Strange Deathbed Mist & Light Explained
Posted on 04 October 2010, 18:09
In his recently-released book Glimpses of Eternity, Dr. Raymond Moody, (below) who is known primarily for his pioneering work in near-death experiences, explores the area of deathbed visions and shared-death experiences. In one chapter, Moody discusses a strange mist that is sometimes reported over a deathbed. “They describe it in various ways,” he writes. “Some say that it looks like smoke, while others say it is as subtle as steam. Sometimes it seems to have a human shape. Whatever the case, it usually drifts upward and always disappears fairly quickly.”
Moody and co-author Paul Perry quote a Georgia doctor who twice saw a mist coming up from deceased patients. The doctor explained that as the patients died they lit up with a bright glow, their eyes shining with a silvery light. The mist formed over the chest and hovered there, as the doctor observed closely and saw that the mist had depth and complex structure. He further said that it seemed to have layers with energetic motion in it. During the second occurrence, the doctor felt an unseen presence standing beside him and seemingly waiting for the patient to die.
A hospice psychologist is quoted by Moody as saying that the misty clouds which form above the head or chest seem to have an electrical component to them. A nurse reported seeing a mist rising from many patients as they die, including her father, with whom she saw the mist rise from his chest “as if off a still river,” and then hovering for a few seconds before dissipating.
The bright glow witnessed by the Georgia doctor has also been reported by many other deathbed observers. Moody quotes one man as saying that the room became “uncomfortably bright,” so bright that he couldn’t shut it out even when he closed his eyes. A hospice nurse reported seeing a “luminous presence floating near the bed, shaped somewhat like a person.” In the same case, the head nurse saw the light in the room and light coming from the dying person’s eyes but did not observe the presence.
Moody tells of his own experience as he and other family members gathered at the bed of his dying mother. Among some other strange things, they all saw an unusual light in the room. “It was like looking at light in a swimming pool at night,” Moody explains.
There are countless reports of dying people having visions of light and seeing loved ones gathering, but skeptics discount them as hallucinations. However, as Moody points out, it is one thing to claim that the dying person is hallucinating, quite another to claim that healthy people in the room are sharing in the hallucination with the dying person. He discusses a number of other shared experiences at deathbeds and opines that they tell us more about the afterlife than the NDE and that they are “the key to proving the existence of an afterlife.” (It should be kept in mind that calling something an “hallucination” does not mean it is not “real.” It is just not objectively real.)
Caregivers Often Witness
Such misty vapors and “lights” around the deathbed have been reported by other researchers, including Dr. Bernard Laubscher, (below) a South African psychiatrist. “I was told by different ‘Tant Sannies’ (caregivers) how while watching at the bedside of the dying one with one or two candles burning they had seen the formation of a faint vaporous body, an elongated whitish purplish-like cloud; parallel with the dying person and about two feet above the body,” Laubscher wrote in a 1975 book, Beyond Life’s Curtain. “Gradually this cloudlike appearance became denser and took on the form, first vaguely and then more definitely, of the person in the bed. This process continued until the phantom suspended above the body was an absolute replica of the person, especially the face.”
Laubscher further reported that these caregivers, some of whom were apparently clairvoyant, reported seeing a ribbon-like cord stretching from the back of the phantom’s head to the body below and that the phantom would begin to glow as it was fully formed. “They noticed that some were more luminous than others and there was a light all around the outline of the [phantom], which I could only compare to a neon tube,” Laubscher added, going on to say that as the phantom righted itself the connecting cord thinned out as if it was fraying away. Sometimes these clairvoyant caregivers would report joyous faces of other deceased gathering around to welcome the person to the spirit world before the “silver cord” was severed and the visions ceased.
As Laubscher came to understand it, the vaporous material has the same makeup as ectoplasm, the mysterious substance given off by physical mediums before materializations. It acts as sort of a “glue” in bonding the physical body with the spirit body, and the more materialistic a person the denser the ectoplasm and the more difficulty the person has in “giving up the ghost.”
In their excellent 2008 book, The Art of Dying, Dr. Peter Fenwick, a renowned British neuropsychiatrist, and Elizabeth Fenwick also discuss the “smoke,” “grey mist,” or “white mist” which leaves the body at death. “Sometimes it will hover above the body before rising to disappear through the ceiling, and it is often associated with love, light, compassion, purity, and occasionally with heavenly music,” they write, adding that not everyone who is in the room sees it.
The Fenwicks quote a woman named Penny Bilcliffe, who was present when her sister died: “I saw a fast-moving ‘Will ‘o the Wisp’ appear to leave her body by the side of her mouth on the right. The shock and the beauty of it made me gasp. It appeared like a fluid or gaseous diamond, pristine, sparkly, and pure, akin to the view from above of an eddy in the clearest pool you can imagine…It moved rapidly upwards and was gone.”
