The thing is about death is that it is so often pretty final, meaning that it's difficult to get a proper handle on exactly what goes on during and after the fact. The massive symbolic, emotional and taboo role it plays in all our lives also makes it a difficult subject to study - it's generally frowned upon to take people to the brink of death, just to see what would happen, as is hovering around a person's deathbed, clipboard in hand and elbowing grieving family members out of the way.
As a result, the subject remains cloaked in relative mystery to us.
Scientists are a tenacious bunch, though, and have done their best to piece together what we know about one of life's biggest mysteries, and the theories they have come up with are as fascinating as they are varied. Some focus on the nature of death itself, some on our attitudes towards it and some look at the possibility of warding it off, perhaps indefinitely. Some even call into question its very existence - could it be that death is actually just an illusion after all?
So, scientists are slowly lifting the veil, but what are they finding?
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