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Experiences Group

May Eulitt’s and Her Two Companions Group NDE

The following group NDE appears in the International Association for Near-Death Studies publication Vital Signs (Volume XIX, No. 3, 2000) and is described in a greater way in May Eulitt’s and Dr. Stephen Hoyer’s book, Fireweaver: The Story of a Life, a Near-Death, and Beyond.

May finally made the transition into spirit on February 19, 2002, due to complications following a surgical procedure to repair one of her heart valves. She was 52 years old. The following is her near-death experience as described to Dr. Stephen Hoyer:

During the fall of 1971, when I was 22 years old, I shared a near-death experience with my cousin, James, and his best friend, Rashad, who was from India. Both young men were on a break from school and were staying with my family on our farm. One afternoon the three of us went to the cornfield to cut fodder. To get to the field we had to go through a metal gate, and we took turns climbing down to open and shut it. By late afternoon a storm started brewing in the west, and we decided to quit for the day. It was James’ turn to open the gate, and as he did so, he reached up for my arm to climb back up onto the wagon. I was leaning the wrong way, and his weight pulled me toward him. Rashad grabbed my other arm to steady me, and we were in just this position when the lightening hit us.

I saw the lightning sparkle along the top of the gate. The next thing we knew, we were in a large room or hall made of dark stone. The ceiling was so high and the gloom was so thick we couldn’t see the top. There were no furnishings or wall hangings, just cold, black stone all around. I knew I should be afraid, but I just felt peaceful, floating along there in the gloom with my two friends in the great, dark hall. The stately walls of this place loomed above us and seemed to radiate both great power and also great masculinity. I remember thinking it would have suited King Arthur. It was at that point that I realized that the three of us were united in thought and body. Images of Arthur came to me from James and Rashad. James saw only a cosmic version of the king. Rashad seemed to [be] envisioning himself in the time of Arthur. As we all became conscious of each other’s thoughts, I suddenly knew James and Rashad better than I have ever known anyone else.

We realized there was light coming into the chamber from an archway at one end. It was more than just light. It was a golden, embracing warmth. It gave off a feeling of peace and contentment more intense than anything we had ever felt. We were drawn toward it. We weren’t talking, but we were communicating with each other on some other level, seeing through each other’s eyes. As we came to the archway and passed through, we entered a beautiful valley.

There were meadows and tree-lined hills that led to tall mountains in the distance. Everything glistened with golden sparks of light.

We saw that the sparkling lights were tiny, transparent bubbles that drifted in the air and sparkled on the grass. We realized that each tiny sparkle was a soul. To me, the valley appeared to be Heaven, but at the same time I knew that James and Rashad were seeing it differently. James saw it as the Gulf of Souls. Rashad saw it as Nirvana, and somehow we knew all this without speaking. The light began gathering at the far end of the valley, and slowly, out of the mist, a pure white being began to materialize. I saw an angel with a strong, bright face, but not like you’d usually imagine. She was closer to a strong, Viking Valkyrie. I knew she was the special angel that watches over the women of my family, and I perceived her name to be Hellena. James saw this same being as his late father, a career Naval officer, in a white dress uniform. Rashad perceived the being to be the Enlightened One, or Buddha.

The being spoke first to Rashad and welcomed him. He said that Rashad’s time on Earth was done. He was worthy now of Nirvana. Rashad asked why James and I were there and was told that we were part of the reason why he was worthy of Nirvana. His two great friends loved him so much that they had willingly accompanied him on his last journey. At the same time, however, James received a different message. He had been worried about what his father would think about his anti-war protest activities, and his father told him he was proud of him for standing up for what he believed. He knew he was not a coward because a coward would not have made this journey with Rashad. I received yet another message in which Hellena told me she was glad I had remembered the example of strength, honesty, wisdom, and loyalty taught to me by my family.

We spent what seemed like an eternity in this place as we talked to our separate, yet joined, entities. They said they appeared to us in this way because back in the real world we were physically joined when the lightning struck us. They said it also symbolized the joining of all religions and doctrines. They said I would live to see a new age of tolerance, that the souls and hearts of humanity would be joined as the three of us were.

