At age 7, I was taking swimming lessons in the very deep, dark Lake Michigan. The swimming instructor was a teenage boy. It was our last lesson. He told us to swim out as far as you can, then stop, turn around in the water, and come back to shore. I was a good swimmer, so I kept going and going. I finally realized there were no other kids with me because I had swam so far out. I stopped, turned around, stepped down and sunk. I kept sinking. My lungs filled with water. The water was very deep and dark. Suddenly, I was enveloped in a warm, loving light. It felt like caring arms around me. I woke up with the lifeguard pushing on my back. He was using the old-fashioned revival method of turning the victim on the stomach and pulling up on arms to push water out. The lifeguard begged me not to tell my mother or he'd be in big trouble. I promised and never talked about this incident until my second NDE at age 30.
Date NDE Occurred: June 1959
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drowning Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
I was taking swimming lessons in Lake Michigan. I sunk and drowned.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
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 I felt as if I was part of a warm, loving light that knew everything about me.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? While sinking into the lake
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
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. Previously, swimming in that lake it was dark and murky. In the NDE, I could see all around me due to the bright light.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. No difference; it was quiet.
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
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 A warm, golden light filled the whole lake and enveloped me.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The light surrounded me and lit up the whole lake.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Utter Joy
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
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? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated my father was an atheist. my mother was a deist. we moved frequently, due to father's job as cartographer. surrounded by scientific minded people
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Other Christian I was saved at age 18 in a dramatic religious experience. But I had seen Jesus as a child often.
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 was not raised in a religious home. But for some reason, I saw Jesus as a child. When I asked my father, 'Does Jesus follow us everywhere we move?' My father got angry and told me to stop thinking such nonsense. So when I drowned, the Light I saw, I felt was Jesus. This wasn't from any teachings or beliefs I'd been taught. It was instinctive.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I now knew I was right that Jesus was real, despite my father's insistence that I was imagining Him.
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 The warm light that filled the dark lake was like loving arms surrounding me and enveloping me. It was definitely as if a loving being were holding me in his/her arms.
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? Yes I just felt as if the light were a loving being. I later thought about it and felt it was God/Jesus.
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 Upon thinking about the experience, I thought the light was Jesus, whom I had seen as a child, despite parents not being religious. God definitely exists.
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? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
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? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly 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? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I was filled with Love and felt that I was loved. This was not a usual experience, as my mother was rather cold towards me and my father had many rages.
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 My first NDE (this one at age 7) was more enhanced and added to, when I had an NDE at age 30. I will do another questionnaire about that second NDE.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I had a father prone to angry fits of rage, and a mother who did not bother to protect me from the beatings. So to feel that warm, loving light/arms around me was difficult to describe. I'd never felt that kind of love before.
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. Although I do remember going to various schools since we moved so often (I went to six different first grades), the drowning/NDE incident when I was age 7 is extremely vivid in my mind, even now that I am 63.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes For some people, I can take their hands and tell them things about their past and future.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The loving light reminds me that God loves us.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes 23 years
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 definitely real It was so vivid. Hard to explain. I just knew it was real. The lifeguard revived me and he was so frantic. The kids surrounding me shouted, 'You came back!!'
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I've since had another NDE and so I know the one at age 7 was real. It was too vivid to be a dream or a hallucination.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I had another NDE at age 30.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It helped me inside when my father was mean, when he told me to kill myself, or when he beat me. The NDE made me feel I was meant to be alive and to keep going.
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