There are no scriptural records of people being in Hell – perhaps because Hell has been reserved for the devil and his angels after Judgement and was not designed for humans (Matthew 25:41 – the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels). Despite this, it seems appropriate that those who have served Satan, and are comfortable with him and his demons, should inhabit Hell with them in the future.
Here are Bryan Melvin’s 1 thoughts regarding spirits trapped in Prison. His speculation is based on his experiences. Bryan was your average atheist living a life mocking the concept of God before having his NDE.
Each person knew fully that they deserved his or her fate because each chose to walk away from God and now resided in a place without God, as they desired during their lives on Earth.
God, in his great justice, fairness, and unfathomable love gave them what they desired.
Rita Chuter 2 saw her father as a prisoner during her NDE in the UK in 1969.
Then I saw my own father in that place [Prison section of Hades]. I wanted so much to help, but knew I could not do anything for him. My father had been a good man, and became very sick with cancer. The vicar came to see him and asked if he could pray, but my father refused any prayer, or any mention of Jesus. He wanted nothing to do with Him. Now, as I looked at him, I knew he regretted that decision to turn his back on Jesus. It was his free will choice, but what devastating consequences!
As I continued to look with horror at the situation he was in, it was as if his thoughts spoke to me again. He told me to warn my mother, so that she would not have to come to this terrible place where there was no respite, and no end to the torment. The heat was unbearable. I also knew there was nothing I could do to release my father from his ‘chosen’ destination. I was also terrified lest I should be dragged down and forced to stay there. In my desperation I cried out to God, ‘Oh, God, please help me!’
At the moment of crying out to God, I heard another voice crying, ‘We have a heartbeat!’
Please remember that each of us will only receive our final eternal destiny on Judgement Day.
Where are Hell and the Prisons of Hades?
Hell is unpeopled or at most sparsely peopled before Judgement, but the Prison sections of Hades are not Hell, and multitudes similar to Rita’s father have been observed residing there by NDErs.
Some NDErs report visions of Hell in which people are seen in the Lake of Fire. God does occasionally provide visions to NDErs during their experiences as a part of their instruction. Visions can serve as warnings. Hell and the Lake of Fire exist already somewhere, because Jesus said in Matthew 25:41 that it was prepared (past tense) for the devil and his angels, and so was in existence. Revelation 20:10 confirms this.
A strange fact is that in a large number of unpleasant NDEs, people describe the feeling of their spirits ‘going down’ to the Prison, rather than floating upwards, as is more usual. The pastor Kenneth Hagin 3 provides a typical description taken from his own NDE: ‘Down, until the darkness encompassed me. The lights above faded away. The further down I went, the hotter and darker it became, until I came again to the bottom of the pit and saw the entrance to Hell.’
Rita Chuter 2 provides us with further detail: ‘Although my body was on the table, and the doctors were fighting to get me back to life again, part of me was above them, and began to float away from that operating theatre. I then started to go down and down. It was horrific. I could see faces in pits, contorted with agony and pain. As I continued to go down, I began to be tormented by demons of all shapes and sizes. Not only were they ugly, but also the smell was dreadful. What made this downward journey even more terrifying were the lost souls I could see. There were many other awful things of which I cannot bear to speak. I came into a room where I could smell sulphur, and I saw a Lake of Fire. I could feel the flames and heat from that fire. My thoughts were that if I hit the bottom I would stay forever.’
If Paradise is an unseen spirit world parallel to us, might the Prison regions be ‘parallel’ also but lower, hence the sensation of ‘travelling down’ there?
The Prison does not seem to have a Lake of Fire. Nevertheless, excessive heat can be experienced there, and some localised ‘fire pits’ and flames have been described – but nothing of the magnitude of the giant flames NDErs have seen in the Lake of Fire of the nearby Hell.
It seems that God allows some folk a glance from Prison into Hell, perhaps as a graphic warning. For example, Dr Penny Sartori 4 in England spoke to a terrified woman who had had an unpleasant NDE and who felt the flames of Hell. She was looking into Hell; it was very hot and there was a lot of smoke. At that point, she started crying hysterically because it upset her so much. They had to stop the interview and when Sartori followed up on her, she did not want to discuss the experience further. This unwillingness to talk about Prison experiences is common and makes statistics of how many NDErs go there very unreliable – and without doubt too low.
