TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ)—Is there life after death? That question has consumed mankind for centuries.
Adam May talks to a Maryland man who claims he saw the afterlife, and it all started with a crab cake.
Ancient Greeks first studied near death experiences. Now millions of Americans tell similar stories about "the tunnel of light."
Mike Solano describes it as "a sea of blackness and lights coming through in different colors, and it just kept going like that faster and faster and faster."
Solano says he has seen the other side. WJZ met up with him at Michael's Cafe in Timonium.
May: "They have the best crab cakes?"
May: "Crab cakes worth dying for?"
It was there, in September, when Solano took part in a crab cake eating contest. A reporter with Patch was videotaping the event when he choked on the fifth sandwich.
Solano: "Bop, lights out."
May: "So do you think you were technically dead for a few minutes?
Solano: "Yeah. It was four minutes without any oxygen. I suffered a mini stroke."
Solano doesn't remember the panic as patrons and paramedics tried saving his life. Instead, he recalls an emotional journey.
"I started feeling and seeing talon-like chains with claws on the end of them, coming down and starting to rip my skin, and a pain that I have never felt in life ever," he said. "And I started begging and saying 'Mercy, please,' and then boom, it stopped."
May: "So then what happened?"
Solano: "I just stopped movement and laying there. The pain is gone, my body is gone, and it's very white."
That's when he says he heard familiar voices discussing his fate.
"For lack of a better term, spiritual figures or angels, nothing with wings, but embodiments with a human form started replacing my body parts," he said.
May: "Was it a comforting feeling or scary?"
Solano: "I had pretty much determined that this was it. I was gone, so at that point it was acceptance. I was apprehensive but relieved."
Suddenly, the light fades.
"I look up and there's a man in a white coat and I said 'Am I dead?' He said, 'Nope, you're in the hospital,'" Solano recalled.
Some people in the scientific community would say these are hallucinations, but Solano disagrees.
"To be quite honest with you, I lived in the 70s. I know the difference," he said. "Whether you wanna believe or not, something does happen."
A British researcher is conducting one of the largest near death studies. It could be complete later this year.
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