I was taken unconscious to the hospital at age twelve by an undisclosed illness. To this day, I don't know what it was. I did confirm with the doctor, whom I met many years later at my sister's wedding, that I was near death. He said he never thought I knew this. I woke in the hospital in a private room and found I was in a corner of the ceiling looking down on myself in bed and to a nurse who was wearing a short-sleeved uniform. She was attempting to adjust my IV and bungled it as I have very difficult veins.
She kept trying and finally took the line out and somehow or other accidentally got the needle stuck in her own upper arm. Meanwhile, I found myself hovering there watching until I found that I had been joined by an older, thin man. He stood behind a podium and seemed to be making notes in a ledger. I could make out none of his thoughts whatsoever unless he chose me to ‘hear’ -- otherwise he was a complete enigma to me -- yet I knew that he could read all of my thoughts. It was like he had plugged into me. In this same way, he fed some things into my mind that astounded me, especially since I had little religious upbringing and had only recently been baptized into a branch of the Christian Church. He let me know that our experience on Earth is but a flash though it seems very long while we are living it and that it's a means to evolve. He also communicated that tragedy itself is overly stressed here and is only a kind of vessel for evolving. Then he asked me, ‘Do you have any choice?’ He didn't say what this choice was, but I knew he was asking if I wanted to live or die. I hung there so full of joy and peace that at that moment I didn't care at all, because he had just explained that time was nothing. So I knew in the blink of a spiritual eye that I would be joining him and others in another world, so what did it matter where I went? But I did just think that I would have thought I'd be worried about my mother and father's grief, still from this new understanding, I wasn't worried about them at all. Because it was just that blink of an eye. Still, that seemed to be enough. A split second later, I woke up in my body and the nurse was there.
Only now, she was wearing a long-sleeved uniform, so either she had somehow changed her clothes or it was another day. I told her what happen and she said I was hallucinating, that I had been unconscious for two days. I told her about the IV, and asked if that really happened. She looked at me for a few seconds, then rolled up her sleeve and I saw the small Band-Aid where the needle had pricked her. But she said I must have opened my eyes for a few seconds and seen it and she just hadn't noticed. The way she treated me told me there was something to be ashamed of in this kind of talking and I never mentioned this again for many years. I must say the people I've told since then don't seem convinced either. I felt sorry, even cheated, about not seeing a bright light or going through a tunnel and felt like I'd had a second class experience when I heard (many years later) that lots of other people had also had out-of-body experiences and that they had all these adventures that I hadn't had.
Because when it happened to me, I'd never heard of such a thing. Interestingly, I did pick up one thing very recently in reading about OBEs. I read that very often people who leave their bodies often have trouble wearing a wristwatch after that. This caused me to have cold chills, because it was exactly at this time that I began stopping wristwatches. My father accused me of being careless, banging my wrist against surfaces or forgetting and wearing my watch into the shower. But I was being extremely careful because I was breaking all my watches and had no idea how it could happen, while my father finally said that I could have only the very cheapest watches now, but those wouldn't run on me either. It was about fifty years later when my new husband was driving me to the airport and noticed I wasn't wearing a watch. I told him that though I now several that I had bought over the years, still trying, that none of them worked anymore. He said I couldn't fly off without a watch, pulled into a lot of the drugstore and went inside and bought me a watch for about twelve dollars that hung loose on my wrist like a bracelet. It worked and still works like a charm. I read that the magnetic disruption of being out of body usually wears off after many years, so maybe I can get a good watch now. But it wouldn't be worth it, as I seldom remember to wear event this one after a lifetime of not wearing wristwatches. After all this time, and a very difficult life, I can't count the times that I wished I had taken a different option when the spirit asked me if I had any choice. But now with my grown son and a wonderful husband and a writing career, I'm glad I chose as I did
Date NDE Occurred: 1956
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness I have never been told what my illness was, though I met the doctor many years later at my sister's wedding. He said I wouldn't remember him. I said he'd saved my life. He said he thought I never knew how sick I was.
My mother and grandmother agreed I was dying. They carried me to the car and back to the country doctor, no longer trusting what they called ‘the city doctor.’ I fell unconscious in the doctor's office and was taken to the hospital. I woke there above my bed and looking down on myself. I learned years later from the doctor that I was near death, but he confirmed it was kept from me as I was only twelve.
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 I seemed to be kind of physical, but in an energy-formed way. I can't be sure what I would have looked like to the spirit who looked at me from time to time, but I think I must have looked similar to my usual self only I was composed of different matter, not flesh and bones.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I felt extremely alert, though the nurse challenged me quite a bit in this area. Still, I never gave way. It was all so real to me.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
It seemed there was no time on the ceiling with the spirit. He let me know that earthly time is to give us space to live life in order to evolve, but it is not like that in the other world.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It was very quiet. I've often remembered how quiet the spirit was and how he looked away from me, never making eye contact and keeping his face half-averted. I could compare him to a person tip-toeing into the bedroom of a sleeping person and taking care not to wake her. The only real sounds I heard were from the nurse fooling around with the IV.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes The spirit appeared to be an older gentleman who appeared to be something like an accountant. He stood at a podium and wrote into a ledger. As I wrote above, he communicated to me that whatever decision I made, it was not important as a lifetime is but the blink of a spiritual eye. It was anything but what I had expected, only having been just baptized into the Christian Church. Yet he somehow let me know that there was an eternal world there beyond the veil.
Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain I did not see the kind of beautiful light I've heard described. Yet the corner of the ceiling where I was hanging around with the spirit was dimly lit, whereas the rest of the ceiling was dark.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I could see, though I'm not certain it was from my own eyes or some other vision. I heard the nurse below. I was unaware of touch, taste or smell.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Disappointed and uneasy that the spiritual being didn't seem to find me interesting and was so neutral, neither loving nor unloving. I couldn't read him at all. In later years, I grew to believe that maybe he didn't approve of this thing that was happening to me in some way. I hope that was it and not that I was just unworthy. But in another way, I felt so exalted. I knew there was ‘forever’ for us all, and I sensed that it was much easier than the planet we live on. My biggest lesson was about ‘time.’ I know it's either totally different in the afterlife, or possibly does not exist at all. I understood that one earthly life is literally like it happens in one blink of the eternal eye.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe Sometimes I think yes, other times that I'm the dullest knife in the drawer. I think I am not very evolved as of yet. That the spirit seemed so disinterested in me always seemed to verify this.
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 I later started becoming aware of future events, but not at the time.
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 don't think I realized that the spirit had made the decision to return me to my body until I woke up inside it and felt disappointed.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I became aware that church was describing a kind of hereafter that I didn't feel was accurate, as based on my brief experience. I mean, maybe there is more like that than I think, as I have not been there. But the preacher did not mention anything about floating out of one's body to the ceiling and have a spirit there who looked like an accountant. Gradually over the years, I gave up church and became spiritual, inclined to believe in reincarnation and certain spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I have had on some occasions been able to see future events, some rather amazing. One verifiable event happened the summer before 9/11. I spent that summer on the beach of Delray Beach with a friend of mine. I was working to help a stock broker write a film based on his working experience. Almost every night, I took solitary walks on the beach, walking for hours sometimes. And of course, I had no idea that the majority of the future hijackers were on this same beach. That summer I wrote of a plot our central character had to blow up an American Airlines airplane and to short the market for profit. Though I did not come up with the name ‘Taliban,’ the company name I invented was ‘Talisman.’ -- I then flew to California for a visit and on the way back, a gentleman of mid-Eastern persuasion was wearing a turban and sitting on the other side of the plane. I had never in my life been afraid of anyone blowing up a plane and when I thought of hijackers, I thought the pilot just did as they said and landed somewhere until money was wired in and everyone got to leave. But on this ride, on the month before 9/11, I was full of fear because I thought he was going to blow up my plane. I would look over my shoulder, down and back, and study him, thinking, ‘What are you so worried about, he's ordered lunch. If he were going to blow up a plane, he wouldn't do that.’ Of course, we know he never intended to blow up a plane, but I could have picked up the future violent destruction of the plane. This part cannot be verified as I was alone and did not mention it. I have also picked up future events.
A year before I spent the summer at Delray Beach, I thought my mother called me and told me terrible details of the death of a friend who was also known by my friend in Delray Beach. So we were sitting together and I said, ‘Wasn't it awful about her.’ and she said, ‘Oh, wasn't it terrible!!!’ I said, ‘How long as it been now? At least a year, right?’ and she looks at me startled and says, ‘It just happened yesterday.’ Her mother had only just called her about it. Yet I had been certain for an entire year that my own mother had called me and told me the exact facts that I later discussed with this same friend, and she concurred that I was right on every single thing, including how the death occurred. There have been a handful of things that happened to me throughout my life. Yet, I can never tell when they will come. And until they come, it seems like real facts. It's only later that I realize the news show that I ‘saw’ hadn't happened yet. Only this last week, there was a story on the news that had barely started when I said to my husband, Oh, I wanted you to see this, they're re-showing it. Only they weren't re-showing it. It had just happened. Unfortunately, I can't help anyone see the future nor can I see what I wish to see for myself. It just comes and goes. And yet in some way, it's very comforting. I feel a connection with the ‘all.’ As if all things always are, and that only earthly ‘time’ separates us from the events. Sometimes for me, the structure of time falls away and I can see things. I would like to see more and more, not less and less.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Best part was that wonderful understanding that there is a whole afterlife waiting. Though I couldn't see it, I could feel it. The spirit was really asking me if I wanted to go there or stay. Understanding the concept of time being different on Earth has been most helpful. And the wristwatch experience was a fantastic verification of the entire happening. I also like that I can occasionally see future events, and I hope this will continue and even happen more frequently.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I almost always regret sharing it. There seems to be no way to tell this story that doesn't reduce it in others' eyes to hallucination. The people hearing it usually say very little but seem uneasy. They also don't seem very interested.
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 think those of us who have these experiences are very lucky.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think it was very thorough. Thanks!