I was eleven years old, almost twelve the coming October. It was June of 1953. I had just moved to project housing in Linda Vista California with my mom and dad. Previously our home was in a trailer at a farm labor camp in El Cajon. I enrolled at Kit Carson School, There was a summer program starting in June to transport kids from Linda Vista by bus to the San Diego Municipal Plunge. I signed up and this particular day was my second visit to the pool. I could not swim a stroke and had spent my first visit just splashing at the three-foot end of the pool. This day the bus let us off at the other end of the building. Coming through the boys shower and out into the pool, I was amazed to see that the diving boards were on what I thought was the shallow end of the pool. (Only an eleven-year-old boy can make such deductions.)
I ran out to the end of the board and was bouncing on the end but something didn't feel right and something was holding me back from jumping way out as the other boys yelled 'Come on, jump!' I jumped half toward the side of the pool and went directly down in twelve feet of water. I thrashed my way to the top and gasping tried to yell help but only managed to swallow water before going down again. I came up a second time and was trying to get the lifeguard's attention but went down with more water in my lungs again. I was suddenly out of my body. I recall a total lack of fear. It was a matter-of-fact feeling that is difficult to express. It was like my body was a distant memory. I was trying to communicate with the lifeguard. He was a young boy and talking to a young girl. They were talking about going out to have a dinner and then a movie. I said look, look. I'm over there drowning. I could see my body floating below the surface across the pool. The guard remained inattentive except to his female friend. Then it got strange. As he was telling the girl how great a time they would have I remember trying to tell him how bad he was going to feel because I died in the pool while he was on duty.
I felt his emotions that were to come - I showed him the San Diego Evening Tribune newspaper with the article written in a small space on the left side of the front page. The title of the article was 'BOY DROWNS IN PLUNGE'. I actually felt the painful emotion he was going to have. Then this thought occurred to me. You always get to come up the third time before it's over. I went back to my body. I was floating on my back beneath the surface. I tried to swim back up but I could only reach my hand up to the surface. A small chubby boy about my age reached over from the edge and pulled me to the side of the pool. I came up gasping and retching chlorinated water. I staggered to the boys' room with the chubby boy on my heels. 'He almost drowned and I save him!' he was yelling at the other kids. 'He can't swim and jumped into the deep water!' He was right but I never got to thank him those long years ago. The event was a life-changing event for me. I have told a half dozen people about it in this life, mostly my children and grandkids.
Date NDE Occurred: June 1953
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Misadventure. Jumped into pool thinking it was the shallow end. Other Drown
I was watching my body drown while trying to explain the details to an inattentive lifeguard.
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? All the time out of the body and trying to get the guard's attention. Perhaps when I showed the paper to him or while I was feeling his emotions to come.
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
It felt as if there were no time when I was out of the body. No time for me but time for those outside of me.
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 anything and be anywhere.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I recall no hearing.
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? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No After the event while alone in the boys' dressing room.
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? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt the guard's emotions that he did not yet have. I was strangely ambivalent regarding emotion.
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 After the event when I heard a voice telling me that I needed to be more observant and I needed to go to the library and read plus I needed to learn how to swim.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future Regarding the event I do not know. That future of my death in 1953 did not happen in this reality.
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 None / Slight Christian affiliation
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I would say that it led me toward spirituality and a belief in the supernatural.
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist Roman Catholic
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I would say that it led me toward spirituality and a belief in the supernatural.
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 There are infinite possibilities to time and space. The spirit is eternal, the material an illusion.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Not so hard to express but difficult to describe to others because of its surreal qualities.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes A few dreams and visions.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Probably thirty years. I told my kids and then my grandkids.
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 As a lesson. I began to educate myself by reading.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It has stayed very vivid in my mind. It was so vivid as to have never given me any doubt.
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? Not at this time.