Home PageCurrent NDEsShare Your NDE

Hannah S NDE

Lightly edited for clarity by Judy Shea 11/11/12


I was being prepped to go in to a routine hernia repair outpatient surgery. In the past, I had undergone other surgical operations under general anesthesia, with no remarkable outcome, except that I always dreaded the nausea that can present itself upon awakening.  The anesthesiologist breezed into the room and informed me that he would be giving me what they term "twilight sleep" which, he said, would cause me to fall fully asleep at first, but then I would re-awaken during the operation itself. However, he told me, I would feel no pain during the remainder of the surgery.   

I was alarmed, to say the least, that I would be awake for part of the surgery and started stammering that I wished they could just put me fully under, as I was really afraid of what it would be like to wake up during the middle of my operation! (I think I feared the mental aspect of it more than the possibility of feeling physical pain.)  But he just patted me and assured me that all would be fine.  So, as I was being wheeled in to the OR, I was feeling a huge amount of fear and tension and was not at all in a good frame of mind.  I'm sure my heartbeat and vitals were quite elevated.  However, putting on a brave face, I joked calmly with the staff as they settled me on the narrow bed and prepared to put me under with the "twilight sleep."

I then immediately found myself...and I really mean I literally "found myself" sitting in a space about the size of a large walk-in closet.  There were no windows that I could see but the walls glowed and sparkled with the purest gold color that can be imagined.  The walls were sloped upward at a sharp angle and met at a point about eight feet above me, and I was aware that I seemed to be sitting inside a small pyramid, or something that had the same interior shape as a small pyramid would.  I was sitting in a low stone bath "tub" carved out of the solid rock, or whatever the gold material was, and was immersed in golden liquid up to about my waist.  My knees were above the golden water and I was taking handfuls of it and languidly letting the soft metallic streams of glowing liquid fall like silk between my fingers.  I realized that my skin was gold, as if I were the girl who had been painted gold in the Bond film Goldfinger. None of this seemed the least bit strange to me, but rather, blissfully peaceful and making the most perfect sense.  Time had no meaning whatsoever, and I could have been sitting there for three seconds or thirty years.  As I scooped up handfuls of the liquefied gold and watched it sparkle, I realized that it was alive, just as I was alive – and to my utter and indescribable joy the dawning came upon me that not only was I immersed in the gold and covered with it, but that I WAS the element of gold itself!  The knowledge crept up on me with ever mounting bliss that I could exist as a human being, but also outside of myself as an element in the universe, and that my human state was only a small part of what I really was.  The happiness and joy that came with this knowledge cannot be described other than by saying I felt that I could laugh with delight and never stop laughing about the beauty and blissfulness of the true state of our existence. It was just sheer beauty, love and peace, and timeless bliss. 

At some point, however, I began to hear muted voices and the clinking of instruments. I slipped out of that beautiful golden world into a confusing, dreary place that I was starting to remember and was less than happy about returning to.  The operating room, with its noisy confusion, seemed way less real to me than the place where I'd just been,  and a great deal less pleasant.  I knew I had the ability to open my eyes at that point, but chose to keep them closed.  I was awake and could feel the push-push and tug-tug as the surgeon worked to insert the hernia mesh and to close up the incision.  I could feel pressure, but no pain.  I had no fear, but just an overwhelming feeling of "Oh Shit! THIS place again!"  I still felt the very clear memory of the joy that had just been within my grasp – and I was terribly sorry to be back in a place that was so very dull by comparison.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   No.  Not that I am aware of, based on conditions in the operating room.

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  No     It wasn't difficult for me to explain - I told family and friends about it right away.  I was very excited about it, although to this day I don't know for sure what it all means.  My son and other family members still make jokes about it. To them it's just a nutty story that Mom tells once in awhile.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?   I would say that at the time I became aware that I and the gold were actually one thing, and that I could exist in my body as a human, but also outside of it if I chose to do so.

How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness?      Normal consciousness and alertness.   The main difference is that I had no concept of the passing of time, nor even what time was.  Also, I do not think I was aware of any sound, or at least sounds were somewhat muted.

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   It must have been more vivid because I could see the light glowing and sparkling from within the stone around me and the water as it slipped through my fingers.  It was as much "feeling" as seeing.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   I was not aware of hearing anything during the experience.  Which did not seem strange to me at the time.

Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?   No  

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   Joy, happiness, the urge to laugh, peace, bliss, sensuality in feeling the liquid gold slip through my fingers, a feeling that everything was right – existence and awareness in the true form beyond our everyday senses.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   No  

Did you see an unearthly light?   Uncertain.   I would say that everything in the "place" I found myself in was lit from within with a glowing golden light.  But I did not see a tunnel or a point of light such as some describe.

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?   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  

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings?   No  

Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?   No  

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
Yes, I felt that this golden place was unlike anything I have experienced other than the shape of the room and the shape of the bathtub, if you could call it that, were obviously shapes that were familiar to me from my life here.  But it sure didn't feel like I was anywhere on Earth that I've ever been before.

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I found myself there instantly, as if I had always been there. I could not tell any sense of how long I had been there. However, I got the feeling that I was learning something as I sat there and that what I was being taught about being the element of gold would mean that I would soon no longer be staying in my human body, but would progress on to something different if I were to continue on there.

