Troy Archer who claims to have died more than 200 times due to a medical condition that causes his heart to stop suddenly says he knows what it’s like on ‘the other side.’
Troy Archer suffers from a severe case of vasovagal syncope, also known as fainters’ syndrome. Minnie, his eight-year-old daughter, is also afflicted.
In most cases of vasovagal syncope, the person faints due to a sudden drop in their heart rate and blood pressure.
In Mr Archer’s case, however, his heart simply stops, he flatlines, and he passes to the ‘other side,’ albeit briefly.
“One of the most memorable attacks was when I was in the Tweed Hospital and I heard the heart monitor making the flatline noise. I understood that I was gone,” he told the Sunday Mail.
He claimed to have heard his family being told to leave the room and a doctor pushing his eyelids open and telling him to stay with him.
Despite his shocking condition, he was not afraid, instead experiencing a “wave of content.”
“There was no tunnel, no bright light but it wasn’t darkness. It felt comfortable… as I was coming back that is when there was a whirling, swirling feeling and flashes of the faces of my family appeared,” he said.
Troy Archer doesn’t need defibrillation when this happens, he makes it back to life by himself, he said.
According to clinical cardiologist David Colquhoun, vasovagal syncope is a common problem in cardiology, but the cases of 44-year-old Troy Archer and his daughter Minnie are extremely rare.
“In this incidence it seems there may be a genetic, electrical fault. The body may show no vital signs but this would only last for seconds as after 30 seconds the brain would start to be impacted,” Dr Colquhoun told the Sunday Mail.
“It’s extreme to say that Troy has died because in reality you only die once but it must be very frightening.”
In 2011, Mr. Archer had a pacemaker implanted to treat his condition. He posted about it on Instagram last year, saying it had been nine years since he shaved half his chest, ‘and you can clearly see that I hadn’t yet gotten around to shaving my face.’
“In all seriousness, having a pacemaker installed changed my life, and the lives of a bunch of those closest to me. Rough journey on the way there, but it feels like another lifetime ago!” he wrote.
Near death experiences
In the U.S., an estimated 9 million people have reported an near death experience (NDE), according to a 2011 study in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. These individuals — or NDErs — are often deeply changed afterwards. Some find they have a greater gusto for life, more compassion for others and a diminished fear of death. Others struggle to readjust to everyday routine, baffling loved ones with their new beliefs or divorcing their spouses. Even blissful or euphoric NDEs can leave survivors feeling angry or dismayed to be alive again.
Someday, scientists might be able to push the threshold of death even further. A 2019 discovery showed how brain activity could be restored in pigs more than 10 hours after the animals were killed. Even when all signs of life have vanished, and brain cells have been deprived of oxygen, those underlying cells don’t die for many hours, and possibly even days. In other words, what we call the “irreversibility” of death is simply a lack of medical means to bring someone back to life.
Parnia, who also led a four-year study of more than 100 cardiac arrest survivors, notes that some NDErs see scenes from their lives flash before their eyes, a phenomenon researchers call the life review. He also says that most tend to focus on their intentions toward other people. “You end up judging yourself based on your worth as a human being,” Parnia says. “The part that’s particularly inexplicable is they end up experiencing this through the prism of the other person’s perspective.” Beyond that, many of these events depict things that you’d normally be unable to remember, like moments from early childhood.
Another seemingly inexplicable NDE hallmark is the out-of-body experience, or OBE. Many people report that their consciousness seems to float above their body — and, in rare cases, observe and remember what’s happening around them with startling accuracy.
In Greyson’s 2021 book, After, the psychiatrist describes how Holly, a patient of his who’d overdosed, was able to recall precise details from his conversation with her roommate (in another room, for that matter) while she was unconscious. Holly even noted the striped tie that Greyson had dribbled spaghetti sauce on. “I was totally flustered by it,” Greyson says. “The only way it could have happened was if she had left her body, and that made no sense to me at all.”