On September 24, 1963, my family was supposed to move house to Oran (Algeria). The day before two of my brothers, a cousin and I went for one last time to the beach. My father absolutely forbade this, unless he was present.
We were swimming about forty yards offshore, when suddenly I felt myself pulled downwards. I panicked and tried to get out of this stretch of water, where I was quite alone. My elder brother and my cousin were swimming about twenty yards away. I shouted, struggled and called for help, but nobody came. I was inexorably pulled towards the depths. I knew that I was drowning, especially as I could not avoid swallowing seawater.
Then all of a sudden, I could see myself floating within the water, in an incredible calmness and physical and psychological relaxation. I could see this body, very calm, drifting slowly, and saw bubbles coming out of its mouth. The scene was very real, but with an intense luminosity. I could see everything under the water, as if I had a diving mask on. My vision was near three hundred degrees. It was like being a short distance from my body, but I could also see what was happening behind me.
I noticed small details: pebbles, which were ochre-colored (like fragments of house-tiles), also light-colored and striped pebbles, on the seabed, seaweed floating beneath the surface. The rest was sand. There were also small, almost translucent fish just under the surface, which were moving, then disappeared with a sudden flick of the tail.
Then suddenly the arms of the guy I was looking at beat the water with open-handed strokes of unbelievable force, and the body literally left the water to waist-level. This is when I saw the beach with its people and especially my brother and my cousin swimming rapidly towards me.
I fell back into the water, and just as at the beginning, I saw this body floating beneath the surface, sinking without any struggle. This lasted a short time, before the two arms began beating the water again, and the body came back out of the water, but not so far this time. That is when my brother got hold of me. That is also when I realized I had just been saved from drowning. I hung on so tight, with such a grip, that I nearly drowned my brother and my cousin who were grasping me firmly.
Setting foot on the beach, I started to vomit, and was seized by a panic fear. I was shivering with the realization that I had just escaped certain death.
Date NDE Occurred: 23 septembre 1963
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Noyade 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
Just beforehand, I was struggling to avoid sinking. I was sure I was going to drown.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
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? It was at the moment when I looked at this body floating beneath the surface that I had total lucidity. I was conscious that the body was mine.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
It's the notion of time which I had completely lost. How long did I spend looking at my floating body? I can't say.
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 field of vision was enormous. I could see what was in front of me as well as part of what was behind me. Luminosity was very great. It was like being in a swimming pool with searchlights at the bottom. I saw the different colors of the pebbles, seaweed and fish, even though I was without a mask.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I heard the muffled sounds of water flowing, and the bubbles coming from the floating body.
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? No
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 As if the depths of the water were lit by an intense light.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Feeling of peace, serenity, calm.
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 Musulman non pratiquant
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Moderate Musulman non pratiquant
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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 It's difficult to reproduce the state of extreme serenity even though the body over there was going through death by drowning.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I very often have a feeling of déjà-vu and déjà-vécu (things already lived through).
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? 1. How were the arms able to beat the water with such strength and the body leave the water like a torpedo, is still a mystery.
2. The fact that I saw my body as it was drowning, without feeling fear or panic.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I spoke about it nearly thirteen years later for the first time. During a break at the hospital (where subject works), a nurse had been talking about her near-drowning experience, and of the feeling of pleasure and serenity she had had for a brief moment. So then I told my story.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real The following days and months were periods of fear and anguish.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real After seeing a TV program where people were recounting events relating to those I'd been through, (I realized) the facts related were not the fruit of imagination, they were real.
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? Since the event I am convinced that when we are at the end, when everything has gone wrong and bears down on us, there is always a light we can hope for and always an answer.