The guides taught us that doctrine and creed and race meant nothing. No matter what we believed we were all children joined under one God, and that the only rule was God’s true law – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We should treat all people as if they were a part of our soul because they were. All living things in the universe were connected to one another. They said that soon humanity would mature enough to assume a higher place in the universal scheme of things, but until then we must learn acceptance and tolerance and love for each other. They said there would come a new age when people would not be able to endure seeing others homeless and hungry. We would realize that only by helping each other could we truly help ourselves.

Eventually we were told that it was time to go. We would not be allowed to stay longer because it was not yet time for me or for James, only for Rashad. The enlightened one told Rashad he would have a little time before he returned to take care of his worldly affairs. James’ father told him he would return to this place soon after Rashad, but the two of them had to go back for now so that I could. I said I would willing stay here in this valley with them, but Hellena told me that I had not fulfilled my destiny; that I had children yet unborn.

We drifted slowly toward the archway. The pull became stronger and we were literally thrown back into the world. We floated for a while there, hovering above our bodies. Some of my cousins had been in the next field and had seen what had happened. We saw them all come running to where we lay. James and Rashad’s hands were still stuck to my arms. We saw my cousins pry their fingers loose so they could turn Rashad over to help him.

When our hands were pried loose, James and I re-entered our bodies. We felt as if we were on fire, but it turned out that we had only minor injuries. Rashad, it seemed, being on the end, had taken most of the charge. The doctors said that the lightning had caused damage to his heart, lungs, and liver. He remained in the hospital for several weeks. During that time, tests revealed that James had a brain tumor that would eventually claim his life.

As soon as Rashad could travel, James took him home to India. He offered to stay, but Rashad told him that he wished solitude for his final time. Rashad took on the life of the Ascetic, in the Vedic tradition. He asked his wife to stay with her family because he wanted his last days to be spent in spiritual awakenings. About a year and a half later, on a cold day in January, Rashad returned to Nirvana. James and I knew when his soul left the world without being told.

James lived about three years after he found out he had the brain tumor. He gave most of his considerable inheritance to a charity that educated young people in India. I, on the other hand, have survived for another thirty years (so far) with the knowledge that this experience which I shared with my closest friends has been a guiding force in my life. I strive every day to meet my destiny, whatever it may be, with the same quiet dignity and resolution they showed when they met theirs. They have truly been my pathfinders, and I know that the connection I shared with them so long ago is the same connection we all share. We just sometimes fail to realize it.

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Experiences Group

Steven Ridenhour and His Girlfriend’s Group NDE

The following information about group NDEs comes from P.M.H. Atwater’s books “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Near-Death Experiences” page 163-165 and “Beyond The Light” pages 60-63. Atwater writes:

“Another variant on death by degrees concerns shared experiences between experiencers. These incidents challenge the overall significance of any need factor a sole individual might have, and threaten the underpinning of any scientific argument that body processes explain near-death states.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

Table of Contents

  1. When Two or More People Die Together
  2. Atwater’s Otherworldly Insights From Group NDEs
  3. Steven Ridenhour and His Girlfriend’s Group NDE

1. When Two or More People Die Together

From time to time you hear about a couple who both die — in a car accident, for example — and have a near-death episode in which they see one another, and one says to the other, “I must stay, but you need to return.” And, indeed, only one comes back. I’ve encountered this with married couples and with parent/child duos. Since only one lives, it, impossible to verify the full account. All you can deal with is the single survivor and his or her response to the event and the ensuing aftereffects.

I have encountered other people, though, who reported scenarios that appeared so similar it’s as if they were shared. This oddity happened in two ways:

(1) They were either all at the same location within the same time span, or (2) They were miles and years apart.

In my own case, two of my “deaths” happened in January of 1977, the other in March. I have since met a dozen other people whose experiences were to much akin to my first and last one, it’s as if we each lived through exactly the same thing. Later, I met 51 other individuals who also had three near-death episodes in 1977, with before and after conditions similar to mine — even though we “died” in different months and experienced different scenarios.

2. Atwater’s Otherworldly Insights From Group NDEs

Occasionally in research you run across cases of multiple deaths and multiple miracles, where, somehow, all of those who were dead revive. I have noticed a fascinating peculiarity in those I have investigated, and that is if one of the people involved reports having had a near-death episode, they all will — even if the multiple parties have yet to speak with each other or divulge what happened to them with anyone else. Once they do get together and compare accounts, they are shocked to discover they each experienced a near-death state and how similar each one is to the other (although precise details may vary).

