I lived in a rural area and had shot two rabbits for supper that night. As I was cleaning them, one of the rabbits smelled horrible. I discarded it, but had cut myself in skinning them. I came down with a high fever in the next day or so. Flu-like symptoms at first, but the fever climbed. I was taken to hospital and slipped inside a body bag. Then I was packed in ice to reduce fever, which was still climbing.
On the second or third day, I felt a shift in consciousness. I was no longer uncomfortable or frightened. I was outside my body, like being several stories above my bed but being able to see everything in the room crisply and clearly. I remember being like at a crossroads. Yet I knew this was a like a dream. That is, my own consciousness was providing an image for something I didn't quite understand. At this crossroads, I knew that I had to choose. To my right was death and the solid sense of a very different world than I'd ever experienced. To my left was a road back to my body. I knew if I chose now, I would go wherever I chose - no doubt about it. I did not, however, know how to make that decision, not out of fear, but out of realizing, I had no criteria for making such a judgment.
I looked down and saw my poor emaciated body in the bed, quite still. My father sat beside the bed weeping, holding my hand. I had never seen him weep like this before, and I thought it very curious. I actually remember thinking, why would anyone cry because of death? I did however, feel sad for him, and think that it was only out of deference to him that I returned to my body.
Date NDE Occurred: 1952
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Life threatening event, but not clinical death Was later diagnosed as Tuloremia (Rabbit Fever)My father was called to the hospital in the middle of the night, apparently because I was not expected to make it. I viewed him from a great distance, out of my body, though I didn't know that was what it was called at the time
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 See above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I'd say that I was hyper-alert, in that whatever I saw or experienced seemed clearer than usual. On either side of the experience, I think I was fuzzy, that is, for example, when I returned to my body and experienced through my five senses again, nothing was working quite right. (I was blind for several weeks afterwards.)
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Space was certainly altered, in the sense of being no-dimension or infinity. Neither beginning, middle or end.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? I don't recall. Nothing stands out if I did. There were other things happening that were much more important to me.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No I don't think so, though while working with a peyote shaman several years later I relived aspects of the NDE. There was a path in the woods that was tunnel-like.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No No, at least not that I can say for certain. As a child, I had a spirit guide who was with me often, sort of tutoring me about the nature of the world. When I relived the experience years later, I felt his presence but it was not like he was there in a physical body.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Off to my right, at the crossroads, there was light, but not like a light from the sun or an electrical source. I tried to explain it at the time as a void, or place that was neither light nor dark, of no dimension, or infinite dimension and form. Not easy even today to describe it. When I hear other people describe the light of NDE, my interpretation is that their minds put this no-dimension into a known experience for the sake of making sense of it. I am satisfied describing it as no-dimension.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I can't easily describe it, but the sense of infinity or no-dimension was profound to me, and has been a central feature of the spiritual practice and beliefs that I still hold today.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe At the time, I was terribly bewildered. I spent the next twenty years pursuing some way to understand what had occurred. Still cannot hold in my mind this profound experience of no-dimension, and the realization that the everyday, physical world is not at all what we think it is. Don't ask me what it is, however, though I suspect it is ultimately pure spirit, not a physical form. Or that physical forms are created out of spirit through something that all forms we recognize in this lifetime help to produce. Not exactly sure what that means, however.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control Not really. What I did experience was how much of my experience in the world was projection from my own consciousness. I was unable to articulate this for many years, but that is definitely, what it was. That awareness, in fact, set me on a long quest which ultimately brought me to my present spiritual practice, which is Earth-based and has to do with not-knowing as much as knowing.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future But in a pretty grounded way, surprisingly, which developed over the years more and more. I describe it as being able to read the form of an event, or a question a person asks, or just the person's presence itself, and predict how they are going to express their lives. I did 'psychic counseling' for a couple years but found that it was intrusive, violating the belief (which I do try to honor) that when people are ready to hear about themselves, they will do so. What I was doing, sort of stepped outside all that. I didn't feel that it was productive and in some ways even disruptive. Besides, I didn't like getting inside people's consciousness. I have enough trouble dealing with my own, and don't like meddling.
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 think I've described this above. I knew that I had a choice to make between life and death. It was my choice at that point. I also realized that it would not always be my choice and that I would one day be at this juncture again and have no choice.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate I suppose I was pretty conservative, as my parents were both right of center. Many contradictions, however, since they were also very generous in community work, equal rights, Grass Roots change which was humanistic.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I think that at sixteen, when I got ill, I pretty much believed I had it all figured out. (Don't all teenagers?) Afterwards, I was very confused, attempting to integrate what I had experienced with everyday life. Was very nihilistic for many years, even suicidal, perhaps wanting to go back to better understand what death was. Lived a very dark life for many years, but received a real breakthrough, and clarity, in the 1960's and 1970's, through work with a peyote shaman, and other psychotropics. I consider these extremely dangerous, and use no drugs today, but also believe that the understanding that I came to through the drugs brought me to a spiritual discipline that I hold today.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It took many years to articulate and understand what I'd experienced. When I tried to talk about it at first, I quickly became aware that my parents and physicians thought I might be crazy. So I kept quiet, knowing I wasn't that in fact I had seen a truth that I felt quite certain about, even though I didn't understand it.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes As I have said above, the experience of no-dimension, the understanding of the nature of projection, and the ability to do what I call 'read the forms' all seem to indicate a yes answer here. None of this seems to conform exactly to other discussions of the paranormal that I've read about, however, so I mostly don't talk about it or let others know very much about the part it plays in my life.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The best part was being able to see 'no-dimension,' and to have the roots of understanding around the role that projection plays in our lives. This would eventually come to bear in my spiritual disciplines, which took many years to develop. At thirty, creativity served me. At forty, the path of greatest comfort was found in the spiritual.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I've written some about it. Also, it was very useful for me when I sat with my parents in their deaths. I was 'called' to be their guides in the crossing, and both were able to pass over in a very conscious way. All my own experiences made the struggle to give up the physical form much easier, through conversations with them, through being able to process the family's roles so that we could all be supportive, etc. No airy fairy stuff, just good support and understanding of the death process.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes As noted above, I worked with peyote and other entheogens.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It's my belief, based on all of this, that the mystery of life, the mystery of the finite world, is still wide open. I have to say that I keep looking at infinity and no-dimension for understanding. But they don't give back what my brain seems to ask for - the brain being a finite form (presumably), it does not seem capable of letting go of that 'illusion(??)' long enough to let in the bigger truth
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Yeah, I think my answer to question twenty-nine sort of slid by because I didn't see a way to answer it elsewhere. Not sure how you'd phrase that differently than you did in the questionnaire but there's a way to do it, I'm sure.