I was with another 9 year old girl and we were on a private residential pier trying to catch tadpoles. I had a jar with a string around it, and I tossed it into the water as hard as I could. The string was too short to reach the water, so I thought if I tried harder it would reach the water. I fell into the river with it. It was maybe an eight foot drop to the water. Thinking back, the shock that I was falling may have made me catch or hold my breath somehow or I expelled it all when I hit the water. I disappeared under the water and was lying on the bottom of the river. I think I was semi-conscious, and don't know how long I was lying there because it seemed like a long time.
Then, the 'movie' started. My life was flying past my eyes. I don't know how long the movie was, but it seemed quick. Yet, I could associate every single detail with the events I saw. It was like I saw a summary of my life, but somehow it was very detailed. I knew every time I was 'bad.' Then, I wanted my mother. At that point, I saw myself lying on the bottom of the river, and knew I was under water. I started my struggle to reach the top. I'm not sure how I got to the top because I couldn't swim. I saw my girlfriend who had run to get help from a middle-aged couple who lived in the nearby house. The pier was still too high for my reach. I fell under again. I tried and reached the top of the water. Again, I tried to grasp the slimy column, but fell in. When I tried to surface the next time, I was near the slimy column but this time, there were hands there to try to pull me up to the pier.
The couple had saved me as I let the water roll out of my lungs. This all must have happened fairly quickly. There's no explanation how I was under water all that time, and then several times more. The kind couple took me to their house, put me in a bathtub, and gave me their son's clothes to wear in order to go back home.
Date NDE Occurred: 6/5/1959
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Drowning Life threatening event, but not clinical death
I fell into a river, could not swim.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I saw myself lying on the bottom of the river.
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 It was as if I had more strength and knew how to reach the top of the water.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Struggling to reach the top of the water
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
It could have happened in a few seconds, yet it felt like a long time.
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. If you mean quality of vision, I was under water. It is hard to compare.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear nothing because I was under water.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
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: 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? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I wanted to get out of the water so I felt fear and panic.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? No
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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 I had a video playing. I was watching and feeling like I was experiencing the events that were moving very quickly across the 'screen'.
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- Protestant
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I was only nine, so I'm not sure any beliefs were present in my experience. During the video, I knew when I had been 'bad'.
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? 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 definitely exists
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? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Unknown
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are 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? Uncertain I wanted my mother.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life The beliefs about life as a 9 year old are not comparable to beliefs at 65. I doubt I focused much on religious beliefs except to go to Sunday school. One thing, for sure, was that I became afraid of the water, or drowning. Strangely, at age 57, I experienced an episode that caused me to suffocate and it is much the same as drowning because I could get no air in and no air out.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience. It is not something you forget compared with other experiences like accidents. This experience was so detailed that I can still see myself lying on the bottom of the river and knowing what I was thinking. I came away from it with the knowledge that my life had 'flashed before my eyes'.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The drowning/suffocation. I experience the sensations and memories more than I'd like to.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared the same day. There were witnesses.
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 was sad because when I got home, I had wanted my mother when I was underwater but she was mad that I had gone to the pier. She wasn't upset that I had almost drowned.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It happened.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes The suffocation event after surgery at age 57
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I am afraid. If I start to choke on anything, my body goes into total panic.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I don't think so. I often wondered later about the 'lights/tunnels/heavenly visions' that people see in their NDEs. I did not experience those. I am a Christian and believe in Jesus/heaven - so I would not have expected to see 'hell' anyway. Some people would not validate my experiences because I saw 'nothing' - no lights, no angels, no demons. I just saw blackness as when you close your eyes. But I was 'gone' and apart from my body. I remember the struggling, knowing I was dying both times. The will to survive kicks in either successfully or not.