From the BBC Documentary, “The Day I Died”: Pam Reynolds’s Truly Mind Blowing Near Death Experience

I’m an agnostic, but Pam Reynolds’s story blows my mind. And if you’re an outright atheist, watch the two clips below very, very carefully, because Pam Reynolds’s story is a pretty good reason not to be terribly confident that you’re right. Pam Reynolds’s near death experience (as recounted in the BBC documentary below) strikes me as unusually difficult to explain in materialist terms. It seems that she was, by any reasonable measure, dead for a full hour, and yet her mind appears to have gone on functioning apart from her brain in ways for which our current understanding of science cannot give account. The story and discussion of Pam Reynolds’s near death experience begins at the 2:20 point in the first clip below, and continues into the second YouTube clip that I’ve posted. 


Oops. The second video does not embed. Here’s the link to watch it at YouTube:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to From the BBC Documentary, “The Day I Died”: Pam Reynolds’s Truly Mind Blowing Near Death Experience

  1. Veronica Abbass says:

    “yet her mind appears to have gone on functioning apart from her brain”

    This makes no sense. What is the difference between the mind and the brain?

    • Clint Wirth says:

      I am convinced that the mind and brain are two distinct entities. The brain is the physical structure that we can see and touch. The mind is more ethereal and spiritual. I think that the mind is connected to the body via the brain and the mind is the processes inside the brain that we can’t see or touch

  2. santitafarella says:


    That’s the gazillion dollar question, isn’t it? This woman’s experience would seem to suggest that her states of mind were not entirely reducible to states of matter (that is, her synapses firing). Her brain was drained of blood. Her brain had completely stopped functioning for an hour. She still saw and heard things. What do you make of it?

    As for me, I would start with a few observations and at least entertain some non-materialist speculations:

    1. The brain consists of material parts; the mind has no parts.
    2. Maybe your brain can break, but not your mind.
    3. Maybe minds are like radio waves and brains are like radio receivers. When the receivers fail, the waves remain “out there” in some sense, and don’t simply fritz out with the radios that they have inhabited.
    4. You buy a motorcycle to protect your brain, not to protect your mind.
    5. It is your mind, not your brain, that makes up, well, its mind to do things and exercise free will.
    6. Maybe the mind and free will are forces coequal or transcendent of matter, and not reducible to matter. Maybe the mind is something to really be contended with.
    7. Maybe mind holds the poll position over matter in the universe. Maybe matter is derivative, not mind.
    8. Maybe, in the beginning, matter came from mind, not mind from matter.


  3. Pingback: Prometheus Unbound

  4. Pingback: What I Think about Near Death Experiences (NDEs) « Prometheus Unbound

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