A variety of new and unexpected experiences then invaded my life, including meeting with people of the highest integrity who had had NDEs. These were not dreamers or druggies who had had hallucinations, but utterly reliable witnesses who had while dead visited somewhere elseand whose lives had been changed and enhanced as a consequence. The fruit of their changed lives was a loving and practical contribution made into the lives of others - which I have come to appreciate to be a test of a 'successful' return to life on Earth.
I'll recount a few of their experiences, along with other similar ones gathered more recently. But first, a reassurance right at the beginning of discussing the NDE phenomenon - in all cases the NDEr enjoys a freedom from pain and a wonderful feeling of peace at the moment of separation from the physical body. The moment of death is typified by comments such as: ‘No choking or smothering’, ‘A great release into peace’, ‘Just like fainting’, ‘Like a lost breath’, ‘So quick, and painless’, ‘Quicker and less of an issue than an anaesthetic’.
Chuck (BB) who died during a motorcycle collision with a truck gives a typical description:
Then all of a sudden I have this warm, very comfortable, wonderful feeling - and it seemed like all the worldly worries just disappeared, and nothing was important anymore. It felt like I slid into this Jacuzzi that was just a perfect temperature and everything felt as wonderful as it could feel to the physical body. And I believe that at that moment I was dead.
He felt so good! His subsequent experiences in the spirit world were so positive, that when he hears today of someone dying, his immediate response is, ‘Lucky bastard, you're going home.... I don't believe in death anymore; I believe in life after life, which is ultimately the journey of everyone on Earth.’
Denis Cooper and his wife Joan ran a Christian Centre on their farm in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1970s on the smell of an oil rag. Denis' upright life and good works plus a freedom from addictions stamp him as an impeccable witness. That he provided me with details of his NDE before the term had been popularised makes his recollections 'untainted' by modern expectations.
During the Second World War, Denis had the experience of an artillery shell landing nearby and finding himself as a spirit floating high above the devastated trench, thinking to himself as he looked down on the scene 'Those men are in a bad way' before making out that one of them was himself, lying in a pool of blood with a chunk blown out of the side of his helmet! An NDEr not recognising his or her body lying below is more common than one might suppose. A similar but more recent example happened in the Sunni Triangle, during the Iraqi war that toppled Saddam Hussein. Marcus (BB) was in a Humvee blown up by a roadside bomb. He also did not at first identify his broken body lying in the road. Floating above the scene and looking at his shattered body below, he thought, ‘I don't want to go through what that man is going to go through’ - meaning during anticipated rehabilitation. In one sense he was correct, he found his rehab was a rough row to hoe, but he was successful and today is happy and enjoying each day of a restored life.
Denis Cooper also supplied me with a further example of an NDE. He had recently found their granddaughter, three-year-old Amy, floating face down in the swimming pool, apparently drowned. He and her mother Vicky, a trained nurse, applied mouth-to-mouth and CPR until Amy revived. Later on, the little girl told him, ‘Grandpa, you looked funny jumping into the pool with your watch still on’, which she could not have seen while floating unconscious face down! She also asked him, ‘Where is that doll that was lying in the pool?’ On further questioning, she described what could only have been a view of herself floating there - seen from above. Being a child, she did not recognise the floating 'doll' as herself.
I was impressed. Certainly Amy had no pre-existing concepts of what might have happened to her at death, nor did she identify herself as the doll afloat facedown below.
Sandy (BB), an adult who drowned in a kayaking accident, describes seeing her body floating face downwards in similar terms:
Then I am up thirty feet or so and looking down at a girl's body floating on the water like a rag doll. I could see the water pouring in and out of her mouth; her arms were hanging by her side. Then it dawned on me that it was me down there!
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