Near-death visits (NDVs) were first described in Lawrence’s book, In a world of their own experiencing unconsciousness (1997). NDVs are descriptively different from NDEs and death bed communications (DBCs). They are similar to NDEs in that they occur to people who are or were critically ill. Unlike NDEs, the experiencer remains in their physical body and environment when a deceased friend or relative contacts them. The described purpose of the contact is either to provide support to the ill person or to help them transition to the afterlife.
The contact by the deceased can be visual, auditory, kinesthetic or olfactory. Often the auditory connection is telepathic. Lawrence (1997) reports a patient referred to as Mrs. Harris whose deceased mother communicated with her telepathically while she was recovering from a respiratory arrest. In Mrs. Harris’s case she said her mother wanted her to go and be with her. Mrs. Harris was recovering and was not ready to die. Upset by her mother’s communication, she was encouraged by nursing staff to tell her mother she was not ready to join her. The communication with her deceased mother then ended. In another case a patient, Gretchen, was being wheeled into the emergency room on a stretcher because of severe chest pain. She saw her deceased son walking quickly on the side of the stretcher telling her he was there with her. Her son was there to provide support during this difficult time. Individuals who experience NDVs may be comforted by visits from the deceased but may also be distressed by them, as in the case of Mrs. Harris.