When I was five my family was visiting my aunt's cabin at a local lake. While running up and down a long boat pier in front of the cabin, I fell off the pier and into the lake. I recall at first floundering in the water (as I did not know how to swim) and then swallowing a large amount of water as I started yelling for my mom. I recall noticing that I was starting to float under the pier and I remember thinking that no one would be able to get me in time if I went too far under there. I don't recall being afraid but rather very calm, not resigned but simply not caring.
I then went totally face down into the water and suddenly I was outside of myself and BELOW my body. I could see myself floating face down in the water above me. I watched as I tried to shout again and saw the bubbles race out of my mouth. I knew that water was now pouring into me, but I couldn't physically feel anything and there was no sensation of fear. In fact, I felt quite dispassionate about what I was seeing.
Suddenly I felt myself being yanked out of the water, and at that instant, I was back in my body and gagging and choking from the water in my throat and lungs. My brother, who was swimming near by, had raced over and pulled me upright. He got my head out of the water. After a considerable amount of coughing and back pounding, I was subsequently hauled up to the beach by my brother while my mom and aunt raced down to see if I was okay. The total amount of time that I spent in the water was likely no more than two or three minutes.
I have never told anyone about my experience, and who knows if it has had any profound impact on my views of death and dying (I'm still scared of the prospect). However, the experience has stayed with me my whole life when almost all of my other early memories have faded. The event is as vivid in my memory today as it was forty-five years ago on that hot July afternoon.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1961
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' . Drowning.
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? Normal consciousness and alertness
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The time that I was outside of my body.
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
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
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
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Utter calmness and a sense of being a dispassionate observer. I knew the boy floating above was me, I knew I was drowning, I could see the bubbles pouring out of my mouth and I knew the water was rushing in but felt no fear nor discomfort.
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 I was a small child at the time
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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? No
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? Simply that it remains one of my most powerful memories from my childhood, and one of the few things I remember of my life before age six.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
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.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real.
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? I have spent twenty-five years working in the field of clinical psychology. I am aware of most of the common 'explanations' for my experience. No one is a greater skeptic of paranormal experiences than I am. However, I am convinced that this experience was real. I am not sure how it occurred, but I am sure that it was a real out of body experience.