This is my grandmother's story, passed down to my mother, and then to me.
My grandmother gave birth to my mother in November 1934. They lived on an isolated farm, and so she gave birth at home. There were few neighbors and the local midwife attended.
Just after the birth, my grandmother became very ill with a postpartum infection. Her fever rose and there was little anyone could do about it. There was no such thing as antibiotics at that time. A physician was sent for, but by the time he got there, my grandmother was dead. Her heart stopped for a few minutes. A minister was sent for, along with a mortician, and the family was prepared.
During this time, my grandmother said that she found herself suddenly somewhere near the ceiling, looking down at all the people surrounding her bed. She saw the midwife's panic and her husband coming to her bedside, crying in despair. She also saw her two eldest daughters near the door, and then her mother pushing them into the next room.
My grandmother turned around then and saw a bright light in the distance, as if it was through the wall of the bedroom. Then her own grandmother appeared beside her and said 'Not yet.' Then she experienced just blackness. A few days later she emerged from a coma, and then was bedridden for weeks before she recovered.
Date NDE Occurred: November 1934
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
My grandmother had just given birth at home, but got an infection and was, according to the attending physician, clinically dead for a few minutes.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
I clearly left my body and existed outside it
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? Normal consciousness and alertness As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Not sure what her level of consciousness was. Probably normal.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My grandmother could see into the next room without any trouble.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Not sure what she heard.
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
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
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 Her own grandmother came to stand beside her. She told her 'Not yet.'
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 She saw a bright light in the distance.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? She never said how she felt.
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
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 'My grandmother was a Lutheran, but not particularly religious.'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No My grandmother never became a religious person, but she never feared death.
What is your religion now? Moderate My grandmother remained a Lutheran, but non-practicing.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No My grandmother never became a religious person, but she never feared death.
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? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain This is a story that was passed down to me.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes She shared this with her family. At that time people accepted the idea of a spiritual world.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No This was in 1934 and there was no talk of NDEs.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real My grandmother definitely felt this was a real experience.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real She felt very strongly that this was a real experience.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Possibly that we can offer stories of NDE experiences that are not our own. They may not be as accurate, but interesting nonetheless.