AUTHOR REQUESTS THAT THIS ACCOUNT ONLY APPEAR ON NDERF UNLESS HE GIVES PERMISSION OTHERWISE.
December 17, 1979 brought snow to Lake Tahoe. It was a school day, the kind of school day where we would listen to the radio, or maybe call the bus garage to see if they would cancel school in favor of a snow day. This sort of thing is quite normal during the winter school months on the North shore. Of course, as a teenager, there was nothing finer than having a day off from school, like an unexpected gift we accepted without question.
Usually, such days were too stormy for good skiing, and the roads were bad in the mornings at least. But Placer County and the State of California always stepped up to the task, and they would soon have the main roads cleared enough to drive school buses. One of their mandates, it seemed to me, was to clear the main school bus routes first. This, they nearly always achieved, to their cursed credit and on this December 17, they had done their job.
I was a seventeen-year-old senior at North Tahoe High School. I had been driving myself to school for about a year by then, either in my parent's cars or later, in my own car equipped with studded snow tires. Without a four-wheel drive I learned, any self-respecting local would run studded snow tires, like the ones on my car. To me, the use of tire chains was a sign of weakness and inexperience. At Tahoe, you either drove in the snow, or you hitch hiked. I drove to school that morning. Driving in the snow was fun for most of my friends and I, it was easy to slide and spin the wheels for fun, and we got plenty of practice recovering from unplanned slips as well. The roads were in pretty good shape considering the rate of snowfall. I had no problems with the drive but remember thinking there sure was a lot of snow coming down.
When they didn't call a snow day in the morning, students of North Tahoe High, and a great many other schools I suppose, would watch out the window or in between classes step outside, to see the snow pile up. Sometimes, what the Tahoe Truckee Unified school district would do on days such as these was to let school out early. The idea was that the snow and road conditions were going to worsen and they wanted to get the buses on the road before it became unsafe.
Even though our morning gift hadn't come, we would hope that at any minute the Vice Principal's voice would come over the intercom announcing our reward of early departure. These half days were in some ways better than snow days, because we wouldn't have to make them up at the end of the year, and we had the added benefit of being with our friends and knowing each other's plans for the rest of the day. I would never know whether they let school out early that day.
In November of 1979, the band Pink Floyd, had released one of the most popular albums of the decade, 'The Wall'. I was the first kid on my block, or even the whole school it seemed, to have this album on cassette. I had been listening and playing it for my friends for a few days, and asked a friend of mine if we could go 'crank a couple songs up' at his house during lunch. Tim, whose father was a real estate developer or some such professional, was one of my many friends with wealthy parents. Friends with wealthy parents were as common at Tahoe as friends with pets in other places I had lived. Their condominium was a lakefront with a very expensive stereo in the living room. Tim's parents were hardly ever around; I supposed they were off making more money somewhere else, thus the nice house and stereo. Many of my ‘rich kid' friends had absentee parents.
Tim also had a brand new Jeep CJ. This jeep had great tires and four wheel drive, the ultimate snow toy for young drivers. So the lunch bell rang and off we went across the school parking lot to the jeep. I was quite comfortable with the walk to the jeep in my new down jacket. Having a down jacket was like having four wheel drive or studded snow tires on one's car, part of the Tahoe survival kit for locals. Some of the more local types were fond of patching their big down jackets with duct tape, my jacket had no duct tape as it was new.
The snow had intensified; in fact, it had become a blizzard. The storm had reached that magic moment which Sierra storms sometimes do, when the plows could not keep up with the snowfall. During the day when this happens, the local traffic of moms on errands, and business people going to and fro, suffices to replace plowing by packing the snow hard on the surface streets. Where the plows remove snow from the roads, this packing process hardens and compacts the snow to near concrete hardness over the pavement.
Music from The Wall accompanied the windshield wipers all the way to Tim's house over just such a surface. He lived only two miles or so from the High school, and while we slipped a few times, the jeep had no problems with the conditions once Tim adjusted his speed to coexist with the lethal surface. Once at the lakefront condominium, we listened to Pink Floyd from Sansui speakers with oversized woofers as we ate sandwiches and drank sodas. The time had come to take the cassette back to the jeep and drive back to school.