3. Steven Ridenhour and His Girlfriend’s Group NDE

It happened one bright sunshiny day in the summer of 1973. Steven B. Ridenhour of Charlottesville, Virginia, and his girlfriend, Debbie, decided to go to the rapids at the “bullhole,” part of the river that flows behind an old cotton mill in Cooleemee, North Carolina. Both had been smoking pot and were bored. Their decision to run the knee-high rapids meant that they had to start at the beginning of the rock incline, on down about 20 feet, and start skiing barefooted until they reached the moss beds. The sport could have been great fun, but not on this trip.

“We smoked another joint and then headed toward the rapids. Debbie begins laughing, and the next thing I know we’re overtaken by laughter. The giggling stops as we’re swept off our feet and dragged downriver.

“Debbie cries out, ‘Steven I can’t swim. I’m drowning.’

“I feel powerless because I can’t get to her and I’m yelling, ‘Hang on, don’t panic,’ when I take a tremendous mouthful of water. Without any warning, time, as I know it, stops.

“The water has a golden glow and I find myself just floating as without gravity, feeling very warm and comfortable. I’m floating in a vertical position with my arms outstretched and my head laying on my left shoulder. I feel totally at peace and full of serenity in this timeless space.

“Next I go through a past-life review. It was like looking at a very fast slide show of my past life, and I do mean fast, like seconds. I don’t quite understand the significance of all the events that were shown to me, but I’m sure there is some importance.

“When this ended, it was as if I was floating very high up and looking down at a funeral. Suddenly I realized that I was looking at myself in a casket. I saw myself dressed in a black tux with a white shirt and a red rose on my left lapel. Standing around me were my immediate family and significant friends.

“Then, as if some powerful force wrapped around me, I was thrust out of the water, gasping for air. There was Debbie within arm’s reach. I grabbed her by the back of her hair and I was able to get us both over to the rocks and out of the water.

“After lying on the rocks for a while, I glance over at Debbie and it’s like looking at a ghost. As she describes what she went through, it became apparent that we both had the same experience underwater – the golden glow, the serenity, seeing our lives flash before us, floating over a funeral, and seeing ourselves in a casket. That is the only time we ever talked about it. I haven’t seen or talked with Debbie since.”

For the next eleven years, Ridenhour tried practically every drug in the universe in an attempt to recapture the euphoria of his near-death experience, but to no avail. All he found was loneliness, prisons, and a failed marriage. He entered a treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse in December 1984, and has been in various stages of recovery ever since. Finally, he was able to find a counselor who knew something about the phenomenon he had experienced and she put him in touch with a near-death researcher. He told his story, then quickly disappeared – unable to face the truth of what he had been through.

It wasn’t until 1993, after suppressing the aftereffects of his experience for a total of twenty years, that Ridenhour found himself flat on his back because of a work-related injury and with no choice but to surrender.

“My life started changing right then and I can’t stop it, so I’m opening up my heart and my soul to see where this takes me.”

Ridenhour is now in nurse’s training, determined to repay society for his previous mistakes and to help heal people.

His youth was wrapped around horrific incidents of child abuse and abandonment. He grew up thinking he was unlovable and bad. His near-death experience so challenged this distorted self-image that, although he wanted the euphoria back, he could not accept the rest of it. Confused and frightened by the incident, he flung himself into a seemingly endless nightmare of self-destruction.

“None of the drugs worked,” he confessed. “They couldn’t even come close to matching my near-death experience.”

Later he was stunned to learn that many of the problems he had afterward are in fact typical aftereffects of the phenomenon.

“I thought it was all me. I never made the connection between my experience and why I felt so lost. It took getting injured at work before I stopped trying to run away and just relaxed and let all that love and joy back, and the golden glow. I had no choice, really. I had to accept the truth that there is a power in me, and I can use it to help others.”

Drug and alcohol free, Ridenhour has helped to organize an IANDS chapter in the Washington, D.C., area, one of many dedicated to providing informational meetings for near-death survivors and the interested public.

