Events surrounding NDE: I had been in a severe automobile accident at 7:00 pm on September 17, 1963. The steering wheel had lifted me up from the driver's seat upon impact and smashed my face against the interior roof of the car. I was seventeen years old at the time, and had just been involved in my first car accident. A single car crash with a brick wall. The accident happened in a pounding rain storm, when the brakes went out on me. That resulted in a crash.
There was no alcohol or drugs involved. I was coming from work and driving to a co-worker's home.
After the crash, as the car was crashing down to the ground after climbing the wall, I was stunned, felt burning pain throughout my face, and got out of the car and laid down in the wet grass. I remember feeling momentarily soothed by this coolness against the pain that was searing throughout my face.
By 8:00 pm, I had arrived at the hospital, been x-rayed and left in a hallway with alcohol-soaked gauze pads over my eyes to reduce the swelling. My parents, who later told me that I would bolt upright every ten to fifteen minutes and throw up volumes of blood that I had been swallowing, attended me. My injuries consisted of severe facial fractures of both temporo-mandibular joints, the nasal concha, the mastoid, the roof of the mouth (along three axes) and the right orbital floor had disintegrated, causing my right eye to drop into the sinus cavity. Seven teeth had been lost from the impact; two had exited through the skin below my lower lip. Such was the extent of my injuries, and, as massive as they were, I had lapsed into a state of unconsciousness, and do not remember feeling pain during this time.
Describe in detail the events (in order) that happened:
After lying unconscious for around two hours, I became suddenly alert in my mind. I was aware that something horrible had happened though I was unsure of what exactly had occurred. I knew that it was serious moment, one I could not pull back from, one that no one could intervene for me, or change, in short, a very bad thing happened, and there was not going to be a 'do-over.' I heard hospital-type sounds, a phone ringing, a doctor being paged, footsteps, hushed activity, etc. I was aware of light straying in from something that was covering my eyes.
Then, suddenly, I began to feel calm, very calm. I was experiencing a calmness that was unknown to me, yet I was not frightened by the uniqueness of it. Instead, I felt more aware than I had ever felt. I noticed that the light had begun to fade, at first it was even and then faded quickly. I was now encased in a three-dimensional inky black void, and the sounds of the hospital hallway were getting progressively quieter, then they were -- gone! No sound. No light. I felt intense feelings of calmness and tranquility coupled with a non-verbally alert mind. I then felt as if I was moving silently downward, as if on an elevator, but only for a brief moment. Then, as if I was being pushed (gently) down, and then, quietly, lightly, released upward, I felt myself float up and out of my body. I lifted up and to the left slightly and at a steady, slow rate of speed. I remember the strangeness of it all. I thought I would return to my body any moment. But I didn't.
I was disconnected from my body, and was beginning an upward journey away from my body. I realized that this is what dying is all about, this is what people often had expressed fear, and distance from, what no one wanted to talk about, but which was now happening to me! And, it wasn't so bad. But then, I was stopped in my tracks by an intense feeling of emotional pain that came from the right of me. I experienced it as my parents' grief. They were standing next to me, along the right side of my body, and were trying to console each other, because they had been told to prepare themselves for the fact that I would probably not survive the seriousness of my injuries. A Catholic priest had been summoned to administer the Last Rites. What I knew was that I was not in pain, and they were in extreme pain. And it was the first time in my life that I actually experienced the pain of another person, not just 'understood' it, or 'empathized' with them; but truly felt it as a massive shock wave that assaulted my spirit.
I broke the magnetic type pull that had been lifting me upward, and drifted down towards my mother's right arm, and was immediately surprised that she didn't turn to look at me. She and my father, who was standing on her left side, continued to look at my body that was damaged beyond description. I recall being disinterested in my body lying there, and instead, was intensely focused on the grief of my parents. Suddenly, I realized that they would know in time, that I was not in pain -- that I would be all right, and that they could then begin to release their pain. That realization relaxed me enough to give in again to the magnetic pull that was gently tugging at me to resume my 'floating flight path.' This I did, and became aware of a thin bar of light in the upper left area of this inky black void. I knew that going through that light would separate me from my life here, from my family, friends, my neighborhood, and from my life that would have occurred in the future. However, I felt something relax inside of me that indicated permission to go forward toward that light. Then, suddenly, from my extreme left side, a voice which I have never been able to identify except to say it was a male voice, and even though I am using the word, 'voice' it was more like a very strong telepathic communication that shouted, 'NO!... NOT YET!' I was immediately propelled downward with great force and slammed back into my body.
Now I had fear, and I reached out with my right hand and grabbed. I grabbed tight! So tight that I lifted myself up from the gurney. In my right fist, clenched tight, was the purple sash of cloth that was draped around the neck of the priest who had now replaced my parents, and who was administering the Last Rites. All I knew at that moment that he did not flinch. He was elderly, with a balding head, eyeglasses, and his prayer book. And in his relaxed, calm manner, he gently, yet purposefully stroked my right forearm one time towards my wrist and said, 'Easy, my son.' That same calm feeling from before now returned to me.
Date NDE Occurred: 09/17/1963
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes
Severe injuries due to car crash.
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I 'heard' a voice.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes The voice.
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience?
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 A quick review of friends (more than family) my neighborhood (I was seventeen at the time, and 'the neighborhood' was our hangin' out place) and the idea of a future life that I would not experience.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future Just the idea that something was ahead for me in life that was important for me to do.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Much more tolerance for the 'hassles' of life, and a deeper appreciation of the spirit that resides in each of us.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It occurred in 1963. When I recalled the experience about eight or nine days after the accident (I had been in a coma for three days, and in a near-coma for another four), I had no frame of reference for what I had experienced. I remember feeling that I could relate it to my friend, Ed, and looked forward to sharing it with him. I shared it with Ed after I was released from the hospital, twenty-one days after the accident. In the next few years, I shared the experience with three or four of my close friends, with my parents, and my two brothers.
By 1971, I had become a Health Educator, and conducted health education classes for high school seniors. As part of the Mental Health unit, we covered a section on Death and Dying, and I shared my experience with them. I was stunned when some of those seniors who graduated in June, returned to visit on their Thanksgiving break from college, and brought with a copy of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book which had just been printed, and which they had as required reading in their freshman psychology courses. I was astounded! Here were such similar (not exact), but similar enough, situations to mine that I was stunned into an awareness that here was a uniquely human experience that only required permission to be shared openly. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross had now provided that permission.
Even though I had known my experience was real, I understood that others could be doubtful because I was only one person, who was stating his subjective perspective of a very private experience. But, when I read so many similar experiences from so many different people from so many different places, it became crystal clear that people in that circumstance of near-death are collectively living something which heretofore had not been adequately documented.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I definitely came away with an ability to intuit peoples' feelings, and understand their emotional logic.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No