"The bottom line is what's on the other side is home," said Dr. Jeff Long, an oncologist who became an expert on the near death experience (NDE) and set up a web site as a repository for people's NDE descriptions. Long said the case studies present a "consistent and persistent" picture of what happens when people temporarily die and have a "lucid experience" of perceived consciousness. "It is inexplicable medically," Dr. Long said, describing how experiencers see themselves from 6-8 ft. above their body and then go on to encounter loving telepathic presences who are often deceased blood relatives.
One of the most difficult things for those who have NDEs is coming back to earthly existence. "It's more real over there than here on Earth," said Long. Reports of this realm include seeing vibrant colors not present here. It's "something far grander than what we're used to," Long said, adding that he believes the other side is a unique co-creation between the person and the divine.
In some NDE cases, people came back with prophetic visions Long said. He detailed a group who foresaw apocalyptic earth changes but said their predictions didn't pan out for the time frame they predicted. In rare cases (2%) reports involved hellish encounters but generally Long said that near death experiences were infused with peace, love and a "vastly higher level of consciousness."
One area that Dr. Jeffrey Long has researched is After Death Communication (ADC). ADC is defined as a contact that comes from a deceased friend or family member and often occurs within a short time of their passing. These communications arrive in a spontaneous fashion and as such are differentiated from those of mediums or psychics who deliberately contact the dead. They may come during a regular waking state or in dreams or meditations when the receiver may be more responsive to this kind of communication. Long has set up a website, adcrf.org, to collect and analyze ADC reports.
ADC may take the form of various sensory input, such as smelling a familiar scent of the deceased, feeling a tap or hug from them, or hearing them in a one or two way conversation. Among the website's postings was one from a woman who wrote that on the morning of her husband's funeral she awoke "to the sensation of someone gently stroking the tip of my wedding ring finger, which was outside the covers." Another poster told of a dream where his deceased fiancé called him at work. " 'I was just calling to check on the kids. We can't get married because, I'm dead.' Then the call ended and I woke up from the dream," he wrote.
Because ADC is a highly subjective experience, some may question how real it is, i.e. are the dead really communicating with them? Long's website takes the stance that these contacts are neither hallucinations nor indications of mental disturbance. Rather, the reports show that the experiencers generally felt their encounters were valid and meaningful, and that in some sense were real.