According to NDE expert, Janice Holden, in her book “Near-Death Experiences While Drowning” — where she also documents this group NDE – Debbie and Steven were reunited many years later when they were both guests on a television show. In front of the cameras, Debbie confirmed Steven’s memories of the incident, including that their separate near-death episodes were virtually identical.

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Experiences Group

Four Hospital Patients Group Near-Death Experiences

P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D. (Hon.) (pmhatwater.hypermart.net and www.amazon.com/PMH-Atwater) is a near-death experiencer and one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies. Sign up for her free online newsletter. Visit Atwater’s Q & A Blog and her NDE News Blog. She is the author of many more wonderful books including: The Forever Angels (2019), The Animal Lights Series of Children’s Books (2019), A Manual for Developing Humans (2017), The Big Book of NDEs (2014), Dying to Know You (2014), Future Memory (2013), Children of the Fifth World (2012), NDEs, The Rest of the Story (2011), I Died Three Times in 1977 (2011), Beyond the Indigo Children (2005), We Live Forever (2004), The New Children and NDEs (2003), Children of the New Millennium (1999), and Goddess Runes (1996).

Within a span of only two days, the same hellish NDE vision was independently witnessed by four strangers in the same hospital at the same time. How can four separate experiences be the same – and – simultaneous? P.M.H. Atwater describes this unusual group NDE in her book “Coming Back to Life: The After-Effects of the Near-Death Experience” on pages 14-16. Four hospital patients describe a hellish NDE of hillsides of naked zombie-like people staring at them. P.M.H. Atwater writes:

It was the late sixties – long before my own episode and before I knew what a near-death experience was. The place was St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho. I was visiting a lady there who had just moved to Boise from southern California. She had suffered a heart attack, and because I had previously befriended her, she called me. She was chalk-white with fear when I arrived. While clinically dead, she had experienced an incident which went like this:

She floated out of her body and into a dark tunnel, headed through the tunnel toward a bright light ahead; once the light was reached, she came to view a landscape of barren, rolling hills filled to overflowing with nude, zombie-like people standing elbow to elbow doing nothing but staring straight at her. She was so horrified at what she saw she started screaming. This snapped her back into her body where she continued screaming until sedated.

As she relayed her story, she went on to declare death a nightmare, then cursed every church throughout all history for misleading people with rubbish about any kind of heaven. She was inconsolable.

While I listened patiently, two other people entered the room, an elderly man and woman using walking canes. Individually, both had suffered heart failure, too, and later revived after being declared dead. Both revealed substantially the same story as the lady I knew. They were equally frightened. The three had found out about each other from nurses who had been comparing notes on patients they felt were having strange hallucinations.

This was such a coincidence that I instinctively began asking pointed questions. For whatever reason, each answered my questions without hesitation. It is as if they were hoping I could explain away what they had experienced and somehow make everything okay. They seemed to “need” me there, to listen and to care.

This is what my questions revealed:

(1) None of these people had the same religion, background, or lifestyle.
(2) None had mutual friends or common interests, nor did they have the same doctor in attendance.
(3) They had never seen each other before.
(4) All had lived long lives of varying degrees of hardship and success.
(5) Two were still married to their original spouses and had several grown children apiece.
(6) The lady from California had been divorced several times and had no children.

The only common denominator I could find, beside their heart ailments and the hospital floor they shared, was this:

(1) All three had suppressed guilt of various kinds deep within themselves.
(2) This guilt seemed quite painful to them and the strange “vision” they experienced while “dead” only served to deepen that pain.
(3) They admitted meeting what they feared most in dying, which confirmed and strengthened their already strong belief that their “sins” would be punished.

Before I left, a nurse took me aside and said there was yet one more, a man so shaken he refused to speak with anyone but kept muttering words the “hills and hills of nude people all staring.” I was not allowed to see him.

Why four people within a span of two days at the same hospital had the same basic experience brought on by the same type of ailment is a mystery to me. I could offer no consolation to any of them. I could only listen and ask questions. The whole thing was so unnerving I was shaking when I left.

What became of these four people, I do not know. The lady from California became so irrational and rude afterwards, I stopped visiting her. Had I known then what I know now, I would have handled the situation differently. These people were absolutely convinced there is a hell.

