Strange Deathbed Mist & Light Explained
Posted on 04 October 2010, 23:09
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
My cat was killed by hunters. He was 10 years old. He survived two nights but died in 2nd morning. When I went to see his corpse at the vet, I decided to take pics. My digital camera would be focus, and there was a bright white light rising from his entire body. When I finally took 5 pics, they were all bright and sparkly,and nothing like the pics I took indoors in daylight- as it was at the vets office.
LynMari Fukuda, Fri 24 Jun, 07:24
The pics appeared to have a rosy glow and surrounded only his body and also engulfed my hand. On the side of the pic, the examining table was a normal color. I knew that my cat was my guardian angel- he nursed my mom through cancer, took care of me, and died protecting me from hunting dogs. I was so happy to know that he had a spirit that rose and eventually went to heaven as he so richly deserved.
Auras have a distinct look like a clear substantial cloud or light around a person (animal, plant, mountain, etc.). But the sparkly light around a being who has just died, seems sparkly and not solid. It is distinctly different. Maybe it is the light of the portal to the other side?
Jon, Fri 10 Jun, 05:20
I’m sorry to hear about the questionable prognosis relative to your heart. I hope that the doctor told you that with proper exercise and diet, you can still have many good years left.
As for the white smoke you saw, I have no idea what that might have been. Such white smoke or mist as discussed in this blog is usually associated with the dying person, i.e., coming from the dying person as he or she leaves the body. It has also been witnessed with materialization mediums, but to see it on the side of the road independent of any person is especially mysterious.
Michael Tymn, Tue 7 Jun, 00:41
I was returning from a dr. appointment midday today after being told I am in the early stages of heart failure w/an enlarged heart. It is way too early to know what this will mean for my future but, whether this is my death-knell or not (I could still live on for many more years), it is still something that upset me a lot. I have two young boys and seeing them through to adult-hood, marriage, and even parenting are something I’ve looked forward to. To suddenly have that threatened is a bit unnerving.
Anyway, as I was driving back home on a state highway, on a beautiful, partly cloudy New England day, I suddenly spotted a light plume of “white smoke” spiraling up alongside a tree and into the air. The highway parallels woods on both sides so this is an extensive forested area. In cold months, I would have thought someone’s woodstove, even though the nearest home is much too far away to have caused this. My first reaction was something is burning there - a common issue rural areas like this (caused by people tossing a cigarette out their car window). I was so sure that it was fire, that I slowed down and watched hard in my rear-view mirror, prepared to call 911 to report it. However, all traces of anything smokey were gone. I’m still in awe over this - it looked more like a small and light white cloud really, more bright white than the lighter to dark gray that a brush fire would create. It was clearly there. Was it a sign? I can’t help but think that it was. Of what I don’t know… but it was way too out of place and its occurrence just after getting my news seems more than a coincidence.
Schyler Jones, Mon 6 Jun, 19:27
My mama passed 2016, April 7, 7:30am. I had been with her the day before, 3pm to 11 at night. We had a wonderful visit as she lie there on morphine and oxygen (95 yrs old). She was in a skilled nursing facility. Hospice involved. Her living will stated she did not want to be revived artificially).Her memory still clear, she actually recalled things I had forgotten! She joked about things during our visit. The facility called me at home the next morning. Saying she was calling my name. I didn’t reach her in time, she had already passed when I ran to her room. For three days I could not get over the guilt of not being there in time…I wept . My husband and daughters are a great support but I kept beating up on myself. Even tho I was moms constant helper, caregiver, I was hard on myself. I was with her every day when she was hospitalized one month before her death. About 6 days after she died, I was lying in bed at night trying to sleep but still thinking of my mom. The ceiling lit up brightly so brightly that I had to open my eyes. I couldn’t tell where all the light was coming from!. I woke My husband and he can’t figure it out. Was my mom trying to comfort my troubled mind?
Jancee, Wed 1 Jun, 19:01
Thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like you have some degree of clairvoyant ability. Such ability seems to be like other skills, gifts, etc. Some have it more than others.
Michael Tymn, Tue 24 May, 20:45
I want to explain two people who were dying in front of me. I watched my grandmother dying. I observed a glow which was subtle yet bright. My mom did not see this light that I was seeing in my grandmother. I saw a renewal as her skin was glowing. I then looked at her green eyes and they changed to a bright emerald green. I never saw eyes of that color on her. I did not stay to watch her completely die but that light that glowed all over her body was still there as I left. I saw a light and believe it was her spirit leaving her body. I then went to see a friend as she was dying. I got to her hospital room and I again saw the exact same kind of subtle light and a glow that she began to look younger and bright. Her eyes were glowing as my grandmothers. I asked her husband and mine if they see the light surrounding her. I looked at her body and the light was still there. They finally said, “yes Laurie, we see a light” and began talking again. That was the second time I saw that. Two out of two times I saw this light in the dying. She passed away and the glow left. I didn’t see a bright light ascending but it was a glow I will not forget and if I see another person passing, I guarantee that I will see it again. I don’t think all people see this light but I have seen it. I would like to do this again because I know this is a gift from God. I just wish I could understand why I can see this and others cannot. There is a division of body and soul I have seen it with my own eyes. No science can see what I see in this experience. No, I am not hallucinating nor a whack job. Two people died in front of me and there were 4 people present and I was the only one who saw this beautiful sight. I would love to hear from someone else who has experienced this. It has been 20 years since I seen this. It is very hard to explain without a person shrugging it off because they don’t believe in anything they cannot see.
laurie burgess, Tue 24 May, 06:16
I’m sorry, but I don’t know what the blue light was. My best guess is that your mother was out of body at the time and paying you a visit, but, as I said, that is just a guess.