Next door to the condominium was Star Harbor, home of the North Lake Tahoe Coast Guard station and boat ramp with a large parking lot. With over two feet of fresh powder in this parking lot, few young jeep drivers can resist such a playground and Tim was no exception. Tim zipped into the parking lot and showed me his trick. This stunt consisted of gaining speed as quickly as possible, then cranking the wheel one way or the other while slamming on the parking brake. Known among us Tahonians as the 'E-Brake' turn, Tim and I enjoyed the parking lot until the very last second we had to avoid being late back from lunch. Tim eased out of Star Harbor onto Lake Forest road back to the high school.
While we were lunching at the condominium, another winter road condition had emerged. A plow had visited Lake Forest road. When a snowplow equipped with a normal straight blade encounters this rock hard, white packed snow condition, it doesn't remove much snow. It simply peels the rough layer from the top of the packed surface like a razor blade removes paint from glass. This pealing action leaves a clean scraped surface resembling polished white marble. This type of road surface is so slippery; one can barely stand or walk on it. Adding to that, perhaps a quarter inch of snow and we may as well have been driving on an ice rink. This was Lake Forest road.
I never asked, but I assume Tim saw what he thought was a good place for an E-Brake turn about a quarter mile down Lake Forest Road. I don't think either of us expected what happened next though, on the deadly slick ice once the slide began, the jeep actually seemed to accelerate. The jeep slid completely out of control. It was a familiar feeling, to slide out of control in the snow; I had done this many times before, usually for fun, sometimes accidentally. We slid to the right, driver's side first towards a driveway. The speed was probably around thirty-five mph but we were not slowing at all.
As I looked in the direction of the slide, I saw we were headed for a telephone pole. In my mind, I saw the pole snapping insignificantly like one of the wooden snow poles I had run over before. I then envisioned us being stuck in the deep snow bank afterward, having to dig out. In my mind I thought, 'great, we're going to get stuck and have to dig out, then we'll be late back from lunch break'. The jeep continued to slide, as time seemed to slow. As we slid, I continued to look at the pole, and it seemed we might miss it. What did happen was very different indeed. My last memory of this was perhaps a loud sound, more of a rustling disturbance really than a loud crash, accompanied by a brief flash of light, then dark.
The next sound I heard was Pink Floyd, The Wall playing from the jeep's stereo. I awoke slowly, and was almost numb. My whole body was tingling, like the way it felt when my leg would fall asleep from sitting cross-legged too long. There seemed to be a ringing or hissing sound in my ears as well. As my vision faded in though, I was lying on my back directly under the rear differential of the jeep, staring up at the rear axle. I don't know how long I had been there. I was very confused by this; I really didn't know what to think. In my mind somehow I thought I had crawled under Tim's jeep but didn't remember doing it or why. I don't remember whether I was dragged out, or got out from under the jeep on my own, though it does seem I somehow pulled myself out. I do remember being in the street behind the jeep, and standing up only to immediately fall down unconscious again.
When I awoke again, Tim and some stranger had me by the arms and were dragging me out of the street. There were knives and daggers inside my left arm, I could feel grinding and something very loose and sharp inside my arm or my shoulder or my chest, I couldn't tell what was happening, but somehow I knew my arm was broken. I had to tell Tim to let go, my arm was broken and he was hurting me. He released my arm, and grabbed around my waist, while I leaned more of my balance into the lady on my right. I began to realize I could not breathe. It felt as though the arm around my waist or the weight of my body in the arms of these two dragging me had somehow knocked the wind out of me. They took me into the house of the lady under my right arm and laid me on the living room sofa. I passed out again, though at the time I would have said I fell asleep.
