A British scientist Sam Parnia, studying heart attack patients says he is finding evidence that suggests that consciousness may continue after the brain has stopped functioning and a patient is clinically dead. The research, presented to scientists last week at the California Institute of Technology, resurrects the debate over whether there is life after death and whether there is such a thing as the human soul.

Since the initial experiment, Parnia and his colleagues have found more than 3,500 people with lucid memories that apparently occurred at times they were thought to be clinically dead. Many of the patients, he said, were reluctant to share their experiences fearing they would be thought crazy.

One patient was 2½ years old when he had a seizure and his heart stopped. His parents contacted Parnia after the boy drew a picture of himself as if out of his body looking down at himself.

It was drawn like there was a balloon stuck to him. When they asked what the balloon was he said:

“When you die you see a bright light and you are connected to a cord.”

He wasn’t even 3 when had the experience.

What his parents noticed was that after he had been discharged from hospital, six months after the incident, he kept drawing the same scene.

The brain function these patients were found to have while unconscious is commonly believed to be incapable of sustaining lucid thought processes or allowing lasting memories to form, Parnia said – pointing to the fact that nobody fully grasps how the brain generates thoughts.

“Real science can be far stranger than science fiction and much more satisfying.” Stephen Hawking