I was riding home on my Harley at 60 mph late in the afternoon, when an old model low-rider Buick ran a stop sign about 50 feet in front of me. I barely had time to touch my brakes when I hit him full on broad side of the driver's door. The last thing I remember was my body hitting the car, before both my bike and I went flying over it before hitting the highway.
As told to me by family I was life-flighted to the hospital, where I underwent eight hours of bodily and brain surgery and spent the next four days in ICU, followed by a total of seven days in a coma with friends and family by my side in the hospital room.
I knew none of this, as the next thing I realized after hitting the car I was floating in outer space with the earth below. To the best of my guess I was in orbit around 400-600 miles above the earth, but one thing I was not aware of at the time, but thought about years later, was that were no stars. The Earth was there, though not particularly noticeable, but what was noticeable was the complete and utter darkness. Not just a darkness of not being able to see what was there, but also a darkness from the lack of anything being there - a complete void of emptiness.
I remember floating along in orbit for a while until I noticed something coming toward me. As it got closer, I saw that it was a door, much like the door that is floating in the title sequence of the old Twilight Zone TV series. When it came to me, I knocked on the door. As it opened this unbelievably bright and pure white light came pouring out into the darkness from inside. I wanted to go inside so bad I could taste it. I wanted to go in there more than I have ever wanted anything in my life. I remember this feeling of finally going home for the first time in my life, but then as I began to cross the threshold and enter I heard this very loud, though not shouting, deep voice say 'No.' At that moment I began falling. Looking back, I saw the door closing and felt the most profound feeling of rejection and hurt that I have never experienced before or since. I looked down and saw myself falling towards Earth.
The next thing I remember was hearing a ringing in my ear. I opened my eyes to see what I would realize later to be an empty hospital room, and the ringing was coming from a phone beside my bed. I went to reach for the phone and realized that I could not because both my arms were in casts. As it kept ringing, I was able to get one arm out of a sling and answer the phone. It was the manager at the ISP that I ran. He was telling me that Adrian, the brightest young man that I knew and first employee I hired at the company, had just died in a car wreck.
After I hung up the phone I thought about how this was his last summer working for me before he went to the naval school, where he had been one of the few young men each year to be accepted. Over the next two years all the excruciating pain, both mental and physical, that I experienced was nothing compared to the emotional pain I felt over Adrian being chosen over me to die.
It took me those two years and more to come to the realization and understanding that Adrian was chosen because in some way God loved him even more than He loved me. He had brought him home, while I had to wait to go to that wonderful place with the warm white light waiting to cradle my soul. That was my first realization. The second was that God was through with me. I came to realize that in some fundamental way, we are all in God's hands, and it is our duty and responsibility to do His work and in some little way make this world a better place for others and our children to live in.
I get up every morning with a little prayer that I can do in this day what God would have me do. Most of the time, if not all, I fail, but thanks to others in my life, especially my wife and children, sometimes I succeed.
Date NDE Occurred: 10/30/1999
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Direct head injury 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I was in a coma for 7 days.
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
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 When I knocked on the door. Compared to that moment of knocking on the door and being flooded with that warm pure white light, everyday consciousness is like walking around in a London fog.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No The only comment I will make is that there seemed no reason to hurry.
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. I saw things very overtly and explicitly with the complete dark void then being flooded with the pure white light.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. There was total silence, including the opening of the door, but when I heard God say, 'No!' it was like thunder, but not startlingly so, followed again by complete silence until I heard the ringing of the telephone.
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? Uncertain I experienced no other individual beings, but I felt a welcoming warmth coming from inside the door that was in some way divergent from the negative reaction I received from the voice when I tried to go in.
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
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm As explained in the recitation of events above it was just unearthly as it was happening, particularly as I could see the Earth below me. Looking back on my experience in the years since, there is little doubt that I was in that place between Heaven and Earth, however you describe it in the Bible or other great books of religion. The place behind the door was Heaven or the place where God dwells, and where we all hope to go one day.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? When first orbiting in space I felt nothing but perhaps curiosity at where I was, and what that door off in the distance was. When the door opened, I experienced the most intense longing to enter that I have ever known. When I heard 'No!' I experienced the greatest loss I have ever felt.
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? No I myself did not feel completely united with nature nor did I understand everything, but I knew that I would once I had gone through the door.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes The door.
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 There is no doubt in my mind that the door was the door to Heaven, and that God sent me back to Earth.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant Went to Methodist church on regular basis
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I grew up Methodist and became Episcopal before the wreck, specifically because it is the most liberal of Protestant faiths. Once I embraced Jesus as the true Son of God, which took me decades to do, I wanted a church that I felt fully embraced His gospel of love, caring, and communalism (since then the term 'communalism' has been so corrupted by politics).
