I was six years old and my family was visiting a pubic pool in a town close to Heidelberg, Germany. My father (who was an avid swimmer) wanted to teach me how to swim by coaxing me to come down a slide into a very deep end of the pool. This pool was used for training and had a high dive so was quite deep. He told me to come down the slide and he would catch me. I remember hitting the water and sinking and as I sank, I could see bubbles coming out of my mouth in very slow motion. I felt as if I sank at a much deeper depth than the actual depth of the pool.
I remember seeing sparks of light and people at a distance in the pool but recall that they weren't wet and I had a conscious thought that I didn't understand how they could be there under the water and not be wet. I didn't seem to know any of the people I saw. It was not until sometime later that I saw family photos and was able to determine whom I saw. The next memory I had was being on the side of the pool with lifeguards all around me and I was choking on the water.
Date NDE Occurred: 'approx., July of 1967'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident drowning Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
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 Once the bubbles stopped coming out of my mouth.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Once the bubbles stopped coming out of my mouth.
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
Seemed very slow.
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 felt like I was much deeper under the water than the depth of the pool.
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 nothing.
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? No
The experience included: Darkness
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 Brightly colored sparks of light running through the water.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Confusion about how the people I was seeing were not wet. I was not afraid but sometime was calm and felt a sense that everything was 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 Not at the time but I have been aware of future events since then.
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 Church of Christ Scientist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Although I was raised as a Christian Scientist when I was young and then as a Baptist during my teenage years, I believe that each person has a personal relationship with a divine being. I do not identify myself based on any religion and staunchly defend persons with beliefs that are not mainstream. I grew up in the South which is a predominantly conservative and Christian. I have never believed that there is a particular set of beliefs that applies to all of us.
What is your religion now? Liberal Spiritual
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Although I was raised as a Christian Scientist when I was young and then as a Baptist during my teenage years, I believe that each person has a personal relationship with a divine being. I do not identify myself based on any religion and staunchly defend persons with beliefs that are not mainstream. I grew up in the South which is a predominantly conservative and Christian. I have never believed that there is a particular set of beliefs that applies to all of us.
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 Not at the time but a few weeks later.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I was unable to relate well to my peers while I was growing up. I had a sense of 'knowing' which made me feel somewhat removed from my peers. I am able to offer my family and friends unconditional love which I believe is due to this NDE. I have a keen sense of equality. I am able to relate to people of all ages, from all walks of life.
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? Yes Not long after this experience, I began to sense spirits around me. I could not see them but could hear them. This has continued for more than forty years. I have worked with law enforcement regarding missing persons over these years.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Not initially but there was once I saw family photos and learned who the people I saw were.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared these experiences with my mother not long after and she didn't have much reaction. I shared them with my grandmother when I was ten or eleven and she was supportive, as she had had a similar experience in her youth. I developed understanding of death which I still use today in my job as a hospice nurse.
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 had no doubt it was real at the time and that was reinforced after I figured out who each person was that I had seen. They were deceased relatives that had passed before I was born.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I believe that when a person has an NDE there is a portion of the brain which is activated. I think the experience may happen sometimes to people who have a fear of death as a reassurance that passing will not be scary. For me, personally, it was a turning point and I believed that there is a purpose for every experience we have. I understood some concepts such as compassion toward others, being non-judgmental, that there is a Universal Truth that extends beyond organized religion. I felt a sense of belonging on a global scale.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Occasionally when I sense or hear spirits I have a similar feeling which I can only describe as the same sort of connection and feeling I had when the NDE occurred and I saw my deceased relatives. I can only describe it as feeling 'connected' to what I can't actually see.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I know many people who have had NDEs at various stages of their lives and most of them have a keener sense that they are part of something larger than their families or community. I believe it gave me a sense of purpose.