It was a cold day in November or December in 1962. It was cloudy and raining at the time. I was standing on the end of a dock in Tacoma, WA with my older brother and older sister. I was wearing a heavy wool coat with plastic boots on to protect my only pair of shoes. After walking to the end of the dock, I looked at the water below and said aloud, ‘I wonder how deep that is.’ My older brother said, ‘Why don't you find out?’ and the next thing I knew, he pushed me and I landed in the cold water. It was way over my head and I didn't know how to swim.
My heavy wool coat soaked up the water like a sponge and I immediately sank to the bottom. Frantically, I fought my way to the surface and was able to take a quick breath before sinking below the water again. I kicked off my shoes/boots but was unable to remove the heavy wool coat. (This is probably why Natalie Wood died with her heavy wool sweater on. It’s impossible to remove.) I fought my way to the surface again, took another quick breath and sank below the water. The third time I surfaced, I wasn't able to take a breath before sinking once again into the deep water. I was exhausted, out of breath and knew I didn't have the strength to fight anymore. I was cold, shivering, frightened and panicked, knowing I was drowning.
I remember thinking about opening my mouth and sucking in the water to 'get this over with', when I saw a bright light way off in the distance. It was just a pinpoint of light, very bright in the deep water, but it didn't hurt my eyes. Incredibly, the light moved very fast and within a fraction of a second, it engulfed me. Suddenly, I felt very warm and comforted like a cold newborn baby being wrapped in a warm, soft blanket. I remember feeling very peaceful. I looked down at my arms and legs and they were glowing in the dark. I heard a voice say, ‘It is not yet your time. You'll be alright.’ I couldn't tell if it was a male or female voice.
Next thing I knew, my brother grabbed the back of my coat and pulled me out of the water.
Date NDE Occurred: November 1962
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Drowning 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I was drowning at the time.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? No
I lost awareness of my body
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 can't explain how peaceful I felt when the light was upon me. I felt like if it had been my time, I would have 'gone' right then and would not have had to actually suffer the pain of my body drowning. I have never felt such peace before or since and I've never heard that voice again either.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was lying at the bottom of the lake and the light engulfed me, was when I had my highest level of consciousness.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Time seemed to slow down and speed up at the same time. I had gone beneath the surface without a breath and couldn't hold my breath very long. Yet when the light appeared and I heard the voice: I don't know the interval in seconds of all that was happening but it had to be quick as I hadn't had a breath in probably 30 seconds by then, maybe even a minute.
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 was born with crossed eyes and wore a patch for many years to correct it. Then I had to wear very thick glasses. I didn't have my glasses on and could only see a few feet without them. Yet I was able to see the light far off in the distance, crystal clear with no blurry edges.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I remember hearing the rush of the water as I was sinking and resurfacing with no other sounds. The voice I heard was not an actual voice but more like given to me telepathically: which I heard very clearly.
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? No
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? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The light was far off in the distance. I remember my eyes being closed, as there was nothing to see under the water. The warmth of the light made me open them. It felt warm to me though it was quite a ways away. I couldn't gauge it in feet other than it was to my right and above me.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Warm, peaceful, loved, comforted.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe When the light was upon me, I felt like I and the Universe were 'one': totally in harmony.
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? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant My father was a strict Baptist. The minister continually preached hellfire and damnation. I was afraid of God and thought He was some shadowy thing up in heaven who didn't have any contact with humans other than being judgmental when we sinned.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes It made me research as an adult, what I went through as a child. Did others have a same or similar experience? It made me research the Bible to see for myself who and what God really is. Not what a minister on a pulpit says he is. I wanted to find out for myself.