I was awake and heard voices. Tim was there, the stranger lady and some other man were in the room too. I must have been moaning or crying because they were talking about what to do to help me with the pain. Somehow, I heard that they had called for an ambulance and that the Highway Patrol was on the way. Either the memories are lost or I never had a very clear picture of what was going on. By this time, I knew I had been in a car accident. I knew we had hit the telephone pole and that it did not break. I heard the man and woman talking to each other, and they had decided to light a marijuana joint for me, it would help ease the pain. When the man handed it to me, I had to tell him I couldn't smoke, I was having too much trouble breathing. In fact, my breathing seemed to get more difficult with each breath. I was to later learn that my lung was collapsing.
I was frantic to get Tim's attention. I had some drugs in my pocket in a baggie. I wanted to hide them before the Police arrived, but could not move my arm to get it into my pocket. I finally got Tim's attention and he had to kneel beside the sofa and put his ear next to my mouth to hear me. He slipped his hand into my pocket, removed the baggie and stuffed it under the sofa. Talking was becoming more difficult with every breath. But I was relieved to know that the dope was no longer in my possession. I didn't want to get in trouble with the police over this little accident. Little did I know how much trouble I was already in.
When the Highway Patrolman arrived, he started asking me questions. By this time, I could not draw enough breath to speak above a quiet whisper. I know he asked me my name several times, each time I would answer him, he would repeat, 'Do you know what happened? Can you tell me your name?' I would tell him 'I'm Mark, and we crashed in the jeep,' but apparently, he could not hear me. I may have slept again, but I heard Tim and the Highway Patrolman talking about the accident, and Tim told him who I was. I honestly cannot say how long I lay there. It seemed about forty-five minutes, but could have been ten minutes or an hour. Everything was quite distorted. I remember drifting in and out of sleep. Then there was more commotion, and I heard the paramedics arrive.
Two Tahoe City Fire Department paramedics were kneeling beside me, and I thought it odd they asked me the same questions as the Patrolman, 'Can you tell me your name? Do you know where you are? Do you know what happened? Where does it hurt?' I gave them the same answers I gave the Patrolman but since they kept repeating their questions, I assumed they were playing some kind of game or something. It didn't really occur to me right away that they could not hear me. I grew frustrated trying to talk to them. They fussed with one of the bags they brought in and produced a pair of scissors with which they began to cut off my new jacket. I was desperately trying to get them to stop, as I had just bought this jacket. It seems that I was successful, getting them to pull it off but I honestly can't remember.
Next, they cut my shirt off. I remember this shirt as a striped knit type of shirt. When they removed the scraps of cut fabric for the first time, I began to understand what had happened to me. As I looked down at my chest, I saw that my left shoulder was grotesquely dislocated to near the center of my chest; my shoulder was under my nipple. Every movement had become painful. Everything the paramedics did to me hurt badly, I tried to scream but could not draw enough breath to scream.
As I looked at my deformed body, I began to feel as though I were not looking at my body at all. This may have been due to shock, or something else, but this is where things began to get very strange. I remember concentrating all my energy on breathing, as I simply could not breathe enough. My vision was strange as well; the air seemed kind of fuzzy, like I could see the air. I looked at my twisted body and realized that my perspective had changed. For one, I was beginning to realize that I was hurt very badly, more than just a broken bone. I seemed to be looking at the paramedics and at my shoulder from just above where my shoulder should be, to the left of and just above my left ear. This increased my confusion. I remember talking to the paramedics, and looking at them eye to eye, but this could not be; they were standing over me and I was lying flat on my back. The sight of my body, and all the confusion seemed to be too much and I tried to go back to sleep. This time though, the breathing was harder than ever.
I liked the sleep; it was the only way to make the pain go away. To be awake meant to feel pain and pain seemed to have replaced every sensation. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to try to talk, my mind hurt from the inability to communicate with the paramedics, and my shoulders hurt, my chest hurt, my neck hurt, my back hurt and my stomach muscles hurt from trying to suck air into a crushed chest, all these parts had extreme damage.
This was not like any pain I had felt before. It was dry, a sharp, stinging pain, like a cut that kept cutting, or a burn from the inside. It did not feel better when the heat went away. This pain was getting worse, and this pain was here to stay. There was no lying still to make it go away. The paramedics were moving me too, running their hands over my body, looking for injuries. There was no waking relief from this pain.
