I was visiting a college friend's home in Kansas. My friend's name was Joe H. His father Bill H. was a Lieutenant Colonel. Joe H. was a Southern Baptist and I was an agnostic. Joe asked me to pray with him before dinner while in his room. I told Joe that I could not as I did 'not believe.' Joe told me that my problem was that I was 'afraid to pray.' Being twenty-one and feeling invincible, I told Joe that I accepted his dare and I would pray. Joe closed his eyes and lowered his head, but I did neither.
I kept my eyes open and said the following prayer: 'If I have done anything wrong, I am truly sorry, and if there is a God I want to know you.' Immediately, something like scales fell from my eyes. The scales were gray in color and seem to have the consistency of me of snake scales or the fragility of cigarette ashes to the human touch. I was amazed when they fell from my eyes and put out my hands almost in reflex in an effort to catch them; the scales fell into the palms of my hands but I felt nothing, they had no weight. Suddenly, a brilliant crystalline white light appeared above me half the distance between where I was sitting and where Joe was sitting. Time seemed to stop. The amazing light flooded the entire room and everything it shone upon became a bleached white color: the furnishings, the beds, wood surfaces, painted walls, everything except for the skin tones of Joe and me. Our skin tones of our bodies and faces were unaffected.
The light seemed infinitely bright, brighter than a million suns, but its light did not hurt my eyes. I could look into the light without pain. The light seemed to be surrounding a being that I could not see. The being was occupying space but not space like we normally think of space. It seemed to be there and everywhere at the same time. The being seemed to possess a kind of infinite depth to itself.
Immediately, a strong but gentle voice spoke to me from the light, a voice heard not with my ears but with my mind. The being of light said, 'Carry, I love you exactly the way you are.' The funny thing was that when I heard that voice I recognize it. Somehow, I 'knew' this being. He was like the best friend I always wanted and wished for but did not know it. But, upon hearing his voice, I knew him immediately.
When the being of light first said this, I felt like the most loved human being of all time, the most favorite of all human beings in the universe, past, present or future, yet at the same time I knew this being loved everyone equally and just as infinitely as I felt right then. The being delighted in me and was completely focused on me. I was the center of its attention yet somehow I knew everyone was at the 'center' of its attention.
When the being said those words to me, I knew it saw me as I was, faults and all, not just at that moment, but for all the moments of my life. I felt no shame, no judgment; in fact, it was so liberating to be known so perfectly, to be so wonderfully accepted. Yet, at the same time, not judged or condemned in the slightest way.
I saw this encounter as my best chance to ask the being of light a question. I somehow knew this being was God, Jesus in fact. I had been struggling with homosexual thoughts since a teen and felt so ashamed, so I asked this being, 'Is it alright to be gay?'
I could not see the face of this being, but I can tell you I 'know' it smiled and laughed. It did not laugh at me. It seemed to enjoy the fact that I asked my question as if it knew how hard it was for me to ask it and how earnestly I sought the answer. It 'looked' at me with such love (I felt this but again I could not see its face) and then the loving being said, 'Carry, that is not the most important question.' He said that with such gentleness. It clearly wanted to draw me into his life so that all my questions could be answered. Before I could ask, 'What is the most important question?' it 'touched' the top of my head. Again, I did not see this being touch me, but I know it did. When it touched my head my whole body became translucent. I could see right through my body and my clothes yet at the same time I could make out every detail even as I could see right through myself!
Then, it poured something of itself in me, and a wonderful golden light poured into me. It was pure gold, a shimmering golden light. It was so beautiful; it was not like any ordinary light as this light was 'alive' with pure joy, peace, goodness, life. I watched as the golden light 'filled' up my feet and then my legs and then my whole body to the very top of my head. At that eternal moment, I felt so alive, so free, so loved, so joyful that I no longer wanted to be on this earth. I realized that if I wanted to I could 'will' myself to leave my body and enter that wonderful light, becoming one with that being of light. And, so I did will that I leave my body, but the light instantly disappeared. Later, my friend Joe admitted that in his mind's eye he also saw a being of light while praying but as his eyes were closed, he did not see what I saw. A few days later, I met a friend who knew nothing of what had happened and she immediately exclaimed, 'Carry, what happened, you are so bright!' All of this happened years ago.
