Life after death has always been for people a big mystery. People fear death, gamble with it or reject it, but there have always been speculations about what will be after it? To this question can be find different answers in religions, where we can find notes about Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Underworld, Nordic Valhala and many other interpretations about our being after death. We can also heard to stories, which are telling us about people, who went to the second world and get back. For example it is story about Orpheus, who get to the Underworld to get back his wife Eurydice but he couldn´t look back, if she is really following him. Orpheus look back and Eurydice vanished before his eyes. As stated Sarah Bartlett "myth of Orpheus (...) became the basis of the mystery cult. His followers believed that through the consecration they receive free passage from this world to the Underworld and can cheat death."
Can somebody really cheat the death? It is possible for us to take a look to the second side and get back?
Near-Death Experience is a experience associated with dead, mostly this situations can happen during operations. So what generally hapen during this moments? Blind people who have this experience could describe in detail the room, colours and work of doctors; people often on the second side met their relative or some shining figure, who advises them, that is not their time yet. From many stories we can mention for example two-year research of Dr. Keneth Ring and Sharon Cooper, who interviewed more than thirty blind persons. One of them was Vicki Umipeg, whose optic nerve was damaged at birth. What Vicki saw during the clinical death? She „recognized at first that it was a body, but I didn´t even know that it was mine initially (...) I thought ´Well, this must be me. Am I dead?´“ Vicki was later able to describe things into the smallest details, including colour. Except other things and feelings she adds also feeling of total knowledge – general knowledge. As she stated
„I had a feeling like I knew everything (...)and like everything made sense. I just knew this was where (...) this place was where I would find the answers to all the quetions about life, and about the planets, and about God, and about everything.“
Although everyone want to go after death to Heaven, there is also Hell. In this case we can mention cardiologist Dr. Maurice Rawlings who wrote a number of books about near-death experiences where he was also writing about patients, who were in Hell. As stated one of them, the walls of the tunnel, which was leading to the second world „were burning (...) at the end of the tunnel was the lake, which was burning as if the oil slick (...) people were moving like animals in the paddock at the zoo (...) I started to run, but there wasn´t the way out. I started to say „Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord“ (...) I suddenly found myself in my body.“
It is interesting that it does not matter even the age, religion or the race. So we can ask, why it can happen? As stated International Assocation for Near-Death Studies „no scientific explanation so far has satisfactorily accounted for all aspects of NDEs for their effects. For example, numerous patients who were being clinically monitored and were known to be well oxygenated have later reported having an NDE during that time; drugs are not a factor in all NDEs.“
But, maybe in the future we will have more informations about this phenomenom. As wrote Ed Young for National Geographic „in a study, Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, discovered that rats show an unexpected pattern of brain activity immediately after cardiac arrest (...) their brain showed several signals of conscious thought (...) this suggests that our final journey into permanent unconsciousness may actually involve a brief state of heightened consciousness.“
Yet, according to the testimonies of various witnesses can be the existence of Heaven and Hell at least assumed. Of course, there also opponents, who don´t believe in them. But even if there wouldn´t be real, belief in them has reason. Faith in Heaven facilitates believers come to terms with death while they are also believing in a better world and faith in Hell can discourage evil or it can reduce crime rates. So, if we really will go to Heaven, and some to Hell, what about our animal friends?
For years many researchers believe that animals are not wandering after death in Heaven, resp. to the second world, because they have no soul or feelings like humans. But, the existence of feelings of animals can be seen in various cases. For example when in 2009 free-diver Yang Yun couldn´t during the dive move, a Beluga whale named Mila take Yun back up. Next in 2011 a group of dolphins rescue imprisoned Doberman Turbo in channel, where he was for 15 hours. Next in 2012 black retriever Lady stayed for 2-5 hours in cold water in bathroom with her owner, where he fell from the roof, incredible it is mainly because Lady does not like water. Around the world and throughout the history are different stories about animals that saved people or other animals. Even it is scientifically proven that animals feel, remember friends and even mourn for them when they are separated from them.
So, animals have feelings and even souls and although about this issue will be disputes for years, you should remember what said Pope Francis „Paradise is open to all of God´s creatures.“
Ed Young. In Dying Brains, Signs of Heightened Consciousness. PHENOMENA.NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC: 2013.[online]. [cited 1.2.2015]. Available: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/08/12/in-dying-brains-signs-of-heightened-consciousness/
International Association for Near-Death Studies. What is a Near-Death Experience?. IANDS: 2011.[online]. [cited 1.2.2015]. Available: http://iands.org/what-is-an-nde.html
Kenneth Ring, Sharon Cooper and Charles T. Tart. Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind. (Palo Alto: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 1999).
Maurice Rawlings. To Hell and Back. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993)
Sarah Bartlett. The Mythology Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Tales. (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2009)
Pope Francis. Speech at St. Peter´s Square. 2014