Sometimes proof of being out-of-body comes from a third-person perspective, someone who witnesses the person as they are out of their body. As you can imagine, OBEs like these are extremely rare events that are treated with reverence by the death study community.
One such case came to me out of the blue. After a lecture in Italy, I was approached in the back of the hall by a very serious man, a surgeon, it turned out, who had been puzzled for some time by an event that took place during a surgery he was performing.
He was doing an elective procedure on a young man who was in excellent health, he said. The surgery was something he had performed many times before and there was no reason to think that anything bad would happen. But it did. Shortly after the surgery started, the patient had a cardiac arrest that the surgeon couldn’t reverse. He started with chest compression, and when that failed, he brought out the electric paddles to shock the heart into action. Nothing happened. The young man’s heart remained static. The surgeon said he had that sinking feeling that this patient was not going to make a comeback. Oh my God, how did this happen? he asked himself. And what am I going to say to the family?
Suddenly, as he was trying to cope with this agonizing situation, the door to the operating room swung open and a woman rushed him. So frantic was she that, at first, he thought a mental patient had escaped from another part of the hospital and was attacking him.
The surgeon recounted her shouting, “Don’t let my husband die! My husband is not dead. I was out in the waiting area when my husband suddenly came to me. He said you think he’s dead! He told me I should come in here and tell you that he is not dead.”
The surgeon said he did not remember resuming the resuscitation, only that he went on “automatic pilot” and continued with great vigor to stimulate the patient’s heart. Soon the patient’s heart started beating again.
After the patient was taken to a recovery room and regained consciousness, he told the doctor what had happened from his point of view. “I was above my body looking down at you, and I could tell that you thought I was dead. I kept trying to say to you, “I’m not dead, I’m not dead,” but you wouldn’t hear me. So I went into the waiting room and told my wife to come in here and let you know I am not dead.”
References: Raymond Moody interview with a surgeon at a conference in Milan, Italy, 2010. Excerpt printed with permission from Beyond Words/Atria Books Proof of Life after Life: 7 Reasons to Believe There Is an Afterlife ©2023
Raymond A. Moody Jr., MD, PhD, is the leading authority of near-death experiences and the author of several books, including the seminal Life After Life. The founder of the Life After Life Institute, Moody has lectured on the topic throughout the world and is a counselor in private practice. He received his medical degree from the College of Georgia and his PhD from the University of Virginia. He has appeared on many programs, including Today and Turning Point. Find out more at LifeAfterLife.com.
Paul Perry has cowritten several New York Times bestsellers, including The Light Beyond and Evidence of the Afterlife. He is also a documentary filmmaker and for his film and book about Salvador Dalí, he has been knighted in Portugal. He is also a graduate of Arizona State University and Antioch University. Find out more information at PaulPerryProductions.com.