When I was twelve, I was on holiday with my thirteen year old friend Darren and his parents. Darren and I were playing with our overturned dinghy, [small, utilitarian boat] jumping on top and swimming underneath to the air pocket. I was under the dinghy and breathing in the air pocket when Darren jumped on top of the dinghy. I was sucked to the bottom in the vacuum created and in my panic, immediately started swallowing water. I kicked and thrashed around until my body gave up. It felt like I was drifting off somewhere and I remember an incredibly calm, euphoric feeling coming over me.Then my whole life. Every single second, flashed before my eyes at what seemed like light-speed, but I still was able to comprehend everything. Not just every event, but every interaction I'd ever had. I saw how my words and actions had affected the recipients and what they had thought of me, good or bad.After that, I started drifting off into this dark void and my euphoria turned to abject terror as my mind turned to thoughts of annihilation, drifting into this darkness, as if I thought the lights were going to go out for me permanently.At this point Darren was grabbing me by the hair and pulling me out of water and on to the top of the overturned dinghy. It felt like I was rushing back into my body at the same time as I was being pulled out of the water.I then spent several minutes coughing up water, relaying my story to a skeptical Darren.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1989
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Drowning 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
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
I lost awareness of my body
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 My mind was understanding at an incredible level. I worked it out to over three-hundred and seventy-eight million seconds in the life review compressed down somehow to just a few, not to mention all the moral lessons that were included. That's more like ‘superluminal’ than ‘light-speed.’ [Superluminal: of, or relating to, a speed or velocity exceeding the speed of light] It sounds impossible, I'm aware of this.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Probably at the end, moving into the darkness, but the life review was a close second.
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
Just as I previously stated, things seemed to be occurring at some sort of time-warp pace.
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. It was hazy at first as I was drifting off with this lovely, peaceful feeling. Then the images were clear and rapid along with my thoughts in the life review. Then the darkness came. That was very, very scary.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't remember any sounds!
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No I started drifting into a very dark place where felt like I was about to be snuffed out.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? No earthly events.
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? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
The experience included: Life review
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? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
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? Christian- Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I think it may have been a catalyst for other experiences.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I believed in some kind of after life at the time but believed the opposite after the NDE.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
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? No
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 does not exist
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly 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 probably does not exist No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I greatly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly 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 after your experience? Are probably 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? No
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? Moderate changes in my life At age twenty-one I seemed to have the second half of the near death experience. I've also had many transcendental lucid dream experiences. [Lucid dream: A dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming and can often control or alter content.]
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Only the life review. The out-of-body euphoria and annihilation fears have been a constant feature of my dreams throughout my life and are not all that extraordinary to me.
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 I started having more lucid dreams.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I was only a young boy, so I told just about everyone. A lot of people showed disbelief towards my description of the life review.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No No. I learned about it a few years later when Flat liners came out. [Flat liners is a 1990 American thriller film in which medical students attempt to discover what is after death by causing themselves to flat line under controlled conditions.]
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real Actually, I didn't think about it that much.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I've had sleep-paralysis dreams of total annihilation. I've also had out of body dreams and transcendental dream experiences.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I really wish I'd seen ‘the light’ and the dead relatives other people report.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No, the questions covered all areas.
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