I had put so much energy into breathing, it was wearing me out and it hurt to breathe. I just couldn't breathe no matter how hard I tried, and it was becoming too hard. I really didn't know why, it was so very confusing. I was exhausted, not the way a hard day at work or play exhausted me, but this was the exhaustion of a lifetime. In sleep, this body stopped hurting. And, there was something else in the sleep. It started quietly, from a faraway place deep inside, but moved closer and closer the longer I slept. The rhythm of my breathing seemed to be the only awareness I had by now.
I say I was sleeping, but was actually passing out due to a combination of pain, lack of oxygen, shock, or likely from all of the above. But I was aware somehow. I could feel the labored breath coming in and going out, slowing now, the breaths seemed to take a long, long time. One breath in particular I remember. I don't so much remember it coming in, but I do vividly recall it leaving.
This breath seemed to exhale too much. I don't know where that much air came from, but it seemed I exhaled slowly and completely, more completely than any breath I had ever experienced before. In fact, I kept exhaling after all the air seemed to have left my one remaining lung. I felt a sensation of movement with this exhale. It was as though somehow I could feel the air once it left my body. In fact, I was the air, which left my body. I could feel myself peeling away from the body. This is difficult to describe, and was quite disorienting at the time, I rode out of my body inside this last breath. Somehow, I could feel whatever self I was, leaving the body on the sofa in a kind of whoosh sensation. This new feeling was concentrated in my head, like I had been sucked out of my face by some sort of vacuum like force attracting this last breath.
The pain had left me, but I was not asleep. I could see. I could still see the paramedics talking to me. They knew I had stopped breathing, and they were talking to each other and one of them was telling me to stay with him. By now, I was looking eye to eye with them. Slowly I saw their faces seem to sink below me, soon I was facing downward toward the paramedic who was doing most of the talking. This was very confusing; I was becoming aware that something very strange was happening, strange indeed, though somewhat familiar. I knew that this scene was very wrong, because I knew I was lying on the sofa. I knew this because I knew I had not stood up. I also knew this because I had tried to sit up before and that I realized things had progressively gotten worse since that attempt. I also knew that I was no longer asleep. I willed myself to turn my field of vision toward the sofa. What I find strange to this day is that I was not surprised to see my body below me.
This 'awareness' changed things. I don't believe I knew I was dying just yet, but I did know that this was serious. At first, once I realized that I was not in my body anymore, there was a moment of panic. Not a panic of fear, more of disorientation. I felt disorientation as though I were standing on ice, having slipped unexpectedly, arms flapping for balance, just regaining my feet, afraid to move for fear of slipping again. There was a certain sense of weightlessness, like the top of the arc of a high dive into the water. Or when an elevator starts to descend unexpectedly. These strange sensations seemed to linger for a moment, just long enough to be noticed when the scene continued to change yet again.
I had a sense of movement, not necessarily my movement, but the room began to distort around me. I could see the paramedics, myself, my field of vision growing to include the whole room, I could see the others, the Officer, but it was distorted. It seemed like the room was elongating, as though I were on the ceiling, but the ceiling was rising. It was just a normal room with an eight or nine foot ceiling but my view was of this room as though the ceiling had risen to maybe thirty feet. At this point, the sensation changed from my field of vision distorting to one of movement. I felt as though I were being drawn away. Not necessarily that I was gaining in altitude, but that I was separating from this scene. It was as if the world was moving away from me and I was becoming a part of something else, which was reclaiming me.
I looked down on the people in the room. They looked somehow different as well. It was as if their outlines had been traced with a crayon of light producing some kind of glow around the lines of their bodies. The air had become a purple hued fuzz, like the air molecules were a translucent purple. I could see the air, then I sensed some kind of hissing sound, and a strange sensation of darkness as I floated through what would have been the ceiling. I was in the storm now, I could sense the snow falling as I continued to merge upward with something to which I was connected. There came a sensation of great attraction. I would not call it speed exactly, more like the world was rapidly moving away from me and I from it. The scene below me seemed to stretch away in an infinite distortion.
