I found myself entering an old cathedral and I noticed that it had no electric lights, nor burning candles, to illuminate the very large space within. I would be hard-pressed to say where the light came from, other than to say that it must have been daytime, when sunshine would have been coming through the windows - although I had not noticed any windows. Walking up the right hand side of the cathedral, I noticed many men and a few dozen women, all standing in the pews near the front of the church. The men wore the typical clothing of monks, and the women, the clothing of early-period religious sisters. The color of their clothing was dark, perhaps dark brown and the men wore rope around their waists. The hoods of their robes were up over their heads, which were bowed down. The atmosphere was permeated with quietness, and I had the distinct feeling that there was much sorrow in the air.
I found myself entering a pew and I, likewise, stayed standing, following what the others were doing. There was no singing, just quietness and a feeling that all present were repenting for past deeds. The occupants then turned to their right and they all began to walk single file towards the back of the cathedral. I, too, did the same, getting in line with the others, not knowing what to expect next. I recall that, although I did not look at what I was wearing, I felt that I, also, was clothed in the same monk's garb that I had observed the others wearing. If I had to guess the period I was in, I would have to guess it was the late 17th Century.
As we began to walk slowly toward the back of the church, I noticed that there was a spiral staircase that all the people were ascending. This staircase went upwards from left to right, clockwise. I, too, ascended the staircase and, as I took the last step before finding myself on the floor above the church's main area, I became aware that we were all proceeding into a confessional. As I had been born into a Roman Catholic family, I knew I needed to confess my transgressions, or sins, while in the confessional. I began searching my mind for things to say. My turn arrived, and, having entered the confessional, I knelt down and began with, 'Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.' Before I was able to go any further, the screen window opened and a man's arm and hand extended toward me. I knew that I was to place my hand into his. I seemed to know that this arm, although it was covered with cloth, was of light olive-toned skin with dark, perhaps black, hair.
As I placed my hand into His, I immediately found myself in a world of unconditional Love. Today, I feel that the hand was the hand of Jesus the Christ, Son of God. While my hand was in His, I discovered, felt, or believed that I was inside the mind of God. Although there was complete darkness, I felt that there was never a need for forgiveness here, that only unconditional Love existed. At that moment, it seemed to me that I was in the presence of all existing eternity. I believe to this day that what was communicated to me was simply this, 'Don't lie to yourself, nor to anyone.'
Then, suddenly, I found myself back in my sleeping bag, gasping for air and fighting to get out of that self-imposed prison. After I did get out, I found myself completely wet, - my entire long johns, and everything I had been surrounded with, were soaking wet. I cried that entire day. As I cried, I said aloud over and over, 'I want to go Home.' And what I meant by 'Home' was where I had just been, which was, I believed, inside the mind of God - where there existed only unconditional Love. It was Sunday morning November 18, 1973, and I cried on and on that day, pouring forth my desire to return to where I had just been - my true Home.
Date NDE Occurred: 17 November 1973
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Suffocation 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I would have to say yes. Let me say that I was totally responsible for this 'life threatening event.' I was a US soldier stationed in Nuremberg, and at the time, which was during the 1973 oil shortage crisis, we were very limited as to how much oil we could use to heat our apartments. (Also, because of that, there was a curfew limiting the hours that we could use our automobiles.) That evening, which I recall was Saturday, November 17, 1973, it was very cold with a prediction of snow forecast for the next morning. I did not want to start the old potbelly oil-burning stove that was in my apartment. I decided that in order to stay warm, I would take my woolen Army blankets, place them into my Army sleeping bag, and, once inside, (wearing my cotton long-johns) I would cover myself up completely, including my head, zipping up the sleeping bag to the point that only my nose was exposed to the air. And I do believe to this very day, some thirty-seven years later, that I either died for a very short period of time, or was about to die, from asphyxiation.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
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 When I placed my hand into the hand of Jesus in the confessional, I experienced oneness and unconditional Love.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I believe that I was at my highest state of consciousness in the confessional, while placing my hand into the hand of Jesus. That experience was of oneness and unconditional Love.
