At the age of 7 or 8, I underwent a tonsillectomy under general anesthetic. I recall the mask being applied to my face. I was then aware of traveling through a dark tunnel. I found myself on a road winding down to a beautiful rural place, which contained a large rustic house set in a valley with a forest behind it. There was a sparkling river and the meadows in front of it were golden and peaceful. There may have been a mill wheel at the far side of the house, through which a stream flowed. The forest behind, looked safe and inviting and I was curious to see it and remain there. At some point, I found myself turned around on the road facing up towards where the tunnel had ended. I remember nothing beyond this point.
Date NDE Occurred: mid 1950s
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain. Surgery-related. 'Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening'
I don't know if my experience was the result of an anesthetic agent or a mishap during the surgical procedure. I know that the surgery was poorly performed as the fact was confirmed many years later by an ENT [Ears Nose & Throat] specialist.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain The place I found myself in was beautiful, calm and peaceful and I wanted to go there and remain. It felt beautiful and safe.
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? Normal consciousness and alertness
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Throughout the experience I had no awareness of change in consciousness.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
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. The experience was vivid but not unusually so. It was as though I had moved through the anesthetic tube into this different place quite naturally and normally.
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 any sounds.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes The tunnel seemed to be a continuation of the anesthetic tube and was neither pleasant nor unpleasant. I may have had a moment of panic before I started to move into the tunnel.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place As I described initially.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Wonder and curiosity
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? No
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No I was aware of the need to turn back, but there was no command or order and I seem to have returned entirely of my own volition.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Unknown
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I have made profound changes in my theological thinking in recent years, as a result of hearing and reading about NDEs and working in palliative care and HIV nursing and as a minister and a chaplain. I thought that I had not experienced anything of this nature until I read Dr. Van Lommel's book and began to wonder about the meaning of this event.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant
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? Uncertain I cannot be sure of this as I am not certain that this was an NDE or an OBE.
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? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably 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? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably 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 No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately 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 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? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life Large changes in my life. As I was very young at the time, I lived as I previously did. I had an increasing awareness of spirituality and a sense of needing to live for God. I, from then on, became increasingly sensitive to other people's feelings both negative and positive.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Uncertain Not consciously, though the sequel of it may be reflected in my life choices as I developed an interest in music and spirituality in my teenage years.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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 only a few memories of ordinary life at of this period, although I have two memories of dreams in which I felt as though my body was inflating and turning in on itself from this time.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I have very acute sensitivity to others' feelings and reactions. I have had two kundalini-like awakening experiences in my life and I have Deja vu regularly. These are often prophetic, or confirmatory of my life situation.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I had a sense of going back to a familiar place. By and large, I found the experience interesting and I was curious about what I saw.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes This happened 55 or 56 years ago. Only since realizing that this may have been an OBE or NDE have I shared it with my wife. I did not tell my parents or anyone else at the time.
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 probably not real I did not think of it at all. I recovered from the minor surgery and got on with life.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I know that I experienced this event; I cannot say that it was or was not a dream. I had no particular reason to remember this event rather than the many other dreams I have had during my life.
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 did not think of this as being significant until I read Pim Van Lommel's book Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience. Reading at page 73 'It seems that the anesthesia that was given in the past for tonsillectomy was a fairly frequent cause in children for experiencing an NDE.'
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.