Though difficult to describe, it seemed as if the room, building and snowstorm were projected onto a cloth sphere. I ascended to the top of this sphere which distorted, like lifting a sheet from a bed between pinched fingers, the scene draped and distorted as my point ascended, as I was lifted high, the sheet of the world dangling around me distorting further and further as the point lifted higher.
I was returning from whence I came. I cannot describe this feeling adequately, but I knew of this place, it was familiar, and I had been there before. Not that my body and the world were unfamiliar or a place that I didn't belong, they were familiar as well. But this place I was moving toward felt like home, not like my home today, but like a childhood memory of home, when mom would take care of me. I felt as though I was expected, and there were open arms awaiting me.
At this point I was aware of a great journey. A journey I had just begun, of a great distance to be traveled, only a portion of which had I traversed. My senses changed in this motion as well. I no longer had a sense of sight, nor of temperature, or of movement. I could not feel pain nor do I recall hearing. The only sense I do recall at this point was a deep sense of love. Deeper than I had ever experienced before, though it was a familiar feeling, I recognized it as love, it seemed to emanate from all points toward me and from me outward. It was a warm feeling, a comforting feeling, a sense of perfect well-being.
There was also the sense of a great burden having been lifted from me. I had been here before. I knew where I was by now, though I cannot name this place. I had returned from whence I came, and I don't know what it is called. Though I have heard many labels applied, this could have been heaven, purgatory, some kind of Samadhi, a collective of souls, I personally do not know what to call it. I will only try to describe it as I remember, as I believe that to label the place is to call it something it is only partially. I had been here before.
I was no longer alone; I could feel the presence of another. It was as if somehow our feelings, emotions and knowledge had merged. Then came a voice. The use of the word voice is interesting, as I had no sense of hearing, and I suspect no ears though I do not have a good memory of what my 'body' in this place might have been like. This was more of a thought in my mind, which was not a thought of my own. It was the thought of another. This was a sort of telepathy, but quite natural to me as it was quite familiar. Not only was the telepathic style of communication familiar but I also recognized the particular other whose thoughts I was sharing.
It is unclear how we started, only that the result of this first message was for me to begin a series of feelings about my life. It was the proverbial 'life flashing before my eyes' or life review as I have since heard it called. I would describe this as a long series of feelings based on numerous actions in my life. The difference was that not only did I experience the feelings again, but I had some sort of empathetic sense of the feelings of those around me who were effected by my actions. In other words, I also felt what others felt about my life. The most overwhelming of these feelings came from my mother.
I was adopted as an infant. I had been somewhat of a troublemaker. I sometimes hurt other children when I was smaller. I had taken to drug and alcohol abuse, stealing, crazy driving, bad grades, vandalism, cruelty to my sister, cruelty to animals; the list goes on and on. All of these actions were relived in a nutshell, with the associated feelings of both myself and the parties involved. But the most profound was a strange sense coming from my mother. I could feel how she felt to hear of my death. She was heartbroken, and in great pain, but it was all mixed up with feelings of how much trouble I had been in. I got a sense that it was such a tragedy to have had this life end so soon, having never really done much good.
This feeling left me with a sense for having unfinished business in life. The grief that I felt from my mother and friends was intense. In spite of my troubled life, I had many friends, some of which were close. I was well known if not popular, and I could sense many things said about my life and death. The sense of my mother's grief was overwhelming.
There were other feelings as well, from school friends, in fact nearly the whole student body reacted to the news of my death. I could feel a great many thoughts, sorrow, grief and prayers. I could feel the thoughts of extended family members as well. Even people I didn't even know were affected, community members, people who read the news or heard it on the radio. Somehow, I could feel all the repercussions of my death at once. Each thought as an individual feeling, but more significantly summed up as one overall feeling. Not so much a judgment of what my life meant, but more in the way I, and others, felt about my actions in life. The other did not judge these feelings either, we experienced them together.
