The experience is most difficult to put into words. I felt my sail battens fall onto the cross bar and knew almost immediately that the prevailing westerly winds had unexpectedly reversed; and suddenly motored over the back of the mountaintop.
I felt the glider stall in midair - in a millisecond, I pulled the control bar to my knees and the ship just seemed to 'fall out of the sky'. Time slowed down as I listened to the sail rippling in the wind - as I gained airspeed while plummeting toward the valley floor.
I didn't see my 'life flash before my eyes' or any of the typical things you hear about - as there wasn't the time for this, I imagine. But, I just remember thinking to myself - 'This is gonna hurt!' Then, out of nowhere, I hear another 'voice' (not my own) saying, 'Alan, you're about to die.'
I kept focused on what were once seemingly pea-sized boulders - as they rapidly became the size of small cars and I figured this was it! At the last possible moment, the providential 'hand of God' snatched me from the clutches of death, just seconds before crashing onto the slope.
The glider just 'righted' itself, flew away from the cliff face into the valley airspace, and I found myself awestruck by the event. I didn't know where I was immediately afterward, but felt very disoriented but also very calm. I did notice my right leg was vibrating in my harness stirrup - but not too much.
I sort of 'regained my senses' and began to actually fly the ship again - but at this point I noticed I had clipped my right wingtip on a Douglas fir tree branch - while careening away from the slope.
Date NDE Occurred: June 1984
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Other Narrowly escaped crashing my hang-glider on launch
I 'luffed' my airship off a one thousand feet sheer vertical cliff launch; and plummeted eight-hundred and ninety feet straight down into a scree slope of large boulders. I strongly suspected I would die at that very moment.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Frightening
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Just as the glider began flying again; when I felt my ship right itself and I could see off into the distant horizon, still soaring five-hundred to seven-hundred feet off the valley floor.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time slowed perceptibly, almost like a 'slow motion' film.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Clarity of vision, see birds in the distance, and hear their calls like a cacophony of sounds.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Clarity, recognizing where DISTANT sounds were coming from, recognizing the sound source (birds, aircraft, etc.).
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Fear first, then deeply focusing on the glider, giddiness, elation, awe, wonder, calmness, 'rightness' (if that's even a feeling), a sense of 'perspective' (mine in the entire Cosmos); a one point, I remember feeling 'small and insignificant'.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain Crossed-over from 'profane' space to 'sacred' (luminal) space.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Conservative/fundamentalist Mennonite Brethern
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes They differ as far as the east is from the west; as differing as night is today.
What is your religion now? Liberal personal spirituality (a deeply contemplative stance)
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes They differ as far as the east is from the west; as differing as night is today.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes My 'order' in the Cosmos; my significance to the Divine; true divine love became more evident to me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I'm less narcissistic; more empathic towards other's losses; more emotional than I had ever been before. I love people more deeply. I love nature. I now understand LOVE to be the raw catalyst of the entire Cosmos' workings.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I'm not sure - what happened was my entire worldview (and spirituality) 'shifted' dramatically. I stopped listening to rock music and appreciated classical instead. I started watching opera and ballet. I left structured church, saw the beauty, and glory in all things. I had a renewed appreciation for nature and the environment. I changed my 'career' from being a 'wood hog' (a money-hungry logger) to a silvi-culturist/forester. I started to understand more of the 'spiritual' journey.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I first shared this experience as a teaching elder at the second Men's Rights-of-Passage (MROP) in Australia (in 2008 - twenty-four years later) as I didn't think anyone else would believe me or my story! The men's reactions were palpable - they we influenced in such a way that they came to know the deeper truth that 'Love is stronger than death' and that our consciousness continues even after we die. Some men came to me later stating that they weren't afraid to die any longer and that I helped them to see the true power and providence of the Divine, whatever their perception of this is.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real Others witnessed my 'fall from grace' and my right leading edge needed fixing right after the incident. These things tell me I actually came close to dying. But as for the 'experience' I felt and went through it's hard to deeply know it was real, unless I look at the 'fruit' that has occurred in my life since (emotionally, spiritually, ontologically).
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I know now that what happened to me was a crossing over into 'luminosity' - every bit as 'real' as my birth into this world! It represents, to me, the reality that accompanies the Paschal Mystery - the death-birth-death cycle of all existence.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I guess I've always wondered if what I actually experienced would be truly called a 'NDE' proper?