My family went to a city pool and I'm almost sure it was the 4th of July. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time. I distinctly recall Mom telling me to stay in the kiddy pool because I didn't know how to swim. The kiddy pool was full of babies and toddlers and the water was warm and yellowish. It was so disgusting to me, that I thought I would get in at the shallowest end of the big pool and hold onto the sides. The pool was full of kids, mostly grade-schoolers at the shallower end. My feet touched the bottom. All was well until a group of boys began cannonballing around me and I let go of the side of the pool.
I floated into the deeper water in the center of the pool. I was struggling to keep my head above water until I was too tired to continue. I remember the panic of not being able to breathe and then sucking in water. I heard muffled splashes, shouts and laughter that come with a busy pool. I remember being on my back on the bottom of the pool feeling the water pulling me deeper while I watched the legs of swimmers and saw the shafts of sunlight in the water. As I was going under the ropes that separated the shallow from the deep diving end, I was in a drug-like state completely accepting of what was happening and in no pain or distress.
Then I felt myself over the pool in a way that was odd. I was over my body and about 5 feet above the water. I felt a light breeze. I felt fully as myself. I was at peace, not really understanding or caring about what was happening below the water. Then, I saw and heard a redheaded teenaged boy yell, 'Hey!' as he dove under the water. I knew that this shout was about me.
The next thing I remember was being held upside down by several adults with water streaming like fire coming out of my lungs. Oddly enough, the narrative of that story remained unchanged until at some point in my late teens, I began to understand my experience as out of body. Up until then I hadn't thought to question or pick apart the experience.
Date NDE Occurred: July 4 1964 or 1965
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
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? Yes I was above the water to see and hear my rescuer. I did ask my mother if a redheaded teenage boy had pulled me from the bottom a number of years later and she said 'yes.'
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 I wasn't fighting for my life, so I was completely observant of the situation. I was probably more conscious than normal but normally alert.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Probably the drug-like state just before I was above the pool.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
I'm sure that this thing may have happened in the span of a few minutes but it seemed like time was slower.
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. I saw very clearly under the water probably because I wasn't feeling the sting of chlorine in my eyes.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. About the same but a bit more focused.
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? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Panic, as I fought for breath in the initial part of the experience, then total peace and acceptance.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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
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? Christian- Catholic I was pretty young then. I don't recall having much religious belief or indoctrination at that age.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths
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 I was too young to have formed much of any beliefs. I didn't connect beliefs with the experience then, it was essentially, what it was.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I believed that there was a purpose for my life outside of what I had been told, and up to then, had experienced.
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? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably 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 probably exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly 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 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? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Unknown I left that experience believing that there was a purpose for my life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain I had a rough relationship with my mother but after my experience, I was less needy of her love and attention. I became more self-contained, which I probably needed from an emotional survival standpoint.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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 was one of those beacon events in my life. I remember it clearly all these years later.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Foresight. Dreams that are occasionally prophetic. Animals are attracted to me and I completely understand them. I know it sounds weird in a Carrie-kind-of-way but I really need to be careful of how angry I let myself get. People that I have unresolved anger for have gotten hurt, as in broken bones, experienced streaks of bad luck... There is a definite pattern there.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The drug-like state. The feeling like all was well when objectively it clearly wasn't.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Once or twice in my late teens. My ex-husband. Once with a therapist, who took note. My present husband. Once recently with another person that had a near death experience. I can't say that anyone seems particularly impressed.
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 It was what it was. I didn't challenge or question the experience, at all, over the years.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Its memory remained unchanged by the years, with corroboration of the rescuer later from my mother. She gave me a detail I couldn't possibly have known especially from that particular vantage point over his head. I finally understood that I had an out of body experience, as I became an adult. I didn't put that together being so young, as I had no context for it.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain I've had a few dreams, especially when sick, over the years where I felt disconnected and outside my body.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I guess I consider this experience formative in many ways: The beginning of myself.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Not that I can think of. Thank you.