On September 5, 2013, at approximately 11:35 AM, I was inside the house reading essays that students wrote for one of the classes. To give myself a short break, I went outside to the back of the single bay garage next to the house. I was going to trim a limb on a very tall pine tree. I secured a pruning saw, not powered by gas or electricity, and climbed the tree. No ladder or other equipment was used by me. The tree was somewhat slippery and wet, as it had rained during the night. I began to saw the limb. As the limb fell to the ground, I lost my grip and fell after it.
During the fall, I used my left arm to grab a lower limb, but the limb slipped from my grasp and I landed on my back. I had ripped all the tendons out of my left arm. The owner of the house had gone out a half hour before this occurred. The day was sunny and pleasant, but the neighbors were not available to help. I tried to catch my breath and eventually I could breathe somewhat normally. However, when I made an attempt to move, the pain was agonizing. I knew I had injured myself very badly.
An intense tingling sensation ran up through my legs and into my arms and hands. I had the sense that everything around me was fading away. It was as though the grass, the back of the garage, the rocks, and the trees were becoming transparent. At the same time, a very intense shaft of light shone around me and seemed to come from the sky, which was very clear and very blue. The light shone on my face and my body. The heat was intense, but not unpleasant. I had the sense that my body was fading, as my surroundings had faded a few minutes earlier. I suspected I was dying.
I felt intense disappointment and surprise. I did not expect to die at the age of 59, especially as I was in very good health. I was always very athletic and at the time of the accident I was fit and trim. I had no concept of time, and I had a sensation of sinking into the ground and disappearing. I felt disappointment and resignation. The fear and hysteria I felt in the first minute or two after I fell had entirely dissipated. Meanwhile, the entire time I was in intense pain. I began to feel chilled, and then very cold. The light was still on me but it was not a warm light at all.
Then I heard a car pull into the driveway and I called for help several times, albeit very weak cries of help. The owner of the house came around to the back of the garage and saw me, and knew instantly that I was in bad shape. I told him he should call an ambulance and he did so. He brought out a pillow for my head. But when he tried to put the pillow under my head, I screamed in pain, so he stopped. The EMS (Emergency Medical Staff) arrived after a time. They followed protocol for back injuries and moved me from one side to the next, to check for protruding bones. I screamed as the pain was extraordinarily intense, like nothing I had ever experienced. When it was clear the EMS staff could not place me on a board, they called for a paramedic to come to the house, to administer a shot for the pain. About a half hour later, the paramedic arrived and administered an injection, and soon I was loaded onto a plastic backboard and strapped down. The backboard snapped in half, and another backboard was secured, the procedure followed again, and eventually I was loaded into the awaiting ambulance.
During this time I was completely conscious, but I had kept my eyes closed. At the time I was carried on the backboard to the ambulance, I very much remember looking down, as though I was hovering above the scene. I was not high up, perhaps just a few feet above the place and the people and the vehicles. During the ride in the ambulance, I 'flat lined' but I revived, and then I arrived at the hospital.
Date NDE Occurred: 09/05/2013
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
I fell out of a tree, approximately 28-30+ feet
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I could see and hear everything; the ambulance arriving, the emergency staff conferring. I heard a conversation about amputating my right leg. The shaft of light I never verified. I clearly left my body and existed outside it.
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 felt I had entered a realm I can only describe as absolute reality. Everything around me felt alive and pulsing, as I felt quite the opposite, like I was fading into the ground.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? About five minutes after the fall occurred, when the shaft of light was visible, and I was alone, waiting for someone to find me.
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
Time sped up at first, and then my awareness of time and its meaning disappeared. It had no meaning at all. What felt like hours and hours of hovering above the scene turned out to be only about eight to ten minutes.
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. The only other event in my life that came close to the vision I had during this experience, was when I was in college, and I took LSD with friends.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Very vivid at first, then I can't recall hearing anything.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain The part of the experience when I was hovering above the scene of the accident, I felt I had entered into a tunnel and had come out the other side. I was completely detached from my body and from the action going on below. It was as if I was watching everything happening to someone else. It was like watching a television drama.
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: Void
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The shaft of light that I thought might have just been the mid-day sun. Later on, I went back to the spot where I fell, and there was no way a strong shaft of sunlight could have been there. The sun was blocked by the structure of the garage and a grove of very tall pine trees.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Panic in the first few minutes, then extreme sadness and disappointment, finally, a great sense of resignation and relief.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt no longer in conflict with nature
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events I remembered many past events: when I was 15, a midday eclipse. I remember every detail; who was there, my mother and grandmother, how long it took, the way the light bent and then became like a negative of a photograph.
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes The period after the intense shaft of light was the boundary keeping me inside the present moment and the pain.
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 still think it is absurd, but all I can relate is what I felt and experienced. I was disappointed and then annoyed and finally angry that I was going to leave this earth with so much to accomplish ahead of me; not to mention caring for my family (partner, 4 felines, and one dog). I do not like surprises, and I did not appreciate the surprise death that seemed to be at hand. So I stopped the process. I was pi$$ed-off.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated Leaning toward Buddhism
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Not by much, but I am more conscious of the meaning of religion for others, and I am more disposed to feel compassion for the religious-minded, even when I believe they have it all wrong.
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 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? No
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? No
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? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? I am uncertain if God exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes The purpose being to continue to live, and to help others in my life to live well. Things that I felt were important became unimportant, and remain so.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not 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 slightly 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? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are possibly 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 Large changes in my life
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I’m kinder toward others, but at the same time much less willing to put up with BS i.e.: matters and emotions of others that I find to be obstacles to living life fully; very much in the mode of not caring what others think about things I say or do.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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 th I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of th
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 been told by several people that I am clairvoyant.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The entire incident was valuable, including the pain. Now I have no fear of pain whatsoever.
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 It was the few times in my life I felt totally in harmony with the reality of this dimension.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Same answer as above. No question the entire business was real.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Again, when I took a few trips on LSD in college. Also there have been a few incidents after the accident and the experience that have left me feeling momentarily transcendent.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It has left me much more reflective. Currently I am working with a photographer and editor on a book about this injury and its aftermath.