your personal beliefs, it's hard not to take his account seriously. However, his account and assertion is questioned by others.
* The recent AWARE study, led by Dr. Sam Parnia, is dedicated to objectively studying whether or not near-death experiences (and their out-of-body components) do indeed happen when someone has died. So far, his findings seem to imply, in his own words, that that which makes a person who they are (their consciousness or "soul") is not simply annihilated after death.
* There is also the issue of whether those who have published accounts of their near-death experiences are telling the truth or are fabricating the stories with a hidden agenda.
* There are several web sites, such as Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (see http://www.nderf.org ) and Near-Death.com (http://www.near-death.com, which are dedicated on near-death experiences and their research.
* Many organized religions take near-death experiences very seriously as proof of their doctrine. Others may shun them or dismiss them as delusions. One thing critics point out is that the [=NDE=]s are contradictory in terms of religious imagery (e.g. people see imagery reflective of their religion or what is dominant where they live) so claiming this as proof of any one religion would be problematic at best.
* See [[http://infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/HNDEs.html here]] for an overall critique.