I was in Rio de Janeiro on a training course sponsored by the company I worked for. When the course ended in the afternoon, we decided to go to the beach. The sea was rough, but I still went in. In an instant, I was dragged out to sea. I remember trying to swim towards the shore. However hard I tried, I could not touch the bottom. I was repeating to myself 'calm, calm... you can make it.' While I was struggling to swim, I was praying to my late parents to help me get out of this, that I didn't want to end like this. I also remember that while I was trying to breathe, the waves were hitting me and I was swallowing water, but, curiously, I never felt a sensation of drowning, I kept at it.
Suddenly everything became still, as if someone had turned off a switch. The feeling was awful. In front of me, there was a light (I'm not certain whether it was a light or a horizontal line, perfectly straight and infinitely extended). I cannot remember the exact color or form, but it was everything that exists. Literally EVERYTHING and at the same time NOTHING, nothing besides this had existence, there was no universe, no world, no time, no space, nothing - and nobody! It was the most crushing feeling of absolute Nothingness, you could not turn it around to look from a different angle, it was impossible, the light was everything, and my body did not exist. It is as if someone said, 'Okay wise guy, you've got this far, here is what death is about, nothing, store closed, the end!' In the midst of this, I felt disappointed. I was fully conscious and thinking things such as, 'What happened here? I've been cheated, what point was there in me having a life? What then was the purpose of life? And the good things I did for others? And my parents, where are they? Where is the damned tunnel? I don't see it. All I can see is this. My God help me. Oh heaven - and God? Is he not there? Is this all? No sense to it? Finished?! My folks came to see the same thing? Are they seeing it now? Will it be for all eternity? But no one warned me about this - obviously! The dead don't come back to tell us.' I tried to calm down, but I could not. The light remained there; the feeling did not go away.
Suddenly I began to feel myself being touched. I just felt the fingertips of someone touching me, at intervals, on the arm, on the foot. Straightaway I thought, 'The situation seems to be changing. There is something Am I alive? Or am I dead?' In a confused way, I began to hear voices, calling me by name, 'Alfonso! Alfonso!' The light remained there. 'Here I am!' I replied, 'get me out of here! I'm sorry!' I was praying, weeping desperately. I thought that I had died and that someone on the other side was calling me. I heard someone speak in Portuguese, and thought for a moment that the place of arrival on the other side depended on the place in which you died. The light began to change into a blood-red landscape, then orange. I saw people around me. They were observing me. Am I on the beach? Then I understood. I was alive! They had rescued me. I could not breathe. I tried to call out, stammering and groaning with the anguish of it, 'Help. Help me, I'm dying.' Fortunately an ambulance soon came. I was four days in the hospital.
After the event, I still had a phobia of open spaces for a while. For example, if I saw a completely blank wall, it brought back the feeling. The same happened when the color chart appeared on the television with its constant humming - it was similar. When I see icons, just seeing a solitary icon on an empty background is crushing. I propose an exercise, to see if you feel the same. Select an icon or letter on your computer, which is isolated. Look at it fixedly, without blinking or moving your eyes away from it. Imagine this icon is everything, that nothing else exists, and at the same time that this image has no meaning, means nothing, is nothing, and you find yourself in the most absolute nothingness. The feeling, for me at least, is horrible. That is more or less what I felt in my experience.
Date NDE Occurred: Marzo 20 de 2008
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident - 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' -
I could have been drowned in the sea. I lost consciousness but was rescued in time.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Frightening
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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? Normal consciousness and alertness As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I believe I remained conscious throughout, my five senses were completely extinguished, but I could think and reason concerning my situation.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time did not exist, nor space. Nothing existed - nothing!
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. I saw nothing, only the point of light.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I think I managed to listen to some sound. I should think, although I don't remember it well, that it was similar to the continual tone which accompanies the color card on the television.
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
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
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? Yes A point of light.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No -
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Desperation, anger, anguish, disappointment.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
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 Perhaps the fact that the things of this world mean nothing in the next, despite the disagreeable experience, I have not lost my belief in the after-life and the meaning of life.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
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? Moderate -
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Moderate -
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
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? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The exact sensation including the description of the light.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? No.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I related the experience to my friends who came to see me in hospital. I mention it casually with others. Some agree with me that the feeling is horrible.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I knew about them. Through television, especially. I hoped my experience would be the same, but it was not, this was very disappointing.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I sometimes think that my experience is closer to the reality of the atheist, one who does not believe in God. It is a terrifying experience, to know that there is nothing on the other side and that on dying nothing remains. It makes you think that it would be very sad if things were like that.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Same reply as above.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Yes. You could add a question of whether one has felt an overwhelming sensation of nothingness. (Yes/No).
You could ask whether the experience was terrifying (Yes/No).