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  • Writer's pictureGregory Shushan

World's Earliest Near-Death Experience? The Mesopotamian King Gilgamesh

The Sumerian king Bilgames is believed to have lived in the Mesopotamian city-state of Uruk sometime around 2800-2500 BCE. He is later known as Gilgamesh in the famous Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh from some thousand years later. Sumerian versions of his life originated as far back as 2100 BCE.

Though the account of his death-and-return is obviously mythologized to fit local beliefs, it may very well have been based on an actual NDE, making it the world's first recorded example. In any case, it seems to reveal familiarity with the phenomenon almost 5,000 years ago, and contains various features typical of contemporary Western NDEs.

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