It was Halloween, 1971. I was on the back of a motorcycle, heading out towards McDonald’s for lunch with a young man. All he had going for him was that he owned a motorcycle. I was new to bike riding. The leaning thing was counter intuitive to me like to lean the direction the bike was leaning. I learned the hard way not to lean the wrong direction. We came around a curve when the bike seemed to lean too much to the left. I found out later we had hit an oil slick. My instinct was to lean to the right. This was probably a good thing because otherwise I would have been pinned under the bike in oncoming traffic. I remember flying through the air and seeing the guardrail coming up awfully fast. After that, everything went black and I could hear a high-pitched bell-like white noise. There was no light where I was, but I could see a very thin, very large crescent come into my field of view. It got smaller and smaller until I recognized what it was; the backside of the Earth. I began to 'float' in front of it until I was looking at the day lit side. It got smaller and smaller as some unseen force drew me away from it. It was much like what I suspect a tractor beam would feel like on Star Trek. I turned around to be drawn forward not backward, and that’s when I saw all the heavens. I saw the stars, the nebul', the nov', the dust clouds, the galaxies, the planets, and the sun. All of it was in 3-D! It was alive and moving, not static like in the pictures from the Hubble. It was so much to take in and all so incredibly beautiful.As I was drawn 'forward', to what end I couldn’t know. I realized a few things. (1)This was real, as real as anything I had ever experienced. I’m a lucid dreamer so I know when I’m dreaming. This was no dream.(2)The answer to the big question, 'Why are we here?' is 'Why not? It’s a good idea,' or better yet, 'Because.' That’s really it. I noticed I began to be drawn faster and faster. The stars began to move past me at a faster rate until they became streaks of light. Then they started to blink out until I found myself in total darkness again. I wasn’t scared because it was a comforting, maternal kind of place that made me feel safe. Then I noticed, far, far away, a little speck of light, like a single light from a farmhouse set way back from the freeway. Then it was closer and I could tell it was golden. It kept coming closer, then closer; this went on for about 8-10 jumps. I heard 'Boom, boom, boom.' and the next thing I knew I was right next to it. It was a golden cloud that was 'boiling'; it looked like pictures I’ve seen since of the surface of the sun. The next instant I was inside the cloud. I was floating down a large hallway, maybe 20x20. There were people there, but I didn’t recognize anyone, fading in and out of the cloud walls. I seemed to be floating over the heads of a LOT of people on a level right below me. They were all in white and seemed to be content. I think these were Mormons. As I floated along, I remember one man in particular who was standing off to the left in a bend in the hallway. I asked him where I was, and he kind of chuckled and said, 'Just keep going. Go on down to the front.' So I did. When I got to the end of the hallway, I met a guy that looked like a concierge in a hotel, working behind a desk. He looked up at me with a rather perturbed expression on his face, and he thought, 'What are you doing here?' I said, 'I don't know; I'm just here. This is where the people back there,' pointing over my shoulder to those hanging out, 'told me to come.' He shrugged, furrowed his brow, and thought, 'Well, wait a minute. Let me check something.' While he was checking, I looked behind him and realized we weren't in a tunnel at all; we were in a cave and he was at the entrance. Behind him was a beautiful landscape, a hillside with sparkling trees and flowers and a brook, the most beautiful, peaceful place I had ever seen. Then I saw people sitting in lotus positions on the hillside, facing to my left. A great light began pulsing on them. I was curious, so while this guy had his head down, looking at something, a computer perhaps, I snuck around the corner to see what was going on. I walked into what appeared to be a very large (30 feet say) presence that exuded love and innocence. It just seemed to be full of so much joy it couldn't contain it, and so it pulsed, and it felt really good. It flooded through me like water through a sieve. It was interesting, stunning, awe-inspiring, and all such words. I tried to get closer. I realized the presence was on an island, surrounded by a pool of liquid. When I stepped into the liquid, all that was 'Jill' disappeared. 'I' no longer existed and yet 'I' was still there. I was the essence of life, I guess. I don't know what else to call it. I was conscious of my surroundings. I had joined with all the other consciousness in the pool and had become one with it. I 'knew' all other life in the pool; I was 'one' with everything. I was home. Then I was back. The guy had pulled me back to the front of the desk. Breathlessly, I asked, 'What was THAT?' He said, 'Don't worry about that. Don't even think about it.'I said, 'But … but … I want to go back.''Nope.' 'But --' The next thing I knew I was back outside the gold tunnel. As I was being repelled from the cloud, I could hear the 'clerk' say, 'Don’t worry.' I hoped he meant, 'Don’t worry; you can come back.' I retraced all the footsteps I had gone through in space to get to it in the first place. 'Big whoop' I thought as I saw the heavens that had just moments before struck me dumb by their beauty. I was very downhearted after that. I tried to tell people about it, but everyone thought I was crazy or on drugs (which I wasn't at the time, by the way). I found it interesting that the people who gave me the hardest time about my re-telling were self-professed Christians. I never understood that. Anyway, I call the guy behind the desk Howard. That's because that's what Jesus said God's name was. 'Our father who art in heaven, Howard be thy name.' I know it's a bad joke but he doesn't seem to mind. To this day, he and I talk. He is always there for me, even when I turn my back. I don’t get it. He must have done something really goofy to be my caseworker.
Date NDE Occurred: October 31, 1971
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Direct head injury. I don't know -- I certainly felt dead. Other I don't know -- I certainly felt dead.
