When I was a year old my half-brother, who was seventeen, passed away with scarlet fever. He had had rheumatic fever when he was four years old. He'd always been a sickly, but angelic child, as his first illness left him with a 'hole in his heart'. He was a beautiful and talented young man who loved me and taught me to walk. I adored him.
When I entered first grade my teacher was very cruel to me. I was dyslexic and had much difficulty reading. The teacher would shame me terribly for my inability to concentrate, and read. I became very depressed. That same year the winter was severe. I had to walk almost a mile to school in a padded snow suit and boots through huge drifts of snow. My mother, too, was depressed. My father was authoritarian, and dictatorial. My diet was the typical 1950's meat and potato sort. I was allowed to eat a great deal of candy, and white bread was typical. There was no consciousness of robust nutrition in our home back then. My body was very delicate. I believe I had rickets the first two years of my life as my legs were terribly bowed.
I remember walking home from school one day during the beginning of a winter blizzard. I'd been terribly wounded at school again. It seemed that every day this teacher had it in for me. I was delicate and 'pretty', with very thin blond hair and pale skin. The teacher was huge, heavy, had a dark moustache and thick ankles. We were polar opposites.
Walking home through the difficult and freezing cold I gave up. I was so sad and depressed I just wanted out of the entire show. That night I had a terrible sore throat that developed into what they thought was diphtheria. My left ear became infected. Our house was always filled with cigarette smoke, as both parents were smokers. They put me to bed with a high fever. No thermometers were used, but I felt I was burning up, became delirious, and went into an altered state.
My maternal grandmother was a Christian Science practitioner, and so she was called over to visit me after it became apparent that I wasn't improving. She sat next to my bed and read to me from the Bible and The Science and Health, and prayed. She lectured me, that what I was experiencing was error. It wasn't real. I tried to hear her, but I kept going in and out of consciousness. I was very ill like this for several months. I stopped eating. I had no appetite. I barely moved from my pillow. I remember closing my eyes and seeing a void. Everything was black inside. And then in the distance, if I concentrated there, I would see a tiny white dot a way off in the distance. Slowly it came toward me, finally rushing at me with a roaring wind sound. Then, everything I saw inside was brilliant, blinding white light. The brightest light I'd ever experienced. Then I'd see a tiny black dot way off in the distance, and that would come rushing toward me getting bigger and bigger until everything was all black again. This same pattern kept repeating over and over endlessly for months.
Meanwhile my left ear drum popped. The pain of the ear drum bursting and then draining was beyond words, the smell of rotting infection, the delirium. Mother would change my pillow case repeatedly. I couldn't let anyone touch my ear it hurt so much. All I longed for was my altered state, and the dots. I had a hot water bottle over my pillow for some comfort. But the only relief from the agony was when the black and white dots would start up again, and I'd escape the pain.
During this time, I think this lasted two or more months, I ate nothing. I don't remember drinking much either. Water sometimes. My sister told me later that during that time I looked like I'd been in a concentration camp, skeletal and white.
One night the dots started up again and I found myself out of my body, completely pain free and floating above my body in the corner of my bedroom. I remember thinking that I was going to leave now. I felt glad about that, to leave the pain behind. I didn't want to stay. Just as I was about to set off away from there I saw my mother come into the room. She knelt by my bed, prayed, and cried. Her beseeching tears touched me deeply. She prayed that I should be healed. I realized that she really did love me. I guess I'd not been sure of that before that moment. I remember deciding to return and give it a go.
The next morning I woke up. My fever had broken and I asked mother to bring me some fruit. Fresh fruit was scarce in Omaha during the winter then. She brought me a bowl of canned fruit cocktail, which tasted like ambrosia. I ate the entire thing and got out of bed. I was weak, but pain free and feeling healed.
Some years later, I looked up Streptococcal infections in the Encyclopedia Britannica and found that the bacteria can live for years in rugs and upholstery. I don't know if that is true, but wondered if my brother's bacteria infected me, actually, and/or metaphorically. We both shared a delicate artistic sensitivity and were faced with a father who was a tough guy.
The first grade teacher who had tortured me emotionally was fired and was committed to an institution. Mother told me this many years later. She was mentally deranged.
Date NDE Occurred: 1951
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Other I had diphtheria. My parents were Christian Scientists and so no doctor was called. I don't know if I was 'clinically dead or not. I do know I left my body and my sister tells me I looked dead.
I'm not sure what you mean here. The illness itself was very serious, painful and life threatening.
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 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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? This is difficult to tell because each state is so different and they all have their intensities. The floating in the corner of the room that night and seeing my mother walk in beneath me to my body was very clear. But so was the taking of my first food. I can still see the cup of fruit cocktail. The red half cherry that I didn't like because it was too sweet.
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
At age seven the concept of time had not dawned upon me, at all, so this is hard to judge. I know that I have had, since that time, a very elastic, plastic awareness of time, almost, as if I can make it speed up and slow down at will.
