I was 14 years old and seeing my father for the summer. My brother wanted to get something to eat that night. It was late, so we walked up the street to get some hamburgers at Krystal's and some chocolate chip cookie dough from a convenience store. On the walk back, as we were walking through a parking lot, a teenage driver of a Jeep lost control coming around the curve and careened through the parking lot. The Jeep struck me, but missed my brother. The police later figured out he was driving in excess of 80 mph when he lost control, and probably doing 55 mph when he hit me. I was bent in half around the hood, and was thrown about 45 feet through the air and landed on my head. I only remember walking through the parking lot, talking, when my brother suddenly made a panicked grab for me. As I whipped my head around, I saw a quick flash of headlights, then immediate darkness.
I became aware of the darkness getting lighter and lighter, and then eventually going to a medium shade of gray. Then I became aware that I was floating upward through this grayness. Then I broke through and rose up into this flat plain, with almost like an indistinct mistiness for 'ground.' I immediately saw this wall of gray stone blocks on my left. They didn't seem very tall. Although I don't have anything for reference, I'd say 20 feet tall. They were large blocks, rough on the surface, and dark gray (like wet stone blocks) that seemed to stretch all the way out to infinity. I was also acutely aware that I had no body. I was facing the wall at like a 30 or 45 degree angle, not looking straight at it, but I could see that it had no end. My eye could follow it as it stretched out to the horizon and beyond. Close by, there was a doorway in the wall. The door was open with the hinge on the right side and opening outwards. Due to the angle, I couldn't see what was on the other side of the door. Coming out of this doorway were whitish, pearlescent, tendrils of light, which were flowing out and dissipating. I was overcome with an emotional blend of relief, love, and acceptance. I was 'coming home' and that everything was going to be alright. As I headed to the light, I could sense there was something on my right. I don't know what it was, but I could sense it in some way. I never looked away from the light. I knew if I could get past the doorway, that I could stay forever. As I approached the light, I could feel that emotional blend getting stronger and stronger. Before I could cross the threshold, everything went black again.
My next memories are of the hospital. The driver was an underage drinker and kept moving after he hit me, a hit-and-run accident. My 17 year-old brother was inebriated. When confronted with my twisted-up body, he started screaming. The accident happened in the parking lot of some YMCA soccer fields, just after midnight. A lunar eclipse had just occurred and a photographer was in the field taking pictures of it. He heard my brother’s screams and investigated. When he saw what had happened, he helped my brother with CPR, but stopped when things got weird.
The photographer had also been a medic in the Vietnam War and weeks later visited me in the hospital when his wife gave birth. He told me that he was surprised I survived, that he'd seen people die from less, and that they stopped CPR when I shuddered and said, 'Are you going to bury me?' The freakishness of that question, coming from someone visibly dead, was too disconcerting. He said that I had no heartbeat and there was no pupil dilation response. He had seen lots of dead people and I was clearly dead. His estimation was that my heart had stopped for at least 8 minutes, before the paramedics arrived and got it going again. My injuries from the impact were severe. I had a fractured skull and brain damage from impact and loss of oxygen. A broken left femur, left ulna, lots of broken ribs, torn ligaments and disks in my back, internal organ damage, cracked teeth, and a large head laceration.
The paramedics arrived and were able to restart my heart, but had accidentally overdosed me on morphine. I was rushed to a local emergency room and not the larger hospital, as they didn't think I'd survive the trip that far. I was in a coma for a few hours, but came out of it. When I realized I was not in that place of light and love, I was very upset. I felt cheated and rejected. I did not want to be here. When my doctors told me I was lucky to be alive, but also that I was probably going to be paralyzed and mentally diminished: I was filled with so much anger and let them have it. My recovery was very difficult emotionally. My vision was very blurry and I had a lot of pain everywhere. My vitals were weak the first three days, with me passing a lot of blood in my urine. But on the third day everything radically improved, like I did a re-boot. I still had a major concussion and fluid on the brain, and was in traction for my broken left leg and a cast on my left arm. I was there for 7 more weeks until I was discharged, put in a fracture-brace for my leg, and allowed to continue recuperation at home. I was in the brace until December. I had lingering medical issues regarding memory, cognition, speaking, and motor skills for many years. I still don't remember much from before the event. In all other ways, I've made a complete recovery, with only mild back pain and scars.
