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Richard J Other

Experience description:   

I was raised in a large family that attended a fundamentalist Christian church three times a week and every other time the church doors were open.  We were indoctrinated with the belief in the usual Christian theology about heaven and hell and a jealous, vindictive God that would surely send anyone to hell who didn't dot all the i's and cross all the t's of keeping his commandments.  My three siblings and I were subjected to this religious environment until we graduated from high school.  After high school, I left home and stopped going to church for several years.  I got married, had a baby girl and started feeling bad about raising my child 'un-churched' and returned to the same church because I had been so thoroughly brainwashed into believing it was 'the only true church' in all of Christendom.  So, the heaven vs. hell and 'fear of God' indoctrinations were revived in my life.  What was also revived was my extreme fear of dying, of God's judgment, and the prospect of going to hell.

I was driving home in my Toyota Corolla from studying in the library at the university where I was attending engineering school.  It was about 11:30 pm and the speed limit was 55 mph.  It was 1975 and wearing seat belts was not yet required by law in Texas.  I was not wearing mine.  I was in the outside lane of the 2-lane divided highway and approaching a bridge over a creek, so the roadway was on an incline and at this point was about 15 feet above the frontage road of the highway.   I looked into my rear view mirror above the dashboard and saw headlights coming at my car at an angle from the inside lane at a high rate of speed.  In a futile attempt to get out of the way of the oncoming vehicle, I turned my wheel sharply to the right (I was going 50 - 55 mph).  The vehicle that hit me was a 1972 Mach 1 Mustang, which weighed over twice as much as my car.  The police said it was travelling about 100 mph when it hit my car.

The next thing I remember was total darkness and the feeling of being suspended weightlessly in a void, a completely empty space.  I think I was in a suspended state of consciousness because I knew that another car had hit me from behind and that it must have been a pretty serious collision.  I noticed what felt like sharp, blunt blows to points all over my body, but felt no pain from them.  I thought that I was still in my car and must be tumbling down the side of the elevated highway toward the frontage road.  I thought that the sharp blows I was feeling were from me tumbling around inside the car because I remembered that I had not buckled my seat belt.  But I felt no sense of physical movement of my body (like tumbling).  It was like I was suspended in space and things were hitting me from all directions, but without inflicting any pain.


While still in my 'suspended state of consciousness', and after I realized what was happening and the seriousness of my situation, I immediately thought: 'I'm about to find out what it's like to be dead'.  I was pretty sure that I was in the process of dying, and about to experience being dead.  At the point when I had that thought, I had no fear of dying or being dead and my mind was in a very peaceful state.  My mind was totally at ease and was not resisting anything that was happening.  This attitude I had about dying and my fearless anticipation about soon 'meeting my maker' has had a profound effect on my religious convictions.

Although I have always believed in the existence of God, my perception of him has changed drastically.  My accident experience has convinced me that I have nothing to fear about dying and going to hell.  When faced with the perceived reality of my death and impending judgment of God, I instinctively knew that I had nothing to fear and that everything was going to be alright.  I now look forward to meeting or 'going home to' God and believe that no matter how it happens, my death is going to be a wonderful experience. 

And now, I would like to tell what really happened when I had my accident.  The Mach 1 Mustang hit my Corolla on the left rear bumper sending my car into a clockwise spin because I had turned my front wheels in the attempt to avoid the collision.  At the moment of impact, the driver's side front door popped open and I was hurled from the car (traveling probably 70 - 80 mph). I landed on the shoulder of the road and rolled down the grassy embankment into the ditch beside the frontage road.  The sharp blows I felt were due to my body tumbling down the embankment.  I suffered multiple lacerations, contusions, broken teeth, and a severed right ear but miraculously, no broken bones.

The impact to my car and its subsequent tumble down the embankment resulted in the roof of the car buckling down into and filling up the driver's seat.....I surely would have been crushed if I had stayed in the vehicle.  Is this a NDE?  Probably not in the usual sense, but my experience has influenced my outlook on life and death in ways that are similar to those that other people have reported in their NDE stories.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   Yes  I was involved in an automobile accident in which I was thrown from the vehicle at a high rate of speed.

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  No    

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?           Not sure.

How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness?      Less consciousness and alertness than normal   I was only conscious of and concerned with what was happening at the time.  I was not concerned with how my family would be impacted if I were to die or with anything else that was going on in my life at the time.

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   I saw nothing; only darkness.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   I heard nothing.

Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?   No  

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   No anxiety or resistance to what was happening.  Just acceptance.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   No  

Did you see an unearthly light?   No  

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?   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  

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings?   No  

Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?   No  

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   Some unfamiliar and strange place

I was in a peaceful place but saw only darkness.  I felt like I was suspended in a void.

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   No

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   No

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   No

Did you come to a border or point of no return?   No

Did scenes from the future come to you?  No 

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes   While I was waiting to 'find out what it's like to be dead' I knew that God loved me and was not going to condemn me in any way.  This was totally the opposite of what I thought before this experience.  I was in constant fear of dying and of God's judgment.

During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives?   No  

Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?   Yes   I somehow knew that God loved me and would not condemn me.

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience   I was no longer afraid of God.

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 th   It has been 42 years since my experience and I still remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   My experience made me more interested in seeking answers to questions like: Who am I?  How did I get here?  Why am I here?  What is the meaning of Life?  I have become more spiritual and less religious.  I do not attend worship services anywhere now.

My experience directly resulted in:   Large changes in my life

Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?  
Yes   Before my experience I feared God, after my experience I did not.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   No  

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?    
The calm and peace that I felt.

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  I told my wife and a few close friends about the experience.  I think they thought I was just dreaming.  I don't think it influenced them much.

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 it had to be real because I no longer feared God.  That was a big turn-around in my thinking at the time.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real   There is nothing that has happened in my life that I remember as vividly as that experience.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   Not so much with other people, but definitely and significantly with God.

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   It took some time for me to give up on organized religion, but that decision was definitely influenced by my experience.

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?   No

Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?   Yes   The questionnaire was very thorough.

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?     TV documentaries, books, articles.  Any form of public communication that would make more people aware that these experiences are happening and how frequently they occur.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?                No