Webmaster Kevin Williams’ Analysis of This Group NDE

It seems to me that the masses of naked zombie-like people were all once patients of this hospital – all of whom experienced the same death experience while in the hospital. People who die in hospitals often die from horrible illnesses or traumatic accidents in terrible conditions. This would explain the horrific appearances of the former patients. It must also be noted that the gathering of naked people observing the NDEs of the four patients is a temporary “earthbound” situation and not an eternal hell – a “homecoming” in this realm – and that they only gather to greet the new arrivals.

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Experiences Group

A Group of Firefighters Near-Death Experience

The late Arvin S. Gibson was a retired nuclear engineer, a prominent near-death experience researcher and a co-founder of the Utah chapter of IANDS. His research culminated in the publication of several major works on the subject of NDEs including research on how NDE research supports doctrines of the Mormon (LDS) Church. In 1996, Arvin Gibson interviewed a firefighter named John Hernandez who had a most unusual NDE while working with other firefighters in a forest. What makes it unique is that it happened at the same time as several co-workers were also having an NDE. During their NDEs, they actually met each other and saw each other above their lifeless bodies. All survived and they verified with each other afterwards that the experience actually happened. The following testimonies of Arvin Gibson and John Hernandez can be found in both of Gibson’s books, Fingerprints of God (Gibson, 1996, pp. 128-31) and They Saw Beyond Death (Gibson, 1999, pp. 128-33).

Table of Contents

  1. John Hernandez’s 1989 Group NDE
  2. John Hernandez’s Second NDE in 1999
  3. Insights from John Hernandez’s NDEs
  4. John Hernandez’s March 2012 Presentation

1. John Hernandez’s 1989 Group NDE

Arvin Gibson met John Hernandez when he came to his home in 1996 to be interviewed by Sandra Cherry, a near-death researcher doing work for her Master’s thesis. John had previously called Gibson from Colorado after having read one of Gibson’s books. On that occasion John explained over the telephone what led to his NDE. His experience was sufficiently interesting that Gibson’s local chapter of IANDS invited John to tell his story at one of their meetings.

John began the day with a feeling of foreboding and indicated to his wife that he might never see his family again. He found that many others on the crew also felt uneasy. He said it was difficult to explain, but that he was uncomfortable leaving his family on that day. He had a premonition that something untoward was about to happen, but he felt duty-bound to respond to his work commitments.

John was a large man, several inches taller than my six-feet-two inches. He had an athletic build and moved with the easy grace of someone at home with his own frame. He spoke with a quiet humility not uncommon to large men. His appearance and demeanor were not surprising, though, since he had already told me of his occupation. He was a member of an elite firefighting group called the “Hotshots;” a crew whose job it was to be dropped into particularly troublesome forest fires and bring them under control.

During a wilderness fire in 1989 a helicopter dropped John, as crew boss, and two 20-person Hotshot crews onto a fire at the top of a steep mountain. The fire was burning below the crews in thick Ponderosa Pine and Oak brush. The wind was blowing the fire downhill away from the crews. The decision was made to try and construct a fire line downhill towards the existing fire with one crew, and have the second crew follow, starting a back-fire into the main blaze.

Creating a fire line involved clearing a path six feet down to mineral soil by using power saws and other hand tools. The second 20 person crew — whose job it was to initiate the back fire — started lighting any unburned fuel in front of the newly constructed fire line. The fire they were lighting was supposed to burn ahead of them with the wind down the slope toward the primary blaze thus stopping the main fire from advancing any further.

The slope of the hill the men and women were working on was about 40 degrees. They worked their way down the steep slope, when, part way down, to their horror, the wind changed to an upward direction. The trees in front of the men and women traveling down the hill erupted into flames with explosive force.

John explained how firefighters have a fire-resistant pack that is carried on their web gear. The pack includes an aluminum foil-type material which they can throw over themselves as they crouch to the ground in an emergency. These foils are only effective if the people can deploy the shelters after properly preparing the ground by reaching mineral soil with no residual flammable organic materials. The problem in this case was that the enormous winds caused by the inferno erupted all around them and the immediacy of the crisis made the shelters useless.

The panic stricken crews started to try and go back up the trench trail they had built. Trees exploded and fire engulfed the immediate area, and oxygen feeding the conflagration was sucked from near the ground where the people struggled to breathe. One by one the men and women fell to the Earth suffocating from lack of oxygen. They were reduced to crawling on their hands and knees while they attempted to get back up the hill to a safer area.

