I was twelve years old, it was a Saturday evening when I suddenly came down with the worst headache I have ever had. I was too ill to share a pizza that had been ordered. Pizza was a rare treat in our household that I would normally be excited to have a share. On this evening, I was in such intense pain with a feeling of dizziness that I asked to go to bed. For a few hours, the pain in my head prevented me from sleeping, and then I finally drifted off.
I awoke the following day feeling worse, with a terrible headache and no relief from the Aspirin I was taking. I experienced waves of nausea, a strong feeling of disorientation, alternating fever and chills. I slept through most of the day and remember waking up the following Wednesday with no memory at all of the time, that had elapsed from the previous Sunday. At the time I awoke, I was so weak and crying in pain that it took me a very long time to get out of bed. When I did, and stood up, immediately I collapsed back on the bed from dizziness and weakness. I got up again, held the walls for support, and looked in the mirror. I was shocked at how my appearance had changed. My skin was white; my eye sockets were so dark that they stood in sharp relief against my pale skin. What really freaked me out, however, is that my teeth had changed color: they were now almost black.
I made my way to the hallway and grabbed the railing along the staircase to support my body. I literally could not stand on my own. I got to the staircase landing. My vision distorted the stairway where it appeared it didn't end, but I knew I had to get down the stairs because my life depended on seeing a doctor. I was so dizzy I knew I wouldn't make it down the stairs without falling, so I sat on the top step, stretched myself out and slid over the stair risers until I had finally reached the bottom of the stairs. My grandmother was in the kitchen, so I called out to her and begged her to call an ambulance, and that I needed a doctor immediately. My grandmother called a taxi got some clothes for me and we went to the doctor. All the other people in the waiting room were shocked by how bad I looked that they insisted the doctor see me before they were seen.
As my grandmother stayed in the waiting room, I went into the doctor's office. He asked me what was wrong. Because I found it difficult to speak, I just started to cry. I was very disoriented and overwhelmed, and begged for his help. He examined me, took my temperature and collected blood and urine samples. Then, I was asked to wait while he asked my grandmother to come into his office, and shut the door. They were in there for what seemed a lengthy period of time. Finally, I was given a prescription of penicillin and something for the horrible, hacking cough, and my grandmother was instructed to notify him immediately should my condition become worse. I had a fever of 103; I was badly dehydrated, and painfully thin. If my condition didn't improve by the weekend, he was ready to admit me to hospital.
At home, I stayed downstairs on the couch because my grandmother wanted to keep an eye on me, and I was too weak to climb the stairs. Over the next few days, my condition improved and by the following Monday, I said I could go to school. I went to school for a few days, where all the other kids didn't want to sit near me, and some commented on how terrible I looked. I had stopped taking the medication that Monday, thinking I didn't need it anymore. Apparently, the school had been notified the previous week that I was gravely ill, and some of the kids were told I might not be back. The teacher told me it was too soon for me to come back to school. After a few days of not taking the medication, I relapsed and had to stay home again. This is where the NDE comes in. I was sleeping, and it was the wee hours of the morning. I felt terrible, struggled to breathe, and was experiencing the same awful headache and the fever again. I was in too much pain to sleep, and stayed awake to the point of exhaustion and drifted off.
I thought I was having a dream. I was in a blue kind of darkness, and a young man materialized, seeming to float above me. He wore a white shift of some sort, but it was like I could see through him at the same time. He beckoned me to come with him, and that he wouldn't hurt me. I took his hand and felt myself rise from my bed towards the ceiling. I looked down and saw my curled up figure at the foot of the bed. The man said that we didn't have much time left. I told him I wanted to say goodbye to my family. It was as if he allowed me to float over my sister's bed, where I sent my love. I then floated through the wall to my brothers' room, where all three were fast asleep. I descended and slipped through the floorboards and hovered above where my grandmother slept, and immediately was pulled back upstairs, where the man again took my hand and we flew through the window in my brothers' room.
I felt completely safe and loved and protected by my companion as we floated over the neighborhood, heading east. I saw the tops of houses, and then we were at the front walkway of a house similar to those we passed over. We floated through the front door. Inside this house, I felt enveloped by love and compassion. The feeling was overwhelming.
