In mid-April, of 1989, on a Sunday, I was driving back to my home from a tradeshow at a resort. As I drove, I thought of the beautiful early spring day, the leaves beginning to show on the trees. The weather was beautiful, with temperatures about seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit, or so. I was driving Northbound on the highway. On the radio was a great song, (although I never have been able to remember what the song was), and I was happy at going home after having to work the tradeshow that weekend. I had been asked to be a groomsman in a long-time friend's wedding that weekend, but the boss said I couldn't get off. I was disappointed at missing the wedding and not getting to see my friend, but he was never far from my mind during that day. I was thinking, as I drove, that my friend would be at the reception at about that time and wondered how the service went. I saw a car approaching the highway, (a double lane divided highway), from the West on a gravel road. I saw the car cross the southbound lanes of traffic and drive through the median approaching the stop sign that governed the traffic on that little road to stop before continuing across the northbound lanes of traffic.
In looking back, I realized that the car had never stopped at the stop sign before driving across the southbound lanes of traffic. Rather than stopping at the stop sign before driving across the northbound lanes of traffic, those in which I was driving at the time, the car continued past the stop sign directly into the path of my car.
In looking back at the experience, it seems strange how one's perceptions are altered under that sort of stress. My mind saw the car as a huge mid-seventies Lincoln Town car. (I was driving a much smaller type of car.) In examining the reason for this misperception, (the car was actually NOT a huge car, but rather a midsized mid-eighties midsize Oldsmobile), I have only been able to determine that the car was so close; my mind changed it to a big model.
I did, however, get the color correct. It was green.
Everything slowed to slow motion time. I said or thought an expletive. I still believe that I said it, but considering how little time I had in this area of the experience, I think my mind was working so very fast that I just thought that I said that expletive.
I recall that my right hand pulled the gearshift backward. (It was an automatic, but like all most all American cars, that movement will make the car's transmission shift to a lower gear when the speed becomes appropriate for the car to do so). At the same time, I turned the steering wheel hard left, (as the green car was traveling from my left to my right). I remember thinking, 'If I can just hit this car in the rear axle, it will spin the car on the front axle out of my way, and maybe we (the elderly man driving the car and the elderly woman in the passenger seat who I could clearly see), will live through this thing.' My mind processed the image of them in a car spinning on its front axle then processed the image of them in a car being struck dead center, at the passenger door, with my car.
I remember there was no sound other than wind. I recall thinking, 'That's really weird, where's the wind?' I thought, 'Ok, there isn't going to be any sound until the cars hit.' Then I wondered why my car wasn't turning. I had turned the wheel hard left with my hand, but nothing happened. I reached a point, as the cars neared, where I realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do to affect the outcome of this event. I was just there and it was going to happen all around me. That was the first time in my life (and the last time in my life) that I had come to that realization.
I watched the people in the other car getting closer and closer, at first a few feet, then inches. The man was looking forward through the windshield, the woman was turned slightly toward him and I believed talking to him. She held what I thought was a small transistor radio in her right hand near her right ear. I thought, 'I haven't seen a radio like that since about 1971 or so.' Then contact was made, (and sure enough, I heard the sound of the impact) and the view of the other people was immediately obscured by steam from the radiator of my car bursting. I remember knowing that's what it was. My car began to spin slowly toward the West. I could not see at all because of the steam and I remember thinking, 'All I really need is for a tractor-trailer to plow into us with this going on, boy I'd sure like to see THAT one coming.' Then I reasoned that the wind was out of the West and since my car was spinning from North to West, that as soon as it had reached a point where it had spun facing southwest, that the steam would probably no longer block my vision. Sure enough, when the car spun facing the Southwest, the steam was carried out of my field of view and I could see down the highway from the direction in which I had just come. I remember thinking, 'Man, am I lucky there isn't a truck bearing down on us!' Then my car stopped.
Realizing that my car had stopped moving, I thought, 'Man, I've got to get out of here!' I remember my head bowing and my chin striking my chest, and then there was a big Phooofing sound. (The only way I can describe that sound, it's like that made when you lock your lower lip behind your upper teeth and blow your lip back out into normal position... phoofing) I recall feeling as if I was phoofed, like I was a spit-wad being quickly forced through a straw. I heard and FELT the phoofing.
I was standing (for lack of a better word, the elevation was about right and I seemed to be generally vertical in orientation to the rest of the world) next to the driver's door of my car. I looked at the guy sitting there and thought, 'Hey, that's me, and I'm sort of a mess. Not too bad though, it doesn't look like anything was torn off the body, it all looks pretty much there, but it is dead.' (I had worked in a funeral home for about a year and a half and was quite familiar with bodies and how they look when they're lifeless).
