In 1973, at the age of twenty, I was in a serious automobile accident. I had been in a tavern, drinking with friends, which had become a regular habit of mine on the weekends during that time of my life. A good friend of mine had insisted on giving me a ride home, but for some reason, I made a life changing decision to take a ride home with an acquaintance, Dennis, that I had known through other close friends of mine.
These are the things I knew about Dennis:
He had attended the same schools that I had for as long as I can remember.
He was a kind, quiet young man.
He loved his muscle car.
He loved his girlfriend with whom he had recently broken up.
From the moment I got into the car with Dennis, he began talking about the girl that he loved so desperately. I was sensitive to his situation because I had recently broken off a bad relationship that I was still emotionally connected to. I remember that during those few minutes before the collision, I felt so very sorry for Dennis as he began to cry.
We approached and then passed through the intersection where we were supposed to have turned. As the engine revved and then screamed, I remember thinking how depressed he must be.
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My next realization was of being in a void - traveling through space - being pushed and pulled at the same time. I was traveling at such an enormous rate of speed that I could feel friction on my body. This wasn't the body that I was used to. But it was a body of some sort - an element? - or an energy maybe?
The speed was increasing continuously. I don't know how long I traveled because time was no longer relevant. I was aware that I was being directed toward something important. The light was in the distance.
Before I could reach the light, I came to a plateau. On this plateau there were people of light, transparent, in long flowing robes or maybe they were not robes but part of their 'bodies'.
I knew that these beings were my ancestors, people that I had NOT known in my lifetime but that were connected to me nonetheless. They were all smiling and happy to see me as though they had been waiting for me. They were glad that I was there so that they could tell me the secret that they all knew.
One of them came forward to greet me. She told me that she had something to tell me. I don't remember her speaking actual words, more with thought. I DO remember her speaking one word though. It was a simple one syllable, two letter word like 'ib' or 'er' - a word that I had never heard before. I remember wondering how there could be such a word - so simple, yet undiscovered by man - only two letters.
At the very moment she said this word, I knew the reason for everything. It was as if I was connected with all of the other beings - the ones I saw there on the plateau - the ones that I did not see but were somewhere in the distance in the place that I had not yet traveled, near the light - and the ones that I had left behind on earth. Everyone. Everything.
I looked back over my shoulder away from the plateau and I could see it all. I realized the reason for everything. I had all knowledge. I turned back to look at my greeter and she was still smiling at me. I saw everyone standing behind her and felt a sense of wonder and awe that can't be described. They were all smiling and nodding. They were happy that I understood. I felt an excitement, happiness and love that can't be expressed on this earth.
I knew that I had to return to my life. I had no choice. There was no question about it. I could see what had to be done.
When I became aware that I was in the hospital, my body hurt with such a pain that it was almost unbearable. I was later told that while I was in the emergency room, they thought they had lost me more than once. Even after I was conscious during my two week stay in the intensive care unit, my friends and family thought that I might not pull through. But from the moment I was aware, I knew that I would live.
I spent two months in the hospital and had many ups and downs. I found out that Dennis was killed in the wreck. I overcame many emotional and physical scars caused during this time in my life. I have lived my life between then and now and have made mistakes and wrong decisions. I have experienced happy times and made many good decisions. In other words, I have experienced life.
I have tried many times to remember the simple word that explained everything, but I know I never will. The knowledge that I had briefly is not meant for this life. When we pass over, we will all 'understand' and become part of the light. I know this because I was allowed a glimpse of our afterlife.
Date NDE Occurred: October 1973
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Automobile accident with several life threatening injuries. I was in intensive care for two weeks and had several surgeries. My total stay in the hospital was two months. Life threatening event, but not clinical death I was in a Catholic hospital and was told that I was given my last rights three times
I was a passenger in a speeding automobile that hit another car head-on. The car that I was in flipped end over end three times. I have no memory of the wreck itself. I only know details of the accident from people who witnessed it.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was most alert at the moment my greeter spoke the two letter 'word of wisdom'.
