I got married in 1971. I took a diving course and worked as a dive instructor for 14 years. The final exam for the 2nd Class Diving Certification was done at Cap de Creus (Rosas) at a depth of 35 meters on the esplanade of an underwater mountain. The test consisted only in going down, taking off one’s mask, putting it back on, asking a companion for air, making a small trip around the top of the mountain, and going back up, making stops. Normally, to facilitate this sport, it was done on Sunday. That year, they (The Club) wanted to save money, so they without other instructors or me. Normally there is one instructor per student. The tests in the pool were done with one instructor and four students. For the tests in the ocean, there was an additional instructor. They decided on a Sunday for the exam, but had to wait three Sundays due to high winds and ocean currents at the diving site, with the sea dirty and churned up.
One Sunday, when the wind seemed to have died down, they were called for the Certification exam. I had told my wife that I would not be going to the exam because they hadn't called on me for the course that year.
For me, the ocean is and has been my passion. At seven in the morning, as if someone had called saying I should go to the event, I gathered my family and we went to Rosas. I got there in time to board the boat; I asked if I could go. They said ‘yes.’
I joined the group that was jumping first since I knew the principal instructor. I didn't like the boat much because of the diesel smell and when it stopped, I was already dressed and ready to jump with my double tanks. There were four instructors and four students in my group. As I was the first to jump off the boat, they sent me to see if the boat’s anchor was well secured and that is where the adventure began. When I began the descent by myself, I grabbed onto the anchor rope and proceeded to go down meter by meter. At first, I ran into ten meters of clean water and ten meters of murky water. I kept descending and finding clean layers and dirty layers of water until I touched bottom at 42 meters. The water was dirty with no visibility beyond four meters deep. I grabbed the anchor and looked for a rock or something to secure it, but the whole sea bed was mud.
We had anchored 35 meters away from the mountain, undoubtedly because of the ocean currents, and there were no rocks with which to secure the anchor, so I decided to return to the surface. Once above, I told the boat captain about the water conditions and the currents and that the anchor wasn't secured. I asked where my group was, and they told me, logically, that my group was heading toward the coast, in order to have less depth in case they couldn't find the sea-mount. It’s logical that if you head toward shore you’ll find less depth, but on the Costa Brava this is not true. As its name suggests, the bottom is the same as the surface of the sea (translator’s note: Costa Brava means rough or wild coast). At one hundred meters from the coast, you can find very different depths ranging from 7 meters to 400 or even 900 meters deep within a short distance.
My group, which included four instructors and four students, was about one hundred meters away from the boat. When I reached them, the group had already submerged, except for one student who was having problems with pressure compensation at the surface. While I was giving him advice about how to compensate, I saw that the ones who were going down were doing it very badly because they were going foot-first when you are supposed to glide down making circular turns in order to descend more slowly and be able to compensate better.
The student at my side also began to descend foot-first. I went down making turns around the bubbles that were rising to the surface, compensating and watching the depth gauge. Since there were dirty layers that were ten meters thick, I believe they thought that after the dirty zone they would find the bottom. My stupor grew when I passed 40 meters, fifty. I stopped at 58 because the group had touched bottom at 62 or 64 meters. I looked for the principal instructor, showed him my depth gauge, and indicated that we needed to go back up to the surface. The principal instructor immediately ordered the ascent. Great! I thought, 'We've got to go up another 60 meters, what a bitch!!!'
This wasn't the first time I had done this so I started to ascend alone, imagining I was a diving stick, expecting that each instructor would grab a student and that everyone would ascend in pairs. After a few meters, I passed a pair with arms clasped and I made the OK sign to them. One of them made the sign for regulate and then I noticed that the other one, who turned out to be a girl, had her eyes shut and was unconscious. Since I had a life vest, but without a tank to fill it, I chose to inflate the vest by blowing. The other diver helped me, but after three or four blows to inflate it, I suffered from anoxia (lack of oxygen in the brain) and lost consciousness.
That is how my EXPERIENCE began: I felt that within me I was losing control of my sphincters. I also perceived, like with the equipment in a hospital, the sound of beep, beep, beep, beep, b-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-p. I found myself in the tunnel. I didn’t know what it was. The tunnel was like the eye of a hurricane, but I was inside it. Everything was black and white. Above and in the distance, there was a brilliant white light in the shape of a partially open door toward which I was headed. I didn’t have a body and wasn't in the water.
I felt very calm with a very pleasant sense of peace and well-being. No words can describe the happiness I felt in those moments. It was as if one hundred women were caressing you (it’s a saying) such was the pleasure and well-being I was experiencing. This was something super, super good.
