My best friend and I were at a family reunion on a ranch a hundred and fifty miles from Sacramento, California. I was twenty-five years old. It was hot - over a hundred degrees, the skies were blue, and it was noon. The cowboys there were joking about our being ballplayers, and they challenged us to hit the ball over the fence of the property. So, my friend and I hit a bunch of balls over the fence a few hundred feet away. (We both play pro baseball.) I climbed the tall chain link fence to retrieve the balls. I placed the palms of my hands on the top of the fence posts and put all my weight on them. Then I jumped from the top of the fence to the ground. The tops of the poles must have been super sharp, because they cut my hands down to the bones. Chunky, hot blood started pouring out fast, from both hands. I knew I was in trouble. I could not return over the fence because my palms couldn't withstand any pressure.
The people at the party weren't paying any attention to me, as I was far away from them and out of hearing range. I had to walk the perimeter of the fence line, and it took me twenty-five minutes to get back to the party. I hosed off my hands to see the damage, and the cuts were deep and they kept on bleeding. I grabbed some cloths, duct-taped my hands together and sat on my truck tailgate. I was just hoping the bleeding would stop in a minute, and I would heal in a few weeks. I really wasn't concerned too much, since I have a very high pain tolerance and have broken ten plus bones in my life.
Within ten minutes, everyone at the party noticed my hands duct-taped together and they saw the blood dripping out, as well. I told them, 'Don't worry, the bleeding will stop in a few minutes and I'll be fine; I'm tough.' After the cloth became completely soaked through with blood, we removed it in order to clean and treat the wound. It kept bleeding. We cleaned it, got a new cloth and wrapped my hands separately in better bandages. Then, everyone went back to talking, and I just sat there regretting that I had jumped the fence. I knew I needed stitches, but we were three hours from the hospital. I was just going have to wait until after the reunion ended and we had returned home. I kept bleeding through the bandages.
The pain was increasing. The swelling was increasing and the bleeding continued. I still wasn't worried. I was convinced the bleeding would stop soon and I'd heal in four to six weeks. I checked my watch and saw that over an hour had passed since I had cut my hands.
All of a sudden, the most amazing feeling in the world hit me, starting in my feet! It rose up through my legs, and it quickly was taking over my body. I jumped off the tailgate and I said to my best friend, Jason, 'Jason, something weird is happening, but whatever happens don't worry, I'll be alright.' Then it filled my whole body, like I was drowning from the inside out. Then I was immediately sucked right out of my physical body, and from above, I watched it fall to the ground. I watched everyone panic and run over to my body lying in the dirt, and nobody knew what to do. I was quickly aware that they were worried about me, so I started yelling at them, 'Hey, I'm right here. [Above them, about seven feet in the air.] I'm right here, I'm fine. Hey, hey, Jason. Hey!' Then I realized I had no arms, no legs, no body and I was floating above them. I was so frustrated, trying to communicate with them, while they were all very concerned with my lifeless body. I even grabbed my friend by his shoulders and tried to shake him, it didn't work.
I got scared because I knew what was happening. I was very aware. I was desperate to communicate. Then I slowly started floating away from the scene, so I panicked and I produced a FLASH. I flashed at my friend Jason and he actually looked up at me for a brief second. I could see my flash; it was brilliant blue and lasted one second. I continued to float away. I couldn't believe what was happening, yet felt extremely well. I had to accept my death. I floated into the blue skies, then into darkness (which I thought was HELL) where I saw bad spirits circling. I prayed that I would continue floating away from them, and not stop where they were. Lucky me, I continued floating upwards, and the white light began to take over everything. I floated towards the center of the light until it completely surrounded me and there I stopped floating. Then the voice came. It was a man's voice. It was very matter-of-fact. It said, 'You have had an accident. It is not your time to be with me. I am sending you back.' I attempted to utter a response and was immediately sent back into my body on Earth.
I was aware I was in my body again, and I stood up, much to the surprise of everyone who had been looking down at me on the ground. I stood there, covered in dirt and blood, and I was happy. I immediately started saying, ' You guys wouldn't believe where I just went!' They said, 'Sit down and calm down, you passed out and you need to go to the hospital.' I continued to try to tell them about the exciting adventure that I had just had, out of my body; and they just ignored me. They were all arguing over who was going to drive me the hundred and fifty miles to the hospital. Nobody was paying attention to me, and I got frustrated. I tried to walk around, and they kept putting their hands on me and telling me to sit down. I became frustrated that they weren't listening to me, and I wished I hadn't returned to Earth. I wished I had stayed up there with God. All of a sudden, I passed out again!