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 I am spiritural and not religious. That's should be a catagory all by itself. I am currently a licensed Ordained Minister not affilated with any specific church.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I turned away from God as I saw him as angry, mean and vengeful. I was going to go to hell and suffer fire and brimstone according to the Baptist minister. I tried not to think about that too much. To feel the love I did and the contentment and the comforting, I'd never felt on earth before. It was a shock and a surprise. I didn't think God had those qualities.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes God is real. He does exist. I do not believe that our loving Father sends us to hell nor do I believe there even is a hell. I believe earth is a negative planet and is the only 'hell' we face. I believe we all go to heaven when we die and there are several levels in heaven. I turned away from God as I saw him as angry, mean and vengeful. I was going to go to hell and suffer fire and brimstone according to the Baptist minister. I tried not to think about that too much. To feel the love I did and the contentment and the comforting, I'd never felt on earth before. It was a shock and a surprise. I didn't think God had those qualities.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify The male/female voice said, ‘It is not yet your time. You'll be alright.’ The voice was very warm, very pleasant, very reassuring.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
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.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I now know for sure there is a time to live and a set time to die. It was not yet my time. When the time comes for me to go, I now know I won't be alone, I'll feel that warmth and comfort again and maybe the being attached to the voice I heard so many yea
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain I felt 'one' with the Universe but it was only for a split second. It was more of a feeling than an actual experience.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain I didn't really 'feel' God at that moment. Nor do I know for certain the voice was an angel. I actually don't know who or what it was that talked to me.
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 I knew when the light engulfed me, there is life after death. I knew my soul would have been taken at that moment had it been my time to go. I also knew I wouldn't have to actually suffer the act of drowning as my consciousness/soul would have already left.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain I just knew I had more to do before it was time for me to go though I didn't know what that meaning or purpose was.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I knew when the light engulfed me, there is life after death. I knew my soul would have been taken at that moment had it been my time to go. And I also knew I wouldn't have to actually suffer the act of drowning as my consciousness/soul would have already
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not 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? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Not compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Uncertain I felt loved and accepted while the light was upon me.
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 decided to find God for myself. I've read the Bible 5 times and read most other versions. I have done research on other non-accepted versions of the scriptures and studied the world religions. I have sought God and He found me. I now know He is kind, loving and has an intense interest in us personally, unlike what religion taught me. I am now an ordained Minister and am a Home Health Care Aide, a Certified Nursing Assistant working with elderly and hospice. Large changes in my life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I was the 3rd of six children. We fought all the time and broke each other’s toys. After this, I was more considerate.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes As an 8 year old, I didn't understand what I went through and never told anyone until just a few years ago when I was in my 50's. Now that I understand what happened to me, I can verbalize it more clearly.
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 I have never forgotten that light, the warmth, the comfort when I was so cold and frightened. The voice was full of peace and so loving. Hard to find the words to describe it. But this experience stands out more vividly than all others.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Watches don't run on me. They stop running after a few days. Dr. Melvin Morse stated this is a common reaction in many after having had a life after death experience.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? All of it was significant. All was meaningful.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Fifty years went by before I said anything. When my mother was old and dying last year, I told her of this experience to help her believe in a Good God and there is a Heaven. I hoped it helped her, though she scoffed at my experience at the time, thinking maybe I dreamed it.
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 I kept thinking about it but it didn't make sense to me. I didn't understand what happened to me or what it meant so after a while, I tried not to think about it. I tried to even tell myself maybe I dreamed it!
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I wouldn't/didn't make up that experience. It was very 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? I want to feel the way I felt that day, again. It would be heavenly. I didn't really 'feel' God at that moment. Nor do I know for certain the voice was an angel. I actually don't know who or what it was that talked to me. I now know for sure, there is a time to live and a set time to die. It was not yet my time. When the time comes for me to go, I now know I won't be alone, I'll feel that warmth and comfort again and maybe the being attached to the voice I heard so many years ago, will be the one to guide me safely home.
I felt 'one' with the Universe but it was only for a split second. It was more of a feeling than an actual experience. I felt loved and accepted while the light was upon me. I don't know if its special knowledge but I know our time to go is pre-set or pre-destined. I also know God takes our soul beforehand so we don't have to suffer through the circumstances of our own death. I also suspect God has to take our soul first so the body can die. I have never forgotten that light, the warmth, the comfort when I was so cold and frightened. The voice was full of peace and so loving. It’s hard to find the words to describe it. But this experience stands out more vividly than all others.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Questionnaire was fine.