What Happens When You Die?
At the moment the earth body stops functioning, the person ceases to have body experiences. The person has not changed. The person’s experiences are different. The transition is always painless. Those who have made the transition all remark how easy the transition is.
When your body dies, you will have any one or more of these experiences:
- Those who experience a catastrophic death have no pain.
- A profound sense of peace comes over them.
- The person feels healthy, without pain.
- A person who dies suddenly may experience being out of the lifeless body looking at it.
- There is a sense of strings snapping as the separation occurs.
- People in the room with the dying person may notice an unusual mist and a silver or grey cord.
- Those whose body dies after an illness have visitors who come to take them on “a trip.”
Those Who Experience a Catastrophic Death Have No Pain
When a person’s body dies from an exploding or car accident or other sudden event, there may be a brief coma or period of unconsciousness during which the event takes place, or the person may suddenly be standing next to the lifeless body with no experience or recollection of the separation itself. There is never any pain. There are accounts of people being taken away from an impending disaster and watching it happen from the safety of a lofty position.
Those Whose Body Dies after an Illness Have Visitors
For those who have made the transition after a period of declining health, the individual is greeted by people in spirit as the transition occurs all fear or anxiety dissolves and a profound peace comes over the person.
When Someone Dies, a Profound Sense of Peace Comes Over them
Allan Kardec, the nom de plume of Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, a French educator and author who originated the philosophy he called “Spiritism,” wrote that he learned from mediums communicating with people in the next realm of life that the process of separation can be quick or can take some time. People who are materialistic and have no understanding of the survival of consciousness and have a fear of death inhibit their own separation so it takes longer.
When Someone Dies They become Healthy and without Pain
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, speaking from spirit through the medium Anthony Borgia, describes his own transition that gave him the impression that the transition is so seamless it seems this world and the next interpenetrate each other. He had no indication he had made the transition, except that, in a moment, the physical sensations of his illness left him and he experienced a feeling of peace.
I have told you how, when I had reached a critical moment and I lay upon my final bed of earthly sickness, I at length felt an irresistible urge to rise up, and that I yielded to that urge easily and successfully. In this particular case the line of demarcation was very fine between the end of my earthly life and the beginning of my spirit life, because I was in full possession of my senses, fully conscious. The actual transition from one world to the other was in this respect imperceptible.
But I can narrow things down still further by recalling that there came a moment when the physical sensations attendant upon my last illness left me abruptly, and in place of them a delightful feeling of bodily ease and peace of mind completely enveloped me. I felt that I wanted to breathe deeply, and I did so. The impulse to rise from my bed, and the passing of all physical sensations, mark the instant of my physical “death” and my birth into the world of spirit.
But when this took place I was still in my own earthly bedroom, and therefore a part, at least, of the spirit world must interpenetrate the earth world.
What Do You See When You Die Suddenly?
In another example of the ease with which the transition takes place, Private Thomas Dowding, a 37-year-old British soldier killed on the battlefield in World War I gave this description of his transition on the battlefield through the mediumship of Wellesley Tudor Pole.
It was a fine evening. I had no special information of danger, until I heard the whiz of a shell. Then following an explosion, somewhere behind me, I crouched down involuntarily, but it was too late. Something struck, hard, hard, hard, against my neck. Shall I ever lose the memory of that hardness? It is the only unpleasant incident that I can remember. I fell and as I did so, without passing through an apparent interval of unconsciousness, I found myself outside myself! You see I am telling my story simply; you will find it easier to understand. You will learn to know what a small incident this dying is.
Think of it! One moment I was alive, in the earthly sense, looking over a trench parapet, unalarmed, normal. Five seconds later I was standing outside my body, helping two of my pals to carry my body down the trench labyrinth toward the dressing station. They thought I was senseless but alive. I did not know whether I had jumped out of my body through shell shock, temporarily or forever. You see what a small thing is death, even the violent death of war! I seemed in a dream. I had dreamt that someone or something has knocked me down. Now I was dreaming that I was outside my body. Soon I should wake up and find myself in the traverse waiting to go on guard. … It all happened so simply. Death for me was a simple experience—no horror, no long-drawn suffering, no conflict. It comes to many in the same way. …
As in my case, thousands of soldiers pass over without knowing it. If there be a shock, it is not the shock of physical death. Shock comes later when comprehension dawns: “Where is my body? Surely I am not dead!” In my own case, I knew nothing more than I have already related, at the time. When I found that my two pals could carry my body without my help, I dropped behind. I just followed, in a curiously humble way. Humble? Yes, because I seemed so useless. We met a stretcher party. My body was hoisted onto the stretcher. I wondered when I should get back into it again. You see, I was so little “dead” that I imagined I was still physically alive. Think of it a moment before we pass on. I had been struck by a shell splinter. There was no pain. The life was knocked out of my body; again, I say, there was no pain. Then I found that the whole of myself—all, that is, that thinks and sees and feels and knows—was still alive and conscious! I had begun a new chapter of life. I will tell you what I felt like. It was as if I had been running hard until, hot and breathless, I had thrown my overcoat away. The coat was my body, and if I had not thrown it away I should have suffocated. I cannot describe the experience in a better way; there is nothing else to describe.
