As I inhaled water, I felt enormous pressure in my lungs. Try as I might, my body couldn't move a bit. Then I heard an awful cacophony of noises, such as horns honking, pots and pans being banged, tires screeching and the like. The sounds soon faded away and I no longer felt the pressure in my lungs. I felt relaxed and peaceful. During this time, I had my eyes open and could see my little cousins, but they weren't aware of what was going on with me.
Then I heard a voice - rich, loving, deep and rather like a radio announcer of that era (they couldn't get jobs on the air unless they had wonderful voices).
This voice started telling me that I needed to get out of the water. 'But I can't,' I retorted. 'But, you must get out of the water.' 'I've tried and tried, but nothing works.' Sometime in my conversation with 'the voice' my soul floated up out of my body and was about one foot above, looking down on my body, but at the same time, I was also in my body, experiencing it.
The voice continued to coach me in a very loving manner. 'You must fight to get out of the water.' 'Yes, I know, but nothing works. And besides, I'm so relaxed...' 'If you don't get out of that water - you're going to die.' 'I know,' I said. 'Do you want to die?' 'No, but I'm so relaxed.'
Somewhere during this conversation, after my soul floated out of my body, my soul started traveling through a 'tunnel' with the voice still talking to me. As I emerged into the light at the tunnel's end, I was surrounded by light, and could see that the light was coming from beyond some kind of separation - I had the sense that the light was in a garden, separated by a 'gate'. It was a sense only, and not anything I could see - all except for the light.
The voice was coming from the light. The voice continued to talk to me. 'Do you know where you're going when you die?' 'No,' I answered, a little fear now arising within me. 'Would you like to find out?' 'Yes,' I replied quickly. 'Then, get out of the pool.' 'But, I can't,' I stated, 'Nothing works.'
'Then I'll help you,' he replied.
'Concentrate on your little finger - make it move.' I concentrated so fiercely on the task, that if I hadn't been underwater, I probably would have beads of sweat running down my forehead. Then, it happened - my little finger wiggled.
'Very good,' the voice continued, 'now concentrate on your hand.' Soon my hand wiggled. 'Good, now concentrate on your arm. I want you to lift your arm up over your head. You're going to grab the pool's rim. That will give you leverage to help you pull your head out of the water.' Soon, I was moving my arm. As I lifted it up, the voice told me to pull my head out of the water and scream for help.
My brother came running when he heard my screams. He had a look of astonishment on his face, as he helped me out of the water. I can't remembering spewing water out of my lungs. I was crying and screaming at him that he drowned me.
None of us ever told my parents or my aunt and uncle, at whose house this little scene took place. I believe my cousins were too young to realize or remember what had just transpired.
When we returned home from our visit, as I was dressing for bed, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I might die in my sleep. Where was I going, if that should happen? It was just a thought - nothing scary about it, but the thought kept recurring after that, and it started to torment me.
My sixth-grade teacher, Miss H, started reading poetry and stories by Edgar Allan Poe. In high school, I had an English teacher who was fascinated with stories about death and the netherworld. My fears and questions about the afterlife grew bigger and bigger.
After high school, I started dating and became really depressed at what kind of behavior I saw everywhere in the young people. They were carousing sexually, and partying. I was getting drunk, obnoxious, and getting high on drugs. It was very difficult to find a decent friend. I didn't like myself very much, either.
When I went home for Christmas, my older sister, Karen, met my brother and me at the door and asked if we had ever wondered if the Bible and the stories of Jesus were fairytales or true. We both told her we had wondered, and if she had knowledge, we wanted to hear what she had to say.
She proceeded to tell us about mankind's sin and Jesus' gift of redemption by his sacrifice on the cross. We both wept bitterly about how our sins were responsible for his agonizing death. Then she told us that we needed to repent of our ways and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We did that too.
After Christmas, we went home and continued to live like before - lives of sin and emptiness.
I worked briefly in Portland, Oregon, as a salon technical rep for a prominent hair color firm, and lived the high life. (To all appearances. I made good money, traveled to various beauty shows, worked on platform demonstrating hair color techniques.)
I quit my job and travelled around South America for a month. Upon my return, I moved to the California Bay Area and worked in San Francisco.
During this time period I competed in local and international beauty contests, was wined and dined and sought after by the rich and famous, was given a free ride by an Arthur Murray Studio to study ballroom dance for the purposes of become a highly-paid dance instructor. I seemed to have it all together. However, I was miserable. I understand somewhat of the misery the young Hollywood stars experience, because, in spite of the outward appearance, I felt hollow, and life held no joys for me - no meaning or purpose.
At the suggestion of my mother, I moved back to Oregon for a while. She thought I ought to take a trip to Seattle to visit the family of my sister's college friend, Florence. Since I was adrift, it seemed like the thing to do. During my visit, their son came in with his friend, Jim, who spoke of a home Bible Study they attended. It sounded like what I was looking for. Although I had only attended conventional Christian churches, I had an inner longing to attend a more informal home-based New-Testament-style church. I packed my belongs and traveled up to Seattle.
In January, I moved and started going to Bible studies. Having attended a Bible College for one semester, I, the expert, shared my deep wisdom with the others who attended. We were studying Hebrews 6:1-4 on the foundations of the church.
We started learning about repentance (which means 'change of mind'), faith (one of the meanings of which is 'obedience'), and studied baptism in April.
One of the new things I learned about baptism was that it had to be done for the right reason (purposefully). Otherwise, just about everyone could claim they were baptized (having been immersed while taking a bath, or diving into a pool).
