One day in February I was late for school so I took a shortcut across one of the many canals that served the woolen mills around where I lived. I recall having on a corduroy jacket, leather boots and corduroy knickers. Both my parents worked in the mills so even as a kid I knew from their conversations that the canals were used to provide water power into turbines which in turn provided electric power for the hundreds of textile machines. Water levels in the canals was raised and lowered by the power company to regulate the power being generated.
On the morning of my experience, the canals were iced over and the water level had been lowered so that there was a gap between the ice and the water. I fell through the ice into a fast moving current heading in to the turbines. I tried to stop myself by grabbing the underside of the ice but the current was too strong and I couldn't stop from tumbling along. When my clothes got heavier and heavier, I struggled to hold my breath and keep my head above water. I didn't feel the cold until I couldn't hold my breath any longer and took a huge gulp of water. I recall even today how it felt when that freezing water hit my lungs. It was around this point that my NDE took place. I remember looking up at the sky through the ice and seeing ME in the air above the canal looking down and following along with my shadow as I tumbled along under the ice. The feelings were very strong at this point and as the fear passed I felt totally at ease and at peace as if watching events unfold as in a movie.
When the feeling of serenity was strongest, I became aware of a bright white light that was drawing me toward it. I wasn't 'going' to the light it was 'taking' me toward it. No music, no angels just this blinding light as I moved out of 'me' and rushed into it. I recall being aware of a 'presence' and somehow knew I was on my way to heaven. The sharpest and most memorable feeling came next. I was happy and excited because somehow I knew that when I reached heaven I could get the answer to all the questions in the world. But just then, in an instant, I started laughing out loud when I became aware that there were no questions because I had all the answers. That's where my recollection of being out of body ends and I came back into 'me' as I was being rolled back and forth over a barrel.
Date NDE Occurred: 1943
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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 laughing.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When laughing.
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
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
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: Light
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? Yes
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
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
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
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? No
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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
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 See my narrative above.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I have absolutely no fear of dying.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? See narrative above.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Fifty-plus years and the listeners were in awe.
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
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No