These NDE accounts were submitted to our website and are published here anonymously. Minor edits have been made to protect the identity of the experiencer and others who may have been involved with the experience. Note to researchers and authors: IANDS cannot grant permission to publish quotations from these NDE accounts because we have not received permission from the NDE authors to do so. However, we advise authors who wish to use quotations from these accounts to follow the Fair Use Doctrine. See our Copyright Policy for more information. We recommend adopting this practice for quotations from our web site before you have written your book or article.
When I was 11 years old, we were swimming at Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee when I fell asleep on a large boulder from which we were jumping off into the water. A person came up from behind me and pushed me in, not realizing I was asleep. I struggled and one person tried to save me but I pulled them under and they got away from me so … to the bottom I went.
When I stopped fighting, this unbelievable feeling of relief and peace came over me. I slowly left my body and it was harder for my spirit to move through the water than after I broke the surface, but then I was hovering over my body which was clearly on the bottom.
The next thing I remember, I was in a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end which I and my guide were approaching. There were many other unformed grey spirits like me and every one had a darker, slightly more formed, guide.
Suddenly I became aware of a hard-to-describe entity of pure light and inhuman love. I asked it, "Are you the Christian god I have been taught about?" The answer was, "I am the only God, and my name means love." I asked, "What should I do with my life?" Two giant black blocks of stone appeared with one word on each, HUSBAND FATHER. I thought, "This seems like a big deal; should I tell people?" The answer was " no."
Suddenly it seemed like I appeared at the end of the tunnel nearest the light, and I was asked, "Will you stay or will you go back?" I replied, "I don't want to go back, but it would kill my mother so I will go back." The next thing I remember, my mother is pounding on my back and I am spitting up water. People there said I was under 3 or 4 minutes.
The most misunderstood two things about my NDE are: (1) Even though the words were literally written in stone: FATHER HUSBAND, it was made clear in my mind that this was only a possibility if I chose certain forks in my future, not predetermination, and (2) When the answer to "Should I tell people about this?" was "no," I had the vision of child preachers in front of a congregation in my head, not that I and/or others should not discuss NDEs.
When I was around fourteen years old, I went fishing with my older brother and his friend. We took a small boat out on to a river. The river waters were extremely high and fast-moving as it had been raining for two weeks straight. As soon as we launched the boat from the shoreline it immediately capsized. As I went over into the water, I was able to grab onto a seat cushion that fell into the water. It happened so fast as the water was pulling me down underneath rapidly. The seat cushion which was supposed to also serve as a flotation device was useless as I was clutching on to it.
I was looking up as I was being pulled down and I could see the top of the water and a very small what appeared to be a hole of light from above getting smaller and smaller as I was being pulled down so fast I couldn't seem to move at all, just being pulled under. Two thoughts came to mind, as I was being pulled down - the seat cushion was not helping to save me, it was getting sucked down regardless, and I remember saying to myself in my mind - "I can't believe I am going to die like this, I'm only 14." At that point, everything went dark.
The next thing I can remember is looking up and seeing the overcast sky, I was soaking wet, lying on my back. My vision was not very clear, foggy like, confused, where was I, what was happening. As I was coming to my senses, I could hear my brother calling my name off in the distance. I called out to him. All I remember next was saying to him - (his first name) "You saved my life, thank you for saving my life and pulling me out of the water." He replied - "I didn't pull you out of the water, we've been running up and down the shoreline looking for you." We've had people looking for you for some time.
When he pulled me up from the ground, I turned to look at where I was. I had been lying in the branches of a large birch tree that was lying partially in the water’s edge downstream from where the boat capsized. We got in the car, didn't talk much. When I got home, I remember telling my Mom that (brother's first name) had saved me from drowning.
My brother to this day doesn't know what happened and he insists that he did not pull me out. He found me lying on the tree. The incident seemed to have gone into the background of my life in the early years of my life. At times the memory would come up, I would struggle to make sense of it and then it would disappear again for years. In my later years, as a parent, I've struggled to fill in the missing pieces which were causing restlessness for answers, loss of sleep, questioning life.
Something seemed to have brought the incident to the forefront of my thoughts several years ago and it was difficult for me, replaying it out in my mind daily, what happened, how did I get out of the water - Who saved me? It's almost like I have a sense of someone having pulled me from the water. A hand reaching down into the water and pulling me out, telling me it was not your time.
The past year I've been getting more thoughts coming into my head that I was not following the course that I was supposed to. I was supposed to be helping people heal, overcome their challenges, fears, obstacles. Helping them find their path in life. Like I was given a second chance in life and now was the time to take care of business before it gets too late and I didn't accomplish what I was supposed to do.
I've only recently told my children about my experience. I have actually come to peace with trying to find the missing time/events between going under and awakening. I've been in many sessions of searching and during one, a voice or thought clearly said to me - "You don't need to know the answer right now, it's not the time. Just know that you are here."
When I was approximately two years old, my father looked at me one day and decided he wanted to “be the first”. He raped me as an infant. Many years later, when he was beginning to show signs of dementia, someone spoke to him about how he should treat me. His response was, “She’s my daughter and I’ll do what I want with her,” and then proceeded to tell the above story (in more graphic detail). This came back to me more than a year after that conversation, and after he had passed.
I have no conscious memory of that event from my infancy. However, I have known since my 20s that something of that nature had happened to me. I knew it because my emotional and physical responses in certain situations were classic sexual-abuse-victim reactions. I knew it because of “cellular memory”: my body knew, even though my mind didn’t. I spent many years in therapy, reading, and self-evolutionary work, trying to figure it out, trying to remember what happened to me. It wasn’t until my father’s late-life “brag” (that was his point, to demonstrate his “rights”) was relayed to me that I finally had an answer. I was then in my 50s. But I still have no conscious memory of the event.