There were people there that I knew, a deceased grandmother I had never met, my paternal grandfather, but I couldn't see them, although I saw other people which I felt some strange, spiritual connection. I felt a joy like I had never felt in my life. Towards the back of the house was a room where an intense light filtered in around the cracks in the door.
Immediately, I was attracted to this room and wanted to find out what was on the other side. A nearby spirit opened the door, and the most amazing lightness and joy filled my heart. I was literally enveloped in love, if that can be visualized. I looked, not directly into the intense light, but around it, where human beings and perhaps not human, were joyfully reunited with each other. I wanted so much to go through this door, but someone there told me that I couldn't, and that it wasn't my time yet. I pleaded to see God, and had a discussion on existence that was too sophisticated for any twelve year-old to begin to comprehend. It was like I was communicating telepathically all along during this experience with those around me.
I was arguing my case, but to no avail. I was told that I would have to go back; that if I were to pass through the door, I would never see my family again, and that my fate might not be similar to those who frolicked in joy and love on the other side. I was also told that, even though life was hard up to that point, my life in the future would be hard as well. I had to live this life, as that was my fate. The same young man who took me to this place again materialized, and hurried me, saying that I must return immediately.
At the same time, I saw an older man, in a suit. He wasn't shadowy, but fully visible to me. He looked over his shoulder at me. I asked my companion who he was. 'He's your husband', my companion replied. I said 'no way, he's an old guy'. I silently resolved I was not going to marry HIM. All of a sudden, I felt myself travelling at a very frightening speed through space, and then, boom, I could actually hear myself stop dead.
I opened my eyes to my sister shaking me as my grandmother stood in my bedroom behind her. She felt the same force as my soul returned to my body. I burst into tears and was completely incoherent. I stayed home from school for about the next week until it was safe for me to attend school again, and this time I was ordered to take my medications until they were gone. I had no problem with this. It was a beautiful experience, but also scary. I was emotionally labile for quite a while afterwards. It was like I had gained wisdom that other kids, my age, didn't have. It definitely helped to shape the person I am today.
Date NDE Occurred: March 1974
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I had a severe case of strep A infection where I was taking medication, but then stopped the medication. I became ill again. The illness probably lasted three weeks to a month altogether, with the relapse. My health deteriorated quite rapidly, at one point I was unconscious and had no memory of three consecutive days.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No It was the still of night, everyone else was sleeping, I didn't hear traffic, either.
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 It was like I was more intelligent, could grasp more abstract concepts of things. At the point where I went through the floorboards to say goodbye to my grandmother, I could even see the joists in the floor. I saw the sealed off room in our house that couldn't be accessed. The house had been renovated at some point before my family owned it.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the discussion of whether or not I could stay. It was like I was discussing really sophisticated philosophy and I was surprised at myself. I was basically presenting an argument to die.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
From what I remember, it was like the experience was a lot of information and time packed into a very small actual period of time.
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. It was dark, and I could discern outlines of figures in the darkness. It was a fairly dark house, it was night, but I could see invisible figures as well as visible ones. I was directed not to look at the light, but looking through the door, I saw, but I honestly can't put into words what I saw.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My hearing was pretty much the same, but it was like I didn't need to hear as I was communicating telepathically with everyone else there. Beyond the door, I heard sound that could be described as joyful. What does joy sound like: millions of beings reuniting and all their exclamations of joy at once.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, but the facts have not 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 sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I thought there was a strong presence of God, but that's about as much detail as I can provide. I had the feeling that a grandmother and a grandfather were there, these were the strongest, but it was like I knew other ancestors were there as well as strangers and people, like my earthly grandmother, who were still alive at the time. It was a mixture of people I could see (still alive) and people who took the form of silhouettes - these were the deceased.
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 unearthly light I saw came from a source I didn't see, but within that light, one could be safe, loved, and at peace forever.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place It was like a house, with a door to the afterlife.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? At first I felt apprehension, and then safety, security, comfort, immense love, protected, peace.
