When I turned age 16 in September 1974, my parents gave me a car for Christmas. I was stupid and allowed someone else drive my car. The car was totaled in the accident in March 1975.
The details of the accident are:
We were on one of the many country roads outside of our town and my friend was driving too fast. He hit a graveled section of the road and the car flipped. I was thrown from the car because I wasn't wearing a seat belt and was thrown 20 feet. The car flipped three times and landed nearly on top of me. The fender of my car caught on the fender of a large truck in the yard of a paramedic. This is what was keeping the car from crushing me. The car rocked back and forth each time it rocked, hitting me on the head. The paramedic started working on me while waiting for emergency vehicles to arrive. I had multiple injuries: fractured skull, damage to the right optic nerve, broken nose, all the bones in the left inner ear knocked loose, left ear drum punctured, collar bone knocked loose, vein in my throat ruptured, loss of blood - received 9 pints. I was transported to the local hospital and had nine doctors working on me. My nose was set. My nose and throat were cauterized in an effort to seal the area that was causing the blood loss. I was carried into surgery two times. I was placed in a Halo to prevent my head moving and was in a coma for 3 days. The doctors told my family that my injuries were so severe that they couldn't assure my family that I would make it through the night. I made it through the night and then the doctors told my parents that should I survive, I most likely would never walk again and that I may not be functionary. I woke up from the coma and was terrified when I couldn't move my head or body.
All I could see was white, which was the color of the room in the intensive care unit. The doctors explained to me what had happened; they removed the breathing tube since I was 'awake' and could breathe on my own. I had to learn to do many things over again like walking and using my hands. Prior to the accident, I was right-handed. After the wreck, I had to learn to write with my left hand because the right side of my body didn't 'work' as well. I had 'double' vision for approximately 3 months and lost the hearing in my left ear. As I'm very stubborn and couldn't tolerate just lying in bed, I was sent home from the hospital. I would listen to my mother going down to the basement to do laundry and would slide out of bed; crawl across the room to my rocking chair until I heard her coming back upstairs, then would crawl back to the bed. This went on for about a month before I was caught doing it. I gradually started walking again, which was a very slow process. I had home schoolteachers while recovering to keep me up with my class. I returned to school in the fall and went on to graduate in the top 10% of my class. I completed my college courses in half the time and was on the Dean's list every term while at college. In 1979, my ENT doctor rebuilt my inner ear, grafted skin off the back of my ear and made me a new eardrum, giving me back 85% of my hearing in the left ear.
I had a 3-month void where I couldn't remember anything that happened in the wreck. The neurosurgeon said that this was normal, as the brain wouldn't allow me to feel the pain from the accident. He also said that if I didn't remember what happened in 10 years, I probably would never know. At approximately the 10 year mark, I started having flash backs. Then one day, I was lying down and fell asleep.
That was when I had the 'near death' experience. I felt so calm, was surrounded by a bright light and was perched above the accident. I saw the accident happen. I saw my body lying on the ground. I saw the car rocking back and forth hitting me on the head. I saw people working on my body and 'bring me back to life' twice before I was transported to the hospital. Yet, I felt no pain. It's hard to explain the calmness and peace that I felt while watching this. I talked to one of my husband's professors at the seminary and she explained to me that I had experienced a near death experience. This feeling of peace and calmness lasted for a long time.
I still have problems with health since the accident such as headaches, seizures, hearing loss, the pupil in my right eye stays dilated, and scarring in the nose and throat give me problems.
Date NDE Occurred: March 1975
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Direct head injury. Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
I was involved in an auto accident and according to family members and doctors, I 'died' 3 times and was brought back by paramedics.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain During the NDE, I saw what was happening to me as if I was watching it happening to someone else. My awareness was heightened and yet I felt no discomfort. The professor I talked to verified that what I experienced was real.
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 When I remembered, I felt energized and felt so calm at the same time.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was not conscious or alert until 4 days after the wreck and had no memory of it until 10 years after the accident. Yet when I did remember, I would say my highest level would be 10 out of 10.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
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 like watching a movie and not noticing the time.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Prior to the experience, I felt tired and stressed; then during the experience and after it, I felt so much energy and calmness.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I didn't have any difference in hearing.
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? 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 I felt surrounded by a very bright light, yet didn't fear it and was just comforted by it.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was as if I was sitting on a cloud looking down and seeing the accident happen, with my body lying there, the paramedics working on me trying to keep me alive and feeling wrapped in the bright light.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Calmness ... a complete feeling of peace and comfort
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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 myself or others After all the years of wondering what really happened, I finally saw and understood what happened.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I was aware of the accident and saw what happened. I talked to family members about the experience and asked for more details (and actually saw the medical files and the insurance files of the accident).
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant I was an active Baptist, participating in many different youth activities.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Slightly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant I am not active in church at this point due to many health issues.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience
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 The presence I felt in the bright light was definitely not of an earthly origin. Yet I didn't experience any fear of the light or being.
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.)? Uncertain I didn't encounter any being that I was aware of, other than the bright light. Others have told me that what I experienced was God surrounding me with the peace and comfort to allow me to see and understand what happened.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes As I was comforted in the bright light, I saw the accident happen, I saw my body wearing my favorite jeans and top, I saw the paramedics working on my body to keep it existing.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain From my experience, I can only assume the comforting bright light was God and that he truly did exist.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain I can only assume that the comforting bright light was God, it is the only way I can explain the sense of peace.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
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? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes The awareness of a presence of a comforting and surrounding light
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 possibly meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are probably 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? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life For the most part my religious experiences were greatly important to me and I felt like there was a supreme being. Now, after my health and life experiences have changed drastically, I feel that yes, there still is a supreme being, but the love and care doesn't feel as if it exists.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes When I had the experience, and talked to my husband's professor, all I could express was the sensation of peace, as if I was wrapped in this bright light and only felt peace. It's still hard to explain.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I do not know how my remembrance of the experience compares to my remembrance of other life events t It's been 41 years since the accident and 31 years since the experience, yet I can shut my eyes and still feel it.
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? At the time of the experience, I felt so surrounded by the sense of peace and comfort that was very meaningful and significant to me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes The first person I talked to about this experience was my husband, he was in seminary at that point and the experience showed him that there was truly life after death. The second person I spoke to about the experience was one of my husband's professors (he had encouraged me to talk to her about the experience), she was excited to listen to me talk about it, and she viewed it as an interaction between God and me.
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 bright light and the sensation of peace filled me with a calm that I hadn't experienced before.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real There really aren't any words that could acutely explain the sensation, other than the knowledge that it was a real experience.
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 can't think of anything.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Some of the questions seemed to restate the same thing repeatedly.