Others who have described their experiences believe that they have looked briefly into the fires of Hell, but do not describe seeing people in the Lake of Fire. Matthew Botsford’s 5 account is a case in point. Matthew was shot in the head by an Uzi submachine pistol during a random shooting in Atlanta. Matthew and his brother John had just finished an evening meal out in Atlanta, and were standing on the sidewalk when the shooting occurred. One of the shots entered the back of Matthew’s head, lodging itself in the frontal lobe of his brain.
There is a real Hell. It was a cell in Hell [author: more likely in Hades] that I was thrust into, and I could also tell there was no way out. I’m shackled at the wrists with ancient black chains – left wrist – right wrist. I’m shackled at the ankles. I couldn’t move to the left, I couldn’t move to the right, I couldn’t move up, I couldn’t move down. I am confined to Hell forever, and I am outstretched over this deep abyss. I can’t see the bottom; it’s an endless pit. There were just red glowing embers, and this grey smoke would billow up from this lava and rose up to the ceiling [of the cell].
I had no clothes on. I was naked, and my skin was exposed, and there was heat that did rise from this pit, so I felt that.
Then I could hear these horrendous screams – some guttural sounding, low pitched – I couldn’t understand them but I could hear the torment and I was just terrified, and I could tell it was just pure evil where I was: no dreams, no hopes, no memories, no breathing, no heartbeat. Time was non-existent now, it was an eternal experience that was happening to me, and it was only evil that was pressing in on all sides. It was horrifying, and I could also tell that there was no way out.
Although we are not told in scripture of any humans yet in Hell, demons specialise in making frightening noises. They also torment and terrify Prison inmates. Matthew experienced unpleasant demon attack before being rescued by the literal hand of God.
As a consequence of his horrible experience, Matthew was encouraged to make changes in his lifestyle on return to Earth.
Significantly, in the parable about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus did not identify where the action took place as being in Hell, but instead specified the venue as Hades. Words used to describe the rich man’s condition there were ‘torment’ and that it was very hot where he was. There are reports by others, who at death have gone to a similar place of intense heat – one of whom was the famous French dancer, Janine Charrat 6: ‘But what was now revealed to me made me cry in terror. I was alone in a strange and unfamiliar world, surrounded by huge licking flames. The flames got bigger, and their incandescent redness so glaring that I thought I would perish in fear… The ground under me was incandescent, a lava-like boiling mud.’
Relationship of Prisoners to the Damned.
There may be some relationship between Hades’ Prison now and Hell in the future for some inmates – as there is on Earth between Court and Gaol. Just as not everyone who stands trial will go to Prison, so perhaps not everyone in the Prison section will end up in Hell after Judgement. We simply do not know. Judgement is God’s business, not ours.
Reports are that certain spirits in Hades already experience the trauma of fire and brimstone (sulphur) as a precursor to Hell itself, consistent with the account of the Rich Man in Hades in Jesus’ parable (Luke 16:23) who called out in torment: ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
An ongoing relationship between Hades’ Prison and Hell is suggested in a number of accounts, for example Bill Wiese 7 in 23 Minutes in Hell begins with a Prison experience: ‘I landed in what appeared to be a Prison cell. The walls of the cell were made out of rough-hewn stone and had a door made of what appeared to be thick metal bars. I was completely naked, which added to the vulnerability of a captive. This was not a dream – I was actually in this strange place.’ However, he was not as certain about his experience as a whole, supposing some of it may have been a vision: ‘There are many examples where God gave a dream or a vision to someone for direction or warning. I believe my experience fits into the classification of a vision.’ Personally, I think the next part, what he saw in Hell where he suddenly found himself and became an observer, may have been a vision segment of Hell in the future, post-Judgement:
It was raining fire and burning rock, similar to the way lava falls from the sky when a volcano explodes. The smoke from the flames was very thick, allowing visibility for only a short distance, but what I could see was horrifying. I saw many people reaching out of the pit of fire, desperately trying to claw their way out. But there was no escape.
