Experience Description

I was in a government hospital in northern Isr'l in the city of Tsfat. I was under treatment for a reaction to penicillin, shot full of antihistamine drugs and cortisone. I was in a ward with three other men, one of whom was also reacting to some allergenic substance. I was in a great deal of pain in almost every joint in my body, and I kept seeing colors stream by and heard a roaring when the colors were present. I was apparently losing ground. A doctor and a female nurse came in to tell me that things were not going well, and they offered an English-speaking and writing person to take down letters to family members, just in case. I dictated four letters to my wife and three children, which she wrote down on 'rogram and put on my beside table. I felt bad for her, as she was so sad. She cried, wiped her tears and wrote again, and then cried again. She finished the job and left. After a while, I figured out that I was alone in the room, though I do not remember my ward mates leaving. (I had trouble turning my head from pain in my neck, so I may have just missed it.) The pain increased, and so did the roaring streams of light. The roaring and the lights would shut off from time to time as though there was a short in electronic equipment, and then just as suddenly cut back in. The lights came at me from straight ahead and went around me. The pain did not stop.

I became aware that some people were assembling to my right. I did not know at first who they were, but eventually figured out that the short lady in front was my grandmother on my mother's side. We called her 'Big Mama', and she died in the 1950s. We were not especially close, even though I had lived with her, three aunts, and three cousins for a year about 1945. She seemed happy. There was a tall man standing next to her dressed in black. I wondered who he was. For some reason I did not consider it odd that my grandmother was standing there. I was also aware that there was some sort of barrier between my grandmother and me. I do not know whether it was a river, rift, or what, but I knew I could not get over there. I also became aware of a beautiful city behind them all somewhat in the middle distance. I am not certain, but there may have been hills behind the city. The city was golden, either from its own internal light or from a golden light at sunset. There were beautiful trees and flowers and lovely smells. The city awakened in me a desperate yearning to go there, though I don't exactly know why. I could somehow see that there were busy people in the houses, which had windows and flat roofs.

Suddenly I could cross the divide! I felt simply wonderful, with no pain, and I was full of powerful feelings of peacefulness. I flew right over Big Mama's head and the heads of the other people with no apology. I could fly and I seemed to have no mass. (I did not look at my body or any part of it, so I don't know what I looked like or even whether I was in my body.) I wanted to get to the city with great intensity. The landscape rushed toward me and grew ever more beautiful as I approached. I could hear the most beautiful music I had ever heard.

Suddenly male voices in chorus told me that I couldn't go to the city. I could not stay. Suddenly I could see my wife and children, and I understood that I could not leave them. Although I loved and missed my family very much, I felt instant grief that I could not stay. I went back and more or less unceremoniously slammed down in my bed on my back. The pain and the roaring lights returned.

Sometime towards morning, I apparently awoke from an awful sleep understanding that I was going to be okay. I watched the sky brighten as the sun came up. Someone stuck their head in to see how I was. I was too weak to do anything, but I did eventually get out of there. I was in the hospital a total of ten days.

Background Information:

Gender: Male

Date NDE Occurred: Summer of 1976

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Allergic reaction. Reaction to penicillin. Other 'I was not wired up, so I do not know if my heart stopped and brain waves ceased. I was in a hospital room alone.' I had an advancing cataclysmic reaction to penicillin.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful

The experience included: Out of body experience

Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain I lost awareness of my body

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 think it was the instant I sailed across the river or whatever it was.

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 did not seem to apply, though it took time for me to make observations and fly in.

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. All sensory data seemed to be more intense; including a lovely aroma of some sort that I thought came from the flowers.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear the music, and it was nothing like any music that I had ever heard, nor since. I could hear the textures of the music like never before. The voices I heard were somehow 'in tune' and spoke as one.

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

The experience included: Presence of deceased persons

Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Some chorus of men's voices spoke to me, but I could not see anything.

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 Well, the landscape was lit with this golden light. Actually, everything was illuminated with this light.

The experience included: A landscape or city

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I described it above, but it was a beautiful scene with a beautiful city either lit from inside with golden light or bathed with golden light.

The experience included: Strong emotional tone

What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt peacefulness, love, repose, serenity, and happiness.

Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness

Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness

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

The experience included: Boundary

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes The boundary describes the first part of the experience. One might say that the voices were in effect warning me that there was a limit, but basically they just sent me back.

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 Baptist

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I think I have gained a broader and deeper appreciation and understanding of religious experience in particular and paranormal experience in general, even from those who are not members of my Christian faith. I now see that these two categories shade into one another.

What is your religion now? Liberal Baptist

Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I think I have gained a broader and deeper appreciation and understanding of religious experience in particular and paranormal experience in general, even from those who are not members of my Christian faith. I now see that these two categories shade into one another.

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 It now seems to me absolutely clear that life is purposeful, that human history is going somewhere good, and the universe itself has meaning. At the center of the center is God, who is loving, grants peace, and calls us to peace.

Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes It did not happen overnight, but I came to see that our closest relationships create more meaning than anything else in our lives, including our accomplishments. I would now say that it is our relationship with God that is the central one.

After the NDE:

Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I can never find the words, because it was too profound.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain Could be. I have given up resistance to the existence of paranormal phenomena.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The intense feelings of peace and perhaps love.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes About fifteen years later I shared the experience with my son. I actually cried when I told him that the voices said I could not stay. He was supportive. I also told my wife. She listened respectfully, but did not comment.

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 wondered what it all meant, and shared it with no one, as I feared being made fun of. It was so intense that I could not deny it, but neither could I explain it. I was in a quandary.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real This was a turning point in my life. Now my life seemed to have a coherence and meaning that was nowhere nearly as intensely present before. It was not now a matter of belief in the afterlife, it seemed so clear that I had visited the afterlife. The most rationalistic part of my mind stayed in denial, but I more or less ignored that. I could not ignore the reality of my own experience. It is like people who tell me there is no rain in the Middle East, but they have not been there. It is safe to ignore their assertions.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes The very next year I had another NDE, but far briefer, but the major feeling was that of peace. I simply passed out after dinner and a friend who was a paramedic and was sitting behind me felt for a pulse and got none. He told the nurse practitioner to his side that he had no pulse, so they had the driver pull over so they could pull me out of the van. I was somewhere else experiencing peace and love again, and I did not care. I regained consciousness and spent the night in my bed, but with the nurse-practitioner watching me from a chair.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It has awakened in me a longing like that expressed in the opening verse of Psalm 42.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I can tell you have worked on it, and I have no suggestions.