I was riding off road motorcycles with my father and sister in a remote area and my mother stayed behind to read near the car. The terrain had a few little hills and bumps but was otherwise fairly open with low vegetation around. I was an experienced rider and had a heavy duty helmet, kidney belt and motorcycle boots and heavy pants and long sleeved shirt with elbow pads and I was riding a 125cc bike, not big but not tiny. It was Spring break and I was in my second year of nursing school. My sister and I liked to race to certain points on our bikes. I raced ahead zipping over little bumps and jumping them as I was going up a little hill. I looked behind me to see how close she was and when I turned forward, I saw I was about to go into a wide and deep concrete flood control channel that I previously didn't know was there. In a flash, knowing I had no time to stop, and that I would crash regardless of my actions, I gunned the bike to try to jump the gap. I nearly made it over but my back tire hit the other side and the last thing I remember was going head over end on the bike and thinking 'Wow! I'm about to die!' and then blackness.
I gradually became aware inside a black void with a sense of floating and complete silence and stillness. At first, I felt confused and then remembered what happened and at that point I felt panicked and afraid and I knew I was dead. I went through things I felt disappointed at not having attained (graduating, career, marriage, children) and I also felt surprised that I had died so early in life because I had thought I'd be really old when I did die. But once I noticed the stillness and peace, I actually became happy and intrigued with my new circumstances and thought that I would be going to be with Jesus.
At that point an unearthly white bright light appeared and although I couldn't hear a voice with ears I 'heard' in my head a voice answer my question that I was dead and on my way to heaven but I was not there yet. I felt such peace and love in that moment. Then the 'voice' told me that my time on earth wasn't done yet and I needed to go back. I pleaded to stay that I was fine with being dead and that I didn't want to go back now. The voice just said, 'No, you must go.'
In that instant I started moving out of this void faster and faster, the light dimming as I rushed through a narrow tunnel and I felt so sad. I saw a broader less intense light behind my closed eyes and I awakened in the back of a pickup truck on the road to the hospital and I thought, 'Oh crap, I'm not dead anymore' and fell into an unconscious place only coming to the surface occasionally before going back under. I was not aware of anyone's voices or anything else during those times until I gradually woke up for good after two days in the hospital. Afterwards, I felt grouchy and irritable and had what I called 'dial tone moments' where it's like everything just went offline and I was standing there with no thoughts at all. I still do that from time to time.
Date NDE Occurred: April 1980
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Direct head injury Other motorcycle accident; head injury pulseless per first responders..
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes No
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 I felt more tuned in to sensation in my mind and body. I was aware in that moment that where I usually lived in my consciousness was only a fraction of what my mind was capable of and that what I experienced in the NDE was also a fraction of where we'll go but much enhanced from my prior experience.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The highest level of alertness started about quarter of the way through the experience and lasted the whole time until just the end when I faded back into my earthly consciousness. I can't really put a finger on time.
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 The time between the crash and the awareness of being in the void seemed to gradually emerge over time; the time in the void seemed like hours and minutes all at the same time but the trip back seemed like seconds. In all probably ten minutes passed in everyday time.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? For one thing it was perfect. Even with contacts, I still don't see perfectly. And the perception of the void space I was in was different than floating like in water, it was this different sense of myself in space that feels different from everyday sense of self in space. It was even quite different than in dreams because in my experience everything felt real, although different.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? The hearing I had was not coming from the outside via my ears to my brain but was just in my head. It's almost like the voice's sound was a sensation as well inside my head. The sounds like the vision also were perfect no ringing or muffling or impediments.
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 The tunnel was the exit tube, of sorts, out of the void and away from the presence of God towards the earthly world.
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 The presence appeared after I processed what happened and settled into my new surroundings. I instantly knew this presence as 'God' and felt excited to be in his presence. It was just the two of us and he communicated to me that I had died but that I needed to go back to finish some unfinished business he needed me to do.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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 emanated from the presence in the void and was unworldly in its brilliance and purity and it faded as I left the void and went back.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? At first panic and sadness; Huge peace then elation, intrigue and excitement and then when going away grief and loneliness almost like I felt lost.
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 I did something that was more like cataloging what I hadn't done yet. Interestingly, I had no intentions to have children even if I married and yet having children were one of the things, I felt regret at not having gotten to do. I learned that what I thought I wanted and what I really needed to do are two different things. I married and had children within five years of the NDE.
The experience included: Vision of the future
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? Yes I have become far less conventional in my beliefs although I regularly attend Christian church. I see that religion, like science, only can know so much because of human limitations but that doesn't really affect what is true or real in the universal plane. I am way more open to thinking outside the box than before.
What is your religion now? Moderate
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I have become far less conventional in my beliefs although I regularly attend Christian church. I see that religion, like science, only can know so much because of human limitations but that doesn't really affect what is true or real in the universal plane. I am way more open to thinking outside the box than before.
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 At that moment, I became convinced that there is life after death and God is real. I also sensed that what we think we know on earth is only a fraction of what is knowable in the universe. I had a sense of purpose that I was on earth for a reason and I needed to find what that was. Before the event, I thought I had a lot of power as a nurse and that science could explain everything, but afterwards, I felt humbled, awed, and put in my place about what is true and what is TRUE.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I used to be a more social and surface-type person prior to the event. Since, I've become more introspective, more content to be alone and way more sensitive to crowds and games people play. I also have become more interested in spiritual and metaphysical phenomenon and my friends tend to be as well.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes At the time, NDE research/experiences were not commonly known so voicing what happened made me feel a little crazy, especially recounting with other health professionals and my family. It became easier for me to express when I actually talked to patients who had experienced the same things when I worked in intensive care units. My family still thinks it was a dream during being unconscious.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I became quite active in alternative medicine for my own health and learned various healing arts some less physical and more 'energetic' in nature. When I massage a person, I have to consciously place a barrier between them and myself because I get their symptoms if I don't. Before when I did massage on patients as a nurse, I wasn't affected one way or the other, but now it's like I can feel dis-ease and energy areas on people or my hair on my neck will stand up if I sense a person is toxic in some way either emotionally or physically. I am also sensitive to smells, toxins, and medications where I hadn't been before.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Once my mind quieted, being in the void sensing all-encompassing peace and stillness and quiet was so amazing. Hearing the presence speak was so encouraging and has kept with me ever since in that I never feel abandoned or alone and I feel as if I have someone observing and noticing my earthly path.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared the experience initially with my parents and they passed it off to a dream while unconscious as did the medical personnel I encountered. Years later, I was talking with a patient who awakened from a coma in an intensive care unit where I worked and he described something very similar so I shared my story with him too. My husband was very understanding and believes what I went through. I have some friends whom I have told and most look kind of confused but some seem to understand and ask questions.
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 probably real. At first it seemed real then faded to probably real because I couldn't place what happened to me. I had never heard of anything so strange and I began to place it in the 'dream' category but yet there was this nagging sense that it really did happen because I felt so changed, so I think I settled on 'probably real' to reconcile my head and heart.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. About ten years later, when I happened to find some books on NDE's I began to think that it was definitely real and not a dream. Also, as I've grown older I don't need outside validation to experience things as being 'real' to me. I also tend to view the earthly reality as a type of reality and not essential true reality. To me, truth and reality exist behind the veil of this life.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It seems very comprehensive. Thank you for letting me share!