Michael Tymn, Tue 10 May, 09:12
My mother passed away on April 30, 2016. on April 28 at around 2:30 am I was woken up by a blue spinning cloud about 4 feet high and about 3 feet around. It was a very bright light and stayed with me in my room for about 10 to 15 seconds. what could this have been
Robin Simmons, Mon 9 May, 23:37
Larry, Jennifer, and Becka,
Thank you for sharing your stories.
Larry, there are many anecdotal stories suggesting that animals—at least those of a higher order—do survive death. It is a very confusing area and I have for the most part steered clear of the subject, as I believe it for the most part is beyond human comprehension. Where to draw the line between higher and lower order of animals? Do pet squirrels survive and not rats, which are of the same family? In his book, Lychgate, Lord Dowding seems to suggest that animals which have been loved by humans survive, at least for a time. Other references indicate they eventually revert to a group soul, but, again, this is seemingly beyond human comprehension. I’m sorry I can’t offer more on the subject.
Michael Tymn, Mon 9 May, 00:13
IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH FOR ANIMALS?
LARRY FARRIS, Sun 8 May, 13:02
WE TOOK OUR PET “BEAR”, WHO WAS 16 YEARS OLD, TO THE EMERGENCY CLINIC,DUE TO HIS 4TH “BLOAT”. HE HAD ALREADY LOST THE USE OF HIS BACK LEGS AND COULD NOT EVEN TURN HIMSELF OVER WHEN HE WAS LYING DOWN. WE, MY WIFE AND I, MADE THE DECISION TO STOP HIS SUFFERING, AND LET HIM GO.
THE VET HAD ATTACHED A DEVICE TO HIS HIND LEG, IT HAD A NEEDLE INTO THE VEIN. HE TOLD US TO TELL HIM WHEN WE WERE READY FOR HIM TO MAKE THE INJECTION THAT WOULD STOP HIS HEART VERY SLOWLY, AND THAT BEAR WOULD FEEL NO PAIN. AFTER ABOUT 30 TO 45 MINUTES OF LOVING ON BEAR AND SAYING GOODBYE, I ASK MY WIFE IF SHE WAS READY TO LET BEAR GO, WE AGREED. I GAVE THE VET THE OK AND HE INJECTED THE MEDICATION.
I WAS LOVING ON HIM, AND LOOKING IN HIS EYES AS THE MEDICATION WAS INJECTED, AND TOOK EFFECT. I, AND ONLY I, SAW A SMALL BRIGHT SPARKLE LEAVE HIS LEFT EYE. THE SPARKLE CAME OUT AND WENT UP ABOUT 6 TO 8 INCHES AND VANISHED QUICKLY. I LOOKED UP AT THE VET AND SAID “HE’S GONE ISN’T HE”. THE VET NODDED HIS HEAD “YES” INDICATING, HE JUST DIED.
DO DOGS HAVE SPIRITS OR SOLES OR BOTH DO THEY HAVE A HEAVEN? I BELIEVE THEY DO.
LET ME TELL YOU JUST A LITTLE ABOUT “BEAR”. HE WAS NEVER, IN HIS LIFE, EVER AGGRESSIVE TOWARD ANY ONE OR ANY THING IN ANY WAY. I NEVER HEARD HIM GROWL OR EVEN BARK, AT ANYONE OR ANYTHING. HE LIKED BEING LOVED ON, AND THOUGHT EVERYONE HE SAW WAS GOING TO LOVE ON HIM.
WE WOULD WALKED HIM, BEFORE HIS BACK LEGS GOT SO BAD, AFTER THEY GOT BAD WE BOUGHT A LITTLE RED WAGON. MY AND I WIFE WOULD TAKE HIM FOR RIDES. THE NEIGHBORS WOULD ASK “HOW IS BEAR DOING TODAY” THERE WAS OVER 50 PEOPLE AT HIS VIEWING.
WE INVITED THE NEIGHBORHOOD OVER, TO OUR HOME TO SAY GOODBYE TO BEAR BY RELEASING BALLOONS, APPROXIMATELY 70 RED BALLOONS WERE RELEASED.
