I was on a camping trip in the Spring of 1982 with my friend Dave. We went on a hike and ended up following a river. There was still some snow and ice around and we thought of going swimming, but we couldn't even tolerate just standing ankle deep in the water. It was just too cold.
Dave was walking along the river, but I had jumped on several boulders to end up standing on a huge boulder about 20 feet over the water. Dave jokingly said, 'Jump!'. So I did, just for the hell of it. Half way down I realized that I didn't know how deep the water was or what the bottom of the river looked like. It was Spring run-off from the melting snows and the water was moving fast. Therefore, I flattened out to land flat on my back. As soon as I hit, the cold took my breath away. I was being pulled down the river and when I surfaced, I could see Dave frantically running down the banks screaming a me.
I then got caught in an undertow and I could feel myself being bashed along the bottom and having my body being thrown into boulders. I was aware of the numbing cold and pain all over my body from being tumbled across the bottom. I was out of breath and tried to reach the surface to get air, but couldn't make it. I felt my lungs burning for the want of air. I knew I was drowning and I was thinking that this was 'it'. I pictured my parents reading the headlines of my drowning. Then it got dark as I got caught in a swirl of water under a huge boulder. I remember the slime on the bottom of the boulder, while I searched with my hands for the way out from underneath it.
It felt like I hadn't breathed in hours. I could feel my chest pumping in and out, my lungs bursting in my chest. I could feel the darkness and the pain in every part of my body. Then everything changed.
I could see bright light all around me, but I couldn't tell from where it was coming. It seemed like the tumbling stopped, because I could focus straight ahead. I felt a warmth enveloped me. I didn't feel the cold, any pain, nor did I feel the need to breathe. I felt safe, warm and calm. It was a calm I had never felt before. I could see figures of people in the bright light, but I couldn't see who they were. I felt like I was travelling towards them. I knew I was dying and I remember thinking that this is not too bad. It was actually pleasant and I was looking forward to it.
The next thing I knew was I popped out of the water and Dave was frantically trying to get to me. I travelled over a hundred yards down stream. When I came out, I was covered in bruises all over my body, but had no broken bones.
Date NDE Occurred: May 20, 1982
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes. Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
I got caught in an undertow in a river and was drowning.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? No.
I lost awareness of my body
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. I felt more calm that I had ever felt before. I felt safer and that I had never been in a better place.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Just before I came back.
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.
I was aware of many things happening at the same time.
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. My vision was very sharp.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. The loud noise of my environment was gone.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain
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 couldn't see faces, just shapes. But I felt that they were familiar.
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Bright light was all around me.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. It was no place like I had ever imagined.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Extreme happiness.
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 myself or others. I understood that death shouldn't be feared.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events. I saw flashes of past events.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Other Christian Spiritual but not religious.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes My spirituality is stronger.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Other Christian. Spiritual but not religious.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. At this time, I had not heard of anyone else's NDE experience; I only learned of similarities afterward.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I know there is something after death and that it is good.
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. I saw the outlines of many people in the bright light.
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.)? Uncertain I just saw the outline of many people of all sizes, but I couldn't tell where the light came from.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I felt a connection to God and the figures I saw.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I felt the existance of God.
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? Are probably meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists. Yes. I knew that death was not the end of me.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
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? Yes That everything I went through was worth it.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I felt love all around me.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life I no longer fear death, I look forward to it.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain I think people think differently about me when I tell them. I'm not sure if this is good or bad.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes There aren't any words to adequately express what I felt.
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. It is something I will never forget.
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? Knowing there is an afterlife but not sure of it's structure.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes On the ride home after. I don't know what Dave thought of 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 did question what I saw, due to my scientific background. But I sure it was real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I've gone over it many times and still know it was real.
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? No.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.