Mario, who claims to know what happens to us after death, suffered a fatal mosquito bite while in Africa 11 years ago. Although he did not realise at the time, he was infected with the plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes malaria in humans. A week after he returned home to Italy, he collapsed and his heart stopped.
The incident left Mario in a coma, during which he claims to remember visiting the afterlife.
He shared the details of his bizarre account with the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF).
Mario said: “I didn’t know when I lived the experience of my travel in this indescribable and wonderful light, where I have been enveloped with much love and peace finding myself in a place where so much joy could be breathed facing huge and wonderful flowers with intoxicating perfumes.
“There in that place, I met my parents who passed away a few years ago.
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Experts do, however, agree NDEs are often characterised by similar elements.
Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said: “People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.
“They describe a sensation of experiencing their deceased relatives, almost as if they have come to welcome them.
“They often say that they didn’t want to come back in many cases, it is so comfortable and it is like a magnet that draws them that they don’t want to come back.”