I was born in Hawthorne, California, have an older brother and younger sister. My parents decided one summer to send me to Camp Whittle, but I can't remember how old I was. I was old enough to go so I must have been ten or so, but I know I wasn't thirteen or more. We moved from California to Idaho when I was fourteen. I remember that I didn't want to go to any camp. I'd never been before and didn't want to go now. My parents made me go and I remember getting on the bus, saying goodbye and ending up at this camp where they put me in a tent with other boys. I'd guess there were about six to eight maximum in that tent. I didn't know any of them or anyone else for that matter. The camp leader seemed like a nice guy and told us what do to and where to go for activities and chow. I can't remember how many days went by before this happened, but I'm guessing two or three. I think it was a seven-day deal.
We were in the tent getting dressed or something and a bully kid that tried to run the tent the whole time wrapped a towel and snapped me with it. He didn't like me for some reason. He had two other friends in the same tent that just followed what he did. Those two grabbed towels as well and some other kids in the tent joined in. I knew how to fold a towel just for snapping because I was in Military School at the time (I guess that just told my age, it was 7th grade), so I grabbed my towel and folded it just right. Then I snapped that bully good and the towel went 'POP' and silence came over the entire tent. It was obvious that I was going to get beat up here, so I ran out of the tent and down the hill. Sure enough, here come those three kids with their towels. I still had mine in my hand too. The cafeteria wasn't far away and that's the direction I was headed anyway so I just ran for it. It wasn't chow time, but the screen door was open, so I ran inside this big cafeteria with all these empty tables and chairs. The kids were right on my tail and I started pushing the chairs and tables out of my way as I ran my way to the back.
Half way through, I must have fell because the next thing I knew I was floating above myself about fifteen feet away at the ceiling level (or it seemed). I could see everything from there. The feeling was awesome and I knew I was looking at myself lying there, but I didn't care about me. What bothered me was those three boys. The bully was snapping my face while I was just lying there. I kept wanting to tell them 'I'm Here! I'm Here! Hey, I'm fine, I'm here,' but he just kept hitting me. One boy didn't snap me, but realized that I wasn't moving at all and just stood there. The second boy hit me once and then stopped, but the bully kid just kept snapping me for a long time. It seemed like a long time and I was so happy just being there because it was a perfect feeling and nice. Then the bully stopped hitting me. The screen door opened up and the camp leader came running from that door towards the middle of the cafeteria where we were. I again wanted to say 'Hey, I'm okay and I'm here' over and over, but couldn't talk to them. I was so focused on wanting to tell them where I was that I regret not looking around and going somewhere else. If I could do it over, I wouldn't pay any attention to any of that and just figure out how to stay there. I've wondered all these years what I could have seen if I just had looked behind me. I knew who I was and what I was seeing and somehow had a feeling that my spiritual body was still my body. If you could take away your flesh right now and leave alone what you see right now, that's what it's like. The feeling is hard to express, but maybe 'peace' is the right word.
Anyway, the camp leader ran up, got on his knees and grabbed my face (which was bleeding from the nose and mouth) and started to shake me. He looked up at the three boys that were still standing right next to me. They backed up a foot or so and then he looked back down and like you see in the movies, he slapped my face and started calling my name 'Mark! Mark! Mark!' I just kept wanting to tell him that 'I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm up here,' but he never looked up. It was frustrating that I couldn't tell them, because I thought if they knew I was fine, they wouldn't worry about me down there anymore. Then as he was slapping me, I started to move slowly towards my body. I remember as if it was today that I said 'No, no, no!' many times, but you can't really talk. I was going back very slowly and all I could think of was 'No!'
This may sound crazy, but as I got down to the floor, I actually laid by myself head-to-head and toe-to-toe and 'slid' back inside. I remember it so well and then I woke up as he was yelling my name. He had this look of complete exhaustion and happiness knowing that I was alive, but the first thing I did is look at that bully and point to him and I say 'Hey, you kept hitting me when I wasn't moving. Why did you keep hitting me?' I said it again while the camp leader kept asking me if I was okay and started to pull me up. I wasn't concerned at all about him, but more concerned about the fact that that bully needed to know that I wasn't there the whole time and I saw him. I pointed at the middle kid and said you just hit me once, and (pointing at the first kid) said 'You didn't hit me at all.' I could see the first and second kid's eyes were wide open with what I was telling them, but the bully said 'I did not.' As the camp leader was trying to get me out of there and to the medical office, I looked back and told the bully, 'I saw you. I saw you. I saw you all.' I then told the camp leader that I saw him come in the door and run to me, but he just blew it off and paid no attention. None of those kids bothered me again the rest of the week. I didn't tell anyone else either.
