An important addition to research on distressing NDEs has just been published by former IANDS President, Nancy Evans Bush. Dancing Past the Dark: Distressing Near-Death Experiences is the first comprehensive exploration of disturbing NDEs and how people interpret them. The book has already received several very positive reviews: "Engagingly written", "A must for any experiencer of a near-death state", "The perfect combination of research, personal narrative, and analysis".
The book is packed with solid information and first-person narratives that, although marked by dismaying and even terrifying features, turn out to have something vital to say about life itself. It's now available as an e-book from several vendors. More information here.
NDE researcher Ken R. Vincent has written an excellent review of Dancing Past the Dark on Amazon. Here is an excerpt:
Bush begins her comprehensive overview of this topic with the "rosy dawn" of NDE research but quickly switches to the problem of distressing NDEs. The common understanding of afterlife --- from ancient to modern --- is that good people go to Heaven and bad people go to Hell, but there is NO evidence that people who have distressing NDEs are any more evil than the rest of us. Conversely, persons we may judge to be flawed or immoral have gone to Heaven during their NDE. So if "Hell" is not for punishment or purification, why does this type of negative experience happen and how should we deal with it? Bush has spent a lifetime researching these questions and gives us 352 pages of examples, questions, and interventions.
Part 1 of the book describes distressing NDEs and gives examples of them (more examples are provided in Appendix 2). Part 2 of the book deals with the interpretation of the distressing NDE, and Bush explores a multitude of possibilities. She recounts the negative mystical experiences of Christian Saints --- St. Teresa of Avila being a famous example. She explores the concept of Hell in world religions throughout recorded history and examines the religious explanations of hellish NDEs (including Fundamentalist ones). Bush includes a long section on Eastern and Western views on ultimate reality and notes that the "void" and "Heaven" are not opposites but different perspectives on whatever is Ultimate. The "void" encountered is not empty, as some Westerners think --- just not a place you'd look for an anthropomorphic god! Bush covers Jungian psychology "in depth" and also considers Joseph Campbell's explanation of the "hero's journey."
Part 3 of the book presents further analysis of distressing NDEs and how to come to terms with them. Bush believes that both positive and negative NDErs face the same 6 challenges with one exception: "finding one's purpose in life" (positive) is replaced by "finding a meaningful explanation of the experience" (negative). Bush's insightful "reminders" for coping during the early stages of a distressing NDE alone are worth the price of this book! Finally, her conclusions are "just the facts," including an excellent summary that presents her own answer for hellish NDEs. Appendix 1 is advice for caregivers and includes distressing deathbed visions, as well as distressing NDEs.
In my opinion, Bush has provided a comprehensive, well-written resource that will soon be accessible in hard copy for every reader or researcher throughout the world. My only regret is that Bush failed to include the relevant "fact" (previously published in the Fall 2009 issue of VITAL SIGNS) that prior to her own negative NDE, she had been "saved" twice by Billy Graham himself! Fundamentalist Christians need to know this!