In his 1970 book, Out of the Body Experiences, Dr. Robert Crookall quotes Dr. R. B. Hout, a physician, who was present at the death of his aunt. “My attention was called…to something immediately above the physical body, suspended in the atmosphere about two feet above the bed. At first I could distinguish nothing more than a vague outline of a hazy, fog-like substance. There seemed to be only a mist held suspended, motionless. But, as I looked, very gradually there grew into my sight a denser, more solid, condensation of this inexplicable vapor. Then I was astonished to see definite outlines presenting themselves, and soon I saw this fog-like substance was a assuming a human form.”
Hout then saw that the form resembled the physical body of his aunt. The form hung suspended horizontally a few feet above the body. When the phantom form appeared complete, Hout saw his aunt’s features clearly. “They were very similar to the physical face, except that a glow of peace and vigor was expressed instead of age and pain. The eyes were closed as though in tranquil sleep, and a luminosity seemed to radiate from the spirit body.”
Hout then observed a “silverlike substance” streaming from the head of the physical body to the head of the spirit body. “The colour was a translucent luminous silver radiance. The cord seemed alive with vibrant energy. I could see the pulsations of light stream along the course of it, from the direction of the physical body to the spirit ‘double.’ With each pulsation the spirit body became more alive and denser, whereas the physical body became quieter and more nearly lifeless…”
When the pulsations of the cord stopped, Hout could see various strands of the cord snapping. When the last connecting strand snapped, the spirit body rose to a vertical position, the eyes opened, and a smile broke from the face before it vanished from his sight.
Ectoplasm on the Battlefield
“I have seen ectoplasm on the battlefield,” a young soldier was quoted in the January 25, 1945 issue of Psychic Observer by reporter Ed Bodin. “I have watched it emanate from a badly wounded soldier and then disappear as that soldier breathed his last. One hillbilly comrade from Kentucky called it ‘soul mist,’ revealing that many natives in his part of the country considered it quite a normal thing, although they seldom talked about it.”
Because his orthodox Christian family frowned on discussion of such occult matters, the young soldier asked not to be identified. However, he went on to tell how, after being wounded by shrapnel, another soldier lay badly wounded about 10 feet from him. “I looked at him with pity, forgetting my own pain. Then in the deepening twilight I saw strange smoke begin to curl above him as though coming from his stomach as he lay on his back moaning. The stump of his arm was in the thick mud congealing the blood to some extent and making death slower.
“Then I remembered what my friend had said about soul-mist, and I watched fascinated as the ectoplasm became denser and began to flow toward me. For a moment I thought I saw in it the face of a kindly old lady. Presently it reached me and for a second I was bewildered by the strange sensation that came over me. I felt stronger. With my left arm I raised myself and began to crawl to the dying soldier. I reached for my canteen of water. The mist was still around me, and with a sudden effort I was on my feet, and beside the soldier.”
The other soldier died and the young soldier telling the story rose and walked nearly a mile to the Red Cross representative. He remained unconscious for three days and medical attendants later told him that they could not understand how he had lived, to say nothing of walking the near mile to safety. “…to my dying day, I shall believe the ectoplasm from the body of that dying soldier had helped me in a mysterious way,” the young soldier added. “It had given me sufficient strength to save my life. That soul-mist of a sacrificed soldier was like the spiritual light of Jesus about whom it was said: ‘He could save others, but not Himself’.”
Next Post: October 19
Shabrina and Laurie,
Thank you for sharing those very interesting and inspiring stories.
Shabrina, off the top of my head, I don’t recall having heard of an experience similar to yours, although the “soul mist” is sometimes described as “cloud-like.” Itis usually going the other way, rising out of the person’s body and moving up. Perhaps those “clouds” were loved ones in spirit coming “down” to assist in the person’s transition to a different vibration..
Laurie, your observation sounds somewhat similar to those reported by Dr. Moody and others. See the comments above in the blog to which you have attached this comment. I will pass on the experiences to others interested in this subject.
Michael Tymn, Tue 21 May, 09:32
My mother passed away 5 days ago, May 15. I had slept in her room for five days, knowing we both wanted to say goodbye to each other when she passed. Even thought I have not done any reading on what I could experience when upon her death, I did believe our souls leave our body’s and may linger in the room for a period of time.
It occured to me that, my mother would leave her demencia behind, when leaving her body, and I saw this as a very scared time to say goodbye and express my love for her. After five hours, her breathing pattern suddenly changed, and I knew she was going to pass soon. Amazingly, I suddenly felt an energy force whirling in a cirlce around my body…and trying to pick my body up….at that same time she very firmly squeezed my hand…and I was then standing in a large circle to very bright white light…..to say my last goodbye’s.
It was an experience I will cherish forever….knowing I was apart of her passing..and she was able to take in all the love I could give her in that percious moment.