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 think I've described this above. During the altered state the blackest and then the brilliant light were not normal.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I became very aware of the sound of the infection in my ear, as if I could hear the bacteria chomping away and moving about like microscopic worms, and my body's cells at war with them.
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? Uncertain I think the dots were symbolically similar to the tunnel experience. They were like the light at the end of a tunnel in their action.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain I don't remember, but may have. Vaguely, some visits to other dimensions may have occurred, but I don't have any clear recollections. Just a sense that this did happen, but it was beyond conscious awareness.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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 I've described above about the brilliant light. It came before I was fully conscious of being outside my body. It would come and go for days on end during the illness.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Later in life,after this illness and OBE, and I think because of my awareness that the body was multi dimensional, I often traveled to other dimensions, or went into altered states.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Relief from all pain, stress, anxiety and gloom.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
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
The experience included: Special Knowledge
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 The events I described changed my life forever. When I finally returned to school, I was really very far behind the other pupils. My second grade teacher was a love, and very kind to me and understanding. She made no demands of me about the reading. I think she saw that I loved to draw, and so, that Christmas she asked me to do a mural on the wall. She put up sheets of newsprint and with poster paints I did a nativity scene all by myself.
When parents' night came round everyone complemented me on the mural profusely. I was so proud and happy they liked it that I decided then and there that I would be a painter and that is what I've become. I found my work, my profession, and my joy. This was huge for me.
Curiously, that very March or April, as the snow was melting I walked to school, and remember thinking how happy I was that I had found that I could draw, that my talent was being recognized, and that I would become a painter. Laying on the sidewalk, just a block from my house, was a T-square right in the middle of my solitary path. I picked it up and knew it was for me. It was a sign. I don't know how I knew that this was a T-square, an artist's tool, at that age, but I did, and I still have it.
And further, either as a memory or a fantasy I see a heavenly hand placing the T-square there on the side walk just for me, to let me know that I'd come home, somehow.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future After getting well, and after seeing that my illness healed the entire family - in a way - I could see that I had the foundation needed to plan a life and to carry out plans to study art. Which happened. I'm sixty-three now and painting and art and mysticism has been a huge part of my life.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain Boundaries are everywhere, in and about everything, even in non-ordinary reality. Boundaries are relative.
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 Christian Scientist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I have been a very ardent seeker after mystical knowledge.
What is your religion now? Liberal Buddhist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I have been a very ardent seeker after mystical knowledge.
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? Yes I came to know that the physical body is a temporary house to another body. That there are many dimensions of which the ordinary world has no clue. Particularly in the 1950's and that I had to have a kind of split awareness to get along in the ordinary world. I became very introverted. Later in life I have become compelled to study and experience mystical subjects.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes The illness and the OBE was so powerful and happened so early in my life that it is an integral part of my history, like much else. There are few of my relationships that don't know about it so how could there be any change really. It is a fact of my history.
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'm telepathic and can foresee directions of events into the future pretty accurately - the general lines of world events. I can tell what others are feeling, often very keenly, so empathy is often painfully intense. I can often read, or hear what others are thinking. I know what people are going to say before they do.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The entire thing was soaked with layers of meaning.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes My full awareness of just how different I was from ordinary people really came after going into a depth analysis at the age of thirty. The disconnect between who I was and what I was aware of, and what the world was doing, saying and acknowledging was so intense in my teens and twenties that I had a great deal of psychological difficulties. Some terrific Jungian's helped me to understand my situation, and to put it all into some kind of reasonable perspective that I could live with; some self-acceptance and other awareness that was difficult to arrive at on my own because of the other worldly awareness I lived in, finally came into a focus that made sense to me. I began with the Jungian work when I was thirty. Before that I'd floundered around with a Freudian, and some Behavioral therapists who didn't have clue how to deal with my way of being, my reality. After some three hundred hours with some very wise Jungian's I began being able to share some of my experiences with a few selected others. Most people are not interested, and are even terrified of the subjects surrounding death and dying and other dimensions.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes When my brother died I was a year old. The family treated me like a non-aware being. In the 1950s most 'normal' people didn't believe a baby had much awareness. At that age I was so open I had an awareness that was primal. I feel a vague memory of leaving my body to peek into his reality as he was dying. Some very vague feelings are there about meeting him after he died. These feelings are very thin, however.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real As I was such a youngster, and as the family had so much else to focus upon, like surviving and living day to day, the events were set aside. It's reality was and is keen.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It set the entire tenor of my existence.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I have OBE's from time to time, several a year. I am a student of my dream life and study the Yoga of dreaming. When I was about thirty-three I took Peyote in a solitary religious sacrament, and had a profoundly mystical experience which further enlightened my study of mysticism.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I think I've said all I can now. I'm very tired. Sharing all this has been tiring and emotionally draining.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I would love to do so, but later. I'm tired and it's late and as I said I feel drained. Be less relentless!