I was at the beach with my parents and I had a new floatable toy. I told my parents I wanted to 'sail' on it to the marker at the deep end of the swimming area, which was about eight feet deep. My mother didn't want me to do it, but my father challenged me to do it, probably thinking I would chicken out. I sat on the toy and paddled out most of the way to the marker. But then I looked down at the water, it was black. They only put sand to a depth of about 5 feet. When I looked down at the sand, normally I'd see a golden color, but I was looking down at weeds, rotting leaves and muck. It scared me. I quickly tried to turn around, and in I fell into 6-foot deep water.
I sunk to the bottom and began to drown almost immediately, sucking water into my lungs. At first, I was feeling pure panic. But then, I felt myself out of my body. Once out of my body, I felt a peaceful calm, and loving reassurance. I felt the presence of love surround me and had no fear at all. It also felt familiar, like I had been through this so many times before and there was nothing to worry about.
My father suddenly reached me, scooped me up and brought me to shore. I was back in my body as soon as I surfaced. I was struggling for air and coughing up a lot of water. After Dad got me to shore and worked on me to cough up all the water, I was fine. I never really lost consciousness, although I was out of my body for a few seconds. It was impossible for me to guess how long it was. My parents said that Dad got there so quickly that I was under water for only between 5 and 10 seconds. It wasn't really an 'NDE' because I was never even close to clinically dead. I would call it a near-NDE or NNDE, if you will. I experienced the very beginning of the death experience. When I told my parents that I nearly died, they were, understandably, in denial.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1963
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drowning 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I was drowning.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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? When I was out of my body and the fear was replaced with a total serenity and I felt a loving presence or presences nearby.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
I'm guessing time slowed down, because what my parents said was only 5 to 10 seconds seemed longer to me.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. If by 'vision' you mean eyesight, I do not remember seeing much other than some light sources. My sense of perception was heightened. I knew I was out of my body and I felt different: freer and happier.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't recall hearing anything during my experience.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain I sensed very loving presences but I did not know who they were or how many were there.
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 I remember seeing vague lights and it seemed that they were other presences.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place I was out of my body but near my body; but I did not perceive things as in the physical world. I think part of the reason for this is that my spirit was still immersed in the water, although I did not feel wetness.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? As described, I felt such a sense of peace and calm, and feelings of love, reassurance and protection around me.
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No While I didn't understand everything, I did feel the experience was familiar and it taught me not to fear death.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
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? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Do not know Both my parents were agnostic and did not adhere to religious practice.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain It's hard to say if my beliefs and practices would be different today had I not had the experience. But I think it must have had some impact on who I am today.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know I do not follow any particulr faith but I do believe in God and reincarnation.
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'm not sure how to answer this as I did not really hold strong beliefs and do not recall what they may have been.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No It was a sense of presences that caused me to feel peace, calm, joy, love, reassurance and protection.
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? Yes The process felt so familiar. I was starting to die and it wasn't scary, it was actually welcome. I knew I'd been through it before. Therefore I lived and died before.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain I feel it was implied.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No But I feel it was implied by the experience of loving presences.
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? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes The experience was familiar and even though I was only 5, I knew that I had started to die. Therefore I knew that we live after our body dies and that we also reincarnate. Even as the experience was occuring I was like 'oh yeah, this is what it's like to
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Unknown
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Unknown
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? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I clearly felt a presence of such loving comfort and protection, better than being a baby safe in your mother's arms.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life Moderate changes in my life. I don't go to church but I do feel I am spiritual.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I was only 5 years old and my parents didn't believe me or want to try to understand what I was saying. But the experience stuck with me and made me feel that death is not bad or scary.
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 recall my experience in vivid detail however. There is such a timeless quality to that kind of experience that I remember it like it just happened. I am someone that has a lot of memories from an early age, however I remember this experience much more vividly than other experiences from my childhood.
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 told my parents at the time and they contradicted and disregarded it. This didn't have much effect on my assessment of the experience because, no matter what they said, I knew what happened to me. I think most or all of the people I told years after the experience listened with respect and believed me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No At least not in my physical brain.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real As I said, I knew what happened to me. I was fully awake and conscious. You don't get much more awake than being in water over your head. I was fully aware every step of the way.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Nothing has ever changed. It was real and I've always known that.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain I've never had an experience quite like that but I have had a few other experiences when I was briefly out of my body.