Suddenly John had the thought: “This is it. I am going to die.” And with that thought in mind he found himself looking down on his body which was lying in a trench. The noise, heat and confusion from the inferno surrounding them was gone and John felt completely at peace. As he looked around, John saw other fire-fighters standing above their bodies in the air. One of John’s crew members had a defective foot which he had been born with. As he came out of his body John looked at him and said: “Look, Jose, your foot is straight.”

A bright light then appeared. John described the bright light in this manner: “The light — the fantastic light! It was brighter than the brightest light I had ever seen on earth. It was brighter than the sun shining on a field of snow. Yet I could look at it, and it didn’t hurt my eyes.”

[The light] parted, and John saw numerous people, many who were his deceased relatives, and pets were there along with members of his family. Standing in the light was John’s deceased great-grandfather who died when John was nine-years-old. He appeared as an old man so he could be easily recognized, then changed to look younger, about thirty. He told John that they had the ability to appear in forms so they could be recognized. He also told him that he had been assigned to look after him during his lifetime on earth. He also acted as John’s guide throughout his NDE. John met with others of his ancestors and had an extensive experience.

His great-grandfather ultimately communicated by mind thought to John that it was John’s choice whether or not he should return to Earth. Not wanting to come back from the beautiful and peaceful place that he was in, John argued with his great-grandfather. Explaining that it would be devastating to return to a horribly burned body, John pled with his great-grandfather to remain. John said that all of this communication was by questions he would think of and have instantly answered in his mind.

John was informed that neither he, nor any of his crew who chose to return, would suffer ill effects from the fire. This would be done so that “God’s power over the elements would be made manifest.”

Returning to his body was one of the more painful events of his life. When I asked John why it was painful he said, “When I was there, everything was so perfect, and my spirit body, it … it was so free. It felt like everything was limitless. When I came back, well you know, there’s always something plaguing you, like arthritis, or sore muscles, or … but not there. Getting back into my physical body felt cramped — held back. For example, when I used to play football for a few days after a game or hard practice I was always sore. The same thing was true after coming back into my physical body. I hurt and felt constrained, and it was hard to get used to for some time.”

Finding himself again in his body, John looked around and noticed that some of the metal tools they had used to fight the fire had melted. Despite this intense heat, and the fire still raging around him, he was able to walk up the hill in some sort of protected bubble. He did not hear nor feel the turbulence around him. Upon reaching the relative safety of the hilltop, the noise of the fire was again evident, and he saw other members of the crew also gathered there.

The entire happening was so profound that upon escaping from what they had supposed would be sure death the group of saved people knelt in prayer to thank the Lord for their deliverance. All of the crew escaped and the only visual evidence on them of what they had been through was a few singed hairs.

John said that in comparing reports of their different episodes the men and women were astonished that they had each undergone some type of near-death experience. And this happened to a diverse ethnic and religious group of Hispanics, Caucasians and American Indians. Throughout the summer as the crew worked together they continued to discuss the miraculous adventure which they had lived through. Others of the crew confirmed, for example, that they also felt the ill effects of returning to their physical bodies. They, too, had met with other members of their deceased families and were given the choice of remaining where they were or of returning to earth.

2. John Hernandez’s Second NDE in 1999

Arvin Gibson’s 2004 follow-up interview with John Hernandez appears in his book They Saw Beyond Death: New Insights on Near-Death Experiences where Hernandez described his second NDE. Arvin writes, “In May, 2004, I called John and explained that I wanted to interview him again. This time it would be to get an update on his life since the original visit in 1996. Most importantly, I would be interested in any new spiritual experiences he might have had. As he recounted the recent happenings in his life, he said that in the spring of 1999 he was living at the family ranch in New Mexico with his thirteen-year-old son, James.” [John told Arvin the following:]

“The day started normally with James and I saddling up our horses and riding half-a-day looking for livestock belonging to the family. We had not had any luck so we decided to eat lunch. After lunch we located ten or fifteen head, and we decided to take them to headquarters and call it a day.

“As is typical, we split up to gather the livestock together. Shortly after splitting up, my horse blew up with me and drove the saddle horn deep into my groin area. Unbeknown to me, this caused extensive internal bleeding. I must have been thrown off and knocked unconscious for a length of time. When I came to, James was urging me to wake up. I responded, but in a fog, I did not know where I was, who he was, or why I was lying on the ground.