Motorcycle wreck; hit a guard rail with my forehead. Thank goodness, I had a helmet on. I split it almost in two.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes When I got back to the Earth, all went black again. Then I was hovering up in the air, where airplanes fly. I looked down and saw a curvy road below me with some kind of activity going on. I descended in stages (much like what happened when I encountered the gold cloud). My first thought was, 'Hey! There’s a wreck down there.' When I got closer, it was, 'Hey! That girl has on the same clothes I have!' It wasn’t until I was about 25 feet above when I thought, 'Hey! That’s me!' Everything went black, and I heard someone screaming at the top of her lungs, far away again.
The next thing I opened my eyes and I found I couldn’t move because I was on my stomach and someone was sitting in the middle of my back. I asked them to get off, and a woman responded, rather shakily, 'Oh! I’m a doctor’s wife and I live across the street from here. You’ve just had a motorcycle wreck and I’m afraid you may have broken your neck. I’m sitting on you because I don’t want you to move.'
Well, I knew I wouldn’t have been sent back if I were paralyzed so the only think I could move were my fingers. I moved them and asked, 'Could I do this if I had broken my neck?'
She said, 'No. Probably not. Still…'
I then said, 'I promise not to move but you’re making it kind of hard to breathe.'
'Oh!' She got off and I felt better.
Then I asked her, 'By the way, was someone screaming around here earlier?'
She paused, and then responded, 'Yes that was you.'
'Okay,' I said. 'Not me, but my body.'
I went to the hospital and they almost lost me a couple of times. I remember one ER doctor say, 'Her blood pressure is down to zero; we’re losing her.' I knew better. I came back.
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? Normal consciousness and alertness
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The whole time.
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. Same
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Same
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 gold cloud that appeared to really be a hallway, but turned out to be the inside of a cave.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes All the people I met were strangers.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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 See narrative above. The gold cloud. The pulsating liquid light that radiated peace/joy/love.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm See narrative above.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Awe at first, beyond bliss when I crossed over, sad when Howard kicked me out.
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
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe Why do we exist? It's all a great idea, so why not?
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes Howard's lobby desk.
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 Howard let me know it wasn't time for me yet. That was it. I would have definitely stayed, left to my own devices.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes The Big Guy on the Throne is a fairy tale for children. The Trinity is for people who can't think for themselves. All religions get so close and then miss the truth by a mile. The truth I learned is that we (and when I say 'we', I mean all of existence) are connected. What a great thing that in this time/space continuum we get to think independently, but it's a facade. We're all one. And the idea of a 'god' is just limited nonsense.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Not important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Agnostic
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 I was taught the traditional Methodist dogma about the afterlife. I was never taught about traveling through space, the gold cloud, meeting folks in the hallway, meeting Howard, the landscape, the pulsating light, the universal pool of existence. None of it seemed odd or strange, either. Still doesn't.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I don't believe in 'God' as most people commonly think of him. Instead, I know we're all connected and part of the same thing; i.e., I am God, as is my dog, my car, the air, etc.
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 I met a guy in the tunnel; I met Howard at the end; when I crossed over, I don't know what that presence was, all I knew was that, 'This is what I'm really a part of; where I'm meant to be.'
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 When I lost my identity, I became aware of all other "life".
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? Uncertain It's weird. What happened was that I became part of (or returned to) the presence that was so amazing. The closest analogy I can come up with is Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when he would go to his home planet and return to the collective. Only everything in the universe is part of this collective. In essence the universe IS the collective. Rather difficult to explain because it's outside the realm of human experience.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God does not exist
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I don't have to have faith anymore.
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 probably exists Yes When I sneaked around the desk while Howard was checking things out, I went into the landscape. I was drawn to go into the light. My personal identity disappeared but my essence continued to exist. This wasn't frightening at all, however. Instead, it
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? Unknown
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Unknown
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? Yes When I was returning to earth, I heard Howard, as from a distance, say, "Don't worry." I know now he meant, "You don't have to worry; life is a gift. Enjoy it."
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Uncertain Universal love is the source of the presence I felt.
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 I believe in Howard's help. It may be coincidental, but whenever I ask for his help, he follows through in about a week. I got a job in the early 80s where there were no jobs to be found and the incidents leading to my getting that jobs were very quirky. I met my current husband after two failed marriages and many relationships. He was the only one I had discussed with Howard beforehand. My husband came into my life a week after I told Howard I was ready to meet someone. There have been numerous events like this since.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes When I crossed over and became part of whatever it was, there are no words full enough to describe the joy/love that flowed through my 'self.'
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 This was pretty momentous. I'd put it up there with my memories of when Kennedy was shot, or 9-11.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Meeting Howard was great for me, I'm not so sure for him.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Immediately. I eventually quit telling people because they thought I was crazy, on drugs, didn't believe me, etc. The 'Christians' were the most repellant. One woman said I was in hell. Well, if that's hell, sign me up.
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 I KNEW at the time it was happening it was real and not a dream. I have never wavered from that knowledge.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience. This was pretty momentous. I'd put it up there with my memories of when Kennedy was shot, or 9-11.
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? When I sneaked around the desk while Howard was checking things out, I went into the landscape. I was drawn to go into the Light. My personal identity disappeared but my essence continued to exist. This wasn't frightening at all, however. Instead, it felt like I was truly myself, like when I get out of a shower, after having cleaned myself off.
What happened was that I became part of (or returned to) the presence that was so amazing. The closest analogy I can come up with is Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when he would go to his home planet and return to the collective. Only everything in the universe is part of this collective. In essence the universe IS the collective. Rather difficult to explain because it's outside the realm of human experience.
When I lost my identity, I became aware of all other 'life.'
When I was returning to Earth, I heard Howard from a distance say, 'Don't worry.' I know now he meant, 'You don't have to worry; life is a gift. Enjoy it.'
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? The questions about purpose and meaning don't make sense. My life has all the purpose and meaning I choose to put into it. There's no outside agent in charge of running me. Howard is my helper and guide. Probably my teacher, but he doesn't make me do anything.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.