It was mid-afternoon, about 2:30 pm. I was in parachute training and practising a high altitude jump. We were leaving the airplane at about 50,000 feet and had free fall for quite some time. We were instructed to start our parachute procedures at 1000 feet. When my altimeter read 1050 feet, I got ready to deploy my chute. At 1000 feet, I pulled my rip cord. I looked up and the chute was not open. It was a balled-up tube that was rolling and flapping in the air above me. This was a main chute failure. That was alright though because I had trained for this. I cut away from the failed chute, and did my 4 count, like I was taught to do.
I then pulled my reserve chute deployment strap, and out came my reserve chute. I and saw that one of my risers had gone over the center of the reserve chute a little to left. That is when I realized I was screwed. The bow-tie shaped chute above me was not ideal to say the least, and as a result I started to rock to the left and the right. The rocking became more severe at about 500 feet above the ground. The rocking caused the left side of the chute to collapse and made me go into a spin at about 200 to 300 feet from the earth. I thought to myself, 'This is it, I'm done. I'm 19 years old, and I'm about to leave the earth.'
I spun-in hard and I felt myself losing consciousness as blackness started creeping into my eyesight. I hit the ground really hard. It hurt so badly! At first, there was nothing but blackness and silence. Then, it was like an extremely loud bang. I saw flashes of light with the sound of wind around me and moving faster than I've ever heard it before. There was intense heat, followed by freezing temperatures. Then it stopped.
I saw a walkway with millions of colors; all flowing and moving from different directions into a single point in front of me. The colors moved over a misty background, almost like a stage fogger but the expanse of it was enormous. It was like I could see the other walkways leading to the center. There were people on the walkways. Some people were walking, some were standing there, and some were running. I could see all of this even though those walkways looked like they were hundreds of miles long and miles apart from each other. It felt strangely comfortable though.
As I walked very slowly toward the intersection of all these walkways. I saw an attractive woman, about my age, whom I recognized but wasn't sure who she was exactly. She did not say anything but did shake her head. I took a step towards her and felt an enormous amount of pain. I closed my eyes and felt a jolt backwards so I thought I was falling. I tried to turn around to land on my seat. I felt myself falling into the walkway. My eyes were still closed, and then I heard and felt that fast wind with the temperature changes. I noticed smells. I smelled sulpher, then flowers, and then rust. I could even taste the rust in my mouth.Then there was another massive expanse of silence and darkness, like nothingness.
Then the pain returned in its fullest form.It hurt when I woke up in a hospital on base. I had hit the ground and broken several ribs, my legs, fractured my skull, injured my spleen and other internal organs, and even bruised my heart. One of the other soldiers in my group said they did CPR on me but he didn't think I needed it. He said he felt a pulse the whole time.
Date NDE Occurred: 06/08/2001
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
Airborne Jump Training, US Army. I hit the ground at 70-90 MPH
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
Did you feel separated from your body? No
I lost awareness of my body
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. Everything was brighter and more crisp and sharp. The colors were more vivid and sounds were clearer.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? At the place where all the walkways come together, just before the pain came back.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
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'm a little near-sighted, and more so as I get older. But during the experience it was like I had perfect vision.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I have had a constant ringing in my ears, called tinnitus, since I was 10 or 12 years old. The tinnitus was not present at all during the experience.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I'm not sure if it was a tunnel. It felt more like I was traveling really fast in a single direction and through a void. I guess it could have been a tunnel but I don't think so; not with the changes in temperature and light happening so rapidly, and the smells on the way back. It's more like I went somewhere.
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 The woman I saw, I remembered who she was later. It was a former girlfriend who died from a car wreck two years earlier. It was her but she looked different, like time had aged her in a perfect way since she had such a youthful appearance for the mature woman she was supposed to become.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes the flashes of light when I was traveling and when I got the intersection place. It seemed like the light was soft, yet sharp and unfiltered.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. There were colorful, vibrant walkways that were coming from multiple directions and moving to a center point.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I'm a pretty emotionless guy. My wife in fact says that I'm cold and stoic most of the time, but at the time I was approaching the intersection of the walkways, I felt satisfied and felt like I was enjoying what was happening.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
The experience included: Life review
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? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Other Christian Old School Southern Baptist, but not primative.
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? Christian- Other Christian Southern Baptist, regularly attend different churches.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. I'm a traditional Baptist. You go to the pearly gates, Peter judges your life based on your sins and the truthfulness of your absolution and then requests if you know Jesus as your savior. I never saw St. Peter, never saw any pearly gates; none of that. For a minute I thought they changed the route to hell, and I was about to plunge into it. I really thought that when all the pain came back before I woke up.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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? God definitely exists
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 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 not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared 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 after your experience? Are probably 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? Not compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life. I got an invincibility complex. Later in my military career, some other soldiers called me 'General Jackson' because I was known to have what we sometimes is call tombstone courage. I'd walk head on into very dangerous situations without regard for my personal safety. In fact, I was presented with many awards, medals, accolades, and recognition for the actions. That continued into my law enforcement career where I was known to conduct search warrant entries alone, and not wait on a team to do it. This behavior stayed consistant until my children were born.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I've never told anyone about this due to the stigma that happens from folks that live in the bible belt. I'm from the south.
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.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Seeing my old girlfriend, even though I'm married and have kids now. I miss her.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
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 probably not real. For days afterwards, I thought I was just knocked out and had a messed up dream.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. My brain could not have made me feel that much while I was not conscious.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
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