A near death experience as told to Megyn Kelly
In the interest of full-disclosure, one of the nicest perks about being a teacher with practically grown children is…
By Rob Hoffman
In the interest of full-disclosure, one of the nicest perks about being a teacher with practically grown children is summer’s off. However, while I may not be setting the world ablaze with activity, I do try to at the very least stay away from the television throughout the day, and even into the early evening. Rarely do I turn on the television before 8pm. I’m not one of those anti-television people, and being on the computer, which I am a considerable amount, isn’t much better, but still, it’s a small victory over my naturally sloth-like inclinations, and I’ll take my victories where I can find them.
One of the benefits of coming and going as I please for instance, is that I can go to the gym whenever I wish, usually around 10am give or take. While I usually listen to music, I can’t help but notice what’s on television in the gym, and one of the stations always seems to be tuned to Megyn Kelly’s show. It’s official name is Megyn Kelly Today. While I don’t hate Megyn Kelly, I would hardly consider myself a fan. She’s simply one of the endless talking heads that populates the airwaves between 9am and 5pm. After that, it’s endless local news.
Perhaps I’d watch more daytime television if they showed more quality programs such as The Andy Griffith Show. I’ll take Aunt Bee over Hoda Kotb any day of the week. (Getty Images)
Still, Megyn Kelly was until the 2016 presidential election, seemingly on her way to forging a reputation as a hard-skulled television journalist. Yes, she had a conservative bend, but she was not afraid to call out her right-wing colleagues on Fox, or point out Donald Trump’s excesses when she saw fit to do so. For her trouble, she was accused of suffering from an out-of-control menstrual cycle by the now President of the United States, and her relationship with Fox News came to a less than congenial end.
While she is being paid handsomely by NBC, many feel that Ms. Kelly has struggled to find her niche. Is she still a journalist interviewing those who are dominating the headlines? Is she going to do puff pieces and feel good interviews? Will she seek out the void left by Oprah, and provide her audience with life-affirming platitudes? Of course, since above all, her job is to bring in the ratings, will she devalue her brand and become a blond, hard-edged version of Maury Povich, spending her television career administering paternity tests?
I don’t think we will see Megyn Kelly supplant Oprah as the most influential woman in the media. It seems like she would be more comfortable exposing public figures who have done something illegal. “You’re going to jail, and you’re going to jail, and you’re going to jail!” (You Tube)
Therefore, Megyn Kelly Today, at least from my vantage point in the gym, is a program in search of a theme, constantly bringing on guests from all walks of life hoping that something will click. It is within this never-ending search for a dedicated audience that a woman by the name of Nancy Rynes found herself sitting across from the former Conservative firebrand. What is Ms. Rynes claim-to-fame you ask? She was a Catholic, turned Atheist, turned true-believer. How did this transition come about? Apparently Ms. Rynes experienced the second worst thing that can happen to a person. She had a “near-death experience.” (I’m assuming an actual death experience is the worst, but I’m just guessing, so who’s to say.)
(I’m not sure if “mostly dead” is the same as a near-death experience, but either way, I hope Ms. Rynes checked her pockets to see if she was missing any loose change. You Tube)
Nancy Rynes was apparently riding her bike one day when she was hit by a distracted driver. The woman was on her phone, and in fact was so focused on whatever she was looking at on her phone, that she didn’t even seem to realize she had hit anybody. (A word to the wise, don’t allow yourself to start reading “The Hoffman Files” on your phone while you are driving. You could end up wiping out dozens of innocent bystanders. “The Hoffman FIles” has been given a score of 9 out of 10 by the National Engrossment Society, and is not to even be glanced at while driving a vehicle.) It was while Nancy was lying on the ground pinned between the car that struck her and the road, that she achieved what she calls a state of duel consciousness, which is two more “consciousness” than the average teenager possesses. She claimed that she was now witnessing the accident scene from anywhere from 50 to 75 feet away.
You can read about Nancy’s experience in her book, Awakenings From the Light: 12 Lessons from a Near Death Experience. (I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that God only has 10 Commandments, and issued a scant 10 plagues upon the people of Egypt, while the great James Madison only saw fit to give us 10 rights. On the other hand, you would think there would be more than 12 things to learn about a near death experience.) She claimed that she had a second near death experience when she was being operated on three days after the accident. She discussed how she was in a place with peace, love, and acceptance, and the area was filled with trees and flowers. (Perhaps Heaven is the “Queens Botanical Garden.” If so, I should have never moved away from there.)
In the brilliant Albert Brooks movie, Defending Your Life, Brooks has to actually make a case in a courtroom of sorts, defending why he should be allowed to enter Heaven. Unfortunately for Brooks and others, since in the movie anyway, reincarnation is real, you not only have to defend your recently ended life, but all of the others that you’ve led. People who claim to have had near death experiences seem to get in on the first try. Sweet! (New York Times)
Rynes claims that upon her second near death experience, not only was the after-life a beautiful wooded enclave, but she claims she felt a sense of peace, welcoming, and love, the likes of which she had never felt before. (That’s a little bit like how I felt after “Hell Night” when I pledged my fraternity in college.) How did Nancy know she was welcome in what she described as Heaven? A voice spoke to her and said, “You are my child, and this is your home, welcome home.” (Sadly, I’ve never said that even once to my children.) Nancy actually wanted to stay in “Heaven,” but she was reminded by a woman-ish guide that she still had work to complete here on Earth. When she said that she didn’t remember making any deal that included doing any work for anybody, she claims that she was shown a “screen-like” object in the sky, with a “video” of her making a pledge in front of her family and friends to complete her work here in this world first. (Let’s just say, if there are babes and videos in the after-life, then that’s really all that my Heaven would need. Oh and pizza and ice cream, gotta have those.)
