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  • Writer's pictureGregory Shushan

The Near-Death Experience of an 18th Century Jewish Woman (Historical NDE of the Month)

In 1788, a German-Jewish doctor named Markus Herz recounted this NDE of an anonymous woman. Being anonymous, there is nothing more known of her, and even the name of her employer was excised by Herz. Herz, by the way, was also interested in philosophy and was a student of Immanuel Kant.

For various historical and cultural reasons, accounts of Jewish NDEs are exceptionally rare. This account has none of the usual hallmarks of NDEs, in fact, and seems more akin to sleep paralysis or even locked-in syndrome. The fact that the woman had conscious and seemingly preternatural experiences while considered dead (especially the feeling of being both out her body and in her body at the same time) qualifies it as an NDE, however unusual.

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