I had been hiking for several hours carrying a fifty pound pack. The weather closed in fast and visibility was down to less than six feet. There were high constant winds and driving rain. I was soaked through. I couldn't find the route out using my great map-reading and compass skills. I used to regularly enter military navigation/hiking competitions and always place in the top three. Exhaustion kicked in. My map didn't match with the ground. There were high shear drops all around. I was in great danger of walking off a cliff edge. I needed to seek shelter from the wind as much as possible. I risked sliding down one side of the saddle as much as I dared to try to reduce the effects of wind and rain. I sat on my pack to try to put some insulation between the cold, wet ground and myself. I closed my waterproofs up as much as they would go, including the hood to cover my face. I breathed in and out of my scarf to try to use breath on my face to reduce the heat-loss speed here. I used my emergency whistle but the wind kept blowing the sound back and it was too high up for anyone to hear. I used flashlight but the mist was too thick for the light to go anywhere.
All I could do was await the mountain rescue team to come out and find me once I'd exceeded my contact time left with a family member. I had along with a contact time left the route I was taking. All I could do was now was to sit, huddled up and watch the time on my watch reach the contact time. It was two or more hours away. I started to shiver very rapidly shortly after I'd stopped. I started to lose feelings in my toes, and then this gradually worked its way through the rest of my feet and up my legs. My fingers went completely numb although I had my hands tucked in my armpits to try to keep them warm as long as possible. This sensation travelled through my hands and up my arms. I could no longer feel my nose and ears. I needed to urgently urinate. Finally, I did so into my clothes where I was sitting, hoping the heat from this would keep me alive a little longer. I was already soaked and so more wetness at this stage could make no difference. The heat gave my butt, thighs and lower waist some temporary respite from the cold. My shivering soon started to slow down and become less intense, not because I was warming, but because I had been shivering so long that I was running out of energy to shiver any longer.
I watched the light change in the mist as the sun rose and started to set as it became darker. I was aware now that much time had passed beyond my contact time. The mist and weather was really extreme and it would be crazy for a rescue team to come out in it! They'd need to both be on top of me to find me in the mist. The driving rain, wind, and mist combined with slippery terrain and shear sudden drops made it a no-go. The best I could hope for was the possibility of a helicopter coming in a sudden break in the mist. Time passed and I got the occasional glimpse of settlements way down below off in the distance, before they were once more obscured by the mist.
I then started to pass in and out of consciousness, with the out of consciousness being a period of still being numb but full of very real hallucinations. I then started to consider a new approach; pushing my rucksack ahead of me and relying on it suddenly no longer being there as a warning of a shear drop there. The ground was steep and extremely slippery. There was no relying on this as the pack might slip away from me because of the gradient and slipperiness of the surface. Also, the other extreme was that the moment the pack disappeared it might well be too late to stop myself sliding over an edge. To end the horror of the cold I strongly considered moving on and if I died from the fall, it would be much faster than the death I was fast approaching from hypothermia. I didn't have enough energy to get myself up off the ground. I'd have to rely on the gradient and slipperiness of the surface to try and slide myself down. I decided to stay put and die where I was as I wouldn't want to distress someone through finding my broken body at a cliff-face. I was just about to qualify as a nurse after studying and years of unemployment.
My hiking skills and strength had become my very weakness I thought at the time. The test of my independence through my own skills and experience backfiring on me. None of my mountain survival skills, my navigation skills and experience, or my newly gained nursing skills and experience could release me of this predicament. I had money in my account I would not be around to spend. I had left no will. I started to wonder how long it would be before someone became aware that I was missing. How long it would be before my body was found. My hands couldn't move so I couldn't write a note. The futility of life and everything to do with it started to dominate my thoughts and feelings. I was going to die very shortly now. I hoped there was life after life, as the person I had loved the most in my life had died half my lifetime before. I recalled she was a practicing Baptist and would be in heaven. Even if there were life after life, I wasn't going to see her again as I'd lost my faith many years before. I continued to hallucinate and hated coming out to the reality of my situation. I eventually started to pray. I wanted to be reunited with the one I'd loved. My prayers became more intense and meaningful for the gift of my life I'd had and for all those people I'd met during my life. My hallucinations continued and I stayed in them longer and longer each time.
