Experience Description

At that time, I had never heard of a near-death experience and had no idea what it was that had happened to me. During the experience itself, I felt as if I was being propelled feet first down a long tunnel at warp speed. There was a distinct sensation of the extreme speed of it all. I was hurtling toward the light, but simultaneously feeling as if a strong evil force was also pulling me back the other way, pulling, pulling, and pulling me back. I was conflicted. I wanted to go forward, but I also felt the strong pull to come back. As you see, I did come back.

During the experience, there was also an intense whooshing and vibrating sensation. The best analogy I can use to describe it is this: If you've ever ridden on a ferry boat while sitting in your vehicle, there is a vibration from the engines and a whooshing sound. The sound is pulsating, emanates from the engines, and reverberates in the structure of the ferry boat, and the experience I had included an intense vibrating/whooshing/pulsating sound simultaneously somewhat similar to that.

However, following that experience I never felt the same again. I had a strong sense that I was a totally different person on the inside, that only my outside appearance was the same, but it was as if I was a different person inhabiting the same body. No one on the outside knew. Only me.

Subsequent to the experience, I became a dare-devil. I would do anything -- virtually anything -- fearlessly. I certainly had no fear of death after that experience. Now that I am much older, I am no longer engaging in all of those risk-taking activities, but I still feel that I was forever changed on the inside by having had that experience.

Even though I had not discussed it with anyone, never mentioned so much as a word about it to anyone, about three years after it had happened, my sister happened to mention the topic of 'near-death experiences' to me, as she had just read a book about it. That was the first I knew that anyone else had ever had a similar experience, much less a name for it. It was only after that, that I then read about it myself and came to the point where I was eventually able to tell others -- only certain people -- about the experience I had gone through.

Background Information:

Gender: Female

Date NDE Occurred: July 17, 1976

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No Childbirth Allergic reaction to general anesthesia during a C-section Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)

How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed

The experience included: Out of body experience

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? Much more intense.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Throughout.

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 your vision differ in any way from normal? Intensely bright, and an intense vibration and whooshing sound.

Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? Intense vibration and whooshing sound.

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 It seemed that I was traveling at warp speed, feet first, through a tunnel, toward the bright light, but simultaneously being pulled by an equal force back toward where I came from.

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? Yes The light at the end of the tunnel was extremely bright.

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Just the tunnel and the light

The experience included: Strong emotional tone

What emotions did you feel during the experience? An intense sense of struggle and conflict: wanting to continue to go forward 'toward the light' and simultaneously being pulled back from whence I'd come.

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

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

The experience included: Special Knowledge

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

The experience included: Vision of the future

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? No

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? Conservative/fundamentalist

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Changed forever with a new insight. Things were not as cut-and-dried or black-and-white as they had been in my world view prior to the experience. I came to accept that I really did NOT know everything.

What is your religion now? Liberal

Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Changed forever with a new insight. Things were not as cut-and-dried or black-and-white as they had been in my world view prior to the experience. I came to accept that I really did NOT know everything.

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

Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I divorced my husband at that time, took the children, and set out on my own.

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 Since the experience, I have felt strongly that I have a gift of insight, heightened awareness, and discernment. I can 'see through' people and anticipate future events in a much more different and dramatic way than others seem to be able to.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The most meaningful aspect of it is how it changed me -- forever. The inner knowing that came after I survived the experience, the inner knowing that I was a different person inhabiting the body that others still recognized as the old me, but that I was, in fact, a different person.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes The first time I spoke of it was three years after it happened. I only spoke of it after my sister had brought up the subject and introduced me to it after she had read a book about it. Until then, I had no idea what it was that had happened to me, much less that there was a name for it or that anyone else had ever had a similar experience.

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. It was certainly real, but so unfamiliar, I could not speak of it, had no one to share it with, and felt that I had to keep it inside, because I did not know or believe that anyone else could understand what I would have a difficult time even beginning to describe.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I understand it now and accept it, and have no qualms about discussing it with anyone who is interested in learning about it.

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 still do not have an opinion about what it was that happened to me. I don't know if it was a function of my brain chemistry during hypoxia or if I was going toward Heaven, or if Earth itself is Hell. But it seemed an incredible struggle, a struggle I cannot even find the words to quantify regarding how strong the pull was to go forward, to continue going toward the light, and yet the intensity of the pull, which seemed like an evil force, pulling me back, back, back to where I had been.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? You might add some sort of a scale for the questions where you ask about the intensity of auditory or other sensory experiences during the NDE. That way, if a person has a limited vocabulary and difficulty finding words to accurately convey the level of the intensity of their experience, they could rate the sensation (brightness, vibration, joy, whatever else) on a scale of 1-10, they could just mark a dot beside the intensity level they experienced.