At this moment, I heard a voice behind me and turned. There, standing (still for lack of a better word) were two friends of mine who had been killed in a car wreck in 1983. They had been together when they were killed (as was fitting since they were always inseparable) and the three of us were closer than brother and sister. I went to both funerals and swore to myself that I would really like to have those two gals come to collect me (if that was how it was done) when I died. Well, here they were. The amazing thing (looking back on it) was that I wasn't surprised in the least to see them there. I remember saying (for lack of a better word, but I think I was saying), 'Hey Lisa, Hey Susan,' in a nonchalant manner as though I had just met them in the Student Union after a break in classes. I began to tell Lisa about my body. I said, 'Hey Lisa, get a load of this,' sort of amused about the situation and sort of nodded toward myself seated in the car.
I remember a feeling of total and utter freedom. There really aren't words to describe this feeling but it was occurring to me that I could do anything I wanted in my current state, I could go anywhere and no laws of physics dictated what I could do. I realized I could even go to the Eiffel Tower if I wanted (that was my exact thought, however I don't ever recall wanting to go to the Eiffel Tower or even thinking anything about it prior to this, other than maybe to answer a question on a fifth grade geography class quiz). I began to revel in my current feeling, a feeling of such well-being that even now I miss it.
Lisa said, 'Brian, you must listen closely, (did she say there isn't much time? or was that just information implied through thought). Lisa continued, 'You must look', and pointed (or rather directed my attention in some other manner - it's hard to describe exactly HOW talking, moving, standing, etc. is done in this state) to the Western horizon. I noticed that pretty much all the world was muted, like a television that isn't getting good reception and occasionally the black and white is broken by a blob of color, but pretty much it's black and white. In the sky, however, was my life. It was like seeing it on a movie screen (widescreen) in color, on a videocassette recorder that's stuck in fast-forward, but rather than seeing it only, I was FEELING it like I was in the life and 'standing' with Lisa and Susan at the same time. The life played literally from my birth to my 'death'.
At the end of this life screen event, I was not left with anyone telling me, 'You sinned! You're a sinner! You did this and this and this that was bad and against the Ten Commandments!' Rather I was left to form an opinion of the life. Not so much in terms of 'I was a bad person, good person', but rather, 'That was a good life', as objectively as though I was commenting on a special meal or the completion of a project just completed that pleased me exceptionally. I knew at that particular moment that there had been other lives. When they were completed I had gone through identical or similar reviews but was not curious about these other lives since they were done, I had completed them, leaving them of no further consequence. I knew that this life would be of no consequence now that it was done.
I realized that I knew everything. There were no questions; all knowledge was instantly present in my thoughts. (For example, I knew that everything created in any state was part of a huge concept. This was just some knowledge that I recall, however I was able to explore that huge concept from the inside and be a part of everything while thinking of it, at the instant that I first thought of it. Confusing isn't it.)
I knew that this was my actual state of being. I was a creature/being as I now found myself who had, for some time, used the lifeless piece of meat inside the car. (I did feel somewhat sad for my body though, not being of any further use it sort of seemed like a waste, and it had performed well for me. Like the feeling you get when you trade in a car.)
None of this seemed to take long, in our time, a period of about twenty seconds or so. All this occurred to me, was thought of, and happened in that amount of time.
Lisa said, or rather communicated, 'You must listen (there was urgency in her words), you have accomplished enough that you can go with us, (she paused), or you can stay, but if you stay we have to know why and you have to tell us. You must know this, if you stay, it's going to be very, very hard.'
I said flatly, 'I have to stay.' Lisa asked, 'Why?' I stated, 'I don't have any children yet.' (This was important, but it was not emotional, rather like a house, I was supposed to paint and did, but it had started to rain and I was telling someone that I still needed another day to paint around the windows.)
I was aware that Susan had said nothing during this, only Lisa; I noticed that beyond Susan, there was 'Someone' else? I realized that this 'Person' was listening intently and that I was not allowed to see him/her.
This 'Person' appeared only as a huge presence that was perceivable only as waves of distortion, shielded from my consciousness so that I could not see him/her directly. (For an example of this look at the movie, Predator with Arnold Swartzenegger and pay attention to how the alien looks when it is 'cloaked'. I was seeing that effect. I was not 'Threatened' by this and don't want to influence the reader utilizing my movie example of a dreadful, cutthroat alien, but only wanted to provide a reference to the visual distortion used. There were no feelings of 'danger', only a realization of this presence.)
Lisa said, 'Alright, you have to know that your heart stopped when you hit the steering wheel, but you will not have permanent injury from this. Your injuries will be a broken sternum, a cut on your finger, and you'll lose a couple of teeth. I said, 'Okay,' and heard Phooof. Everything was black and I was at first confused, I couldn't figure out where exactly I was. Then I heard a sound, like a far off boom. There was then silence and then another boom, then another, then another closer together. Then I heard a heartbeat sound and another and realized that the booming was my heart starting. I remember thinking, 'Why that's my heart starting!' Then the realization hit me that I needed a breath of air really, really badly. (Like the feeling that you get when you're deep under water and you don't know if you're going to make it to the surface before you run out of air - now imagine how it would feel to realize that you didn't make it to the surface before running out of air - that feeling.) I took the longest, deepest gasping breath that I can ever recall taking. When it was finished, I opened my eyes and observed the scene, and saw my hand begin to bleed.
