I was fourteen years old, almost fifteen, and had been experimenting with street drugs. On this occasion I had taken two or three different kinds of drugs - actually prescription medications - illegally obtained. They were mostly 'downers' with a couple of 'uppers' or amphetamines, washed down with a rather large quantity of whiskey. Some of this medication was Darvon, a pain reliever commonly used at the time. I don't remember (if I ever actually knew) what the names of the other medications were. I swallowed several pills. I wasn't trying to commit suicide - just trying to have some fun. (LOL.)
Within an hour or two after taking the pills, I realized I was in trouble, that I was terribly ill, such as I had never been before. I was in and out of consciousness and losing control of my muscles. I could feel my heart beating very erratically in my chest. At times, it beat very slowly, with a heavy thud, and it felt like it would explode, or rather just 'break off' and fall out of my chest into my belly. At other times, my heartbeat was wild and fluttering. When I was aware enough to sense these palpitations, I was extremely frightened: I felt sure I would die.
My buddies took me home and helped me into my bed. Both my parents were at work and no one was at home. My buddies obviously didn't know how much distress I was in, probably because they were so wasted themselves. Anyway, they left me in my bed alone.
All I remember before the experience itself was what seemed like endless repetitions of the terrible heart palpitations: the incredibly slow and heavy thud, thud, thud, followed by the wild, erratic fluttering. It seems like a couple of times I was aware enough to know I needed to try to get help, but I couldn't move. My muscles felt paralyzed. Somewhere (it seemed) deep within my mind, I was aware that I was going to die, and for a time this frightened me. Then gradually I could feel my heart just beating slowly, incredibly slowly, thud, THUD - no more fluttering. More and more time lapsed between the heartbeats, and I was sure I was going to die, and at this point, I wasn't afraid anymore. An incredible PEACE filled my whole being, and I began to feel very warm throughout my whole being. I felt the LAST heartbeat in my chest, a very heavy, very strong BOOM - and then it quit. I could FEEL it wasn't going to beat any more.
Immediately I was 'away' - from my body, from the world I knew, and sort of soaring or floating in a totally black and lightless 'void'. Then again almost immediately the 'void' seemed to 'take shape', and I felt distinctly that it had taken on form and dimensions - like an enormous dark room or hall. Later in my thoughts, I came to call this the 'Black Room'. It was huge. I floated or soared within it. (I couldn't really discern whether or not I was in control of my 'flight' or not.) At any rate, I was moving toward an opening in a 'wall' of the Black Room. At a distance, I could see it was an opening because it was a slightly lighter shade of black against the utter blackness of the 'wall'. The opening was roughly circular, but it was not a steady shape. It oscillated or wavered like something alive or full of energy. As I was moving in the Black Room toward the opening, I felt peaceful but also rather apathetic. My apathy puzzled me considerably because I was having such an extraordinary experience. I remember this puzzlement very well. It's one of the most vivid aspects of the entire experience.
Then, very suddenly, my flight was accelerated and I was quickly 'pulled in' through the opening in the wall. I remember going into the opening and seeing it move and almost 'dance', like something living. I was in a tunnel, or more of a long hall. There is not a good word that describes this place. It had the qualities both of something organic or 'tubular', maybe like an artery (the tunnel aspect) and of something 'constructed' or 'man-made' or 'square', like a hall. Totally impossible to describe, but again, a vivid memory from the experience.
I was then aware that I was, for the first time, 'standing on my feet', so to speak (though I didn't have a body!). Prior to this, I had been floating or flying. But now I was standing on the 'floor' of the 'hall' looking toward the 'far end' of it. Well, GOD was there. Or more accurately, a great Fire or Light that I was to understand 'represented' or 'stood for' God. (But, in a way, it WAS also REALLY God - this can't be explained, and I sensed it as a paradox, something I just had to accept. But it really wasn't an issue, as there was no 'intellectualizing', just raw, naked experience of the Presence of God.)
I can't describe how this felt. I was awed, struck dumb, amazed, overwhelmed. But none of this really says what a profound experience this was. God was totally, absolutely 'beyond' anything I had ever imagined. Beyond language, beyond thought, utterly beyond, but at the same time NEAR, RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME, mysteriously 'accessible' LOL, how lame all this is. TOTAL LOVE, TOTAL GOODNESS, TOTAL KNOWING.
Well, God 'spoke' to me. Oh yes he did! He didn't use any words, but spoke directly from his mind to my mind. And what he 'said' was so profound, with so many nuances of meaning, that I can't repeat it in words, but this is the gist of it:
'You don't really KNOW yourself do you?'
God's question was on one level THAT simple. But it also had other meanings, like, 'You don't know ANYTHING, do you?' And, 'NOBODY knows anything, do they?' But not just intellectual knowledge, but also how to LOVE, how to EXIST, with the full and complete AWARENESS and ACCEPTANCE of the fact that GOD IS.
So what could I say? I had to admit that, no, I didn't know anything. After all, I was standing there right in front of God, who knows everything!
So - I HAD TO GO BACK. God knew it, and I knew it. End of discussion. I was disappointed. I thought I would 'go on' into the Light. But I had to turn around and go back, which I did, dutifully but sadly.
Date NDE Occurred: 1969
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) 'My belief was that I experienced clinical death, but this was not documented, so I can't say with certainty.'. I had accidentally overdosed on street drugs and my heart had stopped beating.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
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 All I can say is that it was an INTENSE degree of alertness, awareness, and focusing.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was standing in front of God, just before he 'spoke' to me.
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 The entire experience was 'beyond' time and space.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? The Light that was God was extremely vivid and real. More real than anything I've ever seen.
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 Something like a tunnel or rather more like a very long hallway. Really impossible to describe.
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: 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 A Light that is God.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Fear, terror (before I left my body), then peace, apathy, confusion, elation, ecstasy, disappointment.
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
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
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes I went into the 'Dark Room' and then through the 'opening' into the long hallway.
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 Christian/Baptist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes This would be the subject of an entire book. Spare yourselves.
What is your religion now? Liberal Christian/Baptist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes This would be the subject of an entire book. Spare yourselves.
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? Yes Sorry, I can't. This is too personal a matter to readily discuss. And too complicated. Besides, I'm an old-fashioned country boy not given to openly discussing such matters.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The communication to me from the Light (God) was not in words, but was telepathic, with subtle shades of meaning impossible to adequately express in language.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Vivid, meaningful, 'guiding' dreams, some precognitive, which I've relied on for direction all my life. Precognition, but only in personal matters or in matters relating to people very close to me. Later in life: after death communications, which I feel I am open to because of my experience.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Being in the Presence of God.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Many, many years. I shared the experience with a few others who I knew would be open to what I had to say. My experience helped confirm and validate their own experiences.
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. Well, how do I explain this? I just never doubted that it was real. It was MORE REAL than anything that has happened to me, before or since. Nothing could convince me that it was NOT real. What can I say? God told me in so many 'words' that I had to 'go back' to this existence: to love, to learn, to DO things he wants me to do. A duty, not an option.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. See above. I feel the same way for the same reasons.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes But not the parts that really count.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? No.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No.