I became aware of the thoughts of the other again. This other had experienced these feelings at the same time and in the same way, I had just done. It was like we had just watched a movie together and we were discussing our feelings about the movie. Rather than a movie we would only see, we could feel this movie. I cannot say whether this was God, my spirit guide, Jesus or some relative of mine. My sense of it is that they are so similar that it is not an entirely relevant label to apply to this other. The other actually felt more like a very close friend at the time. I can say with certainty that this voice and I were together in some profound way then, and have been and forever shall be together. In that sense, it does fit with some of the things I have read about God in the Bible. I have also read similar things about guardian angels, spirit guides and the higher self. During this exchange, I was not concerned with labels.
I must try to explain that which cannot be put into words. This place was a part of me and I a part of it. We are not and were not separate, even as I write these words, years after the experience; we are still one this place and I. The experience of being there is to exist as love, inside love knowing only love. It was as if the emotion of love is what in the end and in the beginning I have always been. Love is what I have only been. And, to extrapolate that to human existence, we are all connected in this way, inside this place, which is all things and all people, life is love and love is life. Every atom in the universe is connected in this way.
As I floated away from my body, I was somehow aware of the air molecules, not in a scientific way, but such that there was a connection between the air molecules and what I had become, or rather, what I had always been. In this frame of mind, I am always connected to all things. I have also said in conversations about my experience, and continue to assert, that what is really going on is so much bigger than anything I had ever experienced in church or in literature through any medium. It transcends the human capacity for expression. In my awareness, I became or returned to being a part of this.
After summing up the feelings of a short lifetime, the thought exchange continued. The question was put in my mind, 'Do you want to stay?' The voice seemed to actually ask many questions at once. In the question, I sensed a great many different meanings, 'Are you done with this life? Do you want to finish the work you were to do in this life? Do you want your loved ones to experience this grief?' All of this was asked in an instant, a single thought. It is my recollection that the choice was mine, totally of my own free will, but I also have a sense that within the question the repercussions and results of either decision were also known. For each version of the question, the feelings and repercussions of my decision were felt. The feeling of grief my mother felt at the news of my death dominated my feelings. Somewhere beneath this overwhelming feeling of grief however, was a sense of duty and work to do.
While the dialog and images of this exchange seem to have been difficult in some ways, I must emphasize the context of overwhelming compassion and love in which the exchange took place. This was in fact the most peaceful and tranquil moment of my life. I cannot adequately express how natural and good this experience was. In this place, with this being, everything was more than okay. Acceptance and understanding of all my feelings was shared instantly with this being who loved me unconditionally.
Whatever else was asked is lost on me now, but my response to the question was, 'If I go back will I be able to come here later? Will it always be like this?' The answer was immediate, apparently, I had decided and the result was instant. There was an oxygen mask on my face, and I was struggling to wake up. I knew they were planning to start CPR on me and I did not want them to do this as my chest was in extreme pain again. I awoke and a paramedic was holding an ammonia inhalant under my nose, having slipped the oxygen mask up, slightly covering my eyes. I awoke to such pain that it defies description. I screamed a weak and dreadful groan. This time the paramedic could hear me; he stopped asking me the same question over and over again. This time, the paramedic was actually talking to me. I remember his new mantra as clear as day, and the rest of my experience is very clear to me. He said, 'Don't go back to sleep Mark.' He was to repeat this mantra in a well-practiced tone, all the way to the hospital.
The oxygen was apparently just enough. In spite of the trauma to my chest cavity, I still had one good lung. I believe the working lung was not enough to sustain me due to the pressure of my shoulder joint and associated hemorrhaging on top of this 'good' lung and ribs. The oxygen however, had given my desperately starved brain and blood the boost it needed to remain alive. The paramedic had saved me from death, though I would live to regret both his actions and my decision in the coming months. The pain had returned, with a vengeance.
I don't remember them putting me on the gurney; I believe I slept for a while. The next thing I recall was snow falling on my face as they wheeled, dragged and carried me from the house through the snow to the ambulance. At one point, I felt a hard jolt when they either dropped me or the wheels on the gurney hit a large bump.
