11 Spiritual Signs Death Is Near From Harbingers to Dreams

Can people really tell when they are going to die? There's evidence to suggest that some people may experience one or more signs.

Updated June 13, 2024
Family member taking care about sick woman with leukemia

When death is coming, is there any way to know? Perhaps, in some cases, you can tune in and notice spiritual signs that death is nearing. These may be much easier to spot in someone who is very ill or in hospice — some families, friends, and healthcare workers report common spiritual signs that someone could die soon. Most of these reports describe specific experiences that people who are dying have that can be taken as spiritual signs of an impending death.

7 Spiritual Signs That Death Is Near for Someone Who Is Terminally Ill

When a person is in hospice, palliative care, or a slow decline from a terminal illness, there are some common things that care workers and family members notice as they get closer to death.

Visits From Deceased Family Members

Deathbed visions are common in hospices, where care workers and family report the person who is dying "sees" loved ones who have come to escort them to the other side. According to Psychology Today, deathbed visions (DBVs) can occur anywhere from weeks before death to right up to the time of death, and about 57% of them involve experiencing relatives who have died. When these visions happen, it typically calms the person who is dying and brings them peace. 

Visits From Angels or Religious Figures

Another type of deathbed vision comes in the form of encountering angels or religious figures. For example, they may report angels gathering around them or see Jesus in the room with them. As with deceased family members, these deathbed visions bring peace and comfort to someone who is dying.

Related: Physical Stages of Dying: How the Body Shuts Down

Hearing Angelic Music and Singing

There are many reports of those dying who claim to hear music playing that no one else can hear. Some also claim to see and hear angelic choruses singing.

Encountering a Bright Light

Bright light in hospital

Some people who are dying may see or sense a bright light and feel a pull towards it. This light is also common in near-death experiences, where the person who has the experience moves down a tunnel toward a bright and loving light.

Withdrawing From the World

Healthcare and hospice caregivers report noticing the dying person often withdraws into themselves as though entering a different world. Some people report seeing into another world or dimension.

Drop in Room Temperature

An inexplicable coldness in the room temperature is sometimes reported. Healthcare professionals often feel a shift in the room temperature when a person is dying. Mediums, psychics, and ghost hunters frequently report this phenomenon whenever a spirit is present.

Out-of-Body Experiences 

Some deathbed experiences include what's known as out-of-body experiences (OBEs), where the person who is dying finds themselves floating above their body. A similar experience is often reported in a near-death experience (NDE) when someone has died and been resuscitated.

They Feel a Physical & Spiritual Transition

There are also reports from people who are dying about feeling the separation of their soul from their physical body. In such instances, the person feels their body functions slowing down and themselves in spirit form slipping free of their physical body. This is a process that can last over a short or extended period.

Signs From the Universe That Someone May Die Soon

Do people know when they are going to die, even if they're not ill? There are plenty of anecdotal reports of people knowing they will die soon. 

End-of-Life Dreams and Visions

There are lots of stories of people who dreamed of their death and then died soon after the dream. But has anyone studied this? There have been some limited scientific studies, including a 2016 scientific study in India with patients in palliative care. In this study, about 63% of terminally ill patients reported having either end-of-life dreams or visions. Of course, this study was done on patients who knew their time was limited, so it's hard to know how well it translates to people who are not terminally ill. 

But anecdotal reports in people who aren't terminally ill seem to suggest that some people may, indeed, have some kind of an end-of-life dream or vision in the period before they die. These dreams are usually extremely vivid and can occur when one is sleeping or awake. 

That's not to say if you dream of your death, that you're going to die next week. Symbolically, dreams of death can represent transitions in life... the death of one part of yourself that gives birth to something new. 

Need to Know

Many cultures believe in harbingers of death — things that appear to a person before they die, such as hearing the wailing of a Banshee (Celtic) or encountering a crow (Hindu) or other birds


Another phenomenon that may indicate death is on the way is a premonition. There have been tales of people having premonitions of their own deaths for centuries. Most of these reports are anecdotal, with little scientific study to back them up, but it has happened enough over the years to suggest that this is a true spiritual phenomenon that some people experience. 


This is pretty ephemeral and hard to explain. But some people experience a knowing where they know their time on Earth is limited. Certainly, anxiety can play a role in such experiences, and not everyone who is certain they are going to die soon actually does. But there are enough anecdotal stories about people who have seemingly known they were going to die and then died to lend it some credence.

Need to Know

Are there spiritual signs you'll die young? Again, there's no specific evidence that there are, but some people report that young people who died seemed to have some insight into what was coming. Whether it was through dreams, visions, or knowing, this may be the case, or it could be confirmation bias among the people who are still alive. 

Exploring Common Spiritual Signs of Death

There are several common spiritual signs that death is near reported by the dying and the living. You can give comfort to someone dying by letting them feel safe in sharing their spirituality and any spiritual signs they have about their death.

11 Spiritual Signs Death Is Near From Harbingers to Dreams