I already knew that it should be immersion, because the many accounts of baptism in the New Testament showed going down into the water, and coming back up and baptizing in a place where there was much water. (The Holy Land is basically a desert area, and people when traveling always carried water with them. So, why then, couldn't they just pour a little water out of an urn and sprinkle someone if that were going to do the trick?)
Having been baptized by immersion twice before (and not noticing any change in me), I was a little concerned about doing it again. I realized that my former baptisms weren't for the right reason. (One was done just because I knew I must, and the second was done because the church (cult) I was attending said that they were the only real church on earth, and I couldn't receive salvation unless I was baptized into their church.)
I asked the teacher, Ray, since I have already been baptized twice, do you think God would be offended if I did it yet a third time? He answered that God would probably be very pleased that I kept after it until I did it right. So, I was baptized in the swimming pool at my apartment that night. As I came up out of the water, I felt several pounds lighter - as if a weight of sin and guilt had been lifted off my back.
The next day, while driving on I-90 toward Seattle, someone entered the freeway from behind me, and cut me off, almost causing an accident. I was so lost in my thoughts about my experience the night before, I didn't even react. Normally, I would have become very upset - probably shouting a few expletives at him and maybe making a rude gesture. However, I felt like it didn't even happen.
'You're different' a voice in my head said to me. 'You didn't even react.' Wow - I didn't - that truly wasn't like me.
A few days later, as I drove north on I-5, I heard the voice speak to me again.
'Do you want a deeper understanding of the Scriptures that were discussed at the last lesson?' 'Yes, I do.' The Holy Spirit launched into a wonderful, in-depth teaching of the last Bible study. The insights I learned were amazing - spine tingling.
What is really remarkable is the fact that for the first time in my 'Christian' experience, I was truly fascinated with the word of God. In 1966, when I attended a semester of Bible College, I found the Bible to be more effective than morphine at knocking me out. I flunked New Testament Survey, because every time I tried to read the Bible or memorize a verse, I quickly grew drowsy and passed out. It was like having narcolepsy due to an acute allergy to the Word of God.
Now, I found it fascinating - couldn't get enough of it. It was as if I were hooked on it as an alcoholic craves gin, only I didn't suffer a hangover after getting my 'fix'. Soon, I was on the phone, calling everyone whose phone number I could find, telling what had happened to me. Every day someone came into my life and brought up the subject of God and the hereafter, and gave me a very natural opening to tell him/her what I had experienced and what God's word said. I heard the same phrase a number of times - 'You have something and I want it. Can you tell me what it is?'
To wrap this up, here I am at age sixty-three, and my Lord and I have not grown weary of one another. He has proven himself loving, merciful and faithful. I have been through some fiery trials - lost most of my belongings several times to fire, theft, more theft, etc. I have experienced horrible accidents and illnesses, and bounced back. My friend died in my hands two years ago. In spite of all these things, I am okay, because God has my back. These things were not meant by Him for destruction, only for testing and building up.
As I look at the present world situation, and back on my life, I know Jesus is coming again - and soon. My travails haven't made me unique, for I know that many others have suffered much more. I wouldn't wish to undo anything I have suffered, for I know that 'All things work together to the good, to them who are called according to his purpose.' I can see how all these things have increased my kindness, strength, hope, purpose, faith and patience, and know with increasing certainty every day that His word is true, and that there is a glorious hereafter for those of us who do his will - and that he will return for us soon.
Date NDE Occurred: August 1957
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident 'Sitting in a plastic wading pool, surrounded by my younger cousins.' Other 'I don't know if it was clinical death or not, since this took place in a wading pool. No doctors or paramedics were presentn.'
My twin brother jumped into the pool and grabbed my right foot while running. I slipped, banged my brainstem on the steel rim of the pool, became paralyzed instantly from the neck down and slid under the water, while my brother ran off unaware of what he had done. There was only about three feet of water above my face, but I couldn't move. My lungs filled with water.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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? My consciousness and alertness was high during the whole event.
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 seemed to stand still for the time. We had a lengthy conversation before I emerged from the water - to lengthy for me to survive without oxygen, unless time was altered.
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 could see everything very clearly, even though from under the water.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My sense of hearing was more acute - louder and clearer.
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 It was like a tunnel (or culvert) with a light at the end.
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 It became apparent that the voice that was talking to me came from the brightest area of the light.
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 light was very bright.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Most of the time - very peaceful and relaxed.
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? Conservative/fundamentalist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes My walk with God has become the center of my existence, which is the only way to find true peace and happiness. If we aren't God centered (which makes us 'other-centered' because God said that love was the fulfillment of the law) then we are inevitably self-centered, and have two faces - the one we put on for the public, and the other one (with hidden agendas that aren't very nice).
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes My walk with God has become the center of my existence, which is the only way to find true peace and happiness. If we aren't God centered (which makes us 'other-centered' because God said that love was the fulfillment of the law) then we are inevitably self-centered, and have two faces - the one we put on for the public, and the other one (with hidden agendas that aren't very nice).
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 strive to have close relationships with others who know God, so we can help each other on our walk. I view other relationships as opportunities to help them to find out for themselves about how to walk with God.
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? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? God asked me if I knew where I was going when I died. Until that time, I hadn't really thought about it. Afterward, it became a pressing issue for me. Obviously (for me) there as an afterlife, and we'd better make certain of how it will be for us.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I first started sharing this experience some time after my third baptism. I feel this drowning experience was allowed to lead me to this baptism, for that was when God became very real and personal in my life, and I had assurance that I now had started on the 'narrow way'.
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 became very concerned about finding out about the afterlife and if there is a God, how to know Him.
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