A car accident. A woman (an ex-nun) was on back medication, drove against her light crossing the medium strip into oncoming traffic, and hit us obliquely on the driver's side I had a head injury, a neck injury and hip back injury resulting in one leg being higher than the other is. I was in the back seat of a VW Beetle turned sideways trying to sleep. My department head was driving and there was someone else in the front seat where I usually would ride. No one died, but the others were injured. I was in the hospital for two weeks. I was unconscious according to the others and became conscious lying on a stretcher in the ambulance. Before it happened I heard a female voice or voices in my head that said, 'It is almost time,' and I remember putting my head down to sleep. I had not heard voices before this (except maybe once I heard someone call my name years before that. After I arrived at emergency, I could not sit up, I had a dent in my head (a concussion) and I could not read a newspaper or a watch. I could not figure out what the symbols meant. I could read again a watch after about three or four days.
Date NDE Occurred: October 1979
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Direct head injury Life threatening event, but not clinical death . A car accident.
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? I was falling asleep just before the other car hit so had a concussion. I was alert during the experience but alert in the other space. I have no memory of the accident or aftermath. I woke to full consciousness in the ambulance lying down on the stretcher. I was aware of pain when I woke up. My head was the source of the pain.
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 A void where there was no sense of direction and no sense of time.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? There was no sound in the darkness, but when I experienced being outside of the car I believe I heard myself say, 'What happened? Was there an accident?' Or just, 'What happened?'
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
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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 I saw light when I experienced being outside of the car and darkness, pitch black darkness in the void.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Bardo or a void. I was told later that Bardo is a Buddhist form of purrgatory where suicides go . I was not and never was an attamped suicide. I was just a passenger in the back seat of a car.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? No fear. Alert and curious.
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? Liberal I was interested in Buddhism at the time. I was raised as a Presbyterian
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I am constantly torn about the question is there a God or is there not a God and also what religions are closest to the truth. I am now more like an atheist believing in ethical behavior. But I am not more psychic and this seemed to happen with menopause.
What is your religion now? Liberal 'I am not a member of any church and am spiritual rather than religious, however I say a rosary although I am not Catholic.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I am constantly torn about the question is there a God or is there not a God and also what religions are closest to the truth. I am now more like an atheist believing in ethical behavior. But I am not more psychic and this seemed to happen with menopause.
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? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It was hard to believe by others as I saw myself or felt I was walking around outside of the car, but also experienced being highly conscious in a dark void, but I was not afraid. Although it was dark, I felt I could see. There was no up, down or sideways - no sense of direction. I was alone; apparently the Buddhists call this the Bardo.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I started to feel I could hear things, but it was like listening to a radio hearing someone else's conversation. I also became more emotional and annoyed at things. I was more jumpy and unnerved. Had nightmares where I would wake up and would be unable to move for what felt like a long time. I had trouble walking, used a cane, and had trouble keeping my balance under fluorescent light. It hurt or was very uncomfortable to walk under florescent light.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I am very scared to die as the Bardo, a dark space, is not where I want to end up. I am very fearful now of being among the five percent who have hellish NDE's.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I don't remember clearly as a result of the accident I had memory problems because of the head injury. People just listened I guess, but did not react.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had had surgery in 1975 and had had an experience under anesthesia that I was under a tree sitting with a figure of light who was standing and wore a white or light robe that covered its head, but I could not see its face and could not tell if it was a man or a woman. He/she was very tall and I was reviewing another life as a house wife in Australia as if I was living this life at the same time. It was very strange the concept of living two lives at the same time. The scene was well lit. I was having breast surgery for possible cancer, but it was not cancer, but a large lump the size of a golf ball or baseball. I was very afraid of the surgery and terrified of the anesthesia.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. I did not think much about it as I had very strong vertigo as the injury was near my ear. It was very hard to walk. I had motor skill problems, memory problems and pain.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. After knowing more from reading, etc. I am aware that I had a NDE, but I have never heard of one like mine. I am still confused about the part where I was around the car afterwards, while in reality I was unconscious. I was also trapped in the car and a policeman had to pry me out. I was totally unaware of this.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No I have had an anti-depressant for years which seemed to open me up to more psychic experiences. I am in the process of going off it. It has not made me re-experience Bardo.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I suffered a lot afterwards from the after effects of the injuries. It was one of the hardest periods of my life in that I had just started a new teaching job. I feel that I did not stay out long enough to heal properly as I was afraid about my job.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It seems fine and very helpful for fleshing out information.