I was on the operating table, but when they tried to give me the anesthetic, via a dark face mask, and told me to breathe. I began choking and coughing, and lifting my hands to try to get the mask off, because I could not seem to breathe at all. I struggled so much that the doctor lifted the mask off my face and let me recover a bit before continuing. Before that, the doctor, I believe, said, 'Did you' and asked some question of the anesthesiologist, who was next to me on the other side by my head. The anesthesiologist then said, 'Oh,' and turned around to the machine and turned a dial to adjust it. The surgeon then gave him a frowning and stern admonishing glance; the anesthesiologist hunched and nodded, as if to say he'd solved the problem and would watch it carefully from then.
The doctor paused a moment and then went back to the procedure, putting the facemask back on me again. (This made me wonder, afterwards, when I knew more about such things, if he had not, in fact, properly adjusted the mixture, and if I had not struggled, I might have ended up a vegetable for the rest of my life, as sometimes happens if the mixture of oxygen in the anesthetic is not right.) In any case, the first experience had scared me, of course, and I was afraid and resisted when the mask came back down.
This time, when the doctor said 'Breathe,' I did, but experienced only an instant of total darkness before I shot up out of my body and seemed to be over the room, looking on as they worked on me. I watched for a minute, wondering and thinking it was interesting, but then, a lady in a black dress came up to me, and I instantly recognized her as my great-grandmother, whom I had known before she died when I was about two and a half. 'Oh, Gaga,' I said, 'I'm so happy to see you. I haven't seen you in such a long time!' She took my hand and smiled at me, and we may have talked for a bit, but then she said, 'Well, since you're here for a little while, would you like to see some things?' I replied excitedly, 'Oh yes, that would be nice!' And we went off together hand-in-hand.
I do not remember a lot of what I saw, but I know that I met a tall blondish man and another, dark-haired lady in a blue dress. They met us in what appeared to be a hallway of some large building which I don't remember entering. The man said in reply to a question by my 'Gaga,' (which was what everyone had called her), something like, 'Well, maybe we could show her' and said something I don't remember. I was introduced to the lady next to him, and Gaga said to go with her. At first, I didn't want to leave, but she said she'd see me later.
The woman and I went into a nearby door, and I looked in. It seemed to be some sort of workroom or classroom, because there were banks of desk areas with seats behind them, where many children of both sexes and varying ages, from near my age to several years older, were tapping at consoles that seemed to have square, raised buttons that lit up in different colors as they worked on them. Mainly in colors of bright red, yellow, green and other colors that would light up as they tapped them, as if they were colored plastic with lights under them. They also seemed to be watching some sort of display further up on the slanted part above the keyboards as they worked. I knew about old-fashioned typewriters of that time, from having been allowed to use one in the office of the store where my father worked. These were different, very pretty and fancy, to my way of thinking.
I said, 'Oh, what are those?' and someone, (I think the man) said, 'Oh those are (I don't know if he used the word 'computers' or 'like computers' but he used some word and then said, 'You'll see those later in your life.' Someone, (maybe the woman) asked if maybe I could work one, but I believe he may have said something to her with the intimation that it would be better if I didn't. As described, in a room where children were working at consoles with keys that lit up in different colors, though this was 1952, so there was, as yet, no such thing as even electric typewriters, and certainly no computers with square keyboards, let alone ones that lit up! There were not many things made of plastic yet, which was what they resembled. It seemed to me that we went other places and saw other interesting things, but I don't remember them.
All I do remember is that eventually, Gaga took me back again to the operating room above where they were working on me. She then said that I would have to go back, and I protested, saying, 'Oh, Gaga, can't I stay with you? It's so nice here!' At this, she appeared a bit flustered, and said, 'Oh no, you have to go back. You've just been here on a little visit.' I began to try to persuade her to let me stay, but she said, seeming a little anxious, 'Oh no, you have to go back now, you may have been here too long already.' I was ready to argue further, but at that moment, I felt and heard a large swooping, sucking noise, and swoosh! I was going down into my body again.
I partly awakened as I was being wheeled out of the room, which was when I believe I heard the doctor's comment. I attempted to raise my left arm and thought, 'Oh, no, not this again!' because my arm seemed to weigh a ton, and my entire body seemed as heavy as lead, in contrast to the wonderful lightness and airiness of my recent existence out of it. This was very discouraging, but I was back again, without doubt, and would have to bear with the dragging weight and slowness of the thing I was once again encased in. It was like having been instantly transformed from a bird into a great, lumbering bear, and obviously, there was nothing I would be able to do about it for a very long time!
Date NDE Occurred: sometime before fall 1951
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness. Surgery-related Other: 'You seem not to allow for the fact that some of these experiences have happened long ago to people who were little children at the time and thus may not know or remember all the circumstances, or even know the date, or possibly even the place.
I experienced the event in connection with a problem with the anesthesia during a surgical procedure which was supposed to be routine. I know of the assumed danger to my life only through my experience, at the time, and through the comment, I overheard the doctor make. I do not know if he ever told my parents or anyone outside the operating room of the possible danger that had existed, but I got the impression he hadn't.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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? Normal consciousness and alertness It was as if I were a bird, but without any effort of beating my wings. I could travel anywhere merely by thinking, and though I said we 'walked off' our movement was completely effortless, like floating. Moving and communicating was all very blissful and easy. I don't remember not speaking, it seemed as if I were using my mouth as usual, but maybe I didn't even have to do that. Everything was lovely and simple, without thought.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I first met my great grandmother.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Things seemed normal, but as in a child's vision everything light was bright and comfortable, I didn't notice a big difference.
