The accident happened so fast that it took a while for me to realize what had happened. I remember looking at my arm and seeing blood pumping out of the artery with such force that it splashed against the wall of the bathroom that was approximately eight feet away. It was then that I realized that I was probably going to die. I screamed out to my wife in the other room that I was going to die. I put my left hand into the wound and tried to stop the blood, but quickly I slumped down and my arm fell against my body. The doctor told me later that I might have saved my life by applying pressure to the artery. I have vague memories of the firemen ripping out the glass doorframe in order to gain access to me. I lost consciousness after that, but drifted back into semi-consciousness briefly as they loaded me into the ambulance. I remember thinking that I was going to die, since I knew how much blood I had lost.
The lasting impression that I have is the feeling that I experienced when I saw the light. The feeling was that all would be okay. Up until I saw the light, I was in great turmoil because I knew I was going to die, and I did not want to die. Seeing the light somehow gave me great comfort. The light came into my view gradually, and the brighter it became, the more I lost my fear of dying. The light at first appeared to be far off in the distance. I remember looking at it with curiosity. It seemed to get brighter and closer to me, but I do not think there was a tunnel. By the time the light became so close that I felt it was becoming a part of me, I was no longer afraid. Just when my fear was gone, the light faded and I started to become aware of being in the hospital. The doctors told me that I had been resuscitated in the Recovery Room.
Date NDE Occurred: 3/19/1973
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I fell through a glass shower door on the morning of 3/19/73 while getting ready to go to work. The door was not made of safety glass, therefore the glass shattered and I came down on a sharp shard of glass, which completely severed my brachial artery, the brachial vein and all tributary veins in the upper arm. There was also complete division of the ulna nerve, radial nerve and median nerve.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? No
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? Normal consciousness and alertness As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was most aware when the light was at its brightest. This did not seem to last very long, however, since just as the light started to engulf me, I suddenly returned to 'normal' existence. I assume that my return was the result of being resuscitated.
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
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 did not see anything except the light. It appeared at first as a point of bright white light off in the distance, much like a bright star in the sky at night. It grew closer and took on a yellowish hue.
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 The light was the dominant feature of my experience. As I said, it began as a point of bright white light in the distance and grew closer and more yellowish. As it grew closer I felt that it was becoming a part of me.
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: 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? 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? My emotions at first were of great fear. I had seen the blood spurting from my artery and knew I could not survive after losing that much blood. The appearance of the light was such a calming influence. My emotions went from wild fear of death to feeling that all would be okay.
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
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? Moderate Roman Catholic upbringing
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes An afterlife was something I didn't think about prior to my experience, although I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attended Mass regularly as a child and as a teenager. Now that I am older and have read about NDEs I know that there is a scientific basis for believing in an afterlife as well as a religious basis.
What is your religion now? Moderate 'Do not attend church regularly, but am a spiritual person who believes in God and an afterlife.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes An afterlife was something I didn't think about prior to my experience, although I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attended Mass regularly as a child and as a teenager. Now that I am older and have read about NDEs I know that there is a scientific basis for believing in an afterlife as well as a religious basis.
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 The experience seemed very personal - I did not know if it was something that I was supposed to talk about.
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? I felt that death was not to be feared after my experience.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Some years after I did tell my wife about the light. I subsequently divorced my wife and remarried. I also told my current wife after we had been married a few years. In both cases, it was hard to tell what their reactions were. Neither one expressed any great interest. It may be that my experience was only one of seeing the light without any other aspects, and they may not have thought it was that significant. It is hard for me to explain the feeling that the light brought to someone who did not experience it themselves.
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 knew that something real had happened, but could not talk about it until years had passed. Although I knew it really happened; I didn't know what it was that I experienced.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real With all the publicity now about NDEs, I know now that what I experienced was a NDE.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No