Living It All over Again:
The Experience of the Life Review
Most people, even those who have no conscious familiarity with the phenomenon of the NDE as such, have heard of the life review. "Oh, yeah," they will say, "that's when your life flashes before your eyes, right?" And then, they might add that this sort of thing sometimes happens to drowning victims.
And, indeed, it really does, as I found out when I began to conduct my own research on NDEs in 1977. For instance, one young man who nearly drowned in a boating accident told me:
It was amazing. I could see in the back of my head an array, just (an) innumerable array of thoughts, memories, things I had dreamt, just in general thoughts and recollections of the past, just raced in front of me, in less than thirty seconds. All these things about my mother and grandmother and my brothers and these dreams I've had. I felt like this frame, millions of frames, just flashed through. It was thoughts and images of people. And a lot of thoughts just raced [snaps his fingers several times] in split seconds. I had my eyes closed under water, but I could still see those images.... Just [pause] silly things—just nitpicking things I thought I had forgotten. Just [snaps his fingers] kept on racing through. It was like I was going through this memory, and, ah, ah, like my whole memory was retaping. I was in reverse. And everything was backtracking so I could go over it again like a tape recorder. 1
Of course, you may remember that we have already encountered this kind of memory playback in connection with a near-drowning incident