Experience Description

I was at a camp ground that had a large pond for swimming; muddy old thing and there were fish in it. I had jumped through the center of a small, plastic, child's blow up inner tube, trying to get it around my waist to keep me afloat. The tube ended up coming down on the back of my head, holding it under the water. I was aware of panicking (scared) and struggling, trying to get my head up so I could breathe or get my body back out of the center of the tube but couldn't.

All of a sudden, a very bright, white beam of light came down through the water and lit up the bottom of the pond in front of me, not right in front of me but just at a distance. A peacefulness came over me and I felt very light as if I were just quietly floating towards it, of course I was in the water with an inner tube around my hips. I remember being aware that I wasn't panicking (scared) or struggling anymore. I wasn't afraid of it; it was more that I was curious. I could see the plants and fish illuminated on the bottom of the pond by it; before the beam of light appeared I couldn't see anything.

I don't know how long that lasted but as I was focusing on the light and watching the fish moving around and the plants swaying, I somehow popped up to find my mother, panic stricken, running to help me. I never forgot that episode. In particular, I remember that very bright white light and the feeling of peacefulness, just quietly floating looking at the light and the fish. I didn't realize that it was a near death experience though until I had my second near death experience at the age of thirty. Once I recovered from that episode it dawned on me that I saw the same peaceful light that I had seen in my childhood.

Background Information:

Gender: Female

Date NDE Occurred: '1959 (this is my first, I've had two NDE's)'

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' I almost drowned.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful

Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain 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 As above.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I think it may have been just after the light appeared and the panic instantly stopped. I wasn't scared or struggling anymore but very peaceful and focused on the light, the fish and plants swaying, curious about it.

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

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It was very colorful, especially the fish. I've been snorkeling in the Caribbean and within this light beam, that's what it looked like. Very clear water. But, unlike the clear water of the Caribbean where you can see at a distance all around you, I couldn't see anything outside of this light-beams circumference, it was just darkness.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I was in water and it was very quiet.

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 A very bright light that appeared to form a perfect circle on the floor of the pond. It wasn't fractured as you might think of sunlight being as it passes through water. It was a beam, a shaft shining directly straight down from the surface, not at an angle. It wasn't real wide in circumference but wider than two or three feet I guess but who knows, I was a kid and looking at it from a distance.

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No

What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt very, very calm, not afraid, and curious. I just read the next question and pleasantness is another word I could use to describe this experience.

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? Liberal 'I was only 7 years old, so none. I couldn't submit without choosing one of the above so I chose Liberal because I was a pretty liberal kid.'

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No

What is your religion now? Moderate 'This sounds more like a question of politics. I'm not an out there religious person, although I strongly believe that there is more than just embalming fluid and a hole in the ground after we die. There is an afterlife. Is it God and Heaven in the biblical sense or traditional sense? I don't know for sure but it is very spiritual. I guess I'm a spiritual person, who tries to live my life as honestly and kindly as possible. After my second near death, I remember believing that the light was God, and I believe that to be true but, God in what sense. I don't have a need to belong to a church. I was baptized in the Lutheran church but we really didn't go to church on a regular basis and I usually fell asleep. I did convert to Catholicism before marrying my ex-husband but I wasn't a very good one and would not call myself a Catholic now.'

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 I have to remind myself that I'm talking about the first experience. I was very changed after the second.

After the NDE:

Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I was a child and more interested in getting back to play. Not enough life experience to even grasp the reality of nearly drowning.

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? The peacefulness and the light. It wasn't sunlight, I'm sure of that.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was years that past since this experience before I ever told anyone. I didn't realize what it meant until I had my second experience which, after reading all the unanswered questions I left above, was much more exciting than nearly drowning as a kid. I've told several people after my second near death, some twenty-seven years ago. It's really only been within the past five or six years that I'm more comfortable telling anyone and that's because people seem to be more receptive now, or I perceive them as being so. Also, I'm much less concerned about what others may think of my sanity as I get older. I have found that it is comforting to someone suffering from a potentially fatal illness to hear my story. I also believe that there is life after death and we may be judged in some way, so I sometimes think that I can maybe validate that fact by sharing. I'm not fanatic about it though.

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 never gave it a thought after it happened, although I never forgot. To me as a child, it just happened so it must have been real.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I never forgot. The memory sat in the back of my mind as odd and occasionally it would come forward out of nowhere and I would see it happen all over and wonder. I did question it as I got older but not whether it happened but whether it could have just been sunlight. But it's the peacefulness, the calm, not feeling that I was panicking or struggling anymore. It's the feelings that went with the experience. Once I recovered from my second near death, I stopped questioning it. It was the same light and feelings.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I nearly died in a California hospital when I was thirty years old. I would like to document that experience separately but I saw the same light. I had the same peaceful, curious, pleasant experience only I did go farther to the light.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It took longer than forty minutes that's for sure. I've had to take a few breaks though. My later answers were a bit more rushed because it's late and I'm tired. This isn't a complaint, just a statement of fact.