Let’s take a closer look at Dr. Kenneth Ring’s findings regarding his studies on near-death experiences, especially regarding those experienced by individuals born blind.
Ring, Cooper, and Tart (1999), also reported in Ring and Valarino (2006), focused their research on near death experiences of the blind. Ring, Cooper, and Tart studied 31 blind patients (21 of whom had a near death experience and 10 of whom had out-of-body experiences only).
Of these 31, 14 were blind from birth and evidently had no experience of seeing, and 17 had some experience of seeing in the past (though they were blind at the time of their near death experience or out-of-body experience). Ring summarizes his findings as follows:
Among those narrating NDEs, not only did their experiences conform to the classic NDE pattern, but they did not even vary according to the specific sight status of our respondents; that is, whether an NDE-er was born blind or had lost his or her sight in later life, or even (as in a few of our cases) had some minimal light perception only, the NDEs described were much the same.
Furthermore, 80% of our thirty-one blind respondents claimed to be able to see during their NDEs or OBEs, and, like Vicki and Brad, often told us that they could see objects and persons in the physical world, as well as features of otherworldly settings.
Ring, Cooper, and Tart also found that the quality of perception was quite high among the majority of blind patients who reported seeing during their near-death experience:
How well do our respondents find they can see during these episodes? We have, of course, already noted that the visual perceptions of Vicki and Brad were extremely clear and detailed, especially when they found themselves in the otherworldly portion of their near-death journey. While not all of our blind NDErs had clear, articulated visual impressions, nevertheless enough of them did, so that we can conclude that cases like Vicki’s and Brad’s are quite representative in this regard.
What about the 20% who reported that they could not remember themselves seeing?
There are two explanations:
- They did not, in fact see anything during their near-death experience.
- Even though they seem to have had some kind of perception, they did not recognize it as “seeing.”
Ring comments about the latter phenomenon with respect to one of his patients as follows:
As one man, whom we classified as a nonvisualizer, confessed, because ‘I don’t know what you mean by seeing,’ he was at a loss to explain how he had the perceptions he was aware of during his NDE.
This study is particularly important, because there is no physical explanation for the phenomenon described by it. The sight of these patients was completely impaired or almost completely impaired – in their physical bodies. Thus the only explanation for their sight would seem to be the capacity for visual perception in their transphysical state.
This requires their continued existence after bodily death.
In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at the consistency of data found in Moody’s, Ring’s, and van Lommel’s studies and how it further supports the arguments for an existing spiritual realm and transphysical human soul.