Hospice Nurse Reveals Unexplained Phenomena That Happen Before Death Including 'The Rally'

A hospice nurse has shared the unexplained phenomena that occur before we die, with one being dubbed "the rally."

Hospice nurse Julie McFadden, has been a nurse in a hospice for five years after working for over a decade as an ICU nurse, and now regularly shares little-known information about the last leg of life online, in a bid to raise awareness and ease fear surrounding the taboo of death. This time, she amassed millions of views after revealing the mystifying things that happen to us that simply can't be explained.

The first was a phenomenon, named "the rally" by hospice workers, which sees dying patients suddenly become their better, old selves just before dying. "This is when someone is really sick and almost towards actively dying, meaning dying within a few days, and then suddenly they look like they are 'better,'" she explained.

"This can manifest in a lot of ways, but a lot of times they suddenly eat, they'll suddenly talk, maybe even walk, they act like their old self, they have a little more personality, kind of laughing, talking, joking, but they usually they die within a few days after this," she added.

McFadden further explained that in her experience it happens to around a third of patients at her hospice, making it necessary for them to prepare family and loved ones for the bizarre change, "so it doesn't devastate them when they suddenly pass after doing so well for a few days."

"I try to educate families before the rally happens, so if they see something like it, they know that the person could be dying soon after," McFadden told Newsweek. "This helps them to cherish the moment and not be shocked if their loved one dies soon after."

"There can be different variations of 'the rally,'" she added. "Some are more extreme than the other. I learned all about it during my orientation. I can remember just being shocked when I first saw it in real time, it's a beautiful thing. Education is key here though so the family understands what's happening."

According to Psychology Today, little research has been done into the "the rally," but it's sometimes known as "the last hurrah" or "the final goodbye." German researcher Michael Nahm named it "terminal lucidity" and has been attempting to discover more about it in recent years.

Nahm reported that around 84 percent of people who experience "the rally" die within a week, with 42 percent dying that very day.

The second phenomenon doesn't have a name like "the rally" does but is still extremely common according to McFadden. Often, dying patients will see their lost loved ones, including pets, who have passed away, in the lead-up to their own death.

"It usually happens a month or so before the patient dies, they start seeing dead relatives, dead friends, old pets that have passed on, spirits, angels, that are visiting them and only they can see them. Sometimes it's through a dream, sometimes they physically see them, and they'll actually ask us 'do you see what i'm seeing,'" said McFadden.

"They're usually not afraid, it's usually very comforting to them and they usually say they're sending a message like 'we're coming to get you soon' or 'don't worry, we'll help you.' Most people love this, they're very comforted by it, it's not scary to them."

McFadden explained to Newsweek that most patients have a mix of feelings towards the experience, and at times even choose to keep it a secret: "Most of them are very comforted, and also a little surprised, asking us, the healthcare worker, 'why is this happening?' I always just reassure them that it's very normal, and as long as they feel good about it it's okay. Some people are afraid to tell us, because they know how crazy it sounds."

"I will also at times educate them about it happening before it happens, and sometimes during my education, they looked a little shocked because it has already happened to them."

McFadden's shared information on her TikTok account aims to provide comfort for the inevitable.

"I'm passionate about trying to educate people, and have hard discussions because I've seen how beneficial it is when people are willing to do so," she said.

"What I have found is the more willing someone is to being open to talk about the end of their life, and their specific disease... usually the more peaceful the death."

Hospital patient in bed
Stock image of a hospital patient. A hospice nurse has shared the unexplained phenomena that occur before we die. Getty Images

UPDATE 11/18/2021 at 11:33 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comment from Julie McFadden.