The experience of almost touching God and hearing His voice with my own heart as it fundamentally changed me. Not in my beliefs about Jesus' universal love and acceptance of even unholy gentiles, and not in my soul itself, but I came to realize that I could no longer just 'be' a Christian, I had to 'spread the good news' or evangelize, so I became Pentecostal (that some consider the most conservative of Protestant faiths).
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant Go to Pentecostal church on a regular basis
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 have always been a Christian, but a questioning Christian. Questioning to the point of considering other non-Christian religious ways at times, though I have never really questioned God, under whatever name He, She, or It goes under. But I never believed outright in Heaven or even a "life after death". But though I cannot say what Heaven is, I have seen it, and I have heard God's voice. So there has been no doubt in my mind since the wreck, even with the new study on rat's brains experiencing "life after death" that there is a Heaven and I hope and pray that God let's me in next time I knock.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I now no longer believe that life is about living this 'heaven on earth'. I believe that life is about what we, as human beings in His image, can do to make Earth more like, not less like, Heaven for those around us and those coming.
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 heard the voice of God say 'No!' in an almost stern way when I began to cross the threshold of the door. It sounded like when you tell your dog or cat 'No!' when they try to come inside after being out in the rain. It was deep and almost thunderous, but not scary.
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? Yes As for the experience itself, I can only say that there was the overwhelming feeling that I would be "going home" by crossing through that door. So in that context, by definition I had to have originally come from there.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Not sure whether you would call Heaven and "mystical universe", but that is definitely what lays beyond that door, and there was absolutely a feeling of unity/oneness coming from behind it.
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 There was no question in my mind at that moment when I heard His voice, or since in the years I have had to think about it, it was God telling me to go back.
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 possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes The fact that God said no to me was not for lack of love, but because He had more work for me to do.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes There was no question to me whether I was dead, because I was not. And there was no question about be dying once I crossed the door's threshold, because I would not. So it was less a feeling that there would be life after death than there would be the nex
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
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? Yes Earthly death is not something to fear. In fact it is something to almost look forward to, but only in God's time, not ours.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes That they would all be meaningless once I crossed the threshold.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I have never, either before or since, felt the overwhelming love that I felt coming from the light.
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 Large changes in my life. It has taken years, if not a decade or longer, to fully come to the fruition of those events, if fully there now. Though my life was not meaningless before (I had two wonderful girls, started three entrepreneurial companies, made a ton of money) I was just 'living' life. Now, even with the ordeal of still dealing with severe TBI, I 'experience' life, beginning every day with a prayer of hope and ending every night with a prayer of forgiveness.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I no longer have the girlfriend I had the wonderful prior weekend with, and I have become closely bonded with one daughter and partially estranged to the other - all directly related to the motorcycle wreck and resulting experience, at least in my belief. However, I also now have the most wonderful wife, four more daughters, and nine grandchildren that I believe are also a direct result. My spiritual friends and religious relationships have run the gamut with my change from Episcopal to Pentecostal, which can be considered to be the two extremes of the Protestant Church, so the answer would definitely be yes.
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 The remembrance of "the experience" is more real than the memory of hitting the car at 60-mph or the wonderful weekend trip with my girlfriend before the wreck or the insane year after living literally on an alien world.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I have, although you could count them on one or two hands. Other than those nearest to me in my life, they have been people like the friend who was dealing with his wife under treatment for terminal cancer and found out his only son had died of a drug overdose. It took me a couple years to talk about it to anyone, mainly because it took me that long to realize I had not been dropped on an alien planet. Once I did though, more often than not, the initial reaction was questioning often followed by hope.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Of course I had heard stories about people floating over their bodies in hospital rooms, watching themselves being respirated, but I always thought it was their minds playing tricks on them.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real There was no question to me that it was real immediately thereafter, but I did not have time to really think about it as I was dealing with living among a bunch of aliens (and I don't mean the cross border type), so I did not deal with the reality of the experience itself for years.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Having dealt the 'reality of my real life', and having had a decade to think long and hard about it, there is no doubt in my mind that it was more real than anything that has ever happened to me, before or since.
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? As I lightly touched on before, subsequent to the experience and as a result of the traumatic brain injury from the motorcycle wreck, I spent the following year living on an alien planet. I could write a book about that year but, in short, when I woke up in an empty hospital room an alien walked in with a white uniform, speaking an alien language that took me a while to learn, I realized that when I was sent back to Earth somehow I missed and ended up on this planet. So through the next year, as I came to learn that this place was actually home, the memory of the experience kept me rooted in God's 'real reality' and my real home that would be waiting for me in the decades ahead.