I experienced two separate events within a seventy-two hour time frame with the onset of Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM). The first experience involved walking down a long what appeared to be an arbor covered in a swirling white light. On the other side was a pasture, it was warm, beautiful peaceful. It had a border or ending in front of me but beside me, it went on for miles. I looked up and saw my grandmother and my father-in-law, both deceased. Their faces were in the clouds. They both smiled at me. We were all a lot younger; they were not what they looked like at their death. I reached up to them as I wanted to join them but they blew me back and I felt that it wasn't my time to go. I felt that I had to finish raising my kids, grow old with my husband and write my story. I was drawn backwards back through that tunnel when I heard my son sobbing.
My second experience involved a feeling of separation where my body lay on the bed but I was risen horizontally above it and was covered tightly with brilliant lights of white and multi-colored electrical energy. My friend had passed away during my bout of encephalitis and it was her presence in that light that I felt.
Date NDE Occurred: July 2000
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening I had Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM).
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain 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? Less consciousness and alertness than normal It was different. I know I was not conscious but what state I was in was never diagnosed since I had this experience at home. I was receiving steroids through home care. I seemed to be unconscious for about twenty-two hours a day. When I was unconscious I still heard every sound that was going on in my home i.e. voices, cats, kids, conversations, telephone. I was very alert to what was going on in my bedroom. When the two experiences occurred I was very alert to every detail I cannot comment on 'highest level of consciousness'.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I am not sure I understand the question but I felt very alert (in that I remember it happening) during both experiences but I do not feel like I was conscious at all.
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 I was about thirty years younger. I was healthy and saw myself in my youth when I was very happy and had a strong sense of adventure. The deceased were also much younger.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? Everything appeared very clear and defined. My senses were very aware of color and of feelings.
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? Yes The first experience I passed through a tunnel or arbor of lights.
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 I looked up and saw my grandmother and my father-in-law, both deceased.
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 Both experiences involved white light.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm A beautiful pasture, flat, no trees just grasses and flowers, very sunny bright, calm and peaceful. There was an ending though in front of me several feet away but to look sideways it went on for miles.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? When I had the tunnel experience I lost awareness of my body. During the out of body experience I clearly left the body
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
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control It seemed as if my life flashed very quickly in front of me. I wanted to stay in that place but I knew that it wasn't my time and that I needed to write a book about the experience of ADEM.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes There was a boundary in front of the pasture. I did not cross it nor was I interested in crossing it. I came out of the tunnel a few feet and didn't leave my place.
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
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I no longer attend church. I am spiritual but do not feel that I am religious nor do I want to attend my former church.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I no longer attend church. I am spiritual but do not feel that I am religious nor do I want to attend my former church.
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 knew that it wasn't my time to die but I wanted to stay in that place and not return to my body. However I felt that I must be the messenger regarding writing a book about the experience of ADEM, my husband and kids needed me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My husband and my children and I are closer.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I wasn't sure if it really happened or did I dream it.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I am more intuitive, I sense things others don't, I have premonitions sometimes, I am more in tune with people's emotions and especially my cats and I are more connected.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The fact that my grandmother was there was not a surprise she was the only person in my childhood who loved me unconditionally but I was surprised to see my father-in-law. He had been a famous journalist/TV/ Broadcaster/author and he was a surprise. We were close and he had mentored my early writing and had encouraged me to become a writer.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
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. I don't remember anything following these experiences but even though I was sick for a very long time and have had to go to rehabilitation for four years I remember the experience very vividly even now five years later.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I cannot forget the experience I remember it as it was I believe I am alive now because of the experience. It is five years later and I feel even more so that it really happened.
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 never knew how to describe it to people so I have kept it private to myself because I thought people would think I was crazy or was hallucinating due to the brainstem swelling and the medications.