Within the framework of the classical theory of general relativity nothing remarkable is expected to happen to an observer falling into a large black hole other than the curious circumstance that after the observer crosses a certain surface, the "event horizon", he can no longer communicate with the outside world. Although this prediction has been widely accepted in the physics community, it is inconsistent with quantum mechanics because it conflicts with the need for a universal time to define Schrödinger's equation. It has been pointed out [Philos. Mag. B 281 (2001) 235, Int. J. Mod. Phys. A 18 (2003) 831] that this inconsistency can be avoided if it is assumed that as the surface where general relativity predicts that the event horizon would be located is approached, the redshift does not actually go to infinity, but instead undergoes a continous phase transition to a de Sitter phase where the vacuum energy is much larger than the cosmological vacuum energy. Although we do not have a fundamental theory of such a phase transition, many features of quantum phase transitions are universal. This universality allows us to make predictions concerning the behavior of matter as it encounters the quantum critical region that replaces the event horizon. One of these predictions is that the nucleons falling onto the critical surface will decay directly into multi-MeV leptons and gamma rays with a characteristic spectrum. As it happens there are some hints from the spectra of cosmic gamma ray bursts and observations of positrons from the center of our galaxy that this is correct.