Then suddenly, I had an experience that was nothing like I'd experienced before. I suddenly no longer had any form of physical sensations. The stress the cold had on my body was over. I felt such a positive emotional experience that it's impossible for me to describe. I was in an extremely bright environment with the only other being in front of me was a man in his early thirties, about five foot ten, with his arms outstretched and dressed in a robe. He was smiling, radiating peace and so much love. Behind him stood a solid-looking object, taller than him in the shape of a cross. I didn't have a body myself. I just 'was'. I was aware that I felt so much overwhelming peace, joy, love, and was no longer living. Suddenly I was back on the mountain saddle and wanted so very much to die and be back where I'd suddenly left. I kept praying to go back there and expected what was happening was that I needed to be 'spiritually pure of heart’ in order to go back again. When that happened I'd be immediately back there. As time went on and my praying had intensified and started to recede I considered there being another reason for my coming back. That God had wanted me back for his reason, which I didn't and still don’t have a clue why that may be. I considered suicide by letting myself slide off the cliff edge which I soon discovered I was less than several feet away from.
Amazingly, daylight came much, much faster than I'd expected as night had been very short. The mist cleared and the route down was only less than a dozen feet off and slightly below me to my left. I discovered I had suddenly strength within me, not only to get myself up, but to also stagger the few miles down and back to the nearest remote house for aid. The owners greeted me and were completely amazed that I'd managed to survive the night up there. Eventually, I shared with them my experience over the previous twenty four hours, whilst waiting to be collected by the person who should have raised the alarm. They hadn’t. They thought I'd just forgotten to contact them.
To this day, I still have slight pins and needles feelings in every one of my fingertips.
After more than two decades of working and studying as a nurse, a public health nurse and public health practitioner, I changed my direction. Now I continue to study privately the effects of spirituality in wild places on individuals, developing it recently into a business using an action research/community development model, in order to assist personal spiritual health.
Date NDE Occurred: October 1988
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Other: 'So cold and wet for so long, no longer able to shiver or feel, blacking in and out until dead'
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 I had no limitations that a physical body has to consciousness. I had none of the distractions that the physical senses bring with them.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was facing the person in front of the cross.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time wasn't there. It appeared in such a way as to make the concept of time nonsense.
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 had sight but not through the limitations of my eyes. I felt through the entirety of 'I' and was not limited by my body. I had gone from the extreme closed-in places, numbness in the vast majority of my body, and overwhelming exhaustion to this very positive experience. When I came back, the only difference was the exhaustion had started a process of receding, which it continued to do. The intense thirst I'd felt for many hours prior was still also present. My throat was sore and my lips completely cracked with dehydrated skin.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I heard nothing. Neither did I experience anything that suggested I should hear anything.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
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: Unearthly 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 White light everywhere. Around, above, and below me. All was this white radiance.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm A non-place of light, all white, completely surrounding me. There was no floor or ground, just this amazing white light everywhere. And the non-place triggered an overwhelmingly positive emotional experience in me. There, about a dozen feet in front of me stood our Christ. Our Christ! With a solid-appearing cross raising up towering above him but he did not show any kind of negative emotions in response. The complete opposite!
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Overwhelming positive emotions of peace, joy, love, wonder, awe, and amazement don't even appear compare to what I experienced then.
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 no longer in conflict with nature
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe The power of our 'father' being. Everything in existence is a mere ripple of a vast ocean we call God.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Other Christian Was New Age but just before death started to pray Christian prayers so last minutes conversion.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I explored more intensely than ever before Christianity. I studied my faith in the context of the differing denominations and their traditions. I studied theological history. I also reflect on my developing sense of neo-transcendentalist Christian faith.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Other Christian Christian with strong blend of anglo-catholistism, quaker and transecendentalist
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience Because I'd left my Christian faith behind when I reached my mid teenage years, it had been quite some time so I had very little memory or understanding about what I was to experience.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I was a pacifist motivated from experiencing and witnessing domestic violence for many years during my childhood from step-fathers. I continued to remain a pacifist but my motivation had changed to that being the call of Our Father and Christ. I became more of a compassionate person and nurse. I continued my interest in the New Age movement, but from the perspective of a guide. I have spent almost a decade now researching spiritual health and continue to see that as my direction/calling.
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 A person standing in front of me of fair hair and complexion and appearing around early thirties in age. He had long hair and I can't recall if he had a beard or not now. That seemed irrelevant at the time. All I believed and continue to belief is that I was in the physical presence known to us Christians as our Christ!