When I had gone a short distance I heard a voice in Catalan, my native language, that said to me, ‘Paulo, they are in the water, open your mouth and go up!!!’ It was a friendly voice, sweet, firm but at the same time imperious, emphatic. But, I wasn't even in the water, nor did I feel my body, nor did I have a mouth, nor eyes nor anything. I felt a very strong heat until I heard someone calling me from a short distance away. I opened my eyes and saw the blue sky. I looked to see who was calling me, and I was under the impression that I’d had of the experience before. I answered, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’
I saw the boat and headed toward it about a hundred meters away. They helped me up and I asked for help getting my suit off. Those who helped me take it off were revolted by the smell it gave off as, having lost control of my sphincters, the uric acid left a powerful odor. The other divers were coming up. I was traumatized by the experience, on the upper part of the boat and in full sun. When the other groups were back on the boat, they said that one person was missing. I then asked who had helped me inflate the vest for a person in trouble and nobody said anything. A half hour later, they said that two people were missing. I then told the National Instructor, the one who was in charge of the exam, about the encounter that I had had with two young people.
Some of the instructors went back into the water and they called the Coast Guard and the Red Cross. They did what needed to be done but the two bodies of the young people were not found until 24 hours for the one person and 48 hours for the other person. Neither one had water in the lungs, so they surely died of heart attacks.
For me, the experience lasted a long time. I gather that I came to the surface because, in order to descend more slowly than the others, I had inflated my vest and on ascending. The air compressed at 200. I would have continued inflating my vest forcing me to open my glottis and allowing air to escape from my trachea. The vest also had a safety valve, which caused me to shoot up the last meters to the surface emerging like a rocket.
From the boat, at about one hundred meters, they saw my body come out of the water causing my inert arms to make something like a signal for help and the air from the regulator was coming out in a stream. The guy who jumped in to get me said that I had my eyes very wide open as he was nearing me. He said that with his years of experience, he already knew what that meant. To sum up, it wasn't my time and I had to go that day to be a witness to the two deaths.
Date NDE Occurred: 1985
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Accidente a - 60 metros bajo el agua en una inmersión de Buceo Submarino. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
Drowned while diving.
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
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I saw the light and was in the tunnel, so to speak.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Normal but without eyes
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Normal but without ears
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I had never read about the tunnel so for over a year I was traumatized by the feelings I had and the experiences I went through. It was in black and white and I wanted to reach a very white and spectacular light that looked similar to a partly open door. I ascended in a perpendicular-horizontal manner. I didn’t manage to cross the doorway. I wasn't allowed to cross.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence
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 door was partly open and there was a brilliant white light that I was heading directly toward. I don’t have a sense of the time it took for me to get close to it, but my ascent was not rapid or it was very high/far away. I ended up getting close to it but couldn't enter since the sweet and authoritative voice told me to ascend.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place I didn't have eyes, but I could see the ‘Tunnel’ and myself, not my body, since I didn't have one, ascended horizontally toward the light. I didn't have a body. I wasn't in the water, but I could see.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? An indescribable sensation. There are no adequate words to describe the feeling of well-being, tranquility, and agreeableness. I wanted to stay. If I ever have that feeling again, I will do whatever is possible to stay.
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 no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No The future since then has been, as for any human being, full of uncertainties, challenges, trials, difficulties like anyone else. This yes, the accomplishments that I’ve made and the acts that I’ve done in my life, I believe that I had to do them. But I didn't know which ones, ahead of time.
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? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I don’t believe in the God that was instilled in me. I believe in MY GOD.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Not important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Catholic
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience No me lo esperaba . Fué real . No fué un sueño - Tuvo consecuecias - No pensé en aquél momento de la experiencia ni en Dios ni en mi religión . Ya he dicho que quedé traumatizado por lo que pasé y fué más tarde que empecé a pensar que podía haber algo más . Por eso empecé a buscar el tema más tarde ....
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Now, as I’ve said before, I believe that we are here for something (that we don’t understand) and that we should live our life of free-will in the way that seems best to us. I believe firmly that there is something, that we don’t know what it is, but that because of my experience I expect it will be better and more pleasant than what we are experiencing in this life.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 The voice was sweet, harmonious, strong and authoritative at the same time but it didn't cause me fear. I heard a voice, tender and sweet but at the same time commanding that told me in my native language (Catalan): Paulo, you’re in the water, OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND ASCEND!!! But I didn't have a mouth, or a body; nor did I feel that I was in the water.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain Al cabo de un tiempo , una mujer que había tenido una experiencia en quirófano . Que ni me acuerdo quién fué , me dió a leer " Vida después de la Vida " o " Vida después de la muerte " de Raymon Moody . Cuando leí que otras personas habían , más o menos s
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No Estuve confuso pero fué REAL !!!
