[Mary Ann is a delightful NYC lady! I look at her as the grand matriarch - no matter what happens, she made it through the difficult part of her life. She has raised her first set of children from her family of origin and then turned around and raised a large family of her own. Now she has her grandchildren to look forward to. It was such an honor to interview her and help her to share her experiences with others. - Jody]
I remember being thrown from the car and my head hit the divider. I was knocked unconscious. My first memory was looking down from the ceiling and seeing my parents crying. I thought I was awake. The next memory, I was in bed and I could see a light in the middle of the room. An Irish nurse came over to me and said, ‘Look at this pretty darling. I am going to clean her up.’ Then the other nurse called to her saying, “There's nothing we can do for her, so take care of the others first”.
I said to myself, ‘Am I dead?’ I was so scared. Then I found myself, going fast, up this dark tunnel. I was still scared, but I could see a very small light at the very end of the tunnel. Then I was in this beautiful light. My girlfriend's sister, Kathleen, greeted me. She was wearing white and was all aglow. She told me not to be afraid. I asked her if I could speak to God. Then God came down, like on an elevator, from a higher heaven and sat down in front of me. God looked like Jesus in an all-white gown and he was big, about 6 foot 5 inches tall. I know I could not see myself.
God asked if I wanted to stay or go back while he let me look down and see my mother and sisters, who were small at the time, in the kitchen. My father was drunk. I was in such peace and surrounded by such beauty, I did not want to come back. But, I told God, ‘You see Father, I have to go back.’ God then showed me my whole life. He told me I would have 13 children, but 3 would not live. I would be married three times. The second marriage would be like going through hell with an abusive husband. The third man would change my whole life around and would be my reward later in life. He showed me the hell I would be living and before I came back to heaven. He told me my daughter would come back to heaven, which has happened.
Then I was taken into a beautiful garden where the flowers were indescribable. I’ve never seen flowers like that before. The aroma, well let’s put it like this: I don't know how to put it into words.
Angels came and I felt like I was flying with them. I looked up and saw this big church and the next thing I know, I was sitting down and watching television. I was shown lots of disasters. I was so frightened. I saw fire and under the ground, explosions in New York City. I did see peace after all that I was shown. I was shown so much I did not like. [The problems I saw] were all over religion. At that time, I couldn't believe that people would fight over God.
Then I was taken into this forest and shown a cure for cancer. I was so excited, I couldn't wait to get back to tell everybody. I felt so smart because I was not very smart in school. I believe it had to do with flowers and leaves. God told me I would not be able to talk about it because that memory would be taken away from me until later on in my life. God was telling me about my life. I was saying to myself, I would never do that, like being married three times and having 13 children.
I remember God is very forgiving, we are all loved, and we must learn to forgive each other. The love I felt there was so overwhelming. I did not want to go back [to life on earth], but I knew I had to. I remember saying, ‘I want you to know this is the first time I’ve been on a typewriter since I was in school. I don't think I did so bad’. Then I was talking to a machine and told to press a button and I did.
Next, I woke up with my girlfriend Eileen standing over me. I said to her “Your sister Kathleen told me to tell you she thanks you for taking care of her children,” then fell back into coma. When I woke up next, I didn't know why I was in the hospital until my father told me about the car accident. I looked down and saw my left leg cut across my knee. A few days later, I was let out of the hospital. Then I told my father what I had seen. He told me not to speak of this or the doctors would put me in the nut house. From time to time I would tell a little of what I saw but people would look at me like I was nuts so I just kept it to myself.
Date NDE Occurred: 2/2/1961
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Clinical death Car accident.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Disturbing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I didn't see myself. I just knew I was there.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was alert! I was so alert, I couldn't see myself, and I just knew I was there. It was real! Everything God said was true and has happened.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No It felt like I was supposed to be there.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? The singing was like the most beautiful church choir. No instruments, just beautiful voices.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes At first, it was just at the end of the tunnel, but once I got to the other side, the light was so bright and intense. I was no longer afraid. No color, just bright like an H-bomb on TV or big explosion.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I saw the most amazing forest and flowers on the other side. The flowers were all over the place with no resemblance to flowers on earth. Although I can't describe the smell, it was gorgeous! The flowers glowed in different, indescribable colors. I remember flying to church with big long steps to watch future events on a TV. Which were disastrous. I was also taken to a little forest with leaves and flowers. I felt so intelligent there that I couldn't wait to get back and tell everyone the cure for cancer.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Sadness and shame at pulling a girl's hair [an event remembered during the life review]. Fantastic otherwise.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe The most immediate answer was that I was shown a cure for cancer. But from my choices and my family background, I know that my place is helping my family. I came down to help my mother raise six children. Then I have had 13 children of which 10 are still with me. I have 20 grandchildren and know that I have more to do since I still have 5 children who have not had children yet.
We are here on earth to learn lessons. The bad things that happen are not caused by God, but by ourselves. We are here to learn to love each other, help each other, give to each other, and love God.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I felt bad when I pulled a girl's hair when I was 8 or 9 years old. I remember feeling so guilty. I remember talking to myself and telling myself that I felt terrible. Nobody judged me but myself.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I saw fire in the streets of New York and explosions. There were tornados in Queens and I saw people running to get into shelters.
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 I am the second oldest child out of eight children. The oldest sister went into a convent. I couldn't leave my mother and other siblings alone with my alcoholic father. I had to be there for them.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Conservative/fundamentalist Brought up very religious, very Catholic
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Many things were so beautiful. I know where my daughter went after she committed suicide. I don't have to worry about her.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It was hard to express the flowers, singing, and the light.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I have a sense of knowing. I sometimes get visions about people or events.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The best was being in heaven, it was so beautiful, peaceful, I had all the knowledge, and I was not alone since angels were all around. I am not afraid of death, but don't want to go yet. I still have things to do.
The worst part was coming back and not being able to talk about my experience. Even if I felt comfortable to talk about the experience, parts of it are indescribable. Many events were disturbing after the NDE because I would know evil and see people dying. I came back with a lot of fears, like the fear of being alone because I felt like someone was always watching me.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Yes, the events of 9/11. In the NDE, I saw explosions in New York City.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I am now 61 years old and although the memory has faded a bit, the main parts of the NDE are still clear to me. Also, I was very excited to see Raymond Moody on TV because I didn't realize that others had had similar experiences like mine.
There are a few things regarding after-effects.
One event I saw before it happened. I shook this woman's hand, who was 7 months pregnant, at the end of December 2000. I had a dream that night whereby I saw guys in a truck. I could hear them talking, but couldn't understand what they were saying since it didn't sound like English. They were taking stuff out of the truck. I saw explosions. Then I saw an airplane take the woman's body to someplace like South America. There, they were celebrating in the street. I told my sister to write this down for me and keep it in a safe place. Later, I found out that this woman did die on 9/11/01 and her body was sent to South America where her family was - and as is traditional, they did celebrate in the streets.
Another time, I sat down and was relaxed in the chair. I saw a brutal rape and murder happen. The next day I saw the woman's picture in the paper.