A light at the end of a dark tunnel, the voice of loved ones, a chorus of angels. Even the screams of the damned.
They are just some of famous accounts from those who claim to have seen a glimpse of the beyond and miraculously returned.
Now, MailOnline has collated three fascinating tales from people brought back from the brink, who wanted to share their own enthralling experiences.
They offer a fascinating insight into what might come for the fate that we all must inevitably face.
Lynn Mildner (pictured), 69, has a vivid memory of a ‘beautiful white light’ and talking with her family members who have passed away
Lynn Mildner: ‘There was a beautiful white light I knew I must head for’
Lynn Mildner, 69, from Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, has a vivid memory of seeing a ‘beautiful white light’ in the distance, and talking with family members who had passed away.
Ms Mildner, aged 30 at the time, was given a general anaesthetic for wisdom tooth extraction surgery.
But there was a complication while she was unconscious for the routine procedure.
Doctors were forced to restore her heart’s normal rhythm with a defibrillator — a device used to shock the heart of someone in cardiac arrest.
Ms Mildner was kept in intensive care before being discharged.
Reflecting on her experience, she said: ‘All was peaceful. There was a beautiful white light I knew I must head for.
‘It was easy. I was just drifting and floating, palpably happy. I reached some sort of entrance.
‘It wasn’t detailed, I just knew it to be one and beside it was an entity I knew to be my great Aunt Nellie. She explained that she was my guardian spirit.
‘I couldn’t wait to pass that threshold, and meet my grandmothers. But Auntie Nellie told me I couldn’t.
‘I had to go back because I had so much yet to do and to achieve. I begged her to just come in for a short while and she said no. That threshold was final. When you passed it there was no going back. And I must go back.
‘The journey back was uphill, in a dark tunnel and really hard, as if it was against gravity. I didn’t want to go.
‘And then my eyes flickered and I saw people in scrubs holding my arms up and one of them was holding the paddles of a defibrillator.’
Justin Cameron: ‘I saw a supercut reel of my life in an instant’
Justin Cameron, 51, from Ottawa in Canada, was admitted to hospital with sepsis — a life-threatening reaction to an infection.
Mr Cameron, who was 44 at the time, had diverticulitis — small bulges in the lining of the intestines — which progressed to peritonitis, an infection of the inner lining of the tummy.
He required emergency surgery to remove a part of his intestine.
But while waiting for the operation, Mr Cameron claimed he had a near-death experience.
He recalls feeling no pain but a sense of regret, alongside a sensation that he was ‘slipping away’.
Justin Cameron (pictured), 51, saw a supercut reel of his life when he nearly died from sepsis in 2016
He said: ‘All the clichés about life flashing before you are somewhat accurate; I saw a supercut reel of my life in an instant. I learned that death is painless. The sepsis was excruciating but the death was painless.
‘The best way I could describe it is it was like the driver (me) was leaving the vehicle (my body) at the side of the road because it no longer worked.
‘I felt joy and love while at the same time a sense of regret for having not taken better care of my vehicle.’
Mr Cameron explained that until this point, he had become ‘jaded, cynical and underwhelmed by the world and life’.
But he now says he feels as though he was given a ‘new set of eyes and ears to see and hear the magic of the world’.
Shirley Yanez: ‘ I could see my body in the hospital bed’
Shirley Yanez (pictured), 58, claimed to see her body in the hospital bed when she went into cardiac arrest in 2005
Shirley Yanez, 66, nearly died due to a cardiac arrest after developing an 8lb fibroid — a non-cancerous growth — in her uterus in 2005.
She says she almost ‘bled to death’ and was given three blood transfusions, which her body rejected.
This caused her heart to stop and she claimed she ‘died for a few minutes’, during which she could see her body in the hospital bed with blood all over the sheets.
Miss Yanez, who lives in London, said: ‘It was peaceful and I could see my body in the hospital bed and the blood all over the sheets plus all the machines bleeping.
‘I saw the emergency nurse come in the room and at this point, it felt like I had pins and needles all over my body as the new blood was pumped and I reinterred my body.
‘This experience changed me forever and today I am a completely different person.’
Miss Yanez explained that as a result she is now celibate, vegan, doesn’t drink and is trying to live a ‘clean life’.
She added: ‘Once you know what it is like to be given a second shot at life, you change everything and re-evaluate your choices.
‘My near-death experience was the best thing that happened to me because today I am not afraid of death and embrace life.’
Dr Bruce Greyson (pictured), a professor of Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, has studied near-death experiences for more than 45 years
Dr Bruce Greyson, a psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences professor at the University of Virginia, has studied near-death experiences for more than 45 years and is one of the world’s leading experts on the topic.
He told MailOnline that experts still cannot explain or provide a reason for this phenomenon.
He said: ‘When I first started hearing about people seeing and hearing things when they were supposedly dead, I thought they were imagining it, because it seemed impossible in my materialistic worldview.
‘But when I started investigating these experiences, I studied many cases in which the people were undeniably unconscious and near death, but were later able to describe accurately and in detail very surprising events that they could not have guessed or expected.
‘I think this phenomenon happens more often than we realise, but I don’t have a materialistic explanation for it.’
But he suggested they could be caused by some part of the mind being able to perceive and remember things independently of the body ‘under extreme circumstances’.
Dr Greyson said: ‘Most people who describe near-death experiences to me say that there are no words to describe what happened to them.
‘And then we ask them to tell us about their experience, which requires them to distort the experience by relying on metaphors and approximate descriptions.’
As a result, he does not take their accounts as ‘literal descriptions’ but instead hears them as ‘metaphors for something that did happen’.
He added: ‘On the other hand, when they tell us about what they remember seeing and hearing in this world while they were unconscious and near death, we can sometimes test the accuracy of what they say by seeking corroboration from other people who were present at the time.
‘And when we do so, we find that the vast majority of their accounts are completely accurate.’