It was a boring Saturday night, just after a city celebration called 'Crazy Water Festival', where it had rained all day. The festival was held in the city park, and everyone had gone home, as it was late at night. I was riding around town with a friend of mine. We were cruising through the park, where we found one booth where someone had taken a large hot pink parachute and hung it over their booth to protect them from the rain. My friend and I were avid water skiers and had been wanting a parachute so we could try to para-ski behind his boat. We saw this as our opportunity. Neither of us were thieves and both rationalized that if someone wanted it they wouldn't have left it out in the rain, so we decided to make it ours.
The first problem was that the chute was tied off at the top of a large post oak tree, and one of us had to climb up and cut a string which was looped over a very small limb about 25 to 30 feet from the ground. I volunteered, and with Bowie knife in back pocket ascended up the large tree. Once I reached near the top of the tree, I shimmied out upon a very small limb, feeling very vulnerable and a bit scared. I reached out with the knife and cut the nylon cord, setting the chute free. I watched it blossom out as it fell to the ground then witnessed my buddy quickly picking it up. I then found that I couldn't quite get back to the trunk of the tree. I felt very uneasy, so I slightly turned and swung my arm back to try to catch a tree limb, but there wasn't one. I lost my balance and began to fall back. In an instant, I was terrified, as I was aware that I was falling and was very doubtful that the distance would be survivable.
Everything stopped as I awaited the impact of my body to the ground, yet it never came. I was instantly, and I mean instantly, removed. I found myself in a dark space or a void of some kind. My mind reeled with uncertainty, trying to assess where I was. That is when I began to see my young life suddenly displayed in my mind as if on a picture screen. It then faded away and I was in the dark again, when I became aware of a light in the distance. It was small at first but gradually got closer. The closer it got the more radiant it became, and the less fear and dread I felt. The light embraced me, as if it consumed me. It was then I realized that I no longer had the stress of a body - my lungs no longer had to work my intercostal muscles to breath and my heart no longer had to work to pump life sustaining blood to my organs. I was free of the body and the daily stress of a physical existence. I no longer felt fear or loneliness, or emotional pain. There are no human words available to describe this. It was a total immersion in God's love, in his light, as if in the presence of Christ himself, immersed in the Holy Spirit. I could see, but not with my eyes, hear but not with my ears, and so on. It was the most beautiful thing that I have ever experienced in my life, before or since. It was not physical. It was 100% spiritual.
As this was going on I had no sadness, nor did I miss anyone or anything I was leaving behind. It was as if I was also immersed in total understanding and knowledge of all things. There was no concept of time and space, only pure love and infinite wisdom, untold forgiveness and acceptance. Yet somehow, I knew, though no words were spoken, that I had to return. I did not want to, but was not given a choice. Then the light began to separate and fade. That is when the feelings of dread and the stress of life began to re-enter my mind as I re-entered my earthly body. I began to come to. I was sitting in a car at my house. I wasn't sure where I was at first but then things began to make sense. I looked at my friend and then at a pack of cigarettes on the dashboard. I then distinctly remember saying 'I don't know who you are or who I am, but I do remember I need a cigarette', and with that I reached up, got a smoke and lit it up. I looked at him again and asked, 'What happened?' He looked at me with frustration and said 'for the fiftieth time, you fell out of a tree'.
I did not go to a doctor, until the following day because of a severe headache and body aches. I felt very, very bad. The doctor told me I had a concussion and proceeded to chew on me for not calling an ambulance. My buddy told me that he had taken the parachute and stuffed it into the trunk of his car, located about 30 feet from the tree. He said he heard a 'thud' and found me lying on my back with one knee in the air. He said my eyes were slightly opened but I was not breathing. He had tried to wake me but couldn't and thought I was dead, given the height of the fall. He then didn't know what to do as we were nowhere near a phone. This was 1979, mind you. CPR was virtually unknown but my buddy had seen doctors on TV take their fists and pound someone on the chest to get their heart beating again so, with the crudeness of an idiot, that is exactly what he did. On the third one, I began to cough and roll over. He said that is when I started to breath heavily and cough more.
