I was standing at the opened hood of a car on which I had just rebuilt and reinstalled a carburetor. I had my girlfriend start the car, and then there was a backfire explosion. I was covered in gasoline-soaked clothing, so I was severely burned and eventually spent four months on a burn unit. The NDE took place in about the first one or two seconds of my burn.
In the first second, not only was my whole life replayed before my eyes, but also incredibly, it all started with fishy things that I was among. Then I progressed to higher levels of animal life. Next, I went through swinging freely with great grace through trees, etc. I went through the whole evolutionary spectrum leading up to man; all in a microsecond, then an overview rerun of my life up until that very moment I watched this like a movie, completely relaxed but energized too.
Date NDE Occurred: 1968
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes
Obvious. I thought I was about to burn to death and that this was the last few seconds of my life.
Did you feel separated from your body? No
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Hyper-alert and incredibly clear in thought.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
The entire time between when I first saw what looked like a light bulb going on down in the intake manifold of the car, below the open throat of the carburetor, up and through to when I and my girlfriend together rolled together on the ground and put the last flicker out, probably only lasted about, say, ten seconds. But it played like about a half hour, so to speak. Time stretched out. At one point, once I had chosen to ignore the beckoning of the light and choose to go for the pain and the chance at life, I was still kind of in the air, blown in an arc away from the car. In the time I was in the air I had all the time in the world to contemplate my chances of survival, to factor in what my new girlfriend might be able to do to help me survive, and to come up with all the elements after considering all the options, of a plan to increase my chance of survival. I had all the time in the world, all the time I needed. I did not know though that the eventual outcome would be me living. I think that my assumption for these five seconds was that despite disagreeing with the white tunnel I would probably die anyway.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Beautiful singing, wonderful melodies. I think that it would be accurate to say that the songs were somewhat human and to say that they were as if 'angels singing' would be most accurate. I think there was also a high pitched constant din, like ringing, but this I could say might have to do with the explosion sound or some earthly noise, or the results of entering the first phase of shock.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I did not pass through, but to my right there was a large disc of very white light, from where the singing came. It was really beckoning and I felt that in this white opening to a tunnel I would be surrounded by incredible comfort, peace, and happiness. But at the same time, to my left, there was the shared feeling of my incredible pain, my skin burning. I felt that I could choose to close my eyes and just go right, into the tunnel, or choose pain and another sixty years of life. I never went into the tunnel, but I felt that the choice was completely mine as to whether or not to. I had just replayed a few million years of me and my predecessors' lives. I choose to lean left, keep my eyes open, and to endure whatever pain would come with this life. It was a tough decision, but after the consciousness of reliving millions of years of life, the choice to do the last sixty was like choosing to endure another sneeze -- it seemed like sort of a life sentence, but the life I was maybe going to choose to do was like the blink of an eye.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes As described. It was the light of the entry of a tunnel, round, about my height plus maybe a couple of feet in diameter, although this was not all that clearly defined. I perceived it as a brilliantly lit tunnel. It was definitely to my right, and I think it emitted a kind of beckoning bias -- that is it wanted to invite and include me in and show me the incredible happiness that existed just there so close. I felt that I was going against some hope or expectation that existed within or beyond that tunnel that it wanted to coddle and love and receive me, but that I was balking by debating about choosing life.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Only the white entry to the tunnel, which was incredibly beautiful.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? In the beginning I was amazed to see these replays, then I felt a very strong need to get what I figured was a last look at my (beautiful) girlfriend's face -- my head only moved as if imbedded in gel -- I couldn't move it fast enough and panicked that I might lose consciousness before seeing her one last time. Once I saw her, I felt at peace. I was not sad about my dying, not regretful about the end of life, quite blasé. Then the white light came on and I felt I had to make a big choice.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I felt exactly that -- that there is something way more important and enjoyable than life awaiting me at the end, whenever the end came. Also that it is part of a great, or greater, plan that I not go too far in talking about the wonderfulness that awaits. We are 'supposed' to embrace life, and that if everyone found out about the wonderfulness at the end they might all just hasten the end, and that would be an unfair way to play the life game. I was, though, for the rest of my life, meaning the thirty years that have intervened, altered just a little -- I am sure that life has a purpose beyond our knowing. I am almost completely faithful that there is something after death.