I was in the passenger seat of a car that my boyfriend was driving. It was nighttime and raining heavily. There was a lot of traffic because we were on a busy route from the beach to the capital, SÃ£o Paulo. There was a dog in the back seat. The last move I remember making was taking my bag from the back seat, putting it on my lap and opening it to get a comb for my hair because it was wet from swimming. I tilted the mirror. That was the last thing I remember before waking.
I woke up hearing the muffled sound of people outside the car. I heard someone shout, 'Take her bag off her lap! Take her bag off her lap!' I screamed because my feet were broken and trapped. I could not move because my boyfriend's body was on top of and pressing down on me with the weight of the broken car on top of him. I could hear him moaning. Part of his body and face were pressed into me. I could not move, not that I really tried, as I felt totally immobile. This lucidity lasted seconds as I realized what was happening. Then a different consciousness in my mind was a voice saying, 'Oh, I'm dying. I am dying'.
There was a feeling of peace. I gave into myself to this feeling and thought, 'I want my family to know that I'm going in peace.' I saw the image of each of my family members; my three siblings and my parents. The image of each one came and I felt, 'Let them know that I'm going in peace.' I slipped into a radiant tunnel of white light. It was not exactly a cylinder, but there was a spotlight that seemed like a projection. I slipped into a sense of being pure consciousness. It was not my body or I, as we know it here on earth. It was a feeling of blurring and integrating with greater awareness; a return to life in its pure state. It was a feeling of deep, light peace, beauty, and lightness. Although all of these characteristics define something earthly, human, and tangible, this had nothing to do with physical pleasure. Yet it is how I can best describe the visions and sensations in relation to how we understand the physical world. I breathed this light.
When I woke up, I still couldn't move. I remembered that about a week before I had dreamed that I had died in a car accident. I thought, 'Oh, it happened. I died.' I closed my eyes. Then I heard voices and opened my eyes again. I tried to move, but could not. I turned my head and saw that everything was white. I noticed the walls and ceiling and then I realized where I was. When I lifted my head up a bit, I saw two people. One of them said, 'She woke up, we have to put it in place'. I saw my left foot hanging. The doctor lifted my ankle and suddenly re-positioned it. I screamed out in pain and passed out. This moment must have been shortly after having arrived at the hospital. I woke up hours later in a room, and a police officer arrived asking questions. I remembered the names of my family. The memories were clear despite the fractures, cuts, and difficulty breathing.
Date NDE Occurred: maio de 1991
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
It was a car accident. I was trapped in the wreckage and had a pneumothorax.
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? No
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 It was a consciousness different from mental logic and reason; an expanding of an energy field that is not physical and goes beyond the body of the self. The awareness of an infinite existence, with no beginning nor end.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When the awareness that I had died, revealed itself. The clearness of this consciousness is inexplicable. The revelation was not like a warning but the consciousness of death, of being in the state of death.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Time was not as we measure it here; it was fast, extremely fast but at the same time very gentle and slow when I experienced the feeling of fusion with the light.
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. Vision and the senses, as we know them here, did not exist. The vision merged with consciousness, as if I could see through and beyond this vast mental screen into the great consciousness.
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 hear anything; there was a deep and absolute silence as if it was beyond silence itself.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes It was a point of translucent light; the sensation of sliding made it feel like a tunnel, even though it was not a 'place.' The light going to a point made it feel like a tunnel.
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? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The light was translucent, but very strong, intense and went on to an infinite horizon. It was as if it was swallowing me, this feeling of becoming the light, merging with it.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The light into which I felt I melted. I can describe in words as a feeling of being blown into the cosmos, joining all of life, as if I were no longer an individual but part of the greater consciousness that is everything.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Deliverance, love, deep peace, serenity gratefulness, pure happiness
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe There was an understanding that life becomes pure consciousness, I understood that with the end of the physical body we return to that light, which is the origin.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control It was fast but as if, I had seen my whole life story. There weren't many images but the impression I got was that the pictures were of everything that had made up my life. The clearest images were of my immediate nuclear family: My dad, mum and three siblings.
