My experience happened while ice skating with my sisters on a river. We were approximately a quarter of a mile from my childhood home. It happened on Valentine's Day (a Sunday), February 14, 1965. I fell through a patch of thin ice, and fell deeply into freezing waters with a swiftly moving current.
I felt no sense of needing to breathe, or of cold, but recall initially noticing how dark it was, relative to the bright winter's day outside. Suddenly, I could see from above, myself falling. I will never forget the vision of myself in my yellow ski jacket and extra-long striped scarf, my long blonde braids and scarf floating over my head. I was calm watching myself, no thinking anything strange of feeling anything but completely in control and serene.
I spoke aloud these words: 'I'd better get back down there.' Immediately I was back in my body, with a plan to allow myself to sink to the bottom and push off from there, looking toward the light. My thought was that the light was the break in the ice. I did just that, and with little effort made my way to the break in the ice. My sisters swear that I was under water for several minutes. I was nine years of age at the time.
My sisters were seven and twelve. They pulled me out of the water, and I began running in my skates across a field, up a hill and down a gravel road to our house. I threw open the door of the kitchen and ran up the back stairway to the bathroom next to my bedroom. I ran a bath and peeled my clothes off.
My father, who was home at the time, asked what had happened. I told him to ask my sisters when they returned, that I had to have a bath. By the time my sisters returned to the house, I was already sitting in the bathtub. They were hysterical. I was calm, in awe of what had taken place.
I made a choice that day to stick around. It would have been easier not to, but in the moment that choice was a given and one made from a place of strength and peace and wisdom that I remain to this day in awe of.
To this day, my sisters recall the swift current of the river on that day, and as adults wonder aloud, how I could have made it back to the small break in the ice. I have no such questions.
Date NDE Occurred: 'February 14, 1965'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Other 'I was skating on a river with my sisters, and fell through the ice. I remained under water for approximately 5 minutes before resurfacing, after which time I was pulled from the water by my sisters, then ran 1/4 mile home — in ice skates — without fallin
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? I was at my highest level of alertness within a very short time of falling through the ice - probably less than a minute, although I cannot say for certain, as I am surprised to this day on some level that a child of nine could save herself in those circumstances.
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
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 cannot answer this question accurately, as I was seeing very clearly, though looking underwater through light filtered through a thick layer of ice - given the physical surroundings of the incident.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Again, I was underwater, so hearing was affected by that. I did not hear my sisters screaming, though they said they were.
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? 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? Uncertain Well, there was light - and a light - but I attributed it at the time to the physical surroundings. Now I am sure that the light was NOT of that source. The light seemed to follow me. As I was nine at the time I simply was glad it was there.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Pure calm, peace and confidence, as though I were in complete control of the circumstances, followed by a resolve to get back down there.
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
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 I wasn't certain of future events, only that I wanted to be back there, that I should be there.
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? Moderate Roman Catholic upbringing
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Shed all pretense of religious beliefs, felt then and still do to this day that there is definitely a higher consciousness, but that we do not need to know. It is our job here to get out there and live life.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Shed all pretense of religious beliefs, felt then and still do to this day that there is definitely a higher consciousness, but that we do not need to know. It is our job here to get out there and live life.
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 feel that I was aware of a heightened sense of calm, control and otherness. I knew that I had a choice, and I knew what I had to do to come back into the world, and that my approach would be successful. And I knew that it was ME choosing.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My relationship to myself changed that day. Unlike most of the people I grew up with, I never fretted about a life plan, or goals, or struggled with beliefs. I felt I did not need my parents' support or help through school or growing up, as I did not struggle with issues that burden most people. I have enjoyed a great deal of success in my life, but continue to challenge myself in ways that astonish those around me. Even in my fifties, I feel young and excited about the next thing that I am going to do. I have never given a thought to retirement - which sets me apart from most of the people I know.
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? Yes I became keenly aware of a distance between myself and other people my age. I felt as if I was no longer a child, and seemed to be able to predict how classmates would behave. While I had always been a very good student, schoolwork became completely effortless for me. For the remainder of my grade school years my average remained at 100%. My calm confidence in academic and work situations astounds those I have worked with. A high school guidance professional showed me the results of IQ testing conducted two months after the incident, and the results of the test are astonishing.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The most meaningful aspect of this experience was getting in touch with that sense of knowing, calm and authority. It was a transformational, mystical experience. It changed the way I look at everything from that day forward.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I didn't talk with anyone about my experience of the incident (though my sisters talked about the day I fell through the ice) until I was forty-nine, and in a writer's group with someone who was working on a story about a girl who falls though the ice while under the care of her father.
I first told this writer of my experience privately. Since then I have shared the story with no more than four other people, three of whom I knew would understand and already have a context for their interpretation of my experience, the other of whom was my husband, who doesn't know what to think of it.
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 viewed the experience as real, inexplicable, and kept it to myself, revisiting that sense of calm confidence regularly.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real To this very day, I can close my eyes and review exactly what took place. I can tap into that feeling of calm and control. As above, I revisit that sensibility on a regular basis - without labeling it or feeling as though I need to do so.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No No need. Never used a recreational drug in my life.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Though I was a child at the time, with no context for what had happened to me and no desire to share the experience with anyone, I knew how significant that experience was. I was never afraid of it, and have shed all fear of death and despair from that time forward. I have always considered that experience as the gift of a lifetime.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? None. The questionnaire is excellent.