In the early summer of 1971, I and three other children were playing on a large pile of sand that was to be used in pouring a cement pad at our house. We decided to burrow a tunnel into the pile, which was probably about 5 feet high and about 10 feet in diameter at the base.
After we dug the tunnel, I was the first to crawl through it. I had not crawled very far when the pile collapsed upon me. The weight forced the air out of my lungs and I could not take a breath. This was the scariest and most painful thing that I have ever experienced in my life.
I could feel my legs flailing around outside of the sand, but I was unable to move the rest of my body. As unconsciousness came upon me, I became aware of a loud buzzing and loud sounds around me. I remember seeing a light as other people have described. Then I became aware of my life. I have tried to describe this event to others over the years, and the best way I have found is that the review of my life was not like watching a movie or video. But rather more like standing in front of a large picture and being able to see the picture as a whole, or being able to move in to study some detail of the picture. The difference being, that I had a complete understanding and recall of the whole picture, which was my life. I think because of this event, I retain memories of events and feelings that occurred prior to being able to talk.
After the review of my life, which I believe took only fractions of a second; I was immediately outside of my body. If my body were lying on a line with my feet pointing at six on a clock, I was now standing at four, a few feet away and a few feet above. I could see my feet thrashing. I was still aware that my body was in pain, but I no longer felt pain and I no longer felt the stress and agony of suffocating. As I came out of my body and as I stood there, it was a great relief. I felt like I had just taken off a tight rubber glove from my hand. As I stood there, there was someone behind me to my left, I never saw the person, I do not know who it was, I believe it was a male and he was someone I knew, or knew me. I felt safe and was not distressed.
My sister ran into our house to get my mother who was taking laundry out of the dryer and folding it. I could not so much see her, but I had a consciousness of her. To this day I can describe what she was wearing and doing when my sister arrived and got her help. As my sister ran for help, my brothers were trying to dig me out. One brother had dug a hole that was over my right arm. By the time my mother got there, the hole was large enough that they were pulling on my arm. Enough sand had been dislodged from on top of me that when they pulled on my arm, I was able to take a breath.
As soon as I took a breath, I was inside of my body. It felt like a great tightness was now compressing my soul. I was now aware of my body and my pain. I remember gulping air and how sweet it was and how wonderful the air felt going into my lungs. My head was pounding and I had a headache for several days after this. I lay on the ground gasping and breathing for what to me seemed a very long time. I was just breathing and trying to recover. My body ached and my lungs still burned. I was unable to stand up without help. I felt like I could not get enough air. I believe I was hyperventilating as I continued to feel like I was just on the verge of passing out.
At the time of this event, I told my parents about what I had experienced. I remember very clearly my father telling me it was just the absence of oxygen and that it was nothing more. I believed it was more than that, but no one would believe me. A few years later, Readers Digest published a story 'Life after Life'. This was the first time I had ever heard of someone else having this experience. After my father had read it, we talked about my experience.
Date NDE Occurred: May 1971
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
We burrowed a tunnel into the sand. As I was crawling through it, the pile collapsed on me, crushing me and preventing me from breathing.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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 norma. I was much more aware of things around me; things I could not have seen with my eyes or known. We lived on a farm. I was aware of the workers in the fields and my grandmother who lived about a half mile away.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was outside of my body looking at the event
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual.
I didn't feel the passing of anything. I'm told that the whole event took less than 10 minutes, but I had no feeling of any time passing.
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. This is one of the areas difficult to describe for me. I was aware of things around me in great detail. However, I cannot say for sure that I was seeing these things with my eyes. If vision is limited to only what is perceived through my eyes and interpreted by my brain, I honestly cannot comment on it. However, if vision includes what I understood, then vision is a much wider and deeper phenomenon.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I am not sure what I heard versus what I comprehended. I believe the loud sounds and bells were the increase in blood pressure in my body due to the suffocation. As my non-physical ears were beginning to hear without the restriction of my body, the loud sounds quickly went away and I was able to hear the world around me.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I distinctly remember a tunnel with a light. I was pulled out from the tunnel.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes There was a male person with me who either knew me or that I knew. At this time, my grandfather and a brother had both died. I never saw the person and they never introduced themselves to me.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes I saw a pinpoint of light, that was growing in size.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? The initial experience was of fear and panic from the cave-in of sand. However, this was replaced with a calm feeling. I don't remember any real emotions other than calm.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others. I had a clear image of those around me within the scope of my vision. But I was equally aware of others beyond where I would have had sight. I knew my mother was doing laundry and those details. I knew my grandmother was in her house cooking well over a half mile away. I knew the men working on our farm, which was about 80 acres.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events. This was not like watching a movie or video, but rather more like standing in front of a large picture and being able to see the picture as a whole, or being able to move in, to study some detail of the picture. The difference being, that I had a complete understanding and recall of the whole picture, which was my life.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Mormon
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Mormon
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. I was only 11 at the time. I have always believed in a pre-earth life and an afterlife, this was all consistent with what I experienced.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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 Either there was a person with me, a male, who knew me or that I knew. At this time, my grandfather and a brother had both died. I never saw the person and they never introduced themselves to me.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Unknown
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? No changes in my life
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It is difficult to describe because so much of it seems to have happened at the same time and retelling it, there is an expectation of linear progression in the tale. There were things, thoughts and ideas, which I can think of at this time, but there are no words to express. It is literally like trying to describe color to someone who has never experienced it.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience. I have an excellent memory of my early years up until about age 11, after that, I have a very poor memory. For example, I remember standing in my crib trying to get my sister to share her orange with me. However, I couldn't make the words to express my desire. I became frustrated and began to cry. I can describe the room and the house in detail, we moved from that house when I was 4 years old. A brother died when I was five. I have a very clear memory of the events and the accident, which took his life. I was with him when it occurred and I have a very clear and detailed memory of it. When the event occurred, I came to the very clear understanding that I was not responsible for the accident. I remember feeling guilty for it, although I could not have prevented it as I was a 5 year-old.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I have had very clear impressions of future events prior to them occurring. I have had detailed dreams of events that occurred in the past which I did not know of prior to the dream. From details in the dream, I was able to use the internet to confirm the details.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Not really, the event as a whole is what I think of as meaningful.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I tried to share it immediately after it occurred. My father, who was a doctor, believed it was from lack of oxygen. I have spoken to others about it over the years. I wrote a brief account when it occurred.
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. I had no doubt it was real. I tried to tell others but immediately realized that they thought I was crazy.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I still believe it was real. I remember the event very clearly and it is still very real.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No