I was 14 years old. My parents allowed me to go on vacation with my girlfriend and her family. In the summer of 1973, we went camping near the beach. I was a rarity in Southern California in that I didn't know know how to swim, but I loved the water. I went dog-paddling out into the mostly-calm water. There is a little breakwater and a bay, as I recall. Out of nowhere, a very large wave came and pulled me under.
I remember not being able to breathe and for a split second I was terrified. Then I felt peace that was not particularly pleasant nor unpleasant emotion. I rose above my body and watched it tumble around in the water. I wasn't afraid or struggling because I wasn't in my body at all.
Then all of a sudden I was back in my body. I was gasping, spluttering, and trying to cough up the water that was trying to get into my lungs. I never lost consciousness.
Date NDE Occurred: 1973
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Drowning. Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
I couldn't swim, but I was engulfed by a huge wave and couldn't breathe. I suppose I started to drown.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain. I saw only myself tumbling through the water. I saw kelp and the sandy sea floor beneath me and the shining of the sun down through the water. I'm not sure I understand the question!
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 An unusual thing was happening, and so I was more present, if you will.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Entirely awake and alert.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual.
Time went 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. Utterly clear. I could see perfectly under the water, with no stinging 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. I don't remember hearing anything.
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? Terror at first and then a sense of peace. I had a sense of what will be, will be. I also had curiosity.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events. I think this began to happen, and then I was back in my body. It is so long ago, but I have the sense that this did happen or begin to happen.
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? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic. I had a Catholic background but no real instruction in my faith. I was really an adolescent seeker at that time.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain. I searched harder for God.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Catholic. Strong faith, traditionally-minded Catholic, pray every day, attend Mass as often as I can.
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 was 14 years old and had never really considered or maybe even heard of out of body experience or NDEs. I really didn't know what to make of my experience. Now, I think maybe it was an OBE or simply a disassociative experience. I have never experienced anything like it since.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain. I think I sought God more rigorously.
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? I was uncertain if God 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 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? Are possibly 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? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife probably exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I greatly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Greatly 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 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? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life. I sought God more rigorously after the experience.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain. I think the experience helped me to realize at a young age how precarious our lives are.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain. It is a very strange experience. I never told anyone at the time because I couldn't really understand what happened to me. I just kind of filed it away.
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
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Uncertain I don't think I ever have, but I can't really recall. It is not something that comes up in regular conversation.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain. Don't remember.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It was my experience. Whether or not is was my soul out of my body or dissociation, I do not know.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
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