When I was fifteen years old, I lived in Southern California on Coronado Island. Often times I would sneak off to the beach without my mother knowing. I would tell her I was going to walk around the island and meet up with friends. The day of my NDE was one of these days. I was an expert swimmer, a member of the swim team, and very at home in the water. Going to the beach by myself wasn't something my mother approved of, but I thought she was just over-cautious - after all, I was a great swimmer.
The day before my NDE, California had a pretty good size earthquake out off its coast in the Pacific Ocean. Most people didn't think anything of it, because all we had felt on land was a slight tremor. Earthquakes were just a way of life for us, as long as the buildings didn't shake excessively. The day after the quake, I was off to the beach for a swim. It was a beautiful day. Like I always did, I looked at the lifeguard tower to see how the swimming conditions were. A green flag for 'Good,' a yellow, for 'Caution,' and a red one for 'Stay out of the water.' Today it was yellow. The waves did look a little rough, but nothing I couldn't handle, I thought.
I swam out through the waves, enjoying myself as I dove under each of them as they rolled toward me. After swimming for a while, I was caught in a rip tide. This had happened to me many times before and I knew what to do. I turned around and swam out to sea a little, and then I started swimming parallel to the coastline. I did this to get away from the tide that wouldn't allow me back to the shoreline. But something was wrong this time. The rip tide wouldn't end; I was being pulled further out to sea. At this time, I tried to see if I could touch the ocean bottom, and I could not. Facing the shore, I watched it shrink away from me into the distance. Just then, I turned my body and saw the largest wave I'd ever seen in my life.
I had absolutely no time to react. The wave hit me head-on with such force that my body tumbled head over heels for what seemed like minutes. My bottom hit the ocean floor; and the current kept me pinned there in a seated position, unable to move. Once the current let go, I immediately pushed off the floor and headed toward the surface for air. My lungs at this point were already burning. I was finally about to break the surface, when I was met again with just as much force by a second wave. Again, I went head over heels and was completely disorientated. I swam up to the surface, only to find out that I was actually swimming downward. My hands slammed painfully into the sand. By now, I was in intense pain, and my lungs burned frantically. Once again I pushed off the ocean floor, only to be met a third time by a current so strong that it again held me on the ocean floor in a seated position. As I sat there unable to move, I felt my body become weak, and I let go and breathed the water. I drowned right then, and died.
Everything was completely black, and then suddenly pure white replaced the black. It was a white so bright that it should have blinded me, but it didn't. As my eyes adjusted to the light, the brightness started to soften, and I could make out images. I found myself walking alone along a beautiful white sandy beach. In the distance were beautiful trees and flowers. Suddenly I remembered what had happened on the ocean floor back home. I thought to myself, 'Did I die?' Just as I finished the thought, I heard a voice and felt a presence. Off to my left a man materialized. He was an adult of an indescribable age. He could have easily been twenty or forty. His hair was completely white and very short. Its texture was that of silk. He wore a well-trimmed half-long beard, which appeared to be as soft as silk. It's important for me to point out that he didn't materialize until he had my permission. It's very hard to explain. What had happened was that he spoke to me, and then we came to a mutual agreement that he would appear. Our conversation began.
When I asked if I was dead, he said very simply 'Yes, you are.' We never opened our mouths to communicate; everything was by thought alone. So many words were exchanged so fast that it would be impossible for me to account for them all. He made me feel very safe and welcome. He comforted me and let me know that he was there to assist. He asked me if I wanted to still live, and very quickly, without even having to think, I said, 'Yes I do.' He smiled as if he had expected me to say that. I don't know why, but I felt as if we had always known each other, and that it was funny to him that he already knew my answer. I asked him if he could help me get back. I was made to know and understand that he couldn't interfere, but what he could do was to show me what I already knew. Just then, I was pulled away from that bright beach and pulled upward, or inward - I really don't know. When I stopped, my body was floating in a void - a black, empty space. Then suddenly my life review flashed before my eyes. I flew through every moment of my life, as if they were a series of photos lined up like a serpent in space. Once I came to my earliest memory in this life, I then went in reverse. As I flew back through my life review, I could hear him say, 'Now find it.'
I stopped on one particular memory of a time when I was eight years old. I was again at Coronado Beach swimming in the waves, this time with my family. Swimming by next to us, there was a man who was doing something called body surfing. He was surfing with no board, only his body, and this truly amazed me. I asked if he could show me how. He explained that you wait until the wave is almost on you, then you swim freestyle, kicking as hard as you can. Once you get speed, you pull your arms down to your side, and arch your back. Then you ride the wave toward the shore. I tried and tried that day, but never mastered the art. After that day, I gave up and never tried again. After having traveled back in time and reliving that memory, I again heard the white bearded man speak. He said, 'You have it, now use it.' There was no doubt that I was supposed to use this memory to save myself; I simply accepted it. (I had no other option, considering my situation.)
Immediately I came back to consciousness at the bottom of the ocean floor, where I had died earlier. Still in great pain, I used an unforeseen burst of strength and again pushed off the ocean floor toward the surface. This time I thought nothing about breathing, or trying to recover. Instead, once I came to the surface, I immediately began swimming freestyle and kicking as fast as I could. When that great wave hit me, I didn't give up. I kicked and swam, and when I couldn't kick and swim any more, I drew my arms down to my side and arched my back high. My body shot, however ungracefully, toward the shore. As the wave died down, I stood up in shoulder-high water and headed toward the shore. I looked up at the lifeguard tower and saw a red flag waving.
As I walked through the water toward the shore, a lifeguard came to assist me in getting to the beach. I sat there in the wet sand, exhausted and coughing up a small amount of water, while trying to breathe at the same time. Once I started to calm down, the lifeguard looked at me all wide-eyed and said, 'That was the most amazing thing I have ever seen!' He said that they are trained not to go out into the waves until they can visually spot the victim, especially under the kinds of conditions that were taking place today. He said that he had been watching me until that first wave shoved me under. He told me that I disappeared for at least six to seven minutes. Just when he was about to go get more help, he said, he saw me shoot out of the water like a torpedo with arms a-flailing. (It was very ungraceful but it saved me.)
I found out later that what happened on the beach was called 'aftershock waves.' I heard about these waves on the news the day after my NDE. Tidal waves were reported in excess of seventeen feet. That quake off the coast created a ripple that changed me forever. It took weeks for me to be able to get in the water again. When I would try to take a bath, I would hyperventilate. Showers were worse. It was as if my body had a mind of its own. With a little time, I was able to overcome this fear. A funny thing about this whole experience is that now I can body surf like a pro!
This is my NDE. The body surfing thing may seem corny to some, but remember, this story truly happened to me, and it changed me forever. I was shown how I could save myself and live. The only life experience that my fifteen-year-old mind could remember was the one that saved me in the end. My conversation with my bearded friend included many answers to questions I can't even remember. All I know in the end is that God is real and life goes on after death - period. I was allowed to live because I had something left to do in this life. I'm still trying to figure out what that is.
Date NDE Occurred: 1988
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident '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? That's hard to explain. When I died and left my body, it was as if I had no senses. I simply just felt and knew. Everything was easier.
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
There was none. I have no idea how long we talked or how long the life review took.
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. I saw through my eyes, as well as through thought. I could either choose to turn my head to see something, or else I could just simply see it. Vision brought me either closer or further away from something.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I heard with my mind, not with my ears. Everything was clear and crisp.
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? No
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 I was spoken to immediately and made aware of a presence. After we agreed that I would see him in physical form, he appeared. I think that having me make the decision to communicate with him, instead of him just appearing in front of me, was more for my comfort than anything else.
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 Everything went from complete darkness to bright light in a flash.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I believe it was a setting built by either myself or the being as a platform to keep me at ease and talk.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I started separating from my body moments before everything went dark. I could see myself hunched over on the ocean floor.
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
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I reviewed my whole life from my earliest memories to the present time. The only purpose I can remember in having a life review was to find a way to save myself. I have always felt that I saw much more, that there was more meaning in it for me. I just can't remember.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I believe that I was told that I still have something yet to do in life, something very important.
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 went to church maybe a few times with friends
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I used to always be in search of that perfect, correct religion. Now I know that God isn't in a book. He has always been with us and always will be.
What is your religion now? Liberal I believe in God and Love
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I used to always be in search of that perfect, correct religion. Now I know that God isn't in a book. He has always been with us and always will be.
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? Uncertain I think I may have understood more with my life review, but I'm unsure and have no memory of it.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I try harder to be a good person. It's very hard at times, but I still try. I'm not afraid to love something or someone.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I have written down just a simplified version of my story here. So much feeling and thought took place that it would take pages, or even a book, to explain.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I had another life review at approximately age twenty-two after contemplating suicide.
Also, I've had an in-depth conversation with a ghost (spirit) when I was around twenty-three or twenty-four years old.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I found out that when we die, we all are met with love and caring.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Only with close friends and relatives. Most really believed and accepted it. A few were skeptical. The conversation with the ghost is very hard for people to believe - I've only told a very few people this story.
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 believed it was real for a few years. But then, during early adulthood, my scientific mind got in the way. By age twenty, I believed that the human mind has a built-in safety device that kicks in only during times when death is imminent. I thought this might be for times like, when some people may want to simply give up and die, the mind can kick into auto-drive and cause hallucinations in order to motivate survival.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Because it happened again (my life review). I spoke with a ghost. For some reason, I feel like God is always so close to me that he is a part of who I am. I talk to him every day. I can't explain it, and I'm not sure when it began, but it did. I believe I spoke with a very familiar spirit during my NDE. I think that this spirit and I have known each other for a very, very long time.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No