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
It seemed as though I experienced many things, but when I became aware that I was in the hospital, it felt like a split second.
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 was more vivid. I felt that I could see as far as I needed to see.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I remember hearing a ringing in my ears as I was traveling through the void. When I was on the plateau, most of what I heard was with my mind. I could hear and comprehend everything at once.
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? Uncertain It was more like space or a void, but I can see how it could have been interpreted as a tunnel. The light looked like it was at the end of a tunnel in a way.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
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 I saw a group of other beings that I perceived to be my ancestors from many, many generations ago. They were all gathered on the plateau, waiting for me. One of them took the lead to greet me. They were anxious to help me understand the meaning and reason of life.
The experience included: Void
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 The light was in the distance. It became larger as I moved towards it, but I never reached it. I could still see it in the distance when I came to the plateau.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I came to a plateau where many beings or spirits were waiting for me.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Euphoria, extreme love, happiness, satisfaction, security.
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
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I saw my own life experience and how this life experience was connected to all others, past, present and future. I came away with the feeling that each life is a learning and teaching experience.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I remember knowing about all events, but I was not meant to remember them in this life.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes I came to the plateau, but I knew that I would not be going into the light. It was understood.
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? Moderate I was raised in the Southern Baptist religion. For some time before the accident I had not attended church and disagreed with much of the doctrine of the church.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I don't believe that a person has to be a particular religion or believe a certain way in order to go to Heaven. I feel more spiritual and closer to God. I don't attend church often, but feel more connected to God now than before my experience. I feel more connected to the entire universe and understand that science and spirituality are not necessarily opposites. By the way, I believe in reincarnation.
What is your religion now? Moderate 'Even though I still do not attend church regularly, I feel spiritually moved no matter what the denomination of church I attend. I can also be just as moved when watching the science channel on TV when the subject is astronomy or physics - or - when photographing another human being or beautiful landscape.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I don't believe that a person has to be a particular religion or believe a certain way in order to go to Heaven. I feel more spiritual and closer to God. I don't attend church often, but feel more connected to God now than before my experience. I feel more connected to the entire universe and understand that science and spirituality are not necessarily opposites. By the way, I believe in reincarnation.
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? No During my experience, I learned the meaning of life. I learned why we exist. I learned the reason for everything - from the smallest particles in the universe to the largest galaxies. All of this was possible after I was told one simple two letter word. When I came back here, I no longer knew the word.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I don't sweat the little things. I am more likely to understand and realize that people have to make their own choices in life. I don't try to control the ones I love even if I may not agree with their decision. I am very patient now.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Since there is nothing in this world to compare the experience to, it is impossible to find the words to make another person understand.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I have had a few psychic experiences in my life, but I think they would have happened anyway.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The most significant part of my experience was knowing that when our bodies die our souls will live on. When I was told the word and I was granted all knowledge, I felt like I was part of God. We all are. That is a very comforting thought for me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was many years before I told anyone about my experience. The ones closest to me know about it - and a few others. Some are skeptical and some are very interested. I get the feeling that even the skeptical ones know that I experienced something, but they feel that it was a sort of a dream reaction from the trauma or medication.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I think that I had probably heard something about near death experiences before my experience, but I became interested in the experiences of others after I had my own experience.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real My experience was new to me then. It was fresh in my mind and I had no doubt that it happened.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real The experience that I had was thirty-four years ago. Even though it feels like a vivid memory, like the day I was married or other important experiences in my life, many scientists see it as a reaction of the brain. I suppose this is a possibility. I just don't see how, if it was a 'dream', it could have affected my life as profoundly as it has.
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? I would just like to say that the experience changed my life. I was on my way to making a very difficult life for myself. I have still made many mistakes but I see them more as learning experiences. I don't take things for granted any more. I am grateful to God for each day I live, but I'm not afraid to die.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No.