Many people claim to experience feelings of peacefulness, a sense of disconnection from the body and visualisation of bright lights.
But new research has found that a large chunk of people claim to encounter ghostly orbs.
A new study from Belgium researchers analysed 154 individuals who had been on the brink of the afterlife to offer a peek into death.
The responses were collected through the International Association for Near-Death Studies and the Coma Science Group and analysed by experts at the University of Liege.
Charlotte Martial, lead author of the study, said: “To the best of our knowledge, no study has formally and rigorously investigated whether NDE features follow a fixed order or distribution.
“The aim of our study was to investigate the frequency distribution of these features, both globally and according to the position of features in narratives, as well as the most frequently reported temporality sequences of the different near-death-experience features.”
Some 80 per cent of participants who had been revived from the verge of death reported feeling extremely peaceful, 69 per cent saw a bright light, but perhaps most shockingly, 64 per cent believe that they encountered spirits or people.
The least common experience was speeding thoughts and precognitive visions.
Ms Martial said: “This suggests that near-death-experiences seem to be regularly triggered by a sense of detachment from the physical body and end when returning to one’s body.”
The most common sequence, experienced by 22 per cent of people, was out-of-body experience, followed by experiencing a tunnel, seeing a bright light, and finally a feeling of peace.
Ms Martial said: “Our findings suggest that near-death-experiences may not feature all elements, and elements do not seem to appear in a fixed order.
“While near-death-experiences may have a universal character so that they may exhibit enough common features to belong to the same phenomenon, we nevertheless observed a temporal variability within the distribution of reported features.
“This raises significant questions about what specific aspects of near-death-experiences could be considered as universal – and what not.
“Further research is necessary to explore these differences and the precise extent of which content of those experiences reflects their expectations and cultural backgrounds, as well as the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying near-death-experiences.”