In August of 1989, I was bicycling home from a volunteer position around 10 p.m. As I was coming up on a light, I was hit from behind by a pickup truck traveling at approximately 50 mph. The bike and I were slammed against the truck. As the driver slammed on the brakes, I was catapulted 60 feet through the air to land on the shoulder of the road. My lungs collapsed, most of my internal organs ruptured, and I broke my pelvis and several ribs. I was pretty close to road kill. Fortunately, a police officer was nearby and able to radio for an ambulance quickly. I, as I know myself, have no memory of the preceding events.
This is what I remember: One moment I was riding my bike and the next, I was in a place of complete darkness. I had no sense of direction or perspective, but I did have an awareness of my body, that is, I still had one. Off in the "distance" I began to notice a hum and a pinprick of light. The sound began to grow louder and the light seemed to be coming toward me. As the object drew closer, I noticed that it was a fantastic demonic creature surrounded by flames with huge eyes and teeth danced toward me slavering and growling. There was menace in its gaze as it smashed its teeth and stuck out a long slobbering orange tongue at me. I was riveted to the "spot" in the dark where I stood. There seemed to be nowhere to go to avoid the thing as the creature was advancing at an increasing speed determined to intercept me. I stood my "ground" and closed my eyes expecting to be engulfed in flames or devoured or both. Instead, I had an awareness of the creature slowly passing painlessly through my body and I turned an inward eye to it only to discover that the creature was laughing with glee as it melted through me. It exited with a pop behind me and suddenly I was flying forward very fast through the dark.
As I flew, two more of the demon creatures came toward me displaying different colors but still fearsome. Armed with my knowledge of the first one, I allowed these beings to approach and pass through me. Soon I came to the entrance of a tunnel in the black. The tunnel seemed to be constructed of gray cloudlike material and wound far away and up to the right. Then it branched and I couldn't see where it led. From the branching on the right extended a yellow white light that helped to softly illuminate the tunnel. I glanced down at myself and noticed that my body was gone. It had been replaced by a blue white light sort of equi-limbed cross/star that pulsed. This "seemed" natural and pleasant to me at the time. It was very freeing to no longer be attached to a weighty form.
Looking back into the tunnel, I noticed there were doorways in both sides of the structure. A few other cross/stars were wandering about in the tunnel, some blue like myself, some amber colored. Two other blue cross/stars appeared beside me and gently propelled me into the tunnel. I floated along and up observing that some "door-ways" were open while others seemed to have been shut. The first doorway I peered into resembled a classic Hell. There was the sound of shrieking and agonizing screams. Naked human beings were strewn about a blasted landscape with pools of bubbling excrement and jagged boulders. Devils and other animals were torturing people in all imaginable ways; and people were also torturing each other.
As I neared the doorway to this sinister scene, I felt a sucking sensation drawing me in like a whirlpool, and I found myself "flying" above the miserable landscape. The smell was putrid and the heat was almost unbearable but a part of me was fascinated by the seemingly infinite varieties of pain and anguish that was being inflicted on the inhabitants of this realm. Most of me wanted to leave so I had no difficulty and my feeling was that anyone could leave if they wished. I felt that no one or nothing had put those people in captivity except their belief in the agony they continued to suffer. I "flew" back to the doorway which was clearly visible from everywhere in the "Hell." I left with nothing but joy, but I still had a sense of myself as apart from that joy.
The next doorway in the tunnel wasn't much better. As far as the eye could see people walked on barren yellow ground with their heads down, completely engrossed in their own depressed self- pitying thoughts, unaware that anyone else was around them. A great feeling of loneliness and isolation emanated from the scene, and I shied away from getting too close, although no sucking sensation was felt near this opening in the cloud tunnel.
I flew along further up the tunnel and glanced in other doorways but the next one that made a lasting impression on me was a world of almost indescribable beauty. I looked upon a beautiful wooded garden with fountains and waterfalls and streams and bridges that glowed and sparkled with iridescent colors. A close depiction of the beauty of this world has been captured by the artist Gilbert Williams, whose work I discovered several years after my NDE. A feeling of peace and harmony flowed from this scene and I moved toward the doorway with a great desire to enter. As I began to go through the opening, my "nose" encountered what felt like plastic wrap webbing. I pushed forward but was gently rebuffed and a voice said, "You do not have the information to enter this world". At the time, I remember feeling disappointed but not judged as unworthy, just uninformed.
I then turned my attention to the light that was glowing around the fork to the right. I entered into the light, and was transformed by a feeling of utter absolute joy. There was nothing but joy. I said to the light "I'm here", and the light said "Great" in a voice that rang with happiness and bliss. I gave myself up to the bliss and learned many things that sound corny when described but are truths for me that resonate through me now and forever. I learned that I am eternal and though I may experience many forms of death, I will always know who I am. I have nothing to fear, only more to experience and I am the one that ultimately chooses what I experience. It sounds hokey but believe me it feels really, really good to know these things inside yourself. Eventually, I became disenchanted with eternal bliss and decided to leave. I said to the light "I'm leaving" and the light said "Great" continuing it's utter joyous and blissful existence unaltered in anyway by my presence.
I floated back down the tunnel glancing about me in continued wonder eventually settling on the threshold of a doorway that looked into outer space. Pieces of rock floated by and in the distance planets and galaxies spun and whirled. A rather conflicting feeling of both serenity and adventure surrounded me as I gazed upon the silent scene. The entrance to the tunnel was nearby and I could hear voices shouting "Don't go Sarah! What about Zane?" (My son who was five at the time of this incident). I grew annoyed at these voices because I wasn't intending to "go" anywhere and of course I was going to be there to watch Zane grow up. Another being appeared beside me and we "talked" about my options. We heard a voice say "If you pass through this door, you can't come back."
My next conscious memory was of lying in a hospital bed with uncountable tubes sticking into me and a respirator tube in my mouth. I was full of joy and humming with power although I was unable to move any part of my body of my own volition. I was also full of pain and that sensation quickly oriented me to my physical self again.
I have had to face many trials and challenges since my NDE including complete loss of identity, disability, poverty, loss of friends due to their inability to understand how the experience changed me, and chronic pain; but the knowledge of the eternity of my spirit and the freedom from the fear of death have created in me a foundation of peace that no temporary physical condition can shake. I have a great wish, that everyone could experience the wonders I have without having to suffer the trauma I did, for it would transform the world.
NDERF SPECIAL… The REST of the story…
Following the presentation of Sarah's NDE on the Art Bell Radio Show on 2/4/99 we were informed by many Buddhists of the astonishing similarity between Sarah's NDE and the writings in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Indeed, the similarities are astonishing!
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.