The mystery of what happens after death is one that scientists, philosophers, and religious people have tried to understand.
It seems the only way to find out what really lies beyond the veil of death is to experience death itself, but purposefully dying to be brought back to life, like in the new movie Flatliners, is one of the biggest risks one can take.
We do have collections of stories from people who have had close calls with the grim reaper called a Near Death Experience. Many of these stories talk about a bright and shining light that beckons to them to the great beyond. Some even hear angelic singing welcoming them to the Pearly Gates. However, there are those who have experienced the opposite. Dark visions of torment and evil are amongst the most common stories told when people describe their visit to Hell. A number of them even claim that they have seen the face of the Devil himself.
In today’s video, we are climbing down the ladder to the dark abyss to explore these nightmarish stories about the underworld. From fire and brimstone to demonic entities, here are 6 Unsettling Visions of Hell from Near Death Experiences.
7. The Pit of Despair and Isolation
A man named Matthew Botsford was at an Atlanta restaurant when the last thing he heard before falling into a coma was two shots from a gun. With a bullet in his head, Botsford was put in a medically induced coma for 27-days, and in that coma, he had the most terrifying vision of the underworld that may have jolted him back to life.
In his near-death experience vision, Botsford found himself in a nightmarish situation where his hands and legs were shackled, and his body was suspended high above a gaping pit or volcanic material. On the floor directly below, he could make out shapes of creatures that were scuttling to and fro and around the pit.
What terrified him even more was the overwhelming feeling of isolation while hanging atop the smoky and fiery pit. He recalls hearing tortured screams echoing, but no other person was to be seen.
Every so often, a team of demons and creatures would come “visit” him and rend his flesh from his bones; flesh that would grow back instantly for these demons to feed on again as a form of eternal torment.
He was then, luckily, spared from this eternal anguish when he saw a giant hand reaching from a wall near him, breaking him free from his chains and taking him away. Before he woke up from his coma, the last thing he heard from his vision were the words “It’s not your time.”
5. The Not-so-Pearly Gates
Our image of what happens after we die is dictated by what we believe is true by the standards of media and popular culture: a brightly lit place in the clouds where there is a large, ornamented gate made out of solid gold; and at the gate is a lectern where a man with a beard as white as his robes – supposedly Saint Peter – is waiting for us with a large book looking like a heavenly Maître D’.
On the flip side, for people unfortunate enough to have a glimpse of Hell, the scene is a lot less appealing. Where there is a golden gate waiting for the righteous, Hell had its own version of a welcome gate but filled with ominous threat and terror pretty much like what the Black Gate of Mordor in Lord of the Rings may look like. Many who have almost crossed over to the other side reveal that it got hotter and hotter as they approached the gate; too hot that they could feel their skin burning by just standing in front of the gate.
Their helpless and hopeless souls are then welcomed to the underworld as the gate swung open, rolling out the red carpet for their arrival into eternal suffering. A vision that may very well be directly lifted from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, complete with the inscriptions at the gate: “Abandon All Hope, You Who Enter Here.”
4. The Infernal Invitation
The life and faith of a devout atheist named Howard Storm were put to the test when a perforated stomach sent him on his way to the doorstep of Hell.
After being rushed to the hospital, Howard Storm woke up in a daze and noticed that the people in his room could not hear him when he started asking what was going on. He even tried to stop someone walking towards him but he was ignored, and the person walked right through him. It was clear that he was already dead and was now a ghost walking around the hospital aimlessly.
Towards the end of the hall, he narrates, he noticed a large group of figures standing in front of a door who were calling out to him as if inviting him to join their group. Confused and clearly having nothing else planned for his lifetime, he decided to join the group and walked through the door with them.
On the other side, he entered a completely different world enveloped in thick fog. The figures from earlier urged him to walk on, their playful demeanor making the invitation a lot more pleasant. Storm would turn to look back and would see his hospital room shrinking into the distance as he walked farther – but the farther he walked, the smaller the fog-filled place became like an eerie Willy Wonka corridor.
Soon after, the figures who were with him turned sinister and began shoving and pushing him deeper into the hallway. They became more violent and began tearing him apart with their teeth, greedily eating his flesh.
