Experience Description 6494

I was working on a tugboat as a deckhand. We were waiting for good weather to tow two barges to Toronto. The captain got a good forecast and we went to hook up to the barges. It was dark and snowing heavily, but at least mild enough so that we wouldn't make ice if the spray out on Lake Huron hit us. We left the dock to hook up to the barges and picked up the rubber bumpers that were dragging in the water so less spray would hit us.

At the barges, I jumped off to hook up the running lights and heard a yell back at the tug. I ran back and the chief engineer was looking down. I saw Rick coming up like a codfish with his eyes wide open in fear. When he hit the surface, I grabbed him, but with the deck slippery with two inches of wet snow, I was in danger of being pulled in. Rick weighed around 200 lbs. and, as I was laying down reaching three feet down, how could I have done any different? Well, the tug was drifting in slowly and as it was right at the breast, Rick's head was going to get crushed. I couldn't let him go, so I squared my shoulders thinking maybe I'd just break a shoulder, but at least Rick's head wouldn't get it. Well, the tug kept on coming in and I realized that I couldn't get out even if I wanted to. I thought my ribs were going to splinter and all the while thinking the tug would have to stop, but it kept on coming and I thought my head was going to pop off. Thinking 'So that's it,' I felt stupid and said goodbye to my whole family.

Then, a friend of mine from back home, Bruce, was just off my right and said that everything's all right. He guided me ahead where there was a light so bright and glowing, and a whooshing tunnel-like whirlpool. I trusted Bruce and was going in when I asked, 'What's happening?' A male voice matter-of-factly said 'You are drowning' and I was given a choice. I then saw my mother and two sisters, Mary-Lou and Lorna, crying at the kitchen table like I never want to see again. I screamed out 'NO!' and woke up. I don't know how deep I was. I didn't even know I was in water, but when I hit the surface, I took a huge breath of air. All was dark as I must have looked south towards Lake Huron. It was dark as I turned, and then less dark as I peered through the falling snow. So what does a person do but head for the light, and sure enough it's a tug boat. There was no way to climb up the stern, so I made my way alongside, heard the engines, and realized that I worked on it. I made my way around the bow and Bill yelled out my name, 'Don!' My name came back and I realized I was in the water with a few feet to go for a grip onto the corner of the barge where Rick was holding onto a ladder. Rick couldn't get his feet on the first rung, so I reached up and felt pain in my shoulder but grabbed the ladder anyway and, with my head under Rick's butt, I pushed him up. The captain was pulling on him also as I'm sure Boyd was too. I climbed up myself and went on my knees on a construction mat looking up into the snow and thinking about God, and all I could see was a fierce picture of him that's painted on the ceiling of the church back home. Rick came to show me his wallet all wet and the captain gave me shit for going in the water. I don't remember saying anything, but I must have just changed my clothes and went back to work. As I was on shift until midnight, I had a hard time just turning the steering wheel with my sore shoulders. We got to Toronto the day before Christmas and I had a few things to do for layup. I caught the bus and got off at Curry Hill where I called home and my mother and my sister Margie picked me up. As I was driving north and trying to get up the nerve to tell them about my accident, passing the fourth concession Mom tells me that Bruce drowned last fall. Well, that was too much for me: the same Bruce that was welcoming me into the light had drowned two months before. It wasn't until 1991 after many flashbacks and accidents that I went to Bruce's brother and told him, just to let him know that Bruce was okay.

Background Information:

Gender: Male

Date NDE Occurred: December 10 ? 1973

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Drowning Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) A crew member fell overboard.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing

The experience included: Out of body experience

Did you feel separated from your body? No 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 I couldn't go in the light as much as I wanted to.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I saw my mother and sisters crying.

Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast

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. The same.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. The same.

Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, but the facts have not been checked out

Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No

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 A friend, Bruce, was guiding me toward the light. I found out that he had drowned when I got home.

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 glowing brilliance.

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No

The experience included: Strong emotional tone

What emotions did you feel during the experience? Bewilderment, but total trust in Bruce who was guiding me.

Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness

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

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

The experience included: Boundary

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No

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 I came to a definite conscious decision to 'return' to life when I saw my mother and sisters crying at the kitchen table.

God, Spiritual and Religion:


What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me

What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic

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? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated

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

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? I heard a voice I could not identify All the voice said was 'You are drowning.'

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 does not exist

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 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 does not exist

Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes Bruce Mcdonald was there and I found out later that he had drowned near Cornwall 2 months before.

Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death

Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death

Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not 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 prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant

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? Large changes in my life

After the NDE:


Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I didn't believe it could happen and, until 1991, didn't tell anyone.

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? Yes It took me 18 years to tell Bruce's brother that I saw him in the light.

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

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No



Experience Description 3892

It was snowing big flakes. Around 8:00 at night, we were underway to tow two barges to Toronto. As we pulled up to the barges, I jumped off to connect the batteries to the running lights and I heard a yell back at the tug. The engineer was looking down, and that's when I saw Rick coming up to the surface. As the decks were slippery with snow, as soon as I grabbed him, I was in danger of being pulled in. The first mate grabbed ahold of my legs. The tug was getting closer and, as Rick's head was going to get it, I couldn't let him go. I squared my shoulders and thought that maybe I'd just break a shoulder.

Well, the tug just kept on coming, and I knew it had to stop soon, but by then I realized I couldn't get out if I tried. At first, I thought my ribs were going to cave in and then I said goodbye to my family and I thought my head was going to pop off.

Then, a friend from back home in Glen was right beside me. It was Bruce, and he said, 'It's okay. Relax. You're welcome.' He was guiding me towards the most brilliant light and a roaring tunnel. In my mind, I asked what was happening. A voice came. A male voice just matter-of-factly said, 'You are drowning.' Instantly, I saw my mother and my two little sisters, Mary-Lou and Lorna, crying at the kitchen table. I never want to see anybody like that again. I yelled out 'No!' and, not knowing where I was, just started kicking.

I don't know how, but when I hit the surface of the water and took my first breath, I still didn't know where I was. As it was still snowing, all was dark. I must have been facing south towards Lake Huron, east towards Bush, north twenty miles up south by southwest, and I could make out a bit of light. I dog paddled toward the light. Getting near the stern of a tugboat, I read the name Flo Cooper. I swam up the side and could hear the engines. I realized I worked on it. Swimming around the bow, I heard voices and the chief yelled out. Rick was holding onto a ladder that was tied off to the barge, but he couldn't get his feet up to the first rung. So I reached up to grab the ladder. This was the first time that I felt pain in my shoulders. I got ahold of the ladder and, with my head under Rick's butt; I boosted him up to the barge. I climbed up after and just remember looking up into the snow coming down through the lights. The captain was giving me shit for going in the water and we changed our gear and went back to work. As I was on shift until midnight, the only thing I remember was how hard it was turn the big steering wheel.

Background Information:

Gender: Male

Date NDE Occurred: DECEMBER 15? 1973

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident CRUSHED BETWEEN A TUG BOAT AND BARGE Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) A fellow crewman had fallen in the water and was going to be killed as his head was the only thing that the tug was going to make contact with.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed

The experience included: Out of body experience

Did you feel separated from your body? Yes 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 When I said goodbye to my family.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I said goodbye to my family.

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

Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid

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? No

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 A friend of mine, Bruce, just off to my right. He said, 'It's okay. Relax. You're welcome.' and was guiding me into the light. I found out on Christmas Eve as we were driving home and my mother told me that Bruce had drowned a couple of months ago. I couldn't say a word.

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 most welcoming glow, like going back into the womb.

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No

The experience included: Strong emotional tone

What emotions did you feel during the experience? 'So that's it' as I said goodbye.

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? Everything about the universe

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? Scenes from the world's future

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 CATHOLIC

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes The light is there for everyone. The light is love and death is love.

What is your religion now? Moderate KNOWER

Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes The light is there for everyone. The light is love and death is love.

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

Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I've had problems with employment because I can't seem to get interested in anything.

After the NDE:


Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Yes, because of how much I wanted to go into the light and how I couldn't.

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? Sometimes we are given a choice. I just don't know why I made it back here and Bruce didn't.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes In 1991, when I was becoming suicidal, I went to talk to Bruce's brother and told him about Bruce and how he was there for me. I can't remember, but we both shed a few tears.

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 definately not real It couldn't happen because I was down the bay 300 to 600 yards? How long was I under water, 15 minutes or 30? No way!

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real There is life after death. But then again, there is no such thing as death. I think a part of me is in that light and I've been only partly here on earth since 1973.

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 like to see near death experiences taught in schools, and not under any religious connotations. They happen all the time. I feel horrible that I had a hard time understanding my experience, and so much pain could have been avoided if I would have been honest. I worked on tugs for another 25 years and drove myself and others insane. I was still in denial.