Man Claims He 'Went To Hell' For 23 Minutes — Where He Saw Demons, Burning Bodies

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illustration of hell and fire

When we think about the afterlife, we want to believe that there's a special place in Heaven for us. But have you ever wondered what Hell might be like?

Well, one man says he has the answers, claiming he died and went to Hell for 23 minutes before coming back from the fiery depths.

In 1998, Bill Wiese detailed his horrifying encounter with Hell and claimed that he even met two “ferocious” demons that “tore his flesh open.”

Wiese is an American Protestant Christian leader, bestselling author and public speaker, who shot to prominence after claiming to experience Hell first hand. 

Wiese told TCT Network about his out-of-body experience that occurred after trying to get a drink in the middle of the night. When he got up that morning at around 3 AM, he was dropped into a prison cell where he saw, heard, and felt things that would traumatize him for years to come. 

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Wiese said he was pulled out of his body before being dragged through a long, dark tunnel to Hell. He was able to vividly describe all of the sights, sounds, and smells that he experienced after landing in Hell. 

“It was getting hotter and I landed on a stone floor in a prison cell in Hell,” he said. “There were stone walls and bars; it was more like a dungeon — a filthy, stinking, smoke-filled dungeon.” 

He asserted that the heat he felt was “so unbearable” and it led him to wonder, “Why am I here, how did I get here?” 

Wiese also stated that he met two giant demons with a “ferocious demeanor” in his prison cell in Hell. He said the demons were pacing around the cell he was in and speaking in a blasphemous language.

Wiese then explained how he was horribly attacked by these demons in Hell.

“And then they directed this hatred they had towards God towards me. One demon picked me up and threw me into the wall of this prison cell. I felt as if bones had broken. Now I know a spirit doesn’t have bones, but it felt that way,” he said. 

He continued, “I wondered why am I still alive through this. The other demon dug its claws into my chest and just tore the flesh open. This is actually happening.”

Not long after the attack, Wiese recalled his prison cell lighting up before he was once again plunged into darkness. He believed the bright light had been God. 

After all had gone dark again, Wiese said the prison cell turned into a pit of fire, filled with “real flames.” 

Through the flames, he saw “thousands of people in this pit, screaming and burning” who looked like skeletons. He believed there were various punishments and that he was kept in isolation during his time in Hell.

And if you've ever wondered what Hell smells like, Wiese described Hell’s odor, saying, “the stench of Hell is the most foul, putrid, disgusting odor.” 

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While Wiese felt as though the ordeal had lasted hours, he was only out for roughly 23 minutes.

Wiese said it took him a year after his detour down under before he finally began to calm down and feel less traumatized. 

Years later, he explained how the worst part of his experience was the hopelessness he felt. “There is no escape,” he said. “There is no end to this horror, and there is no one who will ever come rescue you. You are eternally lost in this place.”

In 2005, Wiese was approached to write a book detailing his visit.

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His book, "23 Minutes In Hell: One Man's Story About What He Saw, Heard, and Felt in that Place of Torment," appeared on the extended New York Times’ Best Sellers List, and was even translated into ten different languages. 

The success of his first book prompted him to write several others, and he has appeared on a TV show since his experience. 

While Wiese’s experience may have been the most detailed and documented account of a not-so-spectacular afterlife, others have claimed to have died and gone to Hell before returning to the land of the living.

In 2014, ex-Satanist John Ramirez claimed to discover Hell. He explained that the devil was trying to end his life before God stepped in to protect him. Ramirez converted to Christianity after his experience. 

Others have shared their near death stories on Reddit.

“I was getting an angiogram done, wide awake, watching the screen and talking to the doctor. Alarms started to go off and everyone became panicked,” one user wrote. "My world became soft and foggy and everything faded to black. Next thing I remember was opening my eyes and hearing a Dr. say ‘we got him back’. It was really a peaceful feeling more than anything.” 

While some people may have come close to death, few can say they have died, been to Hell, and then lived to write a book about it. 

RELATED: What People Who’ve Had Near-Death Experiences Know (That The Rest Of Us Don’t)

Livvie Brault is a writer who covers self-love, news and entertainment and relationships.