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? Yes Christ. Standing, in a robe with his arms raised to his shoulder height and straight. He was smiling a smile expressing peace and love. He was dressed in white and although the cross he stood in front of dominated him due to its shear physical size, it di
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I experienced the overwhelmingly creative and unifying emotional experience of the presence of God. This presence is what is 'real' and everything else such a very minor field of this reality.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I believe I experienced the presence of what appeared to be our physical Christ. Although I had no physical being, the only other than the light and myself was the physical-appearing cross and our Christ. The overwhelming experience of positive emotions lead me to believe that I have experienced what it is to be in the presence of our father.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes That both our father and our Christ really do exist and it is no longer a matter of faith for me. I have been gifted and cursed with the experience of true love. I don't know why and I regularly find myself wondering still.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Our Father's and our Christ's reality and the importance of love as a medium to both experience and express both. This being the ultimate meaning and purpose.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes There is a form of existence after death that appears mainly one of overwhelming emotion and no physical body. This didn't prevent there being vision or an 'I'. A real contradiction of life.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes The presence of the cross standing so solid and tall behind our Christ.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Overwhelming love washing through me from everywhere around me, in all directions. Love being expressed by our Christ but the word love is just so insignificant as a concept as we generally express it, in comparison to the very real and true love I experi
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life I had been searching, and seemed to find something in New Age spirituality at the time, but most definitely without our father and our Christ. This has now changed. I find myself so confidently assured of my faith in Our Father and Our Christ that I search for signs of them in other people, creatures, the environment, ecology, history and prehistory. I don't affiliate myself with only one denomination as I believe there are many aspects of Our Father and Our Christ in each and every one of them. My faith dictates how it feels it most needs to experience and express itself spiritually at any given time. This mostly takes form of Quaker beliefs and practices, with the craving to experience the sung Anglo-Catholic Eucharistic Mass. Sometimes it may be the Methodist Rationalism but far more often it is a Neo-Transcendentalist Quaker blend.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes Someone whom I would kill because of the nature of the ongoing harm they do to me still lives. I am generally able to forgive them. When things have been made so tough for me by this person that either their death or my own seems to be the only way, I fall back on this experience. The lessons and relationships I developed with Our Father and Christ, this person knows of and has done her worst to try and severe. I draw strength from knowing that no matter what her actions are towards me, they are absolutely nothing in comparison to what she is trying to rob me of. Whilst I hold them closer to me as she does her worst I know she is becoming more and more frustrated in her awareness of her own powerlessness when compared with my faith.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Our language only enables me to go so far before it runs into the problem of not having superlatives to express what I actually 'experienced'.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience It was a peek moment in my life; the likes of which I had never come anywhere near close to experiencing before or since. Once experienced the only way it can possibly be matched is through the repeat of such an experience.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? How did I come back to life when I died? I was still in the same place physically and the environmental conditions were still very much the same. What kept me alive and made me come back to consciousness although I didn't have the strength to shiver? Where did the strength come from to get me down the mountain and walk out those miles? How could I find myself so very close to the route out I had been searching for and missed? Why had I chosen to stop exactly where I did when one more move would have taken off the cliff edge? My strength became the way and place chosen by Our Father and Christ. Why me, especially when so many others had died in this place doing what I was doing? Why me?
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I first shared it hours after the experience. They were a devote Roman Catholic couple. I believe that at least one of them was involved in the local mountain rescue team. They were aware how severe the weather had been in the shelter of the valley of the mountain so they had an idea of just how much more so it must have been where I was. They were at the main entry/exit point to the mountain and farmed sheep in the area. They regularly would have seen the injured and the dead stretchered out. They could see, hear, touch and smell the state I was in. They were surprisingly calm and supportive and loving towards me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Only from the New Age literature I came across during my questing in this form of spirituality. Only in as much as that what I witnessed I'd not come across before. Tunnel and light yes. Everywhere light, no. Love, yes but nothing even close to my own very personal experience. Seeing yourself from above, which I didn't experience. Seeing loved ones, which I didn't experience.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I thought for a while that my life was n hallucination and that any moment I'd come too still on the saddle of the mountain. I really believed that would happen and even now find myself wondering that as I type this. Once on the mountain again I will rise up into the loving arms of our father and Christ. Sometimes I wonder if it was real. I then gently stroke the tips of my fingers, to find the sensation of pins-and-needles present. The only way I could be alive right now is through that experience actually happening to me. It's completely unbelievable. I know it happened! I took a picture of the sun setting at the end of this first day. When it was developed, there was a telephone pole in the shot. The wires were very difficult to see so it appeared to be a wooden cross set against a backdrop of a sunset. It was a complete shock to see and acts as a further physical manifestation of my experience.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Because of the events, my pins-and-needles, my knowledge and experience of mountaineering, my knowledge and experience of health, illness, dying and death.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No