What Does It Feel Like When You Die?
There are many accounts of floating out of the body in the moments after the body is abandoned. Some of the descriptions note a snapping of what seem to be strings attaching the person’s spirit to the body. This account is given by a physician in the life after this life communicated through a medium.
I could feel myself gradually raised from my body, and in a dreamy, half conscious state. It seemed as though I was not a united being—that I was separated into parts, and yet despite this there seemed to be an indissoluble connecting link. My spirit was free a short time after the organs of my physical body had entirely ceased to perform their functions. My spiritual form was then united into one, and I was raised a short distance above the body, standing over it by what power I was unable to tell. I could see those who were in the room around me and knew by what was going on that a considerable time must have elapsed since dissolution had taken place, and I presume I must have been for a time unconscious; and this I find is a common experience not however, universal.”
What Do People in the Room with Someone Who Has Died Notice?
People in proximity of the body often describe phenomena in the room: a sudden light, at times blinding, a white, grey, or blue-white “soul mist,” coming up from the body, a vaporous body shape with the features of the transitioning person, a silver or grey cord or many threads from the body connecting to the vaporous body shape that dissolve or snap, the vaporous body rising and disappearing into a corner of the room, and the vision of loved ones who have come to escort the person from the earth realm. Some report seeing a transfer of energy from the physical body to the new, separate body, called an etheric body, life-body, subtle body, vital body, astral body, or spirit body that is a duplicate of the physical body. The spirit seems to move toward the head and exit from the top of the head, although some have described witnessing some vaporous form exiting from the solar plexus.
These phenomena are described by Dr. R. B. Hout, a physician, who gave this account of his personal observations at the deathbed of his aunt.
I suddenly became aware that there was much more in that room than the physical senses had been able previously to detect. For my attention was called, in some inexplicable way, to something immediately above the physical body, suspended in the atmosphere about two feet above the bed. At first I could distinguish nothing more than a vague outline of a hazy, fog light substance. There seemed to be only a mist held suspended, motionless. But as I looked, very gradually there grew into my sight a denser, more solid, condensation of this inexplicable vapor. Then I was astonished to see definite outlines present themselves, and soon I saw this fog-like substance was assuming a human form.
Soon I knew that the body that I was seeing resembled that of the physical body of my aunt. … This astral body hung suspended horizontally a few feet above the physical counterpart: it was quiet, serene, and in repose. But the physical body was active in reflex movements and subconscious writhing of pain. I continually watched and … the spirit-body now seemed complete to my sight. I saw the features plainly. They were very similar to the physical face except that a glow of peace and vigor was expressed instead of age and pain. The eyes were closed as though in tranquil sleep, and a luminosity seemed to radiate from the spirit-body. …
As I watched the suspended spirit-body, my attention was called, again intuitively, to a silver-like substance that was streaming from the head of the physical body to the head of the spirit double. Then I saw the connecting cord between the two bodies. As I watched, the thought, “the silver cord,” kept running through my mind. I knew, for the first time, the meaning of it. This “silver cord” was the connecting link between the physical and spirit bodies, even as the umbilical cord unites the child to its mother. …
It was attached to each of the bodies at the occipital protuberance, immediately at the base of the skull. Just where it met the physical body had spread out, fanlike, and numerous little strands separated and attached separately to the skull-base. But other than at the attachments, the cord was round, being perhaps about an inch in diameter. The color was a translucent luminous silver radiance. The cord seemed alive with vibrant energy. I could see the pulsations of light stream along the course of it, from the direction of the physical body to the spirit double. … With each pulsation the spirit-body became more alive and denser, whereas the physical body became quieter and more nearly lifeless. …
My uncle, the deceased husband of my aunt, stood there beside the bed. Also her son. … By this time the features were very distinct. The life was all in the astral body and the physical body had entirely stopped the restless moving, was entirely oblivious to all reflexes and death seemed imminent. The pulsations of the cord had stopped. … I looked at the various strands of the cord as they spread out, fanlike, at the base of the skull. Each strand snapped and crawled back as would a taut wire if it was suddenly cut. … The final severance was at hand. A twin process of death and birth was about to ensue. … The last connecting strand of the silver cord snapped and the spirit-body was free.
The spirit-body, which had been supine before, now rose and stood erect behind the bed, where it paused momentarily before commencing its upward flight from the room. The closed eyes opened and a smile broke from the radiant features. She gave a smile of farewell, then vanished from my sight. The above phenomenon was witnessed by me as an entirely objective reality. These spirit-forms I saw with the aid of my physical eye. … The whole of this event covered 12 hours. I watched, commented, and moved about during the occurrence.
Crookall, The Supreme Adventure, 174.
Allan Kardec, The Spirits’ Book (Westlake Village, CA: Spiritist Educational Society, 2019; originally published in 1857), 116.
Borgia, Life in the World Unseen, 116.
Heagerty, Hereafter, 82-83 (citing Wellesley Tudor Pole, Private Dowding, Watkins Publishing, London, 1917).
Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan , From Matter to Spirit (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1863), 148-149.
Crookall, The Supreme Adventure, 119-120 (citing R . B. Hout, Light 55, 1935: 209).