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 everything as if it were normal, and could hear whatever I wanted to hear.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain It may have been that I passed through something like a 'tunnel' when I went back into my body, but it happened too quickly to really know.
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? Yes My great grandmother, my mom's mother's mother, whom I had known until I was two, as stated.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain The light in the places I went seemed bright, but normal, though I did not notice a source for it; the places just seemed normally bright.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place As described, a room where children were working at consoles with keys that lit up in different colors, though this was 1952, so there was as yet no such thing as even electric typewriters, and certainly no computers with square keyboards, let alone ones that lit up! There were not even many things made of plastic yet, which was what they resembled.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I was very happy to see my great grandmother again, and interested in everything I saw. I believe I saw more, but have told all I remember.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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? No
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 the world's future As I said, I saw the lighted consoles, and was told I would see similar ones, later in my life. I don't clearly remember the word used to describe them.
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 I was 'sent back against my will,' if you like, by my great-grandmother, or at least at the point of her insistence that I 'had to go back.' Perhaps she seemed to turn aside a little, as if requesting assistance for this, when I kept protesting!
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic The experience happened before I went to school and I was sent to Catholic schools through high school, but had not yet gone to any school,as I attended none until I started first grade - thus I had not been taught a great deal about religion and mainly knew only a few stories about Jesus and Mary (mainly connected with those surrounding Christmas) and a few stories about some of the saints- this would have been from my mother, as my father was not of the same religion as we were, and so I also got input (mainly lateer) about possitive thinking and meditaion- based activities, because he at first went to the Christian Science church but by the time I was nine or so had transfered to the Religious Science church, which was an early new age type church, which believes in working with doctors (Chr. Sci. does not)as well as their own practitioners, and emphasises possitive thinking, and god more as a possitive universal life force, etc.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I did not believe in dogma, even though I was raised Catholic; was taught early about heaven and angels through that. I always had my own beliefs. Though I was a little girl, I accepted the existence of life after death and of heaven, completely and matter-of-factly; though I didn't think I was necessarily visiting 'heaven' at the time; I just didn't think about it.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated I consider myself oriented more towards new age beliefs, though I do not go to any church or attend any services- I occasionally meditate and have an interest in such things as ndes and other new age type beliefs and intuitional practices. I read about, and am interested in, various topics, such as ndes, meditation, and paranormal experiences- I have attended several graduate classes at JFK Uninversity's former paranormal curriculum.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience Though I was a little girl, I accepted the existance of life after death and of heaven, completely and matter-of-factly, though I didn't think I was neccesarily visiting 'heaven' at the time; I just didn't think about it.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain
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 saw my great grandmother as she looked to me when I knew her as an old lady.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Uncertain Other than the use of the word 'visit' and its implication that I'd been there before and would again, no. But I sort of assumed that at the time.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Uncertain The casual 'You'll see those later in your life,' seemed to carry the implication that I would see many other things also, though nothing specific other than those mentioned.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I would say that my great grandmother's use of the word 'visit' indicated that I perhaps had been, and would at any rate in future, be in that place again. I had been told of heaven at the time, and beleived in it without any queation at all, so I didn't
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Uncertain The casual 'You'll see those later in your life,' seemed to carry the implication that I would see many other things also, though nothing specific other than those was mentioned.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Uncertain Just the intimation that I would live a long enough life to see things similiar to the 'consoles' I saw there.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Unknown Since I was so little at the time, there were no great changes, because I had already believed in heaven. But I have always envied those who are dead, and known that they were having a wonderful time, for which reason I have always been happy for people once they are have died; sad for us who are left here! No doubt it strikes people as strange that I'm always happy at funerals, unless it is that of a mother with young children, because I know they will miss her, or a young person in love, because I know their mate will miss them, but not for the person themselves, especially if they are old or sick.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I have always had a good memory for most of the events that would stand out in anyone's life from a young age- as I say,I did conciously remember my great grandmother, even though she died aroumd the time I was two, possibly even a little before, I don't know. I remember other things about the hospital visit, one of the nice nurses I had, etc.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Some, I do expect that people who have died, that I know, will check in with me after they've died a couple of times to let me know how they're doing, and can usually sense when they do. Sometimes, later, I can tell what they are working on in the next place, or sense their comments if they happen to be nearby. I view this as ordinary, because I've always had it.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Just that it always backs up my confirmation that people continue and have interests and activities once they leave this plane. Just the intimation that I would live a long enough life to see things similar to the 'consoles' I saw there. I would say that my great grandmother's use of the word 'visit' indicated that I perhaps had been, and would at any rate in future, be in that place again. I had been told of heaven at the time, and believed in it without any question at all, so I didn't really think about where I was.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I didn't tell anyone until I told my mom and my aunt when I was thirty something. Then my dad asked, so I told him, as they had told him about it after they knew. They were happy to know about it and I have always had females in my family who share their insights or dreams, if they have any, on such things. I have told some since. Most are happy to hear about it; one, who was a nurse, called it a 'classic near death experience,' after I told her of it, when such things were more talked about.
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 was a child who completely believed in heaven, so I didn't view the experience as anything but normal.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Because I have always believed in such things, and life everlasting, so I've never had any doubt about it, I always believed I had been 'here' and 'there' before and will be again.
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'm glad I had this 'little visit,' and I find it reassuring when things get difficult, as they will in life. Just that it always backs up my confirmation that people continue and have interests and activities once they leave this plane. I have always had a good memory for most of the events that would stand out in anyone's life from a young age. I did consciously remember my great grandmother, even though she died around the time, I was two years old, possibly even a little before, I don't know. I remember other things about the hospital visit, one of the nice nurses I had.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? You could ask if people have related experiences after it.