People who believe in an afterlife claim the essential part of an individual’s identity, or the stream of consciousness, continues after the death of the physical body. Some people who have come close to being pronounced officially dead claim to have been given a brief insight into what life after death may be like. David Bennet, a former research diver and Chief Engineer of Vessel Aloha, claims he witnessed a glimpse of what this might look like.
Mr Bennet detailed his claims to Morgan Freeman during his documentary “The Story of God”.
He said in 2017: “Back in 1983, off the California coast, there was a storm with about 25 to 30ft seas and so we started heading in.
“All of a sudden, we fell off a 30-footer – that fast – and we just slid right off.
“I looked up and there was another one and it came right down on top of us.
“I was in the bow, it catapulted me into the sea and I was just tumbled and tossed like a rag doll.”
Mr Bennet then recalled the moment he believed he knew he was physically dead.
He added: “You can only hold your breath for so long, then you reach a point of release, where you just, you just let go and breathe in the salt water.
“It’s quite a violent way to die.
“I had totally lost my awareness of my body and the ocean at this point.”
However, there was a moment of clarity, when Mr Bennet knew he would return.
He continued: “Then I noticed this light, it was millions upon millions of fragments of lights in all different colours.
“They were all dancing and swirling, but kind of like they were one mind – I knew I had left my body.
“As I approached this mass of light, it was a familiar home and it was a relationship that was so much deeper than any I’d ever had.
“Then I reached a certain point where these millions of fragments of light spoke and they said ’this is not your time’.
“‘You must return, you have a purpose.’”
Mr Bennet then explained how his soul apparently returned to his body.
He detailed: “I was watching my body and I was mesmerised because I knew I was going to go back in that body.
“Then the next waves came and pushed my body against the boat – pushing the salt water out of my lungs – and I was suddenly alive again.”
Asked by Mr Morgan how long he thought he had been underwater, Mr Bennett responded: “The crew said I was there for anything between 15 and 18 minutes.”
The revelation comes after a scientist claimed life after death was possible.
Dr Sam Parnia revealed during the same series how he studied more than 100 cases of cardiac arrest survivors.
He said in 2017: It’s important to understand that when a person is dying and they’ve turned into a cadaver, it’s only at that point that the cells inside the body start to undergo a process of death, which can take hours, if not days.
“So actually we have this window of time where we can bring people back to life and the experiences that they have given us is an indication of what it is like to go through death.
“Today we call the soul consciousness in science, so we can test the theory scientifically.
“The evidence we have is that when a person dies, that part that makes us who we are – the soul or mind, or whatever you call it – it does not become annihilated.”