My family went to a lake for the day when I was seven which was a common thing that we did during the summer in New Jersey. I had an older brother and sisters who knew how to swim but my twin brother and I did not. We were swimming in the kids section, when my older brother and sisters decided they wanted to swim to one of the square docks that sat in the middle of the lake and told my twin brother and me that we couldn't go. I went back to the beach to ask my mother to take me out to the dock, of course she said no.
Another small boat dock came out from the beach and separated the swimming area from the non-swimming area. When I returned to the water I decided to jump in from the boat dock but for some reason I jumped into the water on the non-swimming side that I didn't realize was deeper. I tried to swim back to the dock but I was panicking and couldn't. I struggled for a while but no one on the beach seemed to notice, I think everyone just assumed I was playing around.
After a few minutes of struggle I went under, I don't know how long I was under but I remember giving up. Then I was outside my body looking at myself under water and then I rose above the water and I could see all around me 360 degrees. Above me, I sensed a very bright light above me but it was not the sun, it was omnipresent and brighter but not painfully bright. Even though I was outside I felt like there was no top, no sky no limit. Also, I was very calm, my panic and fear were gone. I was looking down on the water were I had gone under, I felt a little like a balloon floating up. By this time, some people on the beach noticed I had gone under the water and hadn't come up and there was a commotion on the beach. A tall man with a beard and red shorts was the first to act and ran out onto the dock, jumped into the water and pulled me up. Another man and my father followed him. I could see him holding me in his arms and then WHAM! I was back in my body and I started crying.
Once I had gotten back to the beach, calmed down I tried to tell my mom that I was able to see them and that I watched the man jump in, and save me and she said that was impossible because I was underwater. I remember wanting to tell her what I saw but I couldn't describe it. I was too young and I just didn't have the words.
I never talked about it again until I was in college and I remembered it during a show on near death experiences on TV. I was like, hay that happened to me! I told my girlfriend at the time and read a book about it but I was still confused. My experience was much shorter and I made no contact with other beings, I still wonder what it means.
I think I kept it suppressed all that time because I felt like it could not have really happened it didn't fit reality also my mom told me it was impossible. But, it was always in the back of my mind especially when I would talk to friends that didn't believe in anything after death, I always felt like I knew something they didn't. This out of body experience is the clearest memory I have from that age. It probably lasted no more than thirty seconds but it was so sharp and real. By comparison, my other memories from that age are shadowy and foggy.
I still will only talk about it to friends I trust, I think I just don't want to deal with people who would question the experience. Plus I am still working out what it means to me.
Date NDE Occurred: July-august, 1973
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Life threatening event, but not clinical death Drowning.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I clearly left my body and existed outside it
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 It felt clearer and more real.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the out of body experience.
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 I guess yes, I was floating and the world seemed so much more open above me was bigger even though I was outside.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I could see all around me, 360 degrees.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? I think I just notice it less because the visual experience was so profound.
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: 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
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Calm, peace, lack of fear.
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
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? Uncertain I was too young to have strong dogmatic beliefs, but my family was catholic and I remember I wanted to become a priest when I grew up after this experience.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain I was too young to have strong dogmatic beliefs, but my family was catholic and I remember I wanted to become a priest when I grew up after this experience.
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 The experience was so fast and I was so young but I still remember a sense of return and that living was part of an education.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I was very young and I tried to tell my mother that I could see the people trying to rescue me but she kept saying that was impossible because I was underwater.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I never really talked about it until I was much older, I told a girlfriend in college, my twin brother, my ex-wife and only very close friends since. I still will only talk about it to friends I trust. I am not sure how it affected the people I told, they were all pretty open to life after death and I think it just reaffirmed their beliefs.
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 probably real. My problem was I was too young to explain it, and when I did my mom said I must be mistaken. But it was so real so I kept it to myself and then forgot until it reemerged while watching a show on near death experiences.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It was real, it happened and that's the only way I can explain it.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No