When I was 10 years old, I had gone swimming with my older cousin, Karen. I was in the pool when somebody accidentally hit me on the head. I struggled to get up out of the water, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t breathe, but I only struggled for a few minutes.
Then I began to drift off, feeling extremely peaceful. It wasn’t just my body that was drifting off, it was my mind too. I was no longer attached to my body (or didn't seem to be), but I was still very much ‘me.’ The best way I can describe it is that I went to a different dimension. It was totally black there. Although I was in complete darkness, I was not afraid. Instead, I felt a peace that I believe is unattainable here on earth.
The next thing that happened was my whole life flashed before me. It was as if I was standing there watching a panoramic view of every single thing that had happened in my short life. The life review went by very quickly. In fact, it seemed like it was all at once. Yet I could totally comprehend every single scene as if I were living it all over again. I felt guilty for the selfish things I had done. After the life review, I turned around, and as I did, I saw a brilliant white light. Instinctively, I started to move toward it. But suddenly, I was yanked back into my body.
My older cousin who had pulled me out of the water had saved me. I did NOT want to come back. I wanted to stay there. On the way home, I told my cousin what happened, and she looked at me as if I were crazy. When I got home, I repeated my story to my grandmother, who was raising me, and I got the same reaction.
Date NDE Occurred: 1956
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drowning Other: 'I believe that I was dead briefly, but came back'
I drowned, or at least, nearly drowned.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
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 am still astounded by the life review. It was exceptionally different from my normal everyday consciousness. On this earth plane, it is virtually impossible to see an entire lifetime going by all at the same time, and totally comprehending everything as if you were living it all over again. It was like watching hundreds of movie scenes simultaneously, yet I was IN each scene, understanding every single detail. That would be impossible in our human form. Now I understand why science says that we only use 1/10 of our brains. On the other side, we are SO much more intelligent.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? My highest level of consciousness was during the life review.
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
The life review seemed to all happen at once, but other than that, I was not aware of time. It didn't enter my mind at all.
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. Everything I saw was through my consciousness, or my mind, not through eyes like the ones in my human body.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I do not remember hearing anything during my experience like you would with ears. Everything was through thoughts, like 'thought communication.'
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I drifted from this earthly consciousness of struggling to breathe into darkness. I do not remember a tunnel.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Unearthly 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 A brilliant white light
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was as if I were in a different dimension. It was totally black, yet I was not the least bit afraid. And I was extremely peaceful and happy.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt Love, Total love, joy, and extreme peace.
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? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others I did seem to know everything about myself and others during that life review, but today, sitting here, I do not remember what that knowledge was, except that I felt guilty for the selfish things I had done.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
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? Christian- Protestant I did not associate anything I had ever learned in church or Sunday School with my near death experience.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I don't know if my beliefs have anything to do with my NDE, but I suspect that it does. I do not subscribe to some of the beliefs taught in many churches today. I do feel a special connection with God, and I feel that it is probably a deeper connection than many have who attend church regularly.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths I am not associated with any particular religion, although I am deeply spiritual and have a strong faith in a higher power, or God. I do study metaphysics and am very interested in psychic phenomenon.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience Actually, I would say that my experience had nothing to do with my beliefs at the time. I was a child, and none of my beliefs were set in stone yet. They were, however, after this experience.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes As a child, I didn't think much about death. It seemed like it would never happen to me. Yet I was somewhat fearful of it, and I was careful about certain things I had been told could kill you, like keep electrical cords away from water. I remember being taught that you went to heaven if you were good and you died, but I wasn't really sure if that was true or not. After my near death experience, I knew we didn't die. Only our bodies die.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes Yes. I believe that the brilliant white light I encountered was probably 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? Yes It's just a 'knowing.' I knew that I was still me, and that I was still very much alive, I just no longer had a body. As I watched the Life Review, I'm sure I saw the difficulty of being raised by a grandfather who deeply resented having to do so, for I felt very unloved by both him and my parents in this world. During the life review, I watched it all with loving detachment. I know I understood it all, and yet, I have no actual memory of exactly what it was. In other words, I know the life review was to teach me, or show me, the mistakes I had made in life, but I could watch it all, and understand it all, without reliving the pain. I 'know' without a doubt that life goes on after death. I also 'know' that we are here for a reason, and that each of us has a purpose, or something we need to learn while here on earth.
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? Yes Yes. During the Life Review, I learned that selfishness is something that needs to be eliminated from our earthly life.
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? I am uncertain if an afterlife exists Yes It's just a 'knowing.' You know that you are still you, and that you are still very much alive...you just no longer have a body.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly 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 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? Uncertain As I watched the Life Review, I'm sure I saw the difficulty of being raised by a grandfather who deeply resented having to do so, for I felt very unloved by both him and my parents in this world. But during the life review, I watched it all with loving de
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Uncertain I felt like everything was love there.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Unknown
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The peace, the euphoria, is impossible to understand here on earth. We just do not feel peace to that extreme here on earth. The life review was truly amazing. I wish I were half that smart in my daily life!
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 That experience is still very vivid in my mind. It was so remarkable that nothing else in life could compare.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I became very intuitive as a young woman. As long as I listened to my intuition, good things happened to me. When I would go against them, things turned out bad. I could feel my father's presence when he died. When my father-in-law died, I could see him and hear him in my thoughts. He died in his sleep and did not know that he was dead. I heard him calling me, saying, 'Carol, dear, something is wrong! Nobody will talk to me.' In my thoughts I told him he had died. He was very surprised. We communicated throughout the funeral process. Several times during the showing, my husband and mother-in-law reported feeling his presence while I was having thought communication with him. At the end of the funeral service, I watched in my mind's eye as he ascended upward with several spirits or guides who had come to escort him. I am the only one who experienced this. Nothing like that had ever happened before, nor since then.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The whole thing was very meaningful to me. It still is.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my cousin who saved me and my grandmother who was raising me about my NDE, and they both looked at me strangely. They did not know what to think, so they said nothing. For many years after that, I did not tell anyone about it again. Then when I was a young woman working in public relations, a good friend of mine, who was a talk show host in Pittsburgh, was interviewing the man who wrote the book 'Life After Life.' I ran out and immediately purchased the book, elated to find that I was not alone. It was a huge relief to know that there were others like me who had had similar experiences and many who had gone even further in death and then returned.
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 knew what I experienced was real, but I couldn't understand why my family reacted the way they did. It made me feel like they thought I was weird, and, at 10 years of age, that made me feel like I was weird.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I know that my experience happened for a reason. I feel that I am here to tell people about it so they will know that death is nothing to fear.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain During deep meditation I once felt as if I was going to leave my body, so I stopped. Another time, I felt a deep sense of peace during meditation that was close to that experience, but it was still not the same.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? At times I have wished I could go there again, to feel that wonderful peace and to escape the hardships of life. But then I remember that it is not my time, and I don't want to leave my beloved husband behind to carry on alone. However, I do look forward to the day when I can go back there again and be with God. It will be nice to rest for a while.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Not that I can think of.