‘Inside UVA’: Ryan Talks Near-Death Experiences With Eminent Expert

October 12, 2023 By Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu

Audio: ‘Inside UVA’: Ryan Talks Near-Death Experiences With Eminent Expert(24:53)

Listen to Jim Ryan’s fascinating conversation with revered near-death expert Dr. Bruce Greyson.


“Near-death experiences are profound, subjective experiences that many people have when they come close to death or are, in fact, pronounced dead,” explains Dr. Bruce Greyson on University of Virginia President Jim Ryan’s latest podcast “Inside UVA.”

The professor emeritus of psychiatry and neurobehavior knows of what he speaks. He has been studying the phenomenon for nearly 50 years and is on the faculty of UVA’s Division of Perceptual Studies.

Throughout his career as a materialist neuroscientist, Greyson told Ryan that at first, he struggled to appreciate and understand the “hundreds of well-documented” cases of “very elaborate near-death experiences with very detailed life reviews.”

He shared the unsettling story of a 25-year-old patient hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia. He had repeated bouts of not being able to breathe and had to be resuscitated several times.

“During that time, he had a near-death experience, where he felt that he left his body and found himself in a beautiful pastoral scene,” Greyson told Ryan. “There, he saw this nurse walking towards him. He did a double take and said … ‘Anita, what are you doing here?’ And she said, ‘Jeff, you need to go back. You can’t stay here. I want you to find my parents. Tell them that I love them and I’m sorry I wrecked the red MGB,’ and then she turned and walked away.”

Greyson continued. “When he woke up back in his hospital bed, he remembered this clearly, and he tried to tell the first nurse who walked into his room, and she turned away and ran out of the room.”

The nurse in the man’s dream had treated him previously. She’d taken the weekend off to celebrate her 21st birthday. Her parents surprised her with a gift of a red MGB. “She got excited, jumped in the car, took off for a test drive, crashed into a telephone pole, and died instantly – just a few hours before his near-death experience,” Greyson said of the event. “There was no way he could have known about that or how she had died.”

Greyson is an eminent academic and clinician and known and respected internationally for his pioneering work in the research of near-death experiences, with more than 100 publications in medical journals.

To learn more about his work to better understand near-death experiences, listen to episode two in season three of “Inside UVA,” found on most podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications