My father was sitting next to my bed, bathing my head with cold facecloths to lower my temperature. I was eight or nine years old. I remember being very ill and seeing strange things in my room, such as weavers weaving cloth on the wallpaper and blood oozing from the walls. I then have a blank in my memory until I was aware of being in total darkness. A void type darkness in which I felt tremendously sad and terribly lonely. I was also aware of being weightless and floating in this void. I knew that I had died and I had to leave my family behind. I had dreadful feelings of homesickness. The next thing I remember is being on a boat with other people, and those very sad feelings had lifted to be replaced by subdued excitement and a sense of looking forward to something wonderful.
The boat was something like a canoe or similar, and contained several other people who I didn't know, all adults. Rowing it was an Indian, who had a full feather head dress on and what I now know is traditional Indian dress. At the time, I am not aware that I had any prior knowledge of NDEs or any religious symbolism regarding Indians or any of the other details I will now discuss. I point that out because it was only in adulthood that I recognized these 'themes'.
The river upon which we were being rowed was silver, like mercury. The oars made no ripples in the water. Nobody spoke, but it was a comfortable silence. The river was narrow and meandering and within a short time, an island (at least it seemed to be an island) came into view. There was a very bright light behind it so that everything on the island was portrayed in shadow or silhouette. The grass was very verdant on the island. On the shore, there were dozens of people, all waving and giving off a vibe that was utterly joyous. Right in the center of the island was an enormous chair that I can only describe as being a peacock type chair, of a brilliant white. There was someone on this chair, but again, as the light was behind the chair, I couldn't see who was on this chair, but I was aware that this was a magnificent being.
Everyone on the shore continued to wave and I was overjoyed at the prospect of joining them. Just as we approached the shore, the waving and joy became angst and insistent gesturing for me to go back. Again, nobody spoke, but my mind filled with voices telling me to go back, it wasn't my time. I was terribly, terribly sad at knowing that I had to go back. I wanted to stay desperately and tried to protest, but I was next aware of being in bed again, my father asleep in the chair beside my bed.
Date NDE Occurred: 1974/1975
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Illness 'Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening' . I was ill with a very high temperature. It was so high that I was hallucinating when awake. Unsure what illness I had but my impression is that it was a standard childhood illness.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
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 Colors were brighter, light was lighter and speaking was not dependent on verbal communication as we understand it.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Throughout.
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 I didn't have any perception of time at all - I have no idea how long I was there.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? All things had a much greater clarity and texture.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? It was not hearing as it is physiologically perceived. It was what I presume was telepathic.
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 did not see a tunnel but felt that the dark void I was initially in was a form of passage.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
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 saw others in the boat and on the island. I did not know them. Joy then insistence at my going back was communicated.
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 very bright, very large light illuminating the island and its inhabitants.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm an island surrounded by a river that was silver
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Terrible sadness through to incomparable joy and contentment to sadness again.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
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
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 The shore of the island.
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? Yes I knew I had died and that this was where I was going to go.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain At the time, yes, but since adulthood, I find it easy to detail the events.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain Since childhood I have had what I now believe to be psychic events and times that spirits have communicated with me.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? All of it was special and meaningful to me in adulthood, but not as a child. I just took it in my stride and accepted it at face value, for what it was.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was many years later, probably in my thirties before I told anyone about this. Almost everyone said it must have been a dream with the exception of a medium I met a few years ago who believed I had had a near death experience.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I was too young to remember if I had any prior knowledge, but I would err on the side of the negative because my family were neither very religious or atheist but the supernatural was not something I recall being discussed.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. I knew at the time it was a real experience, but it didn't occur to me that it was anything unusual. Later into adulthood, when I first heard about NDEs I realized that this was what I had experienced.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I do not believe this was a dream, or hallucination induced by my illness, simply because it is all so very vivid to me even now, thirty odd years later. No dream has similarly remained so fixed in my memory, and still able to evoke the feelings that recalling this event does.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Since I recognized this experience for what it was in adulthood, it has given me great comfort and happiness to know that life does not end when the mortal body does. I feel certain that upon death, I will return to that island.