Date NDE Occurred: July 6, 1982
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. CPR given. Direct head injury. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
CPR given direct head injury Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) I was a pedestrian run over by a vehicle going at a high rate of speed, approximately 55 mph.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 I could see more clearly, and farther, as if there was no limitation of what I could sense. My mind seemed unrestricted and faster. I clearly had no sense of a body weighing me down, slowing me down, or limiting me.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I saw the light, everything seemed to make sense and reality became more real.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Incredible sharpness and clarity. I could seemingly see forever and could focus on any point in the distance with clarity, like having zoom lenses.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't recall any sounds.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Unearthly 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 The light coming out of the doorway had tendril-like, flowing rays, slowly undulating. Think of the arms of a sea anemone. It's like it was streaming out of the doorway and dissipating. Peaceful. It was bright, but hardly a strong light. It had an iridescent quality, like an opal gem stone. Subtle pastel shades, with a silvery quality to it. Like a pearl.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place See answer to question 2
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt an overwhelming sense of 'coming home', where everything is going to be alright. Relief, love, and acceptance, to a degree I couldn't have imagined. As I moved closer to the light, that blend of emotions kept getting stronger and stronger.
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? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes It was a large and infinite stone wall with a single doorway in it.
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 importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant I was highly skeptical of my Christian upbringing and was more interested in the occult, perhaps as a form of rebellion. I come from a very religious family where it was expected I would be a member of the clergy like my grandfather and uncles.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes See above
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Other Christian Non-denominational Christian, but feel comfortable in just about any worship service for any faith.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience Looking back on it, I was expecting angels, God, loved ones, that sort of thing. I was not expecting a bizarre living light or a stone wall. Only recently did I realize that the area I was in could be considered "cloud like" and the gate I was at had "pearly" light coming from. So, pearly gates does make sense to me now.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I came to see that the organized religion I was raised in, (and pretty much all religions), were wildly off the mark. They are human inventions for the most part, with a kernel of truth to them. I know there is a spiritual world, but it's still not understood well by humans. I do know that love is the key to understanding it, but I'm still working out what that means to me.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I just knew that I was coming home and that this is where I belonged and if I could get to the light I could stay forever. Nobody told me this. I instantly just knew it as fact.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Not compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I knew that the light was love.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? I worried less about things, which I knew things were in good hands so to speak, so why worry. But due to the PTSD from the incident, I gradually became more and more anxious about life in general, trying to be perfect so that people wouldn't leave me. This is due to personal losses and not due to the incident itself. I have received therapy for the anxiety and am doing much better. I worried less about things, which I knew things were in good hands so to speak, so why worry. But due to the PTSD from the incident, I gradually became more and more anxious about life in general, trying to be perfect so that people wouldn't leave me. This is due to personal losses and not due to the incident itself. I have received therapy for the anxiety and am doing much better.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes When some family members have died, and if I was asleep, I saw them in my dreams and knew they had passed. I also saw the angel of death in these dreams, (that's what I call her, she didn't have a name badge or anything).
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Just that emotional sense of relief and 'coming home'. That's the great truth to my experience. That we're currently not home, but we'll go back there when we die.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Shared it that day when I came out of the coma. I was upset and used the f-word a lot. I was not happy at being back. Interestingly enough, it was a Catholic teaching hospital. I had a nun visit me every day. She was elderly and especially touched by my story. Other staffers liked the story, others visibly did not. My mother latched onto the story (she's fanatical), my other family members seemed to resent me for it. I don't know of anyone that's really changed their life over it. That's not why I tell the story anyway.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I suppose there was something in my childhood about going to heaven and coming back, probably from church, but nothing distinct, and nothing like what I recall happening to me.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It was absolutely real: More real than real, if you will. That conviction has never changed from the first day.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Totally real! There is another realm that our consciousness goes to after death. I don't know much about it, other than the loving light, so I cannot make any claims about Heaven, any religions, or anything like that. I only know what I saw and felt.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No