SO interested to know if you have heardor experienced similar stories!!
Laurie, Tue 21 May, 00:53
I work night shifts at a Nursing Home, so this morning around 4:30- 5:00am I just happened to be sitting at our Nurses station and look up into our ceiling to observe the halls and noticed a Big thick cloud like subject floating down towards our staion and in a blink of an eye it disappeared. By the time I had started my 5am rounds on my residents I became aware that one of my residents had passed away within that hour. i could never explain what the black cloud/smoke was floating from the resident’s room direction but I believe that was the spirit leaving the body.
Shabrina Wellington, Sun 19 May, 23:13
Sharon, Jim, Dw, and L.
Thank you for sharing your observations relative to soul mist. It is indeed a fascinating subject and one which science has yet to explain.
L, you don’t have to believe in God to believe in the survival of consciousness, at least you don’t have to believe in the God of orthodoxy.
For more on the subject, see my blog of June 11, 2012, which you can access in the archives (see left side of this page.
Michael Tymn, Tue 12 Mar, 09:14
My Great Aunt passed away on Feb. 23rd/13.
L., Tue 12 Mar, 03:03
I was with her at the time.
A couple of minutes after she took her
last breath I observed a thick vapour
in the shape of her body, hovering close
to her body, about three inches or so thick
for a few seconds…I closed my eyes thinking,
“what the heck”...then it seemed to come together
in a funnel-like shape above the middle of her
body and moved up and dissipated in a non-audible “woosh”. Then her cheeks sunk in and looked grey and I had the sudden feeling that she was gone…that she had left her body.
The vapour had distinct lines as though there were
rain drops pouring down.
My family is making fun of me.
I am an atheist and a scientific type.
I am looking for a scientific explanation.
Several years ago I tried to kill myself by ingesting many pills. A while after taking the pills and while I laid in my bed, I saw a grey mist coming out of my chest and abdomen. Fortunately, I did not die but I clearly remember this greyish, vapor like mist.
Dew, Fri 1 Mar, 23:55
I too have witnessed this my brother billy died after a 14 month battle of lung cancer on the day of his death my sis, bro in law ,mom and dad stayed up all night with him in his pain all went to sleep about 6 am I stayed in his room at the folks house I dosed off to sleep a little after 6am. @ about 7:15 am the door bell rang it was my other bro with his two sons as I opened my eyes I seen 2 swirls of mist above Billy looking like a pictoral of a hurricane and swirling clockwise around his body around the misty swirl was what appeared to be 1000 bright lights the size of b.b.‘s I tried to stanad up,but could not after a few seconds my arms where freed up I rubbed my eyes it was all gone 2 seconds later nephews walked into the room….......still searching for answers of my beloved brother Billy
jim, Mon 11 Feb, 05:03
It has been nearly 3 years since I lost my dear mother. The hospital called at 2:19 a.m. and said she was passing. I was only 5 minutes away. I sat beside her in disbelief that she had passed. It was 3:50 a.m. and I looked up and saw a white mist, similar to fog but not that dense and outlined in a brilliant gold, unlike any gold color I have ever seen. The mist came out of her legs and stayed about two feet above her body. Then, very slowly another mist came from her chest and abdomen area. The mist from her legs moved toward the mist from her chest and seemed to touch under it, as if it were guiding it. The mist from her chest was also about two feet above her body. It seemed as if the mist from her chest did not want to leave. The mist from her legs nudged the mist from her chest and it went very slowly toward the ceiling and moved to the corner of the ICU room. Then, it disappeared. I believe I was the only one to see it. I somehow knew at the moment that my mother was gone. To this day, I can’t believe what I saw and really can’t explain it. I was never afraid but I am somehow still looking for answers.
Sharon, Wed 2 Jan, 01:10
It does not sound to me like a typical “soul mist” experience. Generally, if not always, the mist is seen after the person has actually expired, not while he is still in the body. Sorry I can’t offer any more than that.