At this point, if you are a true believer, then you are encouraged and emboldened. After all, an alleged non-believer has come out and told you that Heaven is real. Megyn Kelly’s response was comically inept. As Ms. Rynes was telling her story, Kelly mentions to her that she must be thinking that this can’t be happening, after all, you’re an Atheist. Kelly channeled her former Fox version of herself, and seemed to be using this anecdote as proof that the Atheists have it wrong. Is Kelly suggesting that only true believers can have a near death experience? Ms. Rynes claims that she was raised Catholic, but later became an Atheist. In her deepest soul, was she truly a non-believer? Many people like to claim that they’re Atheists, but they are really Agnostic. (Atheists with insurance.) As a non-believer myself, I tend to shun the label of Atheist, simply because it implies a certain attitude, and allows people to stereotype me. Only Nancy Rynes knows exactly how much of a non-believer she was, but I’m willing to wager, not nearly as much as she would lead us to believe.
Nancy Rynes is hardly the first person to come along and claim that she was given a tour of the after-life before she was somewhat sadly whisked back into the world of the living. As a non-believer, I can’t help but wonder, is there a scientific explanation for this phenomenon? In other words, is the brain playing its final trick on us, one last attempt to shield us from the unimaginable.
Fear not, says recovering Atheist Nancy Rynes, we don’t die. Whew, time to live large! I was thinking about taking up smoking, this settles it. (You Tube)
As it is with everything else in our society, near death experiences even have an abbreviation for those who are in the know. It is called a NDE. What constitutes a NDE? According to Catherine Giordano of Owlcation.com,
A person who experiences a NDE will report one or more (almost never all) of the following:
- An awareness of being dead; feeling removed from the world
- Positive emotions described as peacefulness, well-being, and lack of pain
- An intense feeling of unconditional love and acceptance
- A feeling of traveling through a “tunnel” or passageway
- A feeling of moving toward, and/or being immersed in, a bright light
- Meeting deceased loved ones (but sometimes still-living loved ones)
- Encountering angels or “”Beings of Light”
- Seeing the holy figures of one’s own religion (God, Jesus, Hindu deities, as the case may be)
- Experiencing a life-review (“Seeing my life flash before my eyes”)
- Separating from the body, what is often called an out-of-body experience (OBE) — A feeling of floating and being able to see one’s body and surroundings from an outside position, usually from above
- Feeling like one was called, or pulled, back to life among the living.
Approximately 3% o the U.S. population has reported having a NDE.
Ms. Rynes you’ll notice, claims to have experienced several of these, which means that she could have been influenced by popular culture. However, can science explain any, if not all of these occurrences? According to the book Mortal Minds: The Biology of Near Death Experiences, yes, most definitely. For example, the so-called “outer body experience,” or “OBE,” is caused by the part of the brain called the temporoparietal junction which normally regulates our senses and organs to form our perceptions of our bodies. When it is disrupted, it causes an OBE. Scientists have been able to recreate this experience in healthy people by electronically stimulating this part of their brain.
Obviously, when the body is breaking down either from a traumatic injury or a fatal disease, it is under great stress. When this occurs, a hormone called endorphins are released which makes one feel good. This accounts for all of the “peace and love” that people feel during a NDE. Too much carbon dioxide in the bloodstream can cause vision problems, leading us to seeing a bright light. Oxygen deprivation can cause all sorts of hallucinations, including seeing dead loved ones, (Or loved dead ones.) angels, or other religious figures. (Interestingly, people tend to see religious figures from their own religious beliefs. In other words, if you’re a Christian, you’re probably not going to see Buddha.)
(Hear is the feature on Nancy Rynes, as well as her interview with Megyn Kelly. You can judge for yourself. You Tube)
Psychologically speaking, people who are more open to spirituality, fantasy, hypnosis, and mystical experiences tend to be more prone to NDE’s. The majority of people do not report having near death experiences, but of course, those who have them, and then die, take their experiences to their graves….and beyond. It’s also important to keep in mind that so many of the common experiences that those who have experienced a NDE are so well-known, it’s not surprising that people claim to have seen a bright light, or experience a feeling of peace.
As I age, the idea of death becomes much more real, and while I don’t obsess over it, it’s not the far off, abstract notion that it once was. Believe me when I say, there’s nothing I’d rather do than be able to believe in a greater power, and an afterlife. Imagine the peace of mind that would provide for all of Earth’s inhabitants. I completely get the near death experience, but I believe that it’s simply something that we are biologically hard-wired for in order to cope with our greatest fear, our own mortality. It is interesting that there’s so much in Nancy Rynes description of Heaven in her near death experience that we actually could have right here on Earth, but few people seem interested in seeking out such pleasurable endeavors. Why do I have to wait to die to feel love and peace while standing in a beautiful meadow? Why aren’t we as a society working towards fulfilling this goal?
Then there’s those who are sinners. The negative and nasty individuals who do nothing but harm. When these bad people have near death experiences, do they report that they were in a fiery pit, suffering with all of the other evil-doers throughout history? If that’s true, then they should quickly go and tell Megyn Kelly. She worked with Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, so she could probably relate.