I was at a party in my hometown. The party was thrown by a friend whom I had a bit of a crush on. I was about sixteen years old (Liz was eighteen and, alas, way out of my league). The house became very crowded and I went outside with my best friend at the time and we sat on a wall chatting. There were other people outside in the street and a fight broke out between two boys who were a little older than we were. We sat and watched the fight and I remember commenting to my friend that it was a bit pathetic - ‘handbags at twenty paces’ – as the two boys wrestled pretty ineffectually for several minutes. We carried on chatting. Suddenly, one of the boys ran past us into the house, slamming the door behind him. The boy, who had been fighting with him so lamely, suddenly seemed far more aggressive. He and his friends (there were two or three other boys with him although I don't think they joined in the fight initially) began wrecking a picket fence between my friend's house and the house next door. It was a row of terraced houses, there was a short path outside the front door with a wall and gate leading onto the street. There was a similar row of houses opposite). Anyway, the boy who had been fighting took a large plank of wood and, using it like a battering ram, charged at the front door and smashed through one of the two panes of glass in the upper door. I was astonished and angry and jumped off the wall to confront him. In hindsight, I should have tried to be more diplomatic but, without really thinking, I told him to ‘fuck off’. He turned towards me but, meanwhile, one of his cronies hit me from behind with another plank from the fence. My friend had tried to warn me and I had turned my head to look behind but it was too late. I staggered towards the front door with blood pouring from my head and, thankfully, the boys ran away. I remember putting my hand upon the one intact pane in the door, smearing blood on the glass, and then turning and flopping down onto the front step. Suddenly I could see myself from above, sitting on the doorstep with my head in my hands. My consciousness was 'floating' approximately twelve feet from the ground. I felt incredibly calm and strangely disinterested in the commotion carrying on below me. I could see people running around and I could hear people shouting. I especially remember Liz, the girl who lived at the house, crying ‘Damien, not Damien’ in a very distressed voice, which I recollected later with some satisfaction. I had no idea what was happening to me as I had never read about out of body experiences. Beyond the initial separation of consciousness, I'm afraid that compared to many of the experiences described on this website – and those in books I've read since – my out of body experience is remarkable only for being unremarkable. For whatever reason, I became fascinated by the arched brickwork above the front door. I found myself drifting towards the arch and just stared at it, oblivious to what was going on below. Then I was back in my body. I remember the feeling of blood pumping between my fingers and the heat of the blood. My friends walked me to the hospital, which was not far down the road, and half dozen stitches later I went home.
Date NDE Occurred: 1979
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Criminal attack 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' . I was whacked on the head with a stick. Although it didn't seem too life threatening at the time, I have since heard of instances where people have died in similar circumstances - presumably they were hit a bit harder than I was.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes Sadly (in hindsight), I didn't try to look at my spirit body (if I had one).
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was very alert due to the threat of violence.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Although things initially seemed to be happening in 'real time', it seemed to me that I spent a long time gazing at that wall. But it couldn't have been any time at all or, judging by the way the blood was still gushing from my head when I returned to my body, I would have died from blood loss.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? Just the voices of the people down below.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I remained in the street above my physical body. Everything looked the same although the viewpoint was novel.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm My hearing was good - it seemed normal apart from the fact that I was perceiving the sound from somewhere several feet above my physical body. My vision was altered somehow but I can't explain how. I could see up both sides of the street at once in an 'expanded way'. Although this seems unusual now, I wasn't at all fazed by it at the time (any more than I was by the fact that I was floating outside my body). I could focus in on specific objects by drifting towards them. I didn't try to touch or taste anything and I don't recall whether I could smell anything or not.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? One of the strangest things about the experience was the lack of emotion. My complete sense of calm and my bizarre disinterest in what was going on below me.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe On the contrary, it is embarrassing that I was obsessed with a few bricks given the circumstances. It was almost like a child who opens a fabulous Christmas present and yet is only interested in the wrapping paper. I wish now that I had experimented.
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 was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal Roman Catholic
What is your religion now? Liberal Christian
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes As a child I was terrified by the idea of living forever. Now, I do not fear death or the idea of life after death.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain Certain aspects of the experience are difficult to communicate: the possible distortion of time and vision. It's only difficult because I do not understand some aspects myself.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I had a series of lucid 'flying' dreams that culminated in my consciousness (sub consciousness or whatever) zooming off into space in a similar way that some people describe who have had more dramatic out of body experiences.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Best: feeling so serene.
Worst: the shock of returning to my body.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I didn't mention it to anyone for a long time because I didn't understand it myself. As I learned more about it, I told other people. The first person I told was my dad. We didn't get on very well during my teenage years and we had some serious issues for a long time afterwards. One day we had a really long ‘heart-to-heart’ in which the subject somehow came up. We sorted out all kinds of issues and I got a sense of how difficult his own childhood was, which put my gripes into perspective. He finished off by saying that in the end we just have to learn to ‘rise above these things’. As an afterthought he added, ‘not literally, of course’, which I thought was quite witty.
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? Throughout the years since that incident I have read numerous articles on out of body experiences, most of them far more remarkable than my own experience. It was only recently, however, that I read Raymond Moody's seminal work Life After Life, which describes a whole series of out of body experiences. He divided the 'typical' out of body experience into about 15 different experiences, which included the spirit leaving the body (of course), seeing yourself from above, going through a tunnel, etc. Although my own experience is relatively unremarkable - I calculated that I experienced just four of the fifteen - I have to believe that what the majority of other people say is also true. Rushing through tunnels, meeting a spirit of light and other spirits all sounds fantastic and unbelievable but I think that that is what happens when we die.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It's a great site. I'm really grateful that you're doing this research.