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Other or several faiths
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Following the car accident, during the recovery phase, I was staying with an aunt and who held meetings in her home with Kardecists [Editorial Note: Spiritualists] to study the 'Gospel at home', which is one of the practices of this religion. I was in a wheelchair, with casts and plasters on my feet and arms, cuts all over me. During the ritual, they would put the wheelchair at the table where they studied, without checking whether I wanted to take part or not. I became interested and liked it. When I began walking, again, I began to frequent a Spiritualist church, not too often, as I did not follow it as a religion, but I began to study and read about it myself too. From then on, I became interested in eastern cultures and their religious traditions and up until now, I study and practice some rituals of different religions and traditions.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant Me considero ecumênica, e apesar de católica por formação tenho muito interesse na filosofia, mitologia e ensinamentos das religiões orientais como o budismo ou crenças como xamanismo.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience Despite being from a catholic background and going to catholic school throughout my childhood and adolescence, no part of the experience related to any of the concepts or beliefs with I was already familiar. It was a mystical experience but separate from the beliefs I knew.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I cling to life and appreciate it more now.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
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.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes It was as though each unit of awareness was pure consciousness, that life after death was a life without form, of integration with the Cosmos, something more natural and bigger than the mystic experience it contained, without form, just light.
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? No
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 The knowledge that we come from the light and we will return to the light, a greater awareness of this formlessness with the attributes of love, serenity, deliverance, oneness with life in all senses. It was as if after physical death, we turn into light again and it's like going home.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are 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 probably exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are 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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes The sense of unity and fusion with the light made me feel a deep, full love. I felt this love was the meaning of existence.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life After the experience, I became interested in different religions, spiritual practices and philosophies.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain In order to explain, I have had to use the figures of speech that we understand here on earth but the experience does not really fit into that language. The words and images we have are limited and reduce what I saw and felt. There is no way to really describe it because the forms and sensations are different from what we know here, so I can only use the ideas and words that are available to give an approximate idea.
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 have never forgotten any detail of it. I had always kept it to myself as the experience was so intimate and I didn't think anyone would believe it.
It was in 2010, 10 years after the experience that I recognized it as an NDE. When I learned of other cases of NDEs I was shocked to I realize that other people had also had this experience and it was a known phenomenon, which had been studied.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes During sleep I go to places that I don't know, many of these places seem to be where people are receiving treatments. While dreaming I communicate with people who have already died. While I am dreaming, I read from a kind of mental screen -stories that I don't know, as if I were reading a book. They are in a kind of language I am not used to from the books I usually read, the stories are not in the type of language I use and they are very beautiful stories I have never heard before.
I also consider myself to have an extremely strong sense of ESP and I hear and see what I consider to be 'spirits' and have interacted directly with them a few times. I can sense energetic and spiritual fields very easily and can go into a meditative state with ease.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The most special part for me was the sensation of total surrender and acceptance of love and with the condition of death. Also, being swallowed by the light was good because of my realization that I would become the whole and part of everything.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It took me 19 years to discuss it with anyone. People react strangely. Some people doubt if what I'm telling them is true or made up, some simply understand. Still I don't think they realize the importance that it has for 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 experience was definitely real, I always understood that it was real, but it was so strong and intense that I did not have the courage to tell people.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I'm sure it was real because the experience and memory has stayed with me ever since that time. It is not something I have ever forgotten. The emotional and spiritual impression that the NDE left on me is palpable.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes In some meditation experiences I have had a feeling of merging with the cosmos, of feeling like consciousness being turned into light, but it's a very limited feeling compared, to the NDE itself, where I had the full experience of being completely without a body as if in a parallel existence.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I would like to add that after the NDE I started to become interested in working with and caring for people who are dying and their families. The fact that I am not afraid of death has helped me be able to reassure and prepare people at that time. I took courses in palliative care, bereavement, psychological care in emergencies and disasters as well as training in special therapies, which can be used as support tools for patients, such as art therapy.
I would also like to say that even repeating the same thing, there are memories, which touch me very deeply and release very strong emotions. Itâ€™s a very good emotion, that feeling of having touched death, life after death, and returned. Itâ€™s a very complex but specific idea that touches all levels of my being.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? 1 - Have you made any changes in your life due to the NDE? 2 - Have you changed profession because of NDE, or chosen a profession due to the NDE? 3- How does the experience impact on your life today? 4 - If you learned something special from experience, has what you learnt changed over time? 5 - Do you think that people are prejudiced when you mention the experience? Why do you think this is?