It was during the summer of 1979, I was about to turn nine. We were on vacation at the Moutchic campground in Southwestern France, a campground located on the shores of the big Moutchic Lake near the town of Lacanau known for its international surfing competitions on its Atlantic Ocean side. We'd gone for a swim in an unsupervised area that was reserved for small boats.
The area was configured in such a way that there was a shallow section where the water was thirty to forty centimeters deep at most over a good dozen meters before dropping-off abruptly in the anchorage zone.
Example of the lakeshore configuration:
I didn't really know how to swim. So, I was having fun dog-paddling. I was able to pull myself forward by crawling along using my hands, which reached the sandy bottom. I was happy paddling around and was having a good time.
The moment came when I reached the deep zone, the zone I wasn't expecting and almost immediately lost my footing as the bottom dropped away.
I believe that everything happened very quickly and I must have swallowed water very fast to the point of sinking very rapidly. I think that I wasn't even aware of what was going on, I just suddenly found myself sinking. I just simply 'saw' myself flailing about underwater as I was drowning.
I saw myself struggling and drowning, I saw myself, me, like my own twin who was drowning and well below the surface.
I couldn't say which of my twin or I was conscious but the feeling I had observing this scene was sweet, light, beyond peaceful. I felt weightless under the water, calm and serene, in no way panicky, no pain of any kind, just a spectator, in fact I was feeling very good indeed.
At one point I became aware of a sort of white glow which, how can I say - was approaching and growing until the final becoming of a total whole. At no time however did I see myself inert. And then, nothing.
I just found myself on the beach with a crowd of people around me trying to revive me, and spitting the water that was in my lungs.
I have no idea what happened nor how much time passed between the end of the light and my awakening on the beach. It's probable I think from memory that I must have reviewed a few parts of my early childhood at some point like a sort of movie but I'm not sure even though it seems that way. All the rest though, is like it was yesterday.
Otherwise, I am agnostic and not particularly inclined towards spiritualism, the paranormal, etc. I'm actually rather Cartesian. It's simply an objective account and I accept it as such because I cannot deny that this happened to me, but that's all there is to it.
Date NDE Occurred: Août 1979
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Noyade 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Probably during the phase known as the OBE (Out of Body Experience). I could see and clearly understand the situation I was in: simply, drowning. Even on awakening it was a little foggy. Not really during the OBE.
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
No, except for what happened between the end of the white light and my waking up on the beach. For me it was instantaneous, even if, in the meantime, people probably came to get me and bring me back to the beach to revive me. So there probably were a good several minutes of which I have no memory.
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. Not insofar as the conscious OBE is concerned, where I was a spectator to my drowning and there the colors, the clarity couldn't be more real.
Afterwards, with the arrival of that white glow, well, everything disappeared then nothing but white, then nothing at all.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. No noise of any kind.
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? Uncertain I don't know. Much is said of this famous white tunnel. I have no memory of going through any tunnel. The only thing I remember is the OBE, the white light that engulfed everything and my awakening/revival on the beach. Between the light and waking up, no memories whatsoever.
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 After the OBE, a white light suddenly came cover everything then nothing until I woke up on the beach.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I believe I've already said it. A feeling of contentment, of lightness, of serenity, of weightlessness, of calm, of tranquility.
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 seem to recall episodes of my life going by. But as that's not what I keep foremost in my memory I could not exactly say what happened on that score.
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
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Liberal
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
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I don't know if there's any connection and I was very young at the time. I had a few weird things happen much later. Like, for example, on the eve of my dog's death, I saw, as he did, during the previous evening's walk when it was dark out, the ethereal shape of a great tall grey/white wolf standing motionless in front of us, it lasted about three seconds. Perhaps I should file an account about that. Otherwise it seems that when someone close has just died I know right away even if they're in bed in the next room with the door closed.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I would say in conclusion that if it was really a NDE with an OBE that I experienced, it doesn't frighten me and I'd even say that it was so calm that somehow death doesn't frighten me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It's an experience that I don't hide and to which I don't grant much importance other than to simply describe what I experienced and felt. People can be surprised of course, but nothing more, it happened, that's all, no one has ever called me crazy and those who're close to me know very well that I'd drowned. What I take away from it is a curiosity, nothing more.
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 ?
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Same as above.
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? The questionnaire was a bit long and sometimes redundant. I admit being tempted to not finish it for repeating certain things already explicitly described.