At the time, I was assigned to the second shift at the Payne Whitney Clinic at The Cornell University Medical Center. I lived across the street in hospital housing. Against all rules, I had allowed a young man from my country to stay at my apartment for a couple of days. After about three weeks, I asked him to leave. He did so. Two nights later he returned, entered my apartment by breaking a window off the fire escape that faced the street. I fought him off and escaped through the same window. He wrestled with me on the fire escape, and administered three stab wounds, one in the left shoulder just above the clavicle, one to the left of my sternum at the angle of my left breast and one in the abdomen just below the diaphragm.As I laid on that landing, I recalled thinking 'I am dying'. I experienced a profound sense of peace. It did seem as though I was walking toward a brilliant white light. A thought developed and a statement came from nowhere. 'No go back, you are not ready'. I do not know exactly when I passed out. The next day I awoke at the main hospital. The surgeon on call had cut me open because he thought that my heart and lungs were punctured. Needless to say, all organs were intact.
Date NDE Occurred: June 1975
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Criminal attack Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I had been stabbed three times. Somehow, I was able to wrest the knife from my attacker. Where I stood, I could have gutted him like a fish. The evening shift had just ended, there were onlookers urging me on. 'Kill him, kill him'. But the thought said 'No.' I threw the knife to the street.
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 While I was on the fire escape being attacked, I was aware of everything around me. I could feel the fright in my attacker, the anger of my neighbors and the other staff who had just completed third shift, my own feelings of empathy. I felt no pain
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? While I was being stabbed
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time stood still. I was not flustered. I was able to comprehend the attack, my response to it, my neighbor's response, the bystanders, their exhortations, the attacker and his intentions.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I was able to see what was happening on the fire escape and on the street simultaneously.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My neighbor on the floor above was halfway out of his window. I heard him saying, 'Stop! Stop!' I could hear the staff members on the street making different comments.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
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? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt afraid at first, then angry, then very calm.
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
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? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic non practising catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I do not follow the mandates of any organized religion.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths
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 My belief was that one should live a good life, perform good deeds, in order to enter purgatory after death. I was not sure about heaven. Now I believe that there is a continuous state of 'being'. Part of it is in body, part of it out of body
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I realized that not only was I made in the image and likeness of God the father, but that He lives in me at all times. I lost interest in accumulating material goods and became invested in sharing with friends and family.
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 In response to my thinking 'I am ready to die, my life has been good' the voice said 'Not yet'. When the onlookers said 'kill him' the voice said, '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 I came to understand that we are all connected. The choices we make, provide the results we are left with. Action or inaction result in reaction.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes
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 My purpose is to be a positive influence in the lives of those with whom I make contact and to help others to see the beauty and bounty that has been provided for us
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not 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? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
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? Not 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? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Uncertain I had many prejudices prior to that experience. Afterward I realised that all humans are connected and equal, just circumstances of birth differ. Since then, I have tried to follow the mandate "Love one another as I have loved you"
That's really hard to
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 My belief was that one should live a good life and perform good deeds in order to enter purgatory after death. I was not sure about heaven. Now I believe that there is a continuous state of 'being'. Part of it is in body, part of it out of body
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I realize that although we are to love each other, some of us have to be loved from afar.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes When I spoke about being 'out of my body' my friends said that I made no sense.
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 cannot remember the names or faces of most of the people I worked with at that time, or even after that. I remember that experience clearly
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I am able to allow for healing rays to pass through me to others.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I have helped several of my clients who were diagnosed with AIDS to live longer more fulfilling lives
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I tried to discuss my experience with friends a couple of weeks after it occurred. Some thought that it was because of the anesthesia that was administered to me. Some just laughed.
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 the experience was real. I worked on the psychiatric unit. I realized that the smart thing to do was to not discuss it.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real The older I become the more I realize that 'Karma' is a reality. You definitely receive what you give, measure for measure
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 came to understand that we are all connected. The choices we make provide the results we are left with. Action or inaction results in reaction. I had many prejudices prior to that experience. Afterward I realized that all humans are connected and equal, just circumstances of birth differ. Since then, I have tried to follow the mandate 'Love one another as I have loved you'. That's really hard to do.
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