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 As I have already said, we are here for a purpose. What? To love and do good? I don’t know, but I’m aware that we are here for some reason. Individual or solidarity-focused? I don’t know. But, I BELIEVE.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Al cabo de un tiempo leyendo sobre éstas cosas , quedé convencido de que estamos en esta vida con algún propósito que desconocemos y de que formamos parte de un engranaje !?!? Somos el granito de arena de una playa inmensa pero que tiene una función . Cua
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 No Estuve " Acojonado " ( con perdón de la palabra ) No había leído nada acerca de éstas experiencias . En el accidente se murieron dos jóvenes pero no quedé impresionado por las mismas sino por lo que me había pasado . Creía que estaba loco....durante año y
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately 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 possibly 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? Yes Yo estoy convencido de que estamos aquí por ALGO . Con un cometidi específico a nuestra persona individual aunque no entiendo el significado de las guerras , las penurias de la gente , los holocaustos etc....No entiendo que si hay , digámosle Dios , Pepe , Mariano o Plátano , y es el hacedor de todo , que permita ciertas cosas tan horrendas.........
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes Información no . El futuro desde entonces ha sido , como en cualquier ser humano , lleno de incertidumbres , desafíos , penalidades , dificultades etc...como cualquiera .... Eso sí ,los logros que he ido haciendo y las actuaciones de mi vida , creo que te
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes La mujer que me dió el libro me dijo : A que ahora te sientes con más amor hacia las personas que antes ? Yo le contesté que no . Que mi amor hacia los demás era el mismo que yo había sentido desde pequeño y que no deseaba mal a nadie . Mi mujer , de toda
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life. I’m not afraid of death, what’s more, I long for it. Although, I have sometimes wanted to leave this world sideways, now I believe that I must keep going until they call me and tell me that my time has now passed and that wh Moderate changes in my life. I’m not afraid of death, what’s more, I long for it. Although, I have sometimes wanted to leave this world sideways, now I believe that I must keep going until they call me and tell me that my time has now passed and that what is done is done. God, or whoever, will decide. A being, or what do I know, will decide if I’ve completed my obligations or not.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Because now I can’t keep quiet about the truths and I can’t stand lies or bad manners: it must be due to age.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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 remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience
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? I believe that what I do in this life is what I am supposed to do: find a good woman, get married, have children, get to know the grandchildren. Build a bigger Restaurant Bar than my father’s, build a Mother’s School for my wife, give my children more culture than their parents have and live within my means, in harmony and love with the people that I encounter in my life, that surely I’ve already met in other lives. One of my jobs in this world, maybe the most important, has been to accompany and care for my mother until 96 years of age. I have given her a good life until her death.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes When I explained my experience to my friends for the first time, I knew they thought I was crazy and they distanced themselves from me. Later, in my professional life in the hotel business, I’ve shared my experience with the rank and file who have told me their own. Especially widows, ICU nurses, accident victims who have made me more firm in my beliefs.
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 saw it as real because I lived it. Since there were two deaths, we had a lawsuit going for eight years and because of that, I reaffirmed to myself time and again what had happened. The experience was REAL for me and the circumstances that lead me to it were DESTINY.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Because it was an indelible experience that happened with my body. I descended with the others to a depth of 60 meters and it is stamped on my person. I believe most people will have this experience in one way or another, for better or worse, I don’t know.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I had the experience when I was 35 years old. At age 60, I had a heart attack and died. I ended up with a stroke and four stents to which to remember it. This time my circuits stopped working and I don’t remember anything. Sudden cardiac death with myocardial infarction, I had a serious stroke and they discovered a ring of smaller strokes resulting from the first.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? If this were to be narrated, it would surely take much more time. Here I am just limiting myself to answering the questions directly. After a while, a woman who had had an experience during an operation, I don’t even remember who she was, gave me ‘Live after Life’ or ‘Life after death’ by Raymond Moody to read. When I read that other people had, more or less, felt the same as I had, I started to buy books on the topic and then I started to feel reassured that I wasn't crazy.
Other people had felt what I had. The woman who gave me the book said, ‘Don’t you feel more love now toward other people than before?’ I answered that I didn't. My love for others was the same as what I had felt since I was small and that I didn't wish anyone harm. My wife, however, noticed a change in my manner of being?!?! I was ‘scared s*$tless.’ (pardon the language) I hadn't read anything about these experiences.
In the accident, two young people died but I wasn't impressed by that so much as by what had happened to me. I believed that I was crazy for a year and a half. I was confused but it was REAL!!!
I’m convinced that we are here for SOMETHING, with a specific task for each individual person, although I don’t understand the meaning of wars, suffering, and the holocausts. I don’t understand how if there is a God, whether we call him/her God or some name, and if he/she is the creator of everything, that he/she could allow such horrendous things. I wasn’t expecting it. It was real. It wasn’t a dream and it had consequences.
At that moment, I didn’t think about the experience or about God or my religion. I’ve already mentioned that I was traumatized by what happened and it was later that I started to think that there could be something more. Because of that, I started to look into the subject later.
It’s been like an experience tattooed in my mind that I now find very special and vivid. That has marked all of my life of love toward others. You have to live an NDE to know what I’m trying to express. There are no words in the dictionary to give life to your experience because the sublime words do not exist. It’s like the diver who can explain what the sea is like to a buddy on the team. But to a friend who has never gone down in the ocean, that person will never be able to have the same understanding of the reality or the same feelings.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Everything depends on what people want to tell.