This time, I was sucked right out of my body and floated away much faster than the first time. I quickly was in the White again and the voice returned. He said, 'This is not to be toyed with. This is not drugs, sex, food or anything to be played with. You have had an accident. You must return to Earth and help people. I am sending you back.' Immediately, I was back in my body again and I stood up and smiled at everybody and told them, 'Get off me, I'm fine. I just floated outside my body, and you guys don't even realize that, you didn't see anything.' They looked at me like I was crazy and they told Jason to take me to the hospital right now. As we drove towards the hospital, for the three hours it took to get there, I told him all about what had happened to me. I told him how I had flashed at him and that he had looked up and had seen me right at that moment. He didn't recall that moment. At the hospital, the doctor stitched me up. He also told me that I had passed out because I saw my own blood. I disagreed and told him about my out-of-body experience. He laughed and left the room.
I am one hundred percent convinced that what happened to me was real. In fact, it brought back a memory from my childhood, when I split my head open on a playground and had a similar, yet different, out-of-body experience. In that experience, I floated next to the car that transported me to the hospital. I floated down the halls of the hospital until my mom arrived and I joined her in the hospital room where they put my body. I then re-entered my body when the doctors placed something that burned inside the wound on my head. Up until this next out-of-body incident, I had had no memory of this, because I had only been five years old. These memories came back to me after my experience on the ranch.
Date NDE Occurred: 9/22/01
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Accident Other 'Cut both hands deeply on a some sharp fencing, bled for 1 1/2 hours until I passed out. I didn't really pass out though, I just became a floating entity and witnessed my friends trying to help my lifeless body.'
I am confused about this question. I was almost dead, yes. Nobody else, just 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? More consciousness and alertness than normal As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? As I was sucked out of my earthly body, I became much more aware. In fact, it seemed like I was aware of everything in the Universe, except where I was about to float to.
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
It seemed like I had floated for thirty minutes. Back on Earth, they told me I had passed out for two minutes.
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 could see clearly and far. As I floated, I actually took time to enjoy the view, such as one would on a hot-air balloon ride. I was concerned, though, that the humans below me were worried about me, and that bothered me.
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? Yes I saw many bad spirits floating in circles in the darkness as I passed through that section of my journey. I knew this was Hell and I prayed to pass through it. I did pass on through and into the white light.
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 The light was the typical, all encompassing, white light that I believe is the entrance to HIS kingdom.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The only levels seemed to be the dark level, then the light.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt all my normal emotions. I was mainly concerned with telling my friends that I was okay. I really felt wonderful and I wanted them to know that. I could not contact them, though I tried very hard. I actually produced a blue, electric flash that my friend Jason saw.
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? Moderate 'none, Christian'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I'm actually less 'religious' now. I mean, now I'm more 'spiritual.' I just don't need to go to church to find proof. I am the proof.
What is your religion now? Moderate 'none, same'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I'm actually less 'religious' now. I mean, now I'm more 'spiritual.' I just don't need to go to church to find proof. I am the proof.
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 felt part of the Universe. Oddly, I still felt like Matt H. I still had a sense of humor, I felt athletic, though had no body parts. I felt like a bird, really, but I was aware that I was a spirit! It was fun really, like a good ride at Disneyland. I knew I was going to GOD. I felt safe and even playful.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I have better relationships and a brighter outlook on life. I play more and try to keep people in good moods.
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 aware that I had passed into this realm before, when I had been injured as a child. I became aware that spirits can be around us, yet we cannot usually see them.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The part when I passed from blue skies into the darkness felt strange. I hoped that I wouldn't stop there, it seemed to me that it must have been Hell.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I immediately told people, and they loved the story!
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had seen shows on TV like on Oprah where I had heard about similar experiences. While it was happening to me, I was thinking about Oprah's show and how they were all correct. It made me laugh. That's when I knew that humans really do have spirits bottled up inside us, and, when we die, our spirit continues.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real Shortly after it happened, I saw the experience as 'definitely real.' It was totally real. As an athlete, I am completely in tune with my awareness. I was very aware of what was happening to me. It was a hundred percent real. If all people could go through a similar experience, everyone would know that it is real and that we are all spiritual beings.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Currently I see the experience as 'definitely real.' It was real, still is.
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? It was really fantastic and an eye-opener.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It's pretty thorough.