Amongst all this uncertainty, one solid fact emerges – that many returnees who have encountered the Prison or have viewed Hell radically change their lives for the better on their return to Earth. As a course-correction for their lives, the NDE has served them well.
Some other venues are presumably also in the Prison section, but cannot readily be correlated with it. These include some described by NDErs from other cultures, or in unusual accounts deriving from a Western culture. There could be further divisions in Hades than those discussed so far, as was believed to be the case by the ancient Greeks – and nowadays by Tibetan Buddhists and others. Where, for example, did the following NDE take place? It is Keith’s account reported by Robert Thompson Perry 8. In 1969 Keith was a Green Beret fighting in Vietnam who cared little for the people he encountered – ‘high kill numbers’ of the enemy were what mattered to him. He describes himself: ‘I was mean, tough, and macho. I could use every part of my body to kill. I was a trainer of such men as well.’ Then one day he was slain by an exploding mortar shell: ‘I floated above my body and didn’t feel any pain… I felt a sucking sensation downward and was suddenly in a trench [during his NDE].’
Keith then described struggling along this trench, which was lined with those he had killed. They yelled abuse at him as he passed. There was a bright light at the end of the long ditch.
Even though they were speaking Vietnamese, I could tell that they were screaming that I was in some way responsible for their condition and their deaths. They were so horribly frightening that I tried to stay focused only on the light. I felt that if I could just reach the light I would be safe. None of these dismembered people on the banks ever touched me, but I felt that I was running a gauntlet anyway.
To this point, Keith had not identified any of the Vietnamese who lined the trench. That was about to change. His experience was about to become intensely personal.
One of the most haunting memories of this torturous journey was of a six year old thin little girl I had referred to as Miss Piglet (due to the fact that she always hung around begging for food and candy and was filthy).
She showed up at our camp one day and had something concealed in a bag slung over her shoulder. She looked as if she was about to do something that she knew she should not be doing. I carefully drew a bead on her from about 50 feet away and thought, ‘If she pulls out anything suspicious she is history’. I saw her reach into her bag and pull out something that looked like a grenade. I thought ‘She has a grenade in that bag and has been sent to blow up my guys!’
Keith at once shot Miss Piglet. Later he found out that she had been lifting a puppy from the bag to show to the soldiers. She had been trying to find an American who would hide it to save it from becoming part of the family dinner that evening. Now, during his ordeal, Keith recognised her as one of those lining the trench and screaming at him. He was horrified and filled with guilt.
After I’ve gone through what seemed like miles of this trench, I heard my deceased best friend’s voice from high school telling me that I can do it. I can make it. I knew he was giving me encouragement. The encouragement I needed to make it to the light.
My friend, Ed, had died one and a half years ago in a hunting accident. Yet here he was suddenly helping me out of the trench and hugging me warmly!
I felt tremendous relief, love and acceptance. Tears of joy ran down both of our faces. ‘Hey man,’ he said, ‘I know that was rough. But you needed it, you were getting just a little bit too callous and that isn’t like you. It just wasn’t the Keith I knew when we played football together and hung around in high school.’
I took a good look around and was in awe by the incredible beauty of the place of where we both stood. It was like a meadow with a sparkling stream running through it. The colours were much more vivid than on Earth. I noticed for the first time that Ed was glowing, and I looked at my own arms and they glowed slightly too.
The brilliant light he had emerged into mysteriously opened up Paradise to Keith!
Following his warm welcome, Ed chided Keith, ‘You’re not doing the right thing; you should not be doing this killing. Your mission is to help others and to protect them.’ Next, he explained that Keith would return to Earth, where he would discover his mission in full.
Keith concludes his account: ‘Since my Vietnam experience, I have felt a compelling protective need toward women and children. I even help out by volunteering to build shelters for abused and displaced women and their children.’
These positive outcomes suggest Keith’s NDE was successful in turning his life around, but where did it take place? It seems to have ended in the Paradise section, but where had the trench experience taken place? Puzzling. There is definitely much more to be learnt about further levels in Hades.
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