Date NDE Occurred: 1967?
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Kids were chasing me and I ran into the cafeteria through the tables and chairs and must have fell. Other I fell and hit my head on the edge of a table and hit the floor.
I don't know, I was running from three kids, hit the table (or just fell), but the next thing I knew I was about twelve to fifteen feet above and about thirty to forty-five degrees from my body lying on the ground with three kids coming up on me.
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? Normal consciousness and alertness As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I'm not sure it was higher than normal, but I saw and knew everything.
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. Nothing happened in that room that I didn't see or hear. If I had been with my body, I wouldn't have seen the camp leader come in, etc. I could tell you exactly the path he took through the cafeteria and exactly the chairs he touched. If I wasn't where I was, I couldn't have seen most of the stuff I saw.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I can only say uncertain because I can remember the sounds to this day and I can't remember most of my life on earth.
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
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? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Joy, Peace, Comfort, Safety. Whatever the opposite of afraid would be times ten.
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
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? Conservative/fundamentalist None that I can remember. I don't think we went to church at that time.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I was young at the time so I doubt that I placed any thought to 'religion'. I did however accept Jesus into my heart at seventeen when I left home, but I saw that as an 'addition' to my knowledge and not a conflict with it. In other words, knowing Christ and knowing my experience of the afterlife goes hand-in-hand. Christ brings 'Peace' and I know 'Peace'.
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist I believe in God and his son Jesus.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I was young at the time so I doubt that I placed any thought to 'religion'. I did however accept Jesus into my heart at seventeen when I left home, but I saw that as an 'addition' to my knowledge and not a conflict with it. In other words, knowing Christ and knowing my experience of the afterlife goes hand-in-hand. Christ brings 'Peace' and I know 'Peace'.
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 Because you KNOW you're safe and in a perfect place, you have a sense of being comforted behind you. (This is why I always regretted not looking behind me). Universal Order is a good way to put it. Why be afraid if you know that you have peace? Other than saying 'No' to this question, it's hard to explain.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My daughter is seventeen now and said to me a few months ago 'Dad, how come I've never seen you mad?' I only have one answer. 'What do you gain by being mad?' Truth is, most people haven't had the opportunity to see the truth, but I have. Once you know the truth, why would you treat others badly for your own gain on earth? Makes no sense.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain The 'feeling' is hard to explain but you KNOW you don't want to go back to your body. You can't explain the comfort and beauty of not being inside yourself. I didn't care at all about me lying there because I wasn't there. I was HERE.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Even to this day. There are small things and big things.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The only real significant part is knowing that this life is just a beginning. I've never feared death my entire life. As crazy as it sounds, I've seen people die and I looked up at where I thought they might be at that time so I could let them know that I know. We simply walk among souls and the flesh part is an outer layer fooling most people. Sometimes even now 'I get to see you'.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I didn't tell anybody except the camp leader (thirty seconds worth because he didn't care) and those boys (that had a look of 'What is he talking about?'). I thought about telling my mom when she picked me up off the bus, but I knew nobody would believe a story like that. I can't remember who I told first, but I'm sure it was many years later. I told some people in the Navy, College, my wife and daughter of course and usually 'some' people I've worked with over the years. I'd have to say I told nobody until I was at least sixteen to twenty (maybe). I don't expect people to really 'get-it' when you tell them, because I don't think they can. It's like 'Can a man really know a mother's love for their babies?' I don't think so. Close, yes. But, exactly? No.
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 If you tasted an apple could I ever convince you it was a steak? NEVER.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Same as the day it happened. No greater and no less. It's as real today at fifty-two and every year between now and then.
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? I've always wished every human being could have the experience. This world would be different in a positive way. Also, I certainly don't regret these forty-two years after the event, but if I had of stayed there, I wouldn't have regretted that either.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Did anybody 'see' their body? (the spiritual one, not the physical one). I thought I had one, but maybe not.