Untimely Departure


A relatively small but select audience of around 20 people were able to view a most interesting documentary film on Near Death Experiences (NDE) at the Pullman Pattaya Hotel G last week.

The film was produced and directed by Sonia Barkallah, a young French woman who devoted seven years of her life to the study of NDE and the research needed to produce the 90 minute documentary.

Sonia Barkallah, producer and director of a most interesting documentary film on Near Death Experiences. Sonia Barkallah, producer and director of a most interesting documentary film on Near Death Experiences.

Amongst the researchers filmed in the movie were some of the leading lights in NDE research, including Dr. Raymond Mooney, author of the highly credited book “Life after Life”.

The numbers of people experiencing an NDE were very interesting, being much more than you would imagine.  Twenty million recordings in Europe and 12 million in the USA.

Sonia Barkallah brought forward the various postulations as to the nature of NDE including hallucinations, anoxia (shortage of oxygen) and the effects of psychotropic drugs.  However, a leading Dutch cardiologist stated that 30 percent of cardiac arrests in his unit experienced NDE, and there was no history of hallucinations, anoxia or drug effects.

Just what is “consciousness” was investigated, as some respondents with an NDE were clinically brain dead when the NDE took place.  Other researchers showed that by stimulating one particular area of the brain, the subject felt he or she had actually ‘left’ their own bodies (OBE – out of body experiences).

Many people who had an NDE spoke in the documentary as to how and what happened to them, and an amazing similarity was shown, including a tunnel with intense white light, and a feeling of “love”.  Some reported meeting deceased family members and most felt they had been changed themselves by the NDE, to be happier and to no longer fear death.  This also has led to much interest from practitioners in the field of palliative care.

Meditation was shown to mimic the effects of OBE, but again, how does the human psyche adapt to all this?

It was obvious from the documentary that the scientific community does not yet have the answers to the conundrum, but Sonia Barkallah is hopeful that by raising the level of information by way of her documentary, we might just get that little bit nearer to finding the scientific basis for NDE.

I am indebted to Dr. Olivier for bringing this documentary to my attention, and Monsieur Christian Civet-Lobstein for his assistance on the evening.