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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others I have since been able to tell when someone is going to die. I predicted the death of a family member; I also predicted the death of a man I met many years ago.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from my personal future The man whom I was told was 'my husband'. I encountered him later, when I was 20, while I lived with another man. I was able to predict that he would be dead within a year of my meeting him. He passed away the following year, before I could get to know him better.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes It was the door. I was prevented from going through 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 While I wanted so much to stay, when I was told I wouldn't see my family again, I knew I had to go back.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I was brought up a Christian; however, I believe that all religions have a very limited grasp of what is out there. Religion to me is a man-made thing, its' purpose is to create social order. It is also an evolving thing; as the world changes, so will religion.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated
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 See above
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes It really made me understand that we must live the best life we have. This experience has also helped me talk myself out of suicide. It has taught me to be thankful for life and to value it more, and it has also left me with more empathy for others and a more open mind when it comes to other things, such as morals, politics, and ethics. I strongly sensed the presence of God, but I didn't see him. This wasn't a man-like god, but some phenomenon coming from the light.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 I was communicating telepathically. Maybe I didn't hear so much as intuit, but there were voices that very much like human voices.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
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.)? Uncertain I thought there was a strong presence of god, but that's about as much detail as I can provide.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I heard what sounded like people/spirits being reunited on a very large scale.
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? Uncertain I strongly sensed the presence of god, but I didn't see him. This wasn't a man-like god, but some phenomenon coming from the light.
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? Uncertain I definitely had a sense of knowing. What I am sure of is that whatever is out there is nothing like what any religion in the world can describe. I spoke to people who were not alive, and who were known to me to be dead, like the grandparents. The fact that they were able to communicate with me would, I hope, be evidence that there is life after death.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I spoke to people who were not alive, and who were known to me to be dead, like the grandparents. The fact that they were able to communicate with me would, I hope, be evidence that there is life after death.
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? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Unknown
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? Yes It was predicted that I would have a hard life, and that prediction came true to a certain extent.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes It is a love that cannot be quantified or captured by our limited understanding.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life I have had a lot of encounters with phenomena I cannot explain, such as spiritual encounters, and dreams that predict some rather terrible things. I dreamed that one family member died in a car accident two weeks before it happened. I've predicted others would die, or not live very long. When these thoughts come, they are almost intrusive and mostly disturbing. I also have precognition of other things and events. Large changes in my life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I can never put into words the sheer joy and feeling of love. There are no words for it.
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
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Some limited ability to predict the future. When I concentrate hard enough, I can communicate telepathically with others, including animals. Ability to sense the presence of spirits/energy: I once viewed an apartment I had considered renting. When left alone in it, the feeling of an evil entity, and the feeling that something very bad occurred in the apartment in the past, resonated very strongly with me and influenced my decision not to take the apartment.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The whole thing was meaningful and significant. I believe it made me who I am to this day. I look at things a whole lot differently than those who have never had this experience. I heard what sounded like people/spirits being reunited on a very large scale.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes When I told family members, they dismissed it as a dream.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I knew of accounts of it, but never thought it would affect me.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I experienced this on a profoundly emotional level. Things in reality came to support it. My illness was serious. I almost died, even though there is no medical record to show that I actually died. This disturbed me for a long time. Did I die or not? All I know is that this experience was so real for me, and that is all that is important.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real The whole thing taught me to be uncertain in my certainty. It is the best way to get through life. I have integrated the experience in my thoughts so far that I don't doubt the reality of it, however it was such a remarkable experience that I have to say I have a very limited understanding of it. I used to keep it to myself because people wouldn't believe me. Whether people believe me or not, it doesn't matter. The experience was powerful and very real to me.
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? It has changed me, and has made me think a lot more about spiritual love. An organized religion, I don't feel can accommodate or integrate my experience satisfactorily, although I respect all religions to the extent where I take the good and leave the bad behind. It was predicted that I would have a hard life, and that prediction came true to a certain extent. It is a love that cannot be quantified or captured by our limited understanding.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think this questionnaire is quite comprehensive, but more inquiry could be made as to the after-effects of these experiences. I believe that deep psychological change comes from them, as well as other intuitive gifts that can be harnessed to increase our understanding