I cursed loud at this new pain, and I vividly recall by the reaction of the paramedics it was probably the first time they heard my voice. They stopped and one of the men bent down close and put his ear to my mouth. I don't think he heard anything else because he said 'What' a couple of times. The purple fuzz returned, I looked into the storm and could feel myself leaving again. I think what I was trying to tell him was that I would die if they kept dropping me. In a way, I wanted him to know that I was pissed and would leave if he kept hurting me. No sound came from my lips though; I was busy leaving my body again while he put his ear to my mouth.
They started moving again. The pain was incredible. A few more bumps and I was in the ambulance. Normally, it is a half hour or less ride from Lake Forest to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, but today the ride was very long and rough. It went on for an eternity. I wanted to sleep so badly. The roads were horrible, it was a blizzard, and the ambulance had snow chains on which shook and rattled my fragile twisted body beyond torment. All the while my paramedic friend repeated his mantra, 'How you doing Mark? I need you to stay awake for me okay buddy, we're almost there.' About a hundred more 'Don't go back to sleep Marks' even the other paramedic started to join in when the oxygen gave me the strength to put up a protest. I think I managed to get out 'It doesn't hurt when I sleep' to which the chorus chimed, 'We need to stay awake okay buddy.' I wanted to take the chains off the ambulance and strangle the medics with them; I wanted to just lay outside in the snow. I wanted to sleep.
Date NDE Occurred: Dec 17, 1979
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) I was crushed between a jeep and a telephone pole sustaining extensive trauma to my torso, internal damage, broken bones and hemorrhaging, and pneumo-thorax. Oh yes, a sprained neck as well, sideways whiplash, possible bruised aorta?
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 Existence outside the senses and outside time is difficult to explain. I was still me, I had memories and identity, but I was not in this world, nor was in a body. My mind was 'merged' with the universe, I had returned from whence I came, to 'the Place' I was before I was born. The normal everyday stuff involves a sense of temperature, the sense of sight, hearing, the feeling of my skin, clothes, wind - none of this was present during my time away.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the telepathic conversation with 'The Other One', discussing whether or not I would stay or return to life.
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 All points in time existed simultaneously. In a sense there was no time, time was meaningless, but there was a sense for a place where time did exist, but for those moments outside, in 'the place' with 'the other' there was no time and it is not a relevant question.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? It was as if I could see the air; I also seem to recall seeing as I 'floated' through the ceiling. It was like being able to see atoms, not as solids, actually more than see them, I could feel them also.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? It did change, and I did hear a certain hissing noise - there may have been some crackling/rustling sounds like the way a cold newspaper sounds when it gets crumpled up to put in the bunkhouse wood-burning stove on a cold winter morning. This sound accompanied the realization that I was out of my body and the early signs of a sense of movement.
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 It was more of a distortion I'd say. It was as if the world was stretching away from me, like being at the center pole of a big top tent which kept rising making the walls of the tent into steeper and steeper angles stretching infinitely to a long string.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain There was the presence of 'the other' but I do not believe I looked at the other, or I do not remember looking at it. We did however communicate quite effectively without visual stimuli.
I have since seen a great many entities, some could be described as angels (human forms with wings) and others I call 'critters'
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? Uncertain I saw Purple Rays, 'whooshing' by; I always thought that it might have been a distortion of the snowstorm or atmosphere during the 'rapid movement' after leaving the scene of the body and paramedics.
I have seen an incredible 'Blue/White' 360 degree light several times since.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Incredible trip to the inner workings of the unvierse, I became all things. I was in the heavens as some have described...I say I returned from whence I came.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Deep profound indescribable love. I also felt sadness and regret at some of the events 'the other' and I watched the life review, or should I say felt, it was like watching a movie that you could also feel all the feelings of all the people in the movie and the people (me and 'the other') watching the movie as well. The feelings experienced during the life review were a major factor in my decision, or 'agreement' to come back.