The experience changed me. God is real to me. I eventually became a Catholic priest. One of the lingering effects of this experience is that I am able to 'see' spirits of people for a few days after their deaths. I have many encounters with loved ones right after their deaths. I could 'see' them and they communicate to me their joy. One told me, 'Carry, it is so beautiful!'
I have felt the same unconditional love and exquisite joy that I felt with the being of light (Jesus) when they 'visit.' As a Catholic priest, I have experienced loving spirits at the funerals of parishioners. Sometimes, I can 'see' their loved ones standing next to the bereaved and I can feel their heavenly joy.
Consequently, I have no fear of death, as I know that this loving being of light is real. As I say, I know that this being of light is Jesus. If we only knew, how loved we are loved by God and that we are truly beings of love meant to love and receive love!
Date NDE Occurred: April 1971
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No I was not dead. Other None of above.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 The entire time I was fully alert and fully conscious.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The entire time I was fully alert and fully conscious.
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
Absolutely, time stopped. I was in 'eternity.' Time and place as descriptors no one longer had relevance. This was not time or place like I have ever experienced.
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. The light from this being was incredible. Indescribable. It was beautiful, translucent, crystalline, pure, alive, filled with joy, humor and life. I was amazed I could look at this light without pain, as it was brighter than a million suns. If light could be pure love, joy, peace, this light was infinitely so. It was a living light. It radiated love, peace and joy.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. The room was quiet and the only 'sound' I could hear was the 'sound' of the telepathically delivered voice. The voice was more than a voice as it expressed the whole personality of the being. A being of pure joy, love with a wonderful sense of humor and an easy ability to laugh.
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? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes The Being of light. He communicated telepathically with me. This kind of communication was natural and 'normal.' No one else was present except for my friend Joe. Once the conversation began, I was alone with the being of light.
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
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No After, I met the being of light, and began 'speaking with him', it was just me and him. It was as if everything else faded into the background. I felt I had all the time I wanted or needed with this being. There as no rush, no sense of urgency. It was very relaxed; I felt totally free to be myself as this being was also totally free. Its freedom and joy and humor was intoxicating.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Joy! Love! Peace! Timelessness. Eternity.
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 the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control Not particular events, but I knew that the Being of Light did. He saw my whole life at one time, past, present and future. His response to me was one of unconditional love and delight.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
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? Liberal I was an agnostic.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Yes, I would say. I became a Catholic priest.
What is your religion now? Moderate Roman Catholic
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Yes, I would say. I became a Catholic priest.
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
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 In the sense, that I knew me and the entire human race is incredibly loved.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My whole life has been changed. I find life an adventure with daily spiritual lessons offered us by life experiences and relationships. Life can get better and better if we embrace it all - even the tragedies of life - as part of the whole picture.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I can describe it but I can't express in words the love, joy, peace I felt.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I 'see' those who have just died. I have had numerous experiences with deceased friends and loved one visiting me and saying goodbye. One told me that she was in heaven and that it was 'so beautiful' she said this to me as if she knew 'when' I was to die and join her, too. As a priest, I often experience this at funerals and burials. It invokes the same experience I had with this being of light. I feel joy, peace, love of the dead.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The being of light whom I see as Jesus. It is clear that he loves everyone in a way that is amazing. I know for non-believers it is hard to imagine a Being that is madly in love with all of us.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I have done this many times. Those who believe in God accept it as a possibility. Those who do not believe do not. I have often told others who are dying about this experience with the being of light. I do not say 'I' was the one who had the experience and they are very comforted by it. When I share the experience of the dead person's presence with their loved ones, they are very comforted by it.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No This was 1971 and before this was discussed.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real More real than this world. The material world is real to be sure, but this reality is 'more real.'
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It is an ongoing source of comfort and encouragement.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No I was not taking any medications. I had nothing to drink.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It was a wonderful experience. It happened when I was twenty-one but I remember it as fresh as when it happened with crystal clarity.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No suggestions.