I was undergoing the first of many angioplasty procedures to open a clogged artery. The doctors were having a hard time because my arteries were so small and the wire they were using was a bit too big for the vessel. Just as they got the wire through the blockage, the wire caused total restriction of blood flow through that artery, throwing me into a heart attack. I immediately felt flushed, nauseous and broke out in sweat all over. I indicated my distress and heard the nurse saying something about my blood pressure. The doctor ordered a liquid dilate that was poured into my mouth. My distress continued and I felt myself losing consciousness. I heard a nurse saying 'He's going,' or something to that effect.
Suddenly, all pain stopped and I became as comfortable as I've ever been before in my life. I was still conscious and was aware of a warm, gentle feeling about my body and the room was bathed in a warm, orangey glow. I felt myself rising off the slender table and looking down at the surgeons sitting beside my body, near my hip area, with both arms folded under their arms. They were intently watching the displays in front of them where my vital signs were being posted electronically. The nurses were frozen in place also watching the monitors. I felt myself rise to a corner of the room and then I stopped moving and I watched the scene below me. I felt more loved than anything I can describe and this incredible feeling of wellbeing and at peace and warm. I recall vividly this moment where I examined the feelings I was experiencing and consciously thinking how wonderful I felt and how I felt wrapped in this blanket of love. The room remained bathed in this warm orange glow and after a short moment or two I reluctantly thought to myself, 'Well, I had better get back down there.'
The next thing I knew I was on the slab again and the feeling of being loved was gone and I could feel the uncomfortable table under me. The room was now dark again with only the green glow of the monitors lighting things. My cardiologist said to me, 'Okay, John, we've taken the wire out and we're done here.' Later, in the recovery room, I told him of my experience and all he said was, 'Yes, we gave you a pretty powerful drug there.' But, when I told him what I saw while up near the ceiling in the corner of the room, he was astounded. I had described things that I could never see from my position on the table. Still, he would not accept that I had anything other than a reaction to the drugs he gave me.
While I did not view this as a religious event and it did not reinforce my religious beliefs, it did make me totally unafraid of dying and if what I felt is how it feels to die then it's a wonderful experience. I am a journalist and I wish I had the words to describe to you the feeling of love that I felt during that time. And, how comfortable, warm, worry free and secure I felt. More than anything else, however, it was the feeling of being loved - not by someone, but by everything in the universe. Totally loved, and that feeling gave me comfort and peace. The warm orange light also seemed to give me comfort, warmth and peace.
Date NDE Occurred: July, 1987
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack Life threatening event, but not clinical death
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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? More consciousness and alertness than normal Hard to explain. I just felt I was aware of all that was occurring around me and the details I saw from above remain very clear in my memory today, though my event occurred almost twenty years ago.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? All during the experience. My awareness level was total. I saw things clearly and I recall details clearly.
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 I was not concerned about time, except that I felt I needed to get back 'down there,' while I definitely wanted to stay 'up there.'
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I wear glasses for near-sightedness and had them on for the procedure but when I was up there I don't think I had my glasses on, or at least I was not aware of them.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? There was very little sound in the room, only the hum of the machines at the time. No one was speaking; they were all just watching the monitors. I don't recall noticing my hearing having improved any. I should mention that I have severe nerve damage in my ears from firing weapons as a Marine.
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
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 Nothing bright as I have read about, just a warm, gentle, orange glow.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? As I have written, I felt love. Not so much love from me to another but love coming to me from a force or a being, totally wrapping me in love.
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
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
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Moderate
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? I'm saying the same thing again, I know, but I wish everyone could feel that sense of wellbeing and being loved, of being totally comfortable and without care or worries, and while I've always been a laid-back kind of guy, I'm even more tolerant and laid-back now. I'd like to live with those feelings I felt when 'up there.'
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Almost immediately. I told my cardiologist within hours of the event, and my wife the same.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I read a lot. I had read about people who claimed to have had them.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. I was and am totally convinced that what I felt and saw was 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? No, but I'd be delighted to talk to anyone who has also experienced something such as this. I don't know that I accept yet that some people see a light and go into a different world where people greet them, as I certainly did not experience that. Perhaps what I went through was merely a preview of things to come and my condition was not serious enough to warrant a trip to the other places, I don't know. I am fascinated by the thought that most everyone else who has experienced this says the same thing I am saying about being loved.