Michael Tymn, Mon 31 Dec, 22:52
i had a strange experience while being at a hospital, i was admitted and one night they turned the lights off and weird steam or smoke started to fill the room, does anyone know if this sounds like carbon monoxide poisoning or if i was potentially dying and what happened in this article somehow happened to me? yes i know this sounds crazy but i really would like to know what it was! thanks:)
Jade, Mon 31 Dec, 01:16
Michael Tymn, Thu 27 Dec, 17:48
I am so glad I have found this site, I am devestated , I lost my beloved grandma to cancer today, the family stepped outside her room for 10 mins and left me alone with her, I was sat silent next to her holding her hand, all of a sudden I
A roberts, Wed 26 Dec, 23:46
Saw a shimmer cover her body , the same kind of shimmer u see heat coming of a road, I dismissed it and put it down to me seeing things, but I just can’t get it out of my head as she passed away a soon as the shimmer went, I feel people will think I’m crazy if I tell them which is why I’m searching my own answers, god bless u grandma I love u forever
I am still coming to terms with what i saw and felt but i was with my grandmother in a hospital room with only small windows at the top as it was accident and emergency. i was holding her hand and the doctor came in to speak to my mother and brother and i was listerning to him all of a sudden i felt very strange and overwelmed and the whole room lit up so bright and my body felt strange i could not talk my chest felt pressure but not painful and the doctor and my family looked normal like they did not belong in the light it lasted for a little while then everything returned to normal. i didnt imagine it thats all i know. god bless my grandma
nichola, Fri 14 Dec, 18:44
Michael Tymn, Thu 6 Dec, 17:57
My dad passed away due to cancer 2 weeks ago today. Our close family were with him all day at home whilst he slept, around 2/3 hours before he passed other family arrived to so sit with him too. I was lying next to him, my head next to his, holding his hand looking over his body towards the window. At that moment I saw something that afterwards I couldn’t describe but it was like a white steam/mist/smoke. See through and in the shape of steam rising. It appeared from just above his lower chest rising only a foot or so before disapearing into the air. I didn’t mention it and just carried on staring, I felt very calm. I didnt mention it until the next day as I thought I must have been seeing things but I can’t get it out of my head which lead me to start searching the internet which I am pleased I did as this is what I found. No-one else saw it. I have never believed in anything like this and now I don’t think I was just seeing things, I can’t have? I have never posted on a blog before but feel the need to today, missing my Dad very much.
Louise, Thu 6 Dec, 15:40
We had to put my cat to sleep and saw a mist rise from his body. Months later our other cat died sadly enough. However, I did not see a mist. I was attached to her and was afraid to see it. My vet felt her spirit had left her body even before we put her to sleep. I wonder where the soul goes.
Kristin, Fri 10 Aug, 05:12
Thank you for sharing that very interesting and inspirational story.
Incidentally, the next issue of Atlantis Rising magazine will have an article on soul mist.
Michael Tymn, Tue 3 Jul, 20:24
I’m so happy I found this blog. On March 18th, 2012 my dearest Mom passed. During her final week in this world my sister and I saw a small mist come from her mouth, float upwards and dissipate. The next day I was stroking my Mom’s head and another larger mist came from the side of her head,through my hand and again floated upward and dissipated. The night before she passed the family cat started behaving in a very strange way. During the years of my mother’s illness (twelve years with alzheimers)this cat had completely ignored her. Never came into her bedroom. All of a sudden the cat came right into the room, got up on the bed and went right over to her face. I tried to shoo it but it then came over and sat on my lap and put it’s paws right beside my Mom and stared at her for quite some time. It then went and sat in the center of the doorway like a sentry on guard duty and wouldn’t budge. As it made eye contact with me giving me a quizical look I became aware that it was my Dad. They were his eyes and he had come to be there through the cat so that I wouldn’t be frightened. On the morning of her passing, (the room was quite dark as it was just before the dawn)I felt the room was filled with people and there was strange sounds as if there was talking and laughter although I couldn’t make out what was being said. I noticed my Mom smile a couple of times although she was in a coma. Then the room lit up as if the sun were shining in the room and there was an extraordinary sense of love and peace. Because I couldn’t believe my experience I googled everything and found your blog. Thank you.
Josephine Hogan, Mon 2 Jul, 18:51
Thank you for sharing that very interesting experience. While the skeptics call them anecdotal, they all add up to something more than simple anecdotes. It is the cumulative evidence that we need to look at in the area of the survival of consciousness.
Michael Tymn, Tue 26 Jun, 08:59
I was at my friend’s bedside at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in November 2011. The nurses stopped Vivian’s medications and turned the monitors away from our view. One nurse remained in the room. There were 2 Buddhist monks chanting by Vivian’s head, I was at her feet doing Reiki and saying the Hail Mary. Another person entered and started also doing energy work.
Maria Sullivan, Tue 26 Jun, 03:07
I looked up and saw the most incredible white light on Vivian’s head. It then enveloped her entire body at the exact moment of her passing. I couldn’t believe it…but then minutes later the nurse asked me if I had “seen the light.” She told me she had only seen it happen a few times.
If this wasn’t enough, I left the hospital and while in the lobby, I heard this beautiful music. It was the song Danny Boy (my dad’s name, he is also deceased). Playing was Nancy Klieman, the amazing harpist who played at my mom’s bedside exactly 5 years earlier, at my mom’s home. She told me that she receives messages each morning, from God, as to where she should play that day, and that she was sent there to see me and to tell me that she is okay, and Vivian is too.
This day has changed my life. I have sought spiritual direction, pray with more intention and now volunteer as a Reiki practitioner with hospice patients.
Thank you for providing this site.
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