I shall not repeat all the particulars of the accident; however, I kept lapsing into and out of consciousness. Many times, I could hear people talking but couldn't seem to react. At least three times that I recall, people felt my neck and said, 'This one's gone'. When I finally raised my head and made a statement to a state trooper who was bent over at the driver's door of my car copying my V.I.N. number off my dash, he leapt back and yelled, 'Hey, this one's alive, get over here!' I remember an emergency medical technician in my car and vibration from extraction equipment. I remember a television camera and stating, 'Get that @#$%$%$ camera out of my face'. I remember being in an ambulance and a woman emergency medical technician sitting on a bench next to me. I remember asking her, 'Where exactly are we?' She said, ' You're in an ambulance'. I said, 'No, where exactly on the ROAD are we, how far from the city?' She said, 'I'm afraid I have no way of knowing, there's only a little window.' I remember saying, 'That's all right; I'll go out and look.' I recall passing through the side of the ambulance and seeing a rock quarry that I always used as a landmark and noting that we were almost to it. I went back through the side of the ambulance and told her, 'We're almost to the rock quarry, good, we're getting close.' The emergency medical technician got up, went to a small window on the side of the ambulance, and said, 'Oh, I see it, yes, but how...' She didn't finish that sentence, nor did she say anything else other than, 'You just lay quiet, we're almost there,' when she sat back down.
Later, in the emergency room the emergency medical technician from inside the car came and said, 'You look much better than you did a while ago.' I told him I felt better. He said, 'In all the years I've been doing this, I've never checked anyone and been mistaken about them being living or dead, until now.' I told him, 'Who says you were mistaken?' He had appeared concerned, but now he grinned and said, 'You be cool man,' and left. A nurse asked me if I had a background in the medical profession, as I had told people at the scene and in the emergency room that I had a broken sternum, a cut on my finger, and that I would lose two teeth. I told her that I was not in the medical profession.
I recovered from my broken sternum, the cut on my hand, and had to get a couple of root canals done on my teeth. (However, while in the hospital, I had so much trouble sleeping, every time I started to doze off, I could feel myself begin to float out of my body and I knew I thought I was 'dying' again and knew I was supposed to stay, so I would wake myself up.)
Date NDE Occurred: April 1989
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident automobile accident I was told by those who came to meet me that my body was dead. I returned prior to ambulance personnel arriving on the scene.I was in a serious motor vehicle accident, my body still in the wreckage of the car.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes My thought was at the time that I appeared like I did in life, but that I had the ability to appear any way I liked.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Great!
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Time here and time there are NOT the same, (if time even exists there). Everything here was very drab, (black white with a bit of muted color).
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? 'Phoof' when I exited my body, the sound of my heart begin beating when I came back in. Everything in between was pretty much conversation.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Right behind me. I knew two of them, (very good friends), but there was a third who I was not allowed to see clearly. They told me what had happened, gave me a 'Movie' like review of my life in which I actually was living again, and then told me I could go with them or stay, but if I chose to stay I had to tell them why. I told them why and they told me that it would be very hard and back in I went.
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe You'll have to look at the main narrative because that's about the best way I can describe it. Beyond any description, YES.
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 my mother giving birth to me. I hadn't seen that before that I recalled. I saw myself running my pedal car into the door facings in our hallway and being 'banished' to the garage with it. I hadn't remembered that. I later found the mark on the door trim where my car had hit. :)
I learned that the life (here) was merely a method of increasing knowledge/experience for your ACTUAL existence.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future Very accurate, I now have two children. My injuries were found to be as described.
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 I was given the choice whether to return or not, but I had to tell them why.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate I was a Methodist married to a Catholic. I wasn't attending any particular church regularly at the time. I was just working and living.
What is your religion now? Liberal I'm not sure exactly what I am right now, however I'm still married to a Catholic. I don't exactly know what I am currently, I don't really follow dogma of any particular religion, but feel like religious ceremony as seen in churches is not part of who (or what) I am. Does that make me Liberal?
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I know what the reason we're here is. I know why there's human life, I just don't know why I am here, specifically. I know that there's a predetermined pattern for all life everywhere from the smallest microbe to space.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The experience left me brooding about the proper words to fit what happened. There really aren't any that can describe the experience exactly. How does one go about explaining the unexplainable?
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Best part is the knowledge of what's coming, the verification of eternity and the feelings of being home.
Worst part is being back in this body - it's like trying to move in a pair of mud laden, wet, and coveralls - weighed down. That was quite a readjustment.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my wife several days after this happened, and she stood there shocked and said, 'That didn't happen,' and walked away. That didn't help our relationship much. I've told my sister, who cried, said I had been given a great gift, and then thanked me. I told a good friend who was expressing that his mother had a dream he had died in a trench collapse. (He was a plumber.) He had a positive response and said he felt much better about dying. He died three days later in a trench collapse. (Talk about being part of a plan, I was supposed to run into him that day and have that conversation.)
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I'm not afraid of dying. Life is clear now and there's purpose to all things.