In his panic, Storm cowered and tried to shield himself from his demonic attackers and heard his own voice in his head asking him to do something completely out of character: pray.
With his flesh being ripped from his body, the hard-lined atheist began screaming phrases like “One Nation Under God” and “Our Father who art in Heaven.”
As if some kind of Divine Intervention was invoked by his screaming and shouting, Howard Storm was pulled out of his nightmare and woke up in his hospital bed in one piece.
3. Worse than War
The story of George Ritchie was one of the first, most widely circulated stories about Near Death Experiences in Hell. His experience even led him to publish a book called Return to Tomorrow in 1978.
After coming down with pneumonia during the Second World War, Ritchie recalled being brought to an Army hospital in Virginia where he was later on pronounced dead. He narrates that he had an out of body experience and claimed that he was able to wander around town unhindered. On one of his floating about, he met a strange figure who took him on a guided tour of another dimension.
Like a scene from Dante Alighieri, the mysterious figure showed Ritchie various scenes of people and their spirits struggling in the alternate plane. One scene was at a bar where people tried their hardest to drink and smoke their cigarettes but to no avail. The deeper Ritchie went on tour; the more terrifying the scenes began to unfold. One of these scenes took place in a wasteland where he saw gigantic figures locked in a wrath-fuelled skirmish.
Ritchie goes further into describing what he’s seen, “Even more hideous than the bites and kicks they exchanged, were the sexual abuses many were performing in feverish pantomime. Perversions I never dreamed of were being vainly attempted all around us.”
Soon after, when Ritchie woke up from his feverish sleep, he would become a psychiatrist and publish several books regarding the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences, books that would become popular sources for other people who are into the study of the subject.
2. A Taste of Damnation
Many of us picture hell as a place of torture and eternal damnation. It has been, in fact, depicted perfectly by the 15th Century artist named Hans Hemling in a painting called “The Last Judgment.”
To many people who have had a near-death experience, Hemling’s painting brings terrors that are all too real. Some of these people recount stories of their pleading and begging to return home but were swiftly given a dose of pain and torture; some even recall being shoveled into fiery pits by demons.
In some cases, some people who woke up from a near death experience would describe a place of confinement and isolation that it was utterly mind-numbing and emotionally crushing. There have also been stories where people are allowed to witness damned souls work and slave away nonstop doing deeds like torturing other souls or keeping the furnaces going, some even helping out Lucifer himself carry out his evil deeds whether they like to or not.
While the stories and individual experiences may vary, there is a common thread among all of them: that Hell is, according to them, a place of eternal torment and pain for any unlucky soul who gets sent there.
1. Total Recall
In 1991, a woman named Angie Fenimore attempted to take her own life but instead got a dose of what may come had her suicide become, in a word, successful.
The first thing she recalled after losing consciousness was that she was subjected to a “Life Review” of basically everything that she did and has gone through up until the point where she attempted suicide.
A Life Review is common among people who have gone through a near death experience, and they relive the events of their life through the eyes of people they interacted with in some sort of a Freaky Friday scenario.
After her own life review ended, Fentimore recalls that she was surrounded by a heavy blanket of darkness that seemed to stretch on to eternity. She thought she was completely alone when she heard voices around her saying, “Oh, we must be the suicides.” Fentimore also realized that these words were being spoken directly into her head and that she, too, could communicate using her mind. However, no matter how hard she tried, she did not elicit any form of response from anyone around her.
Later on, according to her story, she was thrown into a different part of hell that resembled an open field filled with lost souls aimlessly walking around. They seemed to be free to communicate with each other, but Fentimore noticed that misery had fully consumed all of them that they could not look past it and make any effort to interact with anyone around them.
Fentimore’s experience earns the top spot on this list because what’s more harrowing than an infinity of torture and fiery pits is the fact that after you have died, you will have to relive everything you have done in your life, the good and the bad only to be thrown into a wasteland, later on, to be silenced by the crushing weight of your grief and guilt for all eternity, voiding you completely of any kind of will.
And there you have it. 6 unsettling visions of hell from Near-Death Experiences! Let us know what you think in the comments section below!