Case

The third person interviewed was Mr C., a 41-year-old musician. He studied classical music and became a professional guitarist. He reported an NDE in December 1981 as a consequence of a terrible car accident. He said:

My friend was driving a car and I was sitting in the passenger seat. The car smashed into a bus and I got a hard blow on my head. I was taken to a hospital. In hospital, I was aware of being examined but immediately afterwards I became unconscious and entered a state of 'suspended animation' with dilated pupils for a day (24 hours). Doctors told my parents there was no guarantee of my survival.

Mr C. had a vision of an empty and strange place. He said: 'No one was there. No living things were around me. I remember that I felt serene but lonely. I was amazed at how vast the space was! It was neither too bright nor too dark. It was just there was no living thing there.' He wandered around and reached a wall of bright and magnificent Light in his path. He said:

I saw something glittering in the distance and went to it. Next thing I knew there was a bright huge wall standing in my way. It was made of golden light. There was something I had to go across between the wall and me. I believe there was no river, no bridge or nothing specifically. The wall, which shone gold softly, was made of pure glory and I was sure that there existed whole in it. I moved towards it, being gravitated to it. I have a feeling that I saw many things in this something. Everything happened very quickly. I remember that I saw everything I had experienced. In all the cases the experiences were very unique events, but when they did occur they were the most important experiences in their lives and could be life-transforming. As I have previously argued in Chapter 2, most of those who had a NDE often report a less materialistic, more spiritual, less competitive view of life and overall a reduced fear of death (Moody 1975; Greyson and Stevenson 1980; Fenwick and Fenwick 1995; Fox 2003). They also seem to be convinced that we never die and that the human soul is immortal.

Then I asked him to tell me a little bit more about the sense of gravitation that he felt around the golden wall. He said:

The sense of gravitation toward the light was so strong that I gradually began to lose the sense of distinguishing myself from the light. I was filled with everything. Then I thought something like: 'Would I be dead if the trend continues?', but 'I have achieved nothing in this life!' Then I realized that I had developed a strong feeling of resistance towards this gravitation and the melting into the light. I remember nothing else. The next thing I knew was that I was lying in a hospital bed, and that I was in pain and suffering.

Interestingly, every NDEr we interviewed was absolutely sure that what happened wasn't 'just a dream' but a true experience. This is a common feature of near-death experiences (see, for instance, Greyson and Stevenson 1980). For all the participants it was a pleasant experience. No pain or suffering was reported. Only Mr C. felt 'serene, but lonely'. This differs the research results of Hata and his team at the University of Kyorin (Hata, in Hadfield 1991) in which five out of eight participants had a negative experience.

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