As the rolling waves of fever and convulsions increased and I became more and more detached from the pain and suffering I was experiencing with measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox and scarlet fever in my little kindergarten body I entered a place that has always stayed with me. For some time I was out of my body, watching my mother and the doctor who made the house calls talk over me - the doctor saying, 'She's going to break out in something,' and then counseling mom to call a priest. As the days progressed and the ice baths were no longer torturous since I was not 'in' the pain any longer I went somewhere extraordinary.
When I returned to my body and tried to tell people about it, they seemed to not hear me and smiled a lot. My memory is this: You know what orange jello looks like, right? Well, mix some fruit cocktail in it when it is mushy, not totally jelled. I was a piece of that fruit and I went into the orange jello - all that I felt and thought all the other pieces of fruit could feel and know and I knew and felt all that they could feel. Some of the fruit pieces were on the 'edge' of the jello looking down and focusing on 'earth' - the physical plane (as a five year old it seemed to be 'earth') other fruit cocktail pieces were sliding more to the middle, aware of 'earth' but not bothered by it. This place felt so wonderful - like a warm connectedness. I was just checking it out and loving it, feeling loved and gently embraced by the orange jello. A feeling of a voice saying I could choose to stay or to go back to where I came from - that both choices were okay and not to fret because this orangeness was always there for me. I knew I was 'home' but I so wanted to be with my mother, too, that I chose to go to her and wait for the orange. As I have aged, the memory stays the same and my older words don't seem to take it over. It is orange jello embracing connecting all beings in love.
Date NDE Occurred: Autumn 1957
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Other 'Life threatening event: I contracted chicken pox, measles, rubella, and scarlet fever, simultaneously and suffered life threatening fevers, convulsions and dramatic lesion internally and externally. Extreme unction (last rights) were given by a priest.'. Life threatening event: I contracted chicken pox, measles, rubella, mumps and scarlet fever, simultaneously and suffered life threatening fevers, convulsions and dramatic lesions internally and externally. Extreme unction (last rights) were given by a priest.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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 As stated above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was conscious and alert, as I see it now, throughout the experience. I never felt awakened or asleep. It felt like a journey, a walk from one place to another. If you talk of consciousness as some evolved state, then while I was experiencing other 'minds' in the 'jello' that would be it. I came back to my mom much more aware of others, more empathetic, more curious about the other rather than just me.
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 How much awareness does a five year old have of time and space?
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I was not seeing with my eyes, I was feeling with eyes, ears, nose, and skin all at once. I was not like seeing - it was like knowing, awareness - a keen awareness of the jello, of the fruit cocktail, of all the thoughts, feelings, of all that was there at that moment and always.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? I 'heard' with my mind - it was not like voices talking over one another, it was like I could hear all the voices all at once and know what each was saying - multi-track listening.
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? Uncertain I felt like I crawled out of a heavy blanket into the jello but I had been sitting up in the corner of the room outside my body for some time. I was up at the ceiling in a corner watching and listening because my body was not comfortable to be in, then the orange jello presented itself to me.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes The other beings were the fruit cocktail I knew them and they knew me but I did not know 'how I knew them' or 'who they were' but I knew them completely. They thought and felt, I knew what they thought and felt, and they knew what I thought and felt. I could hear concerns for 'earth' and hear comfort as it really was, the awareness that all choices are made and coexist with all other choices was one of the experienced thoughts from the orange jello time - I have never made heads nor tails of that one. Throughout my life that has periodically frozen me in my tracks - making me feel that all decisions are worthless and absolutely critical at the same time. I have often just made a decision to be done with it and move on, taking comfort in the idea that I chose all the other choices somewhere, too!
The experience included: Void
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 But it was the crystalline orange jello not like a light bulb or the sun.
