In the Summer of 1975 I was 17 and had gone with my sister and a
group of church people on a tour of Europe and Israel. Our trip was being
financed by an elderly cousin and the catch was that my sister and I had to
submit to being baptized in the River Jordan.
I wore a swim cap
during the baptism but it had wrecked my curly hairstyle. Thinking I'd wet my
hair and slick it into a ponytail, I took off my cap, waded further out to a
high level of water, held my breath and dunked my head in. The next thing I
knew I was standing on the bottom of the river with murky greenish-brown water
all around me. I immediately tried to propel myself upward through the water,
but he undertow pulled me back down. I propel my self again and this time was
able to break the surface of the water with my hands -- I clapped them at that
time, hoping one of the other people in the water would hear/notice and come to
my rescue. After I managed the clap, the undertow immediately pulled me down to
the bottom once again. Next, I tried to imitate the moves of one of the church
people I had seen swimming through the water minutes earlier. I was pulled down
to my feet yet again.
It was then that I
realized there really wasn't anything I could do to save myself, and that I
wouldn't be able to hold my breath much longer. I calmly stood there and
mentally prepared myself to die. After the panicky efforts to save myself, my
mind was now quiet and calm as I waited to drown. It was then that I heard a
mechanical sound like an intercom in my ear, and the next thing I heard was a
woman's voice calmly addressing me. "Cheryl, walk against force of the water,"
the voice instructed, and, without question or resistance, I immediately
obeyed. Turning towards the flow of the water, I actually had to push through
it, the pressure/force was that strong. After a few steps forward, I actually
felt a stone staircase under my feet and I knew, because of this, I couldn't be
too far from shore. I kept walking and within seconds my head finally broke
through the surface of the water and out into the air. My sister and another
girl actually saw me walk up and out of the water; both were trying to get my
attention because, without my noticing, my swim suit strap had slipped off and
one of my breasts was exposed.
I'm 51 now and I still don't know whose voice it was that I heard. When I still
young, I thought maybe it might turn out to be my own adult voice which traveled
into the/my/its past to save me/itself, but if memory serves, my voice doesn't
sound anything like what I heard. I've come to the conclusion that the voice
was my guardian angel. Also, I believe that my calming down and clearing my mind
is what allowed me to "hear" the voice's instruction and to save myself from
the kind of experience difficult to express in words?
the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?
Yes I was completely underwater (literally standing on the riverbed). After
three attempts to save myself, I gave up and was probably moments away from
what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness
When I stood still and calmly waited to drown, that's also the time I heard "the
did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience
compare to your normal every day consciousness and alertness?
More consciousness and alertness than normal
your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience was
different from your normal every day consciousness and alertness, please
When I stood still and calmly waited to drown, that's also the time I heard "the
your vision differ in any way from your normal, everyday vision (in any aspect,
such as clarity, field of vision, colors, brightness, depth perception degree of
solidness/transparency of objects, etc.)?
your hearing differ in any way from your normal, everyday hearing (in any
aspect, such as clarity, ability to recognize source of sound, pitch, loudness,
Uncertain I was underwater and there was nothing "natural" for
my ears to hear.
you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?
What emotions did you feel during the experience?
Panic initially and then calm acceptance.
you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure?
you see a light?
you meet or see any other beings?
Uncertain I didn't see or meet anyone but I heard a woman's voice. She
sounded completely human; there was nothing otherworldly about the sound of the
you experience a review of past events in your life?
you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience
that could be verified later?
you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or
you have any sense of altered space or time?
Uncertain It seemed like I was underwater, holding my breath, for a long
period of time.
you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?
Uncertain I felt that what was normally hidden to us (that there IS
more to life/reality than meets the eye) was, in a way, divulged to me because
my guardian angel allowed me to "hear" her clear, voiced instructions on what to
do to quickly save myself.
you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?
you become aware of future events?
you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience
you did not have prior to the experience?
Yes I have seen the ghost of a deceased pet cat in my home and have
witnessed poltergeist activity after the death of my elderly aunt in my home.
I've had what seem like out of body experiences while I'm asleep and I can see
auras. Also I seem to have an indirect ability to sometimes predict the future
(A half an hour before NY's big blackout that lasted several days, I was sitting
in my air conditioned room talking to my sister when I suddenly got an uneasy
feeling. I looked at my a/c and thought to myself, "You're not going to conk
out on me, are you?!" It was working well and blowing out nice cool air, I
somehow knew it wasn't the a/c malfunctioning that gave me that uneasy feeling.
I turned to my sister and laughing said, "You know, we haven't had a blackout in
a while...." About 20 minutes later the air conditioner suddenly shut off and
we in a major blackout. It was my sister who reminded me of what I said and
told me I was a jinx as similar things had happened before.)
Have you shared this experience with others?
Yes I told my sister within a few hours of the experience; she seemed to
have believed that I made it up although she did think it was unusual for me to
just disappear for a few minutes and then to see me just walking up and out from
under the water as I did.
you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?
Uncertain I don't recall ever hearing or reading about NDE before or
during that time (1975). I was about 8 when I suddenly stopped breathing in the
school playground due to undiagnosed asthma. I must have blacked out because
the next thing I know, I'm waking up in a hospital and mother is there with me.
I sometimes wonder if I actually was dead for a short while.
did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it
Experience was definitely real I was spooked at first and tried not to think
about the experience, but I've always known it was real.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or
significant to you?
Everything that happened while underwater was meaningful to me. I was a 17 year
old city girl from NYC who didn't know how to swim, never heard of an undertow
and had probably only been to the beach 2 times in her life. All I could think
of to save myself was to try to go upwards -- sideways, the direction the water
flowed, meant nothing to me and, left to my own devices, I most assuredly would
do you currently view the reality of your experience:
Experience was definitely real Thirty-four years later, yes it was
definitely real. I am in awe of it and I thank my guardian angel every time I
think about it.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your
don't practice organized religion but I most certainly due believe in higher
powers. I also don't feel that religion is of any importance when it comes to
reality beyond what we see.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life,
medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?
there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?
life hasn't turned out so well and I sometimes wondered why I was saved.
Probably wasn't my time and drowning isn't the way I'm supposed to go.
the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and
comprehensively describe your experience?
Yes I think I explained it as well as I can.