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 was definitely mystical, surreal but, nevertheless, I felt at home. If I may add - to this day, thirty-seven years after this blessed experience, I feel that all there really is, is this love.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I suffer from tinnitus, but I had no hearing problems in this 'NDE.' My communication was via telepathy. There didn't seem to be much to hear in this experience. And the only real telepathic communication was when I placed my hand into the hand of Jesus.
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: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was in a cathedral that I believe was of the Catholic religious denomination. It was not a pleasant atmosphere that I was in.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? While in the cathedral, I felt sorrowful, remorseful - as if I were responsible for spreading the lie about the Church - the Holy Roman Catholic Church - which is that the Catholic Church, and ONLY the Catholic Church, is the way to God. I came to realize that this was not true when I had my hand in the hand of Jesus. There was total unconditional love, the likes of which I have never, ever felt in this earthly life - not even after having been married to the most awesome women for thirty-seven years - and counting!!!
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
The experience included: Special Knowledge
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 Because my NDE began in a cathedral, I believe it had something to do with my being a member of the Roman Catholic Church - that institution which had caused so much sorrow in the world - maybe to give me a message about finding God.
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
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I do not believe that Jesus, who did walk this Earth as a human being, wanted to start a church. The true church, if there is one, is within us all - in our hearts, and in our souls. Therein is everlasting life.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I do not believe that Jesus, who did walk this Earth as a human being, wanted to start a church. The true church, if there is one, is within us all - in our hearts, and in our souls. Therein is everlasting life.
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? Yes We live in an illusion of this earthly life, inside our bodies - while our spirits, our souls, are trapped within us. There is definitely more to our lives within ourselves than without. I look within, for therein I find my peace - the Love that I am in love with.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I have to be mindful about with whom I share my NDE experience and my growing knowledge about the afterlife. Too many people find the idea of an afterlife unacceptable, so much so that even my wife demands that I do not discuss it with her.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain After having recovered from this awe-inspiring experience, I wrote it down. Years and decades later, I still have trouble with understanding whether or not I was really inside the mind of God, where I experienced complete, unconditional Love. (To this date I often say 'I am in love with Love' - for that Love, for me, IS God.)
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I do not know why, but those in need seem to find me, or I find them. It seems like a coincidence when we meet; it just seems to happen that I am there at that certain time, place, and I seem to know what to say to them. I can help them because I know we are both from that One Source.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I think I met Jesus, though I did not see anything other than His arm and hand. I just felt (knew) that it was Jesus. Secondly, after placing my hand into His, I was blessed by being made aware of God's unconditional Love for us all - for that IS who we are - creations of His Love.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes After that experience - that NDE (?) - I so much wanted to share Love with someone. I met my wife by accident, or coincidence, and we knew almost the very hour that we met that we would be husband and wife (a story in itself). It took me perhaps ten years before I came out of my shell and started to let others know about my experience. Now, after all these years, I am anxious to spread the word of Love to everyone.
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 knew right away that the experience was definitely real. It was not a dream - for, ever since then, I have had a persistent longing to 'go Home.' I catch myself saying it to myself to this very day. I was dumfounded after having experienced this 'NDE.' It was absolutely real, but I tried to block it out of my mind, because I feared I might not be normal. Please understand that as a young US Army soldier, my life had been very worldly. I had been to Vietnam (1967-68 and 1971-72), had been involved in collecting information on the racial riots of 1968-69 back in the United States, and then I had lived in the Federal Republic of Germany (now Germany) protecting the West from the so-called evils of Communism. I was far from seeing the world in a spiritual light. I was not prepared to understand that the entire world was created by God and that creation was based on His thoughts of Love - that very Love that I had just experienced.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I still am definitely sure that that this experience was real. I have, over the past thirty-some years, read countless books on spirituality, NDEs and the like. I can only believe that we indeed become 'dead' when we are born into this world and take our first breath, and that we begin to live again when we take our last breath - and return to our real Home.
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 hug many people, for it is through this act of unconditional caring for my fellow human beings that I can best express that which I feel inside.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Thank you for being there for us all - I love you, and love what you have done, and are doing, to bring this message to all of us!