After a few minutes, he said I rolled over and began to ask what happened. After about thirty minutes, he helped me up and to the car, where I told him to just take me home. I don't remember any of this to this day. He said he got me in the car and drove around a bit to get some air and then drove out to my house about four miles south of town. He said I kept asking 'What happened?' the hallmark of a concussion or subdural hematoma. This is when I began to regain my consciousness.
I never told anyone of my experience but the height of the fall was between 25 and 30 feet. I still don't remember any of it. A few years had gone by and I was visiting my brother-in-law one night and told him of the experience. He went to his library and brought back a book he had read that was published in the late 1800's in England with hundreds of documented cases that sounded just like mine. I was amazed. Since then I have played this all back in my mind a million times and have no explanation other than the possibility that I had died.
Date NDE Occurred: September 1979
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Other All indications of clinical death but can't be for sure for lack of medical personnel.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
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
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I don't know, as I apparently passed out as I was falling.
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 and space no longer mattered.
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 could see but not with my eyes, I had no body that I was aware of. This is almost impossible to explain.
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 am not sure if I was in a tunnel or if the light came to me or I went to it.
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: Void
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 It was at a distance at first but became closer and closer, and as it did all fear and dread left me.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Extreme peace, unlike I have ever felt.
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
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I saw all the things connected to shame in my life and once reviewed they seemed to be forgiven.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future Strangely, sometimes I could dream an event before it happened - nothing special, as a matter-of-fact very mundane events, and it happened only once in a blue moon but one event took place that was extremely powerful. We were having serious problems with our 18 year old son, who had become a heroin addict. On the morning of January 12 2008, I slept late. Just before I awoke, I had the most remarkable dream. I dreamt that I was suddenly in a dimly lit room full of people who were sad, they were weeping as if at a funeral or wake. I couldn't make out any faces but was clear of where I was. I then found a door and opened it. It opened to the outside and cold winter air rushed in all around me. It was a cold, rainy/drizzly night and very hard to see through the fog when I saw an opening in the clouds just to my upper left. I could see into the most beautiful night sky I had ever witnessed. The stars were so big and bright. I then saw a creature ascending up into the clearing. It was an angel, a big angel with huge feathered wings, but it was not facing me. It was facing 3/4 away from me. What was clear to me was how large its wings were as it ascended, and I noticed that its wings were soiled and messy as if it had been in one heck of a fight. I then realized this was a warrior angel - don't ask me how I knew that, it just came to me. I also noticed it was carrying something in its arms and was apparently being very careful with it, as if it had just rescued its cargo. Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning it flashed away into the stars at the speed of light. Just like that, it was gone and I awoke. It was 8:05 in the morning. I got up, went into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and my wife was there. I told her about the most beautiful dream I had just had, and also told her it made no sense. We went on about our day. At 8:30 that night a knock on the door brought us the news of the death of our son that day from a heroin overdose. At that moment the dream, or vision, made all the sense in the world to me. The coroner set the time of death at about 8:00 that morning. It was as if God gave me another glimpse into his mercy, because without it I do not think I could have survived the death of my only child. I honestly believe he showed me the angel that fought for my son's soul, and won.
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 Christian
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No I was a Christian when this happened. It just helped to solidify my belief.
What is your religion now? Moderate Christian
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No I was a Christian when this happened. It just helped to solidify my belief.
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 It was as if I knew all things, as if the earthly veil of misunderstanding had been removed from me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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? The sense and knowledge of forgiveness and acceptance. This world does not respect either.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was several years, though I was very careful who I told. Those I told seemed to be amazed with it.
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 just couldn't shake it; it stayed on my mind constantly.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real After studying the Bible for years since it has become more and more clear to me that I got to experience a rare look into the afterlife.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No