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   No
I was slowly starting to understand that "I" was not just the physical me.  However, maybe I'm a little slow or something because I think the knowledge was being imparted to me in a gentle, gradual fashion, the way you would teach a little kid –maybe so I would not be scared or alarmed.  I'm glad I didn't find the experience frightening.

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   No

Did you come to a border or point of no return?   No

Did scenes from the future come to you?  No 

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)?   Uncertain   I just had the thought of "Oh! I get it...I am more than the person sitting here in this golden bath...I think I understand...everything around me is gold.  The gold is alive just like I am...it is me and I am it...oh wait...I AM THE GOLD!"  Then joyful laughter (in my mind) as though I had just passed the biggest exam and was going to get a huge prize.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   Yes.   For me the experience made me feel that the universe is alive, aware and intelligent.  Do I think there is a big guy sitting on a throne up in the sky all angry because some Old Testament tribe didn't sacrifice the right kind of goat?  Definitely not.  But I do think that we are part of this huge web of love, intelligence, awareness and bliss all tied together by – well, what can you call it but the "Creator?"  And I just thank the Creator that He, She, or It gave me this beautiful lesson about the nature of life.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   Uncertain.   I can't really say, but my feeling was that I had always been there, if not in human form then in some other form.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   Yes.   The information I took away from my visit to the Golden Pyramid (silly as it sounds) is that we exist in a grid of life, all connected. You can have a human form or not a human form...it's all good.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?   Uncertain.   No, nothing negative ever entered my mind.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   No.   Nothing negative ever entered my mind.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes.   The element of gold is alive and is aware of love, just like everything else is. Everything is all tied together and love seems to be the glue. That was my impression.

During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives?   Uncertain.   Don't really know how to answer that because my experience was a really personal one that I think was meant to teach me a lesson in a way I could understand it.  I don't know that my experience would mean anything to anyone else.  I think each of us gets a customized lesson in understanding the nature of the universe around us.  My family just laughed about it in a good natured way.  Which is fine with me.

Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?   No  

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs I had at the time of my experience.   I don't think I had any real belief system at the time of the experience.  Overly pious or Bible thumping people have always gotten on my nerves.  I don't want someone else telling me how to think about God, but growing up in the Bible Belt section of the Midwest, I had it sort of crammed down my throat.  But this experience was nothing like anything I was ever taught.  Sitting in golden water within a pyramid?  Huh?

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.   It made a huge impression on me.  I never told the doctor about it, nor any other medical professional.  I don't think I had been in any danger of dying, as when I "came to," everyone in the operating room seemed to be doing things in a very routine way.

So I can't say I know what it was.  But I never forgot it, and I think about it all the time. I am happy that I got to experience such bliss. I have never heard of anyone having an experience like this during twilight sleep.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   I am trying to become a more caring and compassionate person.  I have done a great deal of reading about the history of the human race in order to try to understand it.  I hope and believe that our life energy goes on in some form when we leave this body and I hope and believe that this same principle applies to animals and other living things as well.

My experience directly resulted in:   Moderate changes in my life

Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?  
Yes.   I began to give more thought to the idea that we are more than just the temporary human shell we inhabit, and that we should do our best to use love and compassion to the best of our ability.  I still fail at that sometimes.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?  

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   No        

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes.  Gosh, I think I started talking about it the day of the surgery.  Of course, I'm sure everyone thought I was doped up on the painkillers.  No one to this day has seemed to care much about it but me.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   Yes.   I had read Dr. Moody's books and other books about NDE experiences.  However, I don't think I was influenced at all by anything I had read because "POOF" I just found myself there in that golden place, and it certainly didn't resemble any NDE I had ever read about.  No tunnel, no dead relatives, nothing like that.

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was probably real.   I felt it was very real to me...more real than any dream I had ever had.  However, I'm not a brain doctor so I can't say with finality that it was real in the sense of what medical professionals consider real.  It was real enough for me to think in a whole new way about the nature of our existence in the universe.  And I fear death a little less than I did.  I still fear it, but not as much.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was probably real.   I don't really know what it was, but to me the experience was real because I never got the sense of being in anything but a real, concrete place.  It was certainly happier and more beautiful than anything in what we call the "real" world here.  But again, I'm not a doctor or a chemist so I could not say what the effects of twilight sleep might do to the brain.  Maybe chemicals are the bridge to the other world, which is just as real as this one...who knows.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   No  

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Uncertain.   Well, I think I am more in tune to the Creator who runs this whole wonderful show. However, I don't subscribe to any particular religion.  My relationship with the universe and whoever runs it is very personal.  I do pray all the time though, like a constant conversation, almost.

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 would be interested to know if anyone else out there has had anything similar happen to them during twilight sleep anesthesia.  I've had numerous surgeries with general anesthesia, and there was nothing but blackness and then "time to wake up," so those were uneventful.

Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?   Yes.   The format is very thorough and helpful.

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?  I think they already do local meetings and conferences; however, I had never attended any myself.

Please offer any suggestions that you may have to improve this questionnaire.  Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?                    I can't think of how to improve the questionnaire, which is already very good.  It's a great way for people to come forward and describe the events that they have experienced.  I'm not sure if mine was an actual NDE, but I wanted to submit it because it did contain a few of the elements of an NDE and could possibly be helpful to those who make a scientific study of them.