When I started attending the Tucson IANDS presentations, I was fascinated. To know what was on the other side, to hear others’ personal accounts, was at once uplifting and reassuring, intellectually engaging and emotionally supportive. I joined IANDS, and was further delighted to start receiving their “Monthly NDE” reports. Recently I came across a couple of them that really caught my attention.
One talked about NDEs in children, written by P.M.H. Atwater. She spoke of how “children compensate”. Rather than deal with their experience, they adjust other things around it; that even into mature years, the puzzle is often not solved. They “begin abstracting (dealing with broad conceptual ideas), are smarter than their parents, school teachers, friends”. “They forever miss HOME, the greater collective they know is real.” She says 90% are unable to bond with their parents. She continues: “Typical characteristics afterward: heightened senses, vivid imagination, intellectual curiosity and drive, psychic/intuitive, loneliness, higher I.Q., deep capacity to care, great potential for an ethical path, aware of future moments, strongly independent even if shy, nonlinear development. The younger the child, the greater the jump in I.Q., [and] the ability to abstract.” They are “doers with good ideas, inventions, and the energy to get jobs done”. They have a heightened consciousness, and a tendency to nerve-stomach-skin sensitivity.
These things all represent aspects of myself. I never felt particularly close to any of my family. (I’m not even sure what “bonding” with a parent might actually be.) I never thought I was smarter than average, until I had more experience with a broader range of people – and then it became clear to me: my comments were often over the heads of other people. My thoughts and ideas were often complex and fairly advanced in logic and principle, and went unnoticed (at best) or ridiculed (at worst). I am very resourceful and can often come up with unique ways to deal with a problem or situation. I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) as defined by Dr. Elaine Aron. I am intuitive and perceptive of people’s emotions and intentions. I can often “see” likely outcomes of present actions. I can often tell when someone is lying. I have a strong sense of history and how it connects everything, as well as my own participation in many time periods. I have had several Spiritually Transformative Experiences (STEs), mostly regarding my own past lives. And I have an awareness of a broader future for humanity and the planet.
A different Monthly NDE mentions the writer’s “excruciatingly painful awareness”, a “feeling of desolate isolation from my real existence”. I have always felt a deep, profound, and painful sadness, just from living on the physical plane, never feeling a part of this place, never feeling “at home”. I know things about how this life works that most other people don’t seem to be aware of, things in terms of personal interactions, repercussions, and energetic flow. At least, sometimes.
Other times I am clueless as to social norms and acceptable behaviors, or what some enigmatic comment is supposed to convey. And yet I was never able to utilize my sensitivities for anything other than personal evolution. It did not help me find jobs or friends, I never felt “successful”, either monetarily or socially. I have never had sufficient certainty of my ideas to help others by way of predictions or information regarding their own lives. All I can do is give my own thoughts and impressions as suggestions, and if they accept what I say, it may help them to understand their circumstances or make their own choices. Often, however, they do not. I sometimes feel like Cassandra of Greek mythology, cursed to give true prophecies which nobody ever believes.
In this second Monthly NDE, the writer says she has no memory of the experience, she simply “knew” that she had been on another plane of existence, and had been forced or somehow persuaded to return to her physical body. This really woke me up. “Having no memory of the experience” is the same way I describe my own sexual assault: I have no conscious memory of it, yet I “know” it happened. This led me to what felt like a revolutionary concept: perhaps I had, as a result of rape at a very early age, left my body and experienced an NDE. For reasons at which I can only guess, my memory of the physical event and my retreat out of my body – and whatever happened on the other side – had been erased. I would guess that this was done to protect me and help me survive.
The emotional pain, shyness, reluctance to socialize, constant anxiety, and fear for my protection and future have been with me as long as I can remember. I have always known that I had to take care of myself, I could rely on nobody else for my physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing. Over the course of more than 60 years, that intuition has been borne out, and continues to be true.
I have always had a deep need and respect for the truth, beyond what most others would act on, even to my own detriment in terms of money or personal cost. If you don’t have truth, I felt, you don’t have anything. My mother’s description of me, as told to the mother of a friend of mine, was “very independent”.
Despite crippling shyness, I was compelled to utilize my musical talents in singing and acting. I have a number of stomach/digestive issues, and I am physically very sensitive. (I.e., things that are very painful to me would go unnoticed by many.) I have always tried to help others, though my efforts were often misunderstood. I feel a visceral pain at cruelty or subjugation of any kind, to anyone, whether I know them or not. I have always championed the underdog in most any situation or society at large, including (especially!) the animal kingdom.
My empathic abilities seem to be very sharp, yet indistinct. I can be overwhelmed by feelings that often make no sense to me, if I happen to notice. More often, I get totally lost in the emotion and react to that, and I don’t notice that it likely comes from people or circumstances around me. This is complicated by my own, often very strong, emotions. It took me decades to realize this was happening, and I am still learning how to differentiate and identify sources (me or not-me).
I describe this laundry list of “after-effects” as the only evidence of my NDE. It may seem like I’m jumping to conclusions, but that is the nebulous nature of my attributes and abilities. I have only my intuition to go on. It may sound self-absorbed, yet that seems to be my purpose here in this lifetime. My constant goal throughout my life has been to improve myself as a human being and increase my spiritual awareness. Everything else was secondary. (I was once told by a numerologist that I was hoping to make this my last incarnation.) For the most part, the only real achievements I have made during my life have been in introspection, self-realization, and personal evolution. And perhaps those are no small achievements. So, make of it what you will. If my story helps anyone else in their own journey, that will be a whole new kind of success for me.