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I already related this. I didn't gain any new insights. This was so long ago that I couldn't remember much about that long second, except the part about feeling like a fish or a turtle or other lower animals -- that was quite unexpected. I was amazed that so much history could be seen in just a second or so. I can't say that I had any insights, although I think I recall that I had an overall feeling of pride, that I'd been 'a good boy' and that my pacifism was correct and that I was proud to have avoided killing in Vietnam, that I'd been very fair to others, things like that. I couldn't come up with anything that I felt ashamed of. I felt at peace about the way my life had gone, even though I had grown up somewhat in poverty (for and American) and hadn't accomplished anything very dynamic. In reality, I do remember the feeling that life was sort of like a game, maybe even a game I had chosen a role to play in, and that I felt as if I had played it fairly, squarely, and kindly. I felt very good about the life I'd seen, and very happy with it and with those whom I had played it with.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future My feeling is that I was beginning to view the 'film reel' of my future but that it was somehow 'banned' by the consciousness emitting from the white tunnel, so I chose to dis-remember the things that I saw about the future, because it was against the rules.
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 hope it is clear that this is a major part of my NDE. I could easily have just closed my eyes and leaned to the right and gone in the tunnel and everything would have been comfortable, easy, O.K. and wonderful. It was presented as a clearly available choice, but the feeling I got was that I was being strongly encouraged, or pulled, to go into the white place. I was also aware of saying something like, Oh Shit! Going for life means that these next few seconds include more of this incredible, almost unendurable skin pain. I think that facing that pain was the strongest argument I could come up with against deciding to go on with it all. But I also felt that I wanted to stay with Patty, to see how that was going to work out. Although, amazingly, I believe that I had a real sense of the future that is I knew that in time she and I would not be together. But I wanted to complete this first love of my life, as if it was a movie I had only seen the introduction to.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Just the idea that there is a whole lot more to life than meets the eye. That feeling is always with me to some extent.
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? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? There was no real bad part except maybe the pain, which has nothing to do with the NDE.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes For some reason I haven't much at all, just with my wife and lately a few others. After thirty years, I wrote Patty a long letter about those five seconds, but I did not include mention of the white light or the tunnel or an afterlife, because I believe that the majority of us are not meant to know of it. She never responded to the letter. Because of millennial, Y2K (year 2000), and other fears, including perhaps a bit of declining health and faculties, normal feelings of mortality that come with aging, I think I am becoming more willing to talk about this. When I run into folks who are disillusioned or lacking in hope or faith, I feel like I want to relate this experience to them.
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? I think that there is an element to life of having to do the best one can to be good, that this might have some connection to having been 'chosen' and offered the door to an early-out into that realm of incredible bliss and oneness. I think it matters how one conducts oneself in life. I do not feel that being evil or making wrong choices necessarily might exclude one from the light and the tunnel; it is less of that negative than it is that there is a real plus, reward, for goodness.
I do not do drugs or substances. I would not want to diminish or 'cheat' the experience or demean it by trying to repeat, revisit, or alter it. The only thing I could add is that several years back, and against a great deal of skepticism about anything new-age, flaky or Californian, I took up throwing the I-Ching. I have what seems an amazing connection to the I-Ching -- it seems to answer my questions very clearly and directly, even repeatedly. My feeling is that it is at least possible that the I-Ching is a vehicle of connection between myself and, for want of a better word or description, some sort of 'master-plan.' I do not 'overdo' the I-Ching because I feel that we are not meant to know too much of the rules of the game. But I do surmise that this is a bit of a connection with the same 'consciousness' that beckoned from the entry of the white tunnel.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I just got the net. I hoped to read other peoples' NDE experiences, out of curiosity and for comparison and for some reassurance. Obviously since your questions included most of my amazing experiences, all NDE's must be very similar.