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
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I believe I know a great many things but they are not easily recalled. For some reason random seemingly meaningless events are revealed in strange sequences - if for no other reason than to remind me that all points in time co-exist somewhere, though my access to this seems random.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain It was not presented as a Physical boundary, though I believe had I lingered it may have been. I was simply given a choice, but the choice was based on many factors. First, I was shown in a life review what the reaction of all who knew me would be if I stayed, then a similar review of what I would encounter upon return. Though I'm not sure I'm allowed to remember many of the things presented to me in the event that I returned - sounds like a bad sci-fi plot but that's the way it seems.
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 Lutheran raised.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes EXTENSIVELY. I believe there are many paths in life to pursue divine knowledge, but I have a hard time practicing any one established religion. I believe that I have more faith and take more seriously, God, Soul, and divinity than do the authors and clergymen of the world's religions. My faith comes from what I believe is direct experience of the inner workings of God's divine fabric which is existence itself. Kind of hard to conceptualize by getting dressed up on Sunday morning.
What is your religion now? Liberal Very Spiritual, embrace traits of many religions
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes EXTENSIVELY. I believe there are many paths in life to pursue divine knowledge, but I have a hard time practicing any one established religion. I believe that I have more faith and take more seriously, God, Soul, and divinity than do the authors and clergymen of the world's religions. My faith comes from what I believe is direct experience of the inner workings of God's divine fabric which is existence itself. Kind of hard to conceptualize by getting dressed up on Sunday morning.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 everything. Everything which has ever or ever will exist was part of me and I of it.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I have a deep universal love for mankind and a sense of brotherhood and connection to humanity and life in general - this is significantly different than before, though I may have had a sense of these things before, since I have learned reasons and importance of such things. I don't live it as well as I'd like, but I try.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The overwhelming love and understanding, the type of telepathic-like communication; the understanding of the lack of time continuum; the knowledge of connections to all matter; the vast amount of knowledge present at a moment outside time; the memories of the 'place' to which I returned; the knowledge of the workings of the universe and life. So many things have little language equivalents.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Numerous and continuing:
Ghosts (witnessed by entire family).
Poltergeists (witnessed by entire family).
Extraordinary visions (while awake in meditation).
ESP, able to read thoughts, or know what a person will say before they say, know when people are lying, etc.
Have visions of future events very random and unpredictable but very real.
Empathic perception, feel the feelings of others.
Able to perform certain types of healing (difficult to manage).
Able to stop my heart through thought.
Able to influence machine operation.
Ability to sense electronics.
Able to feel electron flow.
See angels in meditation.
See constellations with eyes closed in meditation.
Immersed in Blue White Light in meditation.
Able to see tunnel.
Able to communicate telepathically, call my daughter with my mind and she answers verbally, 'What? Dad, you called me.'
Remote viewing, able to draw what others see.
Remote view friends in future and past events.
On and on and on...
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The connection between all things is amazing. - If there is truly anything in this universe, which is sacred, this is it.
One statement I have always made in a number of ways goes like this: What is really happening is so much bigger than any work of religion, fiction, or imagining I have ever heard from the human mind. What is really happening with us, life and our souls is eternal, infinite and divine. It defies description.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Just a few weeks. I was focused on the pain and recovery early on, with few interactions with friends/family, morphine, medications and pain interfered. Early reactions were mostly negative, nobody knew what I was talking about, probably thought I was crazy. Some were amazed and interested, but not sure about most.
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 probably real. I was in so much pain, and the morphine and Demerol were messing up my head. It HURT - SO - BAD - to come back - it still hurts decades later.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. After researching and comparing notes, speaking and listening at IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) and on the net, and after all the phenomena which has occurred to me personally and to those around me - I know it's true. Furthermore, I know I am supposed to talk about this.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes No, except for meditation, some visions seem similar but it's not the same as not breathing.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? All life ends in death - it is not to be feared - was it Peter Pan who said, 'To die is the greatest adventure.' You will all take this trip. At the moment of death let go of the fear and enjoy the ride.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Some of the questions had more than one answer which applied to me.