The next question deals with the light - at the time it just seemed like orange jello all around me.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm the orange jello and fruit cockatil were very beautiful, radiant, wondrful.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Love - being loved - loving back - LOVE was all there was/is. I came back to my mom so keenly aware of being loved that that has sustained me through trials and stresses and I feel just as loved this moment as I did at the time I went into the jello. I also feel the love I give - it is all there is.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special Knowledge
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 At five how much is there to review! I do remember being aware of things I did and my family. I certainly learned something that helped me live my life after the experience. We are all connected in some way through love. Plus I have never felt any fear of death - the messy process of dying, maybe. I also came away from this loving myself, enjoying my company, just being happy being here and now.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future But as I have lived my life I realize I was given the 'big picture' - this is not the only 'reality' - that there is the 'other' and patience and love gets us 'home'.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain There was an edge-ness to the jello - beyond which was 'earth'.
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 I was a five year old child with no formal religious training other than baptism as an infant in the catholic faith and parents took us to mass on Sundays
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No I do not have any religious practices - I am a recovering Catholic.
What is your religion now? Liberal 'No formal religion, pretty much a believer in I am you and you are me and we are all together.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No I do not have any religious practices - I am a recovering Catholic.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 I knew what was happening was the truth - love is the construct of who and what we are - in my adult words. At the time I came away knowing that was what was waiting for all of us that was home.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I came back to my mom caring to know the experience of others.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I was five years old and my vocabulary was not extraordinary at that time.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I often just knew stuff before it happened - that a friend of my mother's was going to have a baby girl late in her life. (I was ten years old when they moved away from us and I told her how sad I was that she was moving since she was finally going to have a baby girl I could have played with. My mom and she were shocked at what I was saying and even more stunned when five years later she called to tell us she was pregnant, and, yes, it was a girl.)
I came home from school one rainy day to find a package on the counter waiting for me - I told my mom I thought it was a cuckoo clock - the night before I could not sleep because my ticking clock seemed to ticking loudly, saying cuckoo clock over and over. It was a birthday present from my brother in Germany (three weeks early and I did not read the address label and did not know who or where it was from).
As a teenager I broke out in the most gross rash/sores all over the right side of my body and would not be consoled until they called my brother at college at Stanford University. No one could understand my obsession with needing to talk to my brother - when they called his fraternity they were told he was in the hospital with poison oak all over the right side of his body and was in bad shape. He could not take steroids to ease the suffering and swelling and itching due to his recovering from a botched knee surgery. I told him I would take them for us - he laughed - I did take them and we both felt much better!
I knew a few months before my mother died that it would be soon - I told her that her ticket was punched and that she was waiting at the station and I would not see her again in this life. That was so hard for me but it gave her comfort because of some physical trials she was experiencing. I did not just feel this, I knew it.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The connectivity of the orange jello - the uniqueness of each of the fruit cocktail bits and yet the unity of them in this orange jello.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I tried to tell everyone once I was feeling a bit better. It was as if I needed to share this wonderful nugget I had brought back. They seemed to not hear me and just smile. I have told loads of folks about this experience throughout my life and many take great comfort from it. Somehow the simplicity of a five-year-old's memory and words is not too 'cosmic' for them and not 'woo-woo' either.
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. As a five year old your dreams are as real as eating breakfast and so reality is not a subject to be broached with five year olds - we have very animated relationships with our 'imaginary' friends. It was more real than my dreams or my breakfast.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I know this is where we come from and where we go back to.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Psychedelics can get you a glimpse, a knowing of the oneness but it is not the entire experience. It is close, though. When I did psilocybin I had a real 'Oh, I know this' feeling. LSD only hinted at the possibility but it did give me the understanding that physical reality is just an agreed upon construct, the table is only hard because we say so. Ayahuasca is the closest - something orange lit and inhabited by other beings about that experience. I do think DMT might take me there again but I don't have access to it - people's stories of their experiences resonate with me.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It was not frightening or startling even to a five year old. I sometimes long for it - looking forward to being there again.