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The Burning Within
by Ranelle Wallace and Curtis Taylor
Book Review by  Karin Schumacher Dyke


Wallace, Ranelle & Taylor, Curtis (1994).  The Burning Within.  Carson City, NV:  Gold Leaf Press.


The sample reported in this book is a single one:  Ms. Wallace herself and her experience with near-death.


Ms. Wallace presents her own account of a near-death experience she had as the result of an accident.  This near-death was verified by medical personnel as she died while riding in an ambulance to the hospital.


This book presents the story of Ms. Wallace who was in an airplane accident.  She died while on the way to the hospital as the result of terrible burns over a substantial amount of her body.  She was then resuscitated by medical personnel and against high odds against her survival, survived her injuries.  This book describes her accident, recovery and life after the accident in terms of dealing with disfiguring injuries and the aftermath of a near-death experience.  She tells this story in terms of her own reactions, her family�s reactions and the general community around her.

Important Concepts and Definitions

Near-Death Experience � clinical death followed by resuscitation.


This account of a near death experience is qualitative in nature.  It is a self-report of a near-death experience encountered by the author.

Major Findings

When Ms. Wallace first came out of the hospital, she experienced a feeling of not really being real.  She thought that she could walk through walls and that her spirit self was the only real part about her.  She could not enjoy the relationships that she had with her family because she knew that the only reality was what she had experienced in the after life.  Her children as the result of both her physical disfigurement and change in attitude began to avoid her.  Eventually, she realized that she would have to �snap out of it�.  She began to feel the loving feelings that she had for her children as real once again.  She began to integrate what had happened to her in the afterlife with what was physically real to her in the universe.

The community was both supportive and demeaning of Ms. Wallace.  As the result of her physical disfigurement, she had to wear a mask to support the skin grafts on her burned face.  When she was at a fast food restaurant with her children, the manager tried to have her arrested for attempting to rob the store.  Of course when the police arrived, they didn�t take her into custody and the matter was dropped, but she and the children were badly scarred.  When there was a fire at a neighbor�s house, she got a message from God to help the family.  She helped the mother rescue her children from the burning house.

During her near-death experience, Ms. Wallace was told by God that she would have another baby.  This was impossible according to the medical experts that Ms. Wallace was in contact with.  However, a few years after the accident, she became pregnant with a baby boy.  Against all odds, she carried the child to term and had a son.  Ms. Wallace credits her near-death experience with foretelling that this child would become a part of the family.  She also credits this event with solidifying and cementing her marriage which was on somewhat shaky ground after the accident.

All of these experiences came about as a result, either directly or indirectly, of Ms. Wallace and her near-death experience.  Her family was put into initial turmoil, but eventually, when things began to settle down and get back to normal, they seemed to come to terms with the changes that the experience had rendered their family.  An interesting comparison between Ms. Eadie�s and Ms. Wallace�s experiences was that both had the addition of an infant to their families as being the culmination of things pointing to the fact that everything would be alright in the end.