LATER THAT NIGHT, AFTER EVERYONE HAD GONE HOME, MY WIFE WAS CLEANING UP AND NOTICED THE LOCATION ONE OF THE REMAINING BALLOONS, THAT WE KEPT IN OUR LIVING ROOM HAD CHANGED, IT WAS OVER BY OUR FRONT DOOR. (IT COULD NOT HAVE MOVED THERE BY IT’S SELF). MY WIFE SAID ” OH DO YOU WANT TO GO OUT, OK LET’S GO” SHE TOOK IT OUT AND RELEASED IT. THE BALLOON FOLLOWED OUR WALK WAY, AROUND TO THE DRIVE WAY, WENT UP TO THE LEVEL OF OUR BONUS ROOM, WHICH IS ABOVE THE GARAGE, AND STOPPED. SHE THEN SAID “IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LEAVE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO, YOU CAN COME BACK HOME. THE BALLOON THEN CAME DOWN AND BACK TO HER. SHE BROUGHT IT BACK IN THE HOUSE WHERE IT STAYS TO THIS DAY. (IF ANYONE ELSE, BUT MY WIFE HAD TOLD ME THIS, I WOULD HAVE SAID THEY WERE CRAZY OR MAKING IT UP. WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED OVER 40 YEARS AND I KNOW HER TOO WELL. SHE WOULD NOT HAVE SAID THIS IF IT HAD NOT HAPPENED. BEAR DIED ON JANUARY 29 AT APPROXIMATELY 2:00 AM. WE MISS HIM LIKE WE WOULD MISS ONE OF OUR CHILDREN, IF IT HAD BEEN ONE OF THEM.
THANK YOU FOR READING ABOUT OUR BABY BEAR,AND OUR LOSS.
My aunt told me today, that when my great grandma died the whole family was in the room with her and she was waving to everyone in the room as if to say goodbye. Then she died and a mist came out of her mouth.
And when my husbands grandpa died his father was with him and he saw the grandpa as young man running across a field screaming “I’m home!!! I’m home!!!” And then the vision was gone and the dad was back in the hospital room with the grandpas lifeless body. So, he had actually joined in the dying grandpas vision.
So something definitely takes place to us when we go. I find it comforting & hopeful to hear there’s more to this life & world than what we see.
Jennifer, Sun 8 May, 09:53
I watched my mother in law pass away on saturday, around 30 seconds before her last breath i saw what i can only describe a the steam you see from a cup of tea rising from her head area, not sure if it was a combination of lack of sleep and dim lighting, there was six of us in the room only i saw it?
Becka, Mon 2 May, 21:37
My best guess is that it was the very soul mist discussed in this blog that came from your uncle.
Michael Tymn, Mon 18 Apr, 22:46
Wonder if someone can help to explain this. My uncle collapsed and smoked poured from his mouth. He died within minutes after that but his facial expression was one of shock. His eyes remained open. He never smoked a day in his life.
Charmagne, Sat 16 Apr, 09:03
I’m sorry, but I have no idea what the smoke might be in your case, since it does not appear to be related to someone dying.
I should note that this is a discussion blog, not an advice column. I am certainly not an expert or authority when it comes to such smoke, mists, etc.
Michael Tymn, Wed 13 Apr, 17:48
I have been waking up in the middle of the night and seeing smoke. At first, I thought the house was on fire, but quickly realized I did not smell smoke and the smoke detector was not going off. The smoke quickly disappears as I watch it. What does this mean? I am no longer scared when this happens but very curious.
Lydia, Tue 12 Apr, 21:35
Sitting beside my partner as he passed away I saw something like a sparked must coming from his mouth as he took each breath and it gathered beside him between him and my daughter beside the bed head and I also saw small tiny things flying around the room black and white but so tiny !! Three people saw things that night in the room we all described the same thing
Annmaree, Tue 5 Apr, 18:45
It all started the day before his death but they went away then I knew he was going to die because they had all came back the following night !! He also spoke about the lights and spike to three diseased people close to him !!what did I see ?
When my mom was admitted in a home care facility cause I couldn’t take care of her any longer my cousin one of seven children which were my moms sisters kids that she took care of at a very young age they all were she noticed a mist come out of my mom breathe and in a way I’m kinder jealous that I her daughter didn’t get the opportunity to witness that and ask myself why her and not me. My other cousin sister of the one that witnessed the mist also has a lot of dreams of my mom but not I and it makes me wonder why. I can say that I was a good daughter almost there for my mom as much as possible take her to all her doctors appt, go food shopping etc. and send most of my time with her mom was like an angel to me a very Good woman took on all (7) seven children that belonged to her sister when she passed on right after her husband died so my mom became their foster parent and with me it was a total of (8) children and she did a hell of a job raising them we all turned out to be very good kids
Leticia Ruiz, Sun 3 Apr, 21:03
Kevin, Terry, and Mike,
Thanks for sharing those experiences.
In one of her several books, Eileen Garrett, one of the most famous mediums and clairvoyants of yesteryear, also mentioned seeing a mist over her dying dog.
Michael Tymn, Thu 24 Mar, 08:10
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