“As my head dented and James recalled the events to me, it became clear I was seriously hurt. While wrestling with trying to stay conscious, my deceased Grandfather and deceased Great-grandfather appeared to me. They both took over the situation and instructed me to tell James to go for help. This I did. My grandparents agreed to split up — one stay with we and the other go with James.

“It seemed like hours that James was gone, when actually it was only minutes. As James rode off my horse followed him, reins flying in all directions. I must have been to this part of the ranch hundreds of times and could count on one hand the number of people I had encountered. The same is true today, this area is a very remote area.

“James said he had barely reached the main din road when a truck stopped with Colorado license plates. The driver had seen my horse without a rider and suspected something must be wrong.

“As it turned out, the driver and his wife were a Doctor and a Nurse visiting New Mexico. They lived in Denver, Colorado.

“When they returned, the doctor could tell I was near death and asked James to go with the doctor’s wife to Cuba, New Mexico for help. Later, an ambulance arrived and it was determined that I needed a “flight to life” because of the extent of my injuries.

“While waiting for the helicopter to arrive, a number of people from my town arrived, including members of my family. As each spoke to me, a different ‘deceased’ member of their immediate family would come forward from a large group of deceased persons gathered around me. One interesting aspect of this situation was that I puzzled over the fact that I could see and communicate with these deceased people, but their relatives could not. It bothered me so much that I told one lady ambulance driver, who I knew, that she was rude in not embracing her father, who I also knew and who had died some years before. She dismissed my chastisement as delusion caused by my injuries.

“One who did believe me was my grandmother who had come from town when the ambulance arrived. Her deceased husband was present, and I told her so. She began to cry, especially when I mentioned that he told me she would be coming to him shortly. She died three months later.

“While I was in this condition and could see and communicate with people who had passed on, I saw a number of events which I understood could happen in the future. Some were distressing to me, since they involved catastrophes about which I could do nothing. One circumstance that I saw, however, was a joyous one. Another son would be born to me. At the time, I was single with no particular prospects for marriage. Subsequently, I met and married a lovely lady, and my wife and I both rejoice over the birth and life of Sebastion.”

Arvin Gibson stated, “John’s recovery required extensive surgery and physical therapy. Today he can walk with some difficulty. Feeling has returned to the lower portion of his legs, but not entirely to the upper portion. As we conversed, I got the same impression from John that I previously did — of a man thoroughly involved in living life to the fullest. He sounded upbeat and optimistic about the future.”

3. Insights from John Hernandez’s NDEs

The following are some of the insights he learned from his NDEs as documented in a June 1996 Newsletter from the Utah Chapter of IANDS.

John said that he learned that God exists and is in charge, there is a Jesus Christ, and Satan is real, and the struggle between him and mortals is real.

While visiting his ancestors, John asked about Heaven and Hell, he was shown a dark, cold place where those who had committed heinous acts were confined. He said that people on earth can be forgiven if they repent, and there is a judgment, with no arguments because each person’s actions will be replayed to them.

John learned that when mortals come to earth, they forget what they knew in their pre-mortal life. The earth is a mirror image of that pre-mortal place, so when mortals visit places on earth that are the reflection of places there, they have a sense of deja vu when they are allowed a glimpse of those forgotten memories. There was no language barrier there because there is a universal communication and everyone heard their own language.

John said he moved as quickly as he had thoughts, and there was a lot of love and no contention. He didn’t want to leave, but his great-great grandfather told him it wasn’t his time yet, that he had to return to earth. He was told that there were no guarantees, and if he blew it, he couldn’t return to that beautiful place. He said he didn’t want to go back to his body if it was badly burned, and was promised that it wouldn’t be, that God would use this to show his power over the elements. He was also told that there was no guarantee that there wouldn’t be fatalities, because the others had their free agency and could chose to not return to earth. John felt a responsibility to complete his assigned mission so he returned.

As it turned out, all the crew members returned, each having had an NDE. They discovered the fire was still burning, so hot it had melted their tools, yet none of the crew were burned, except for singed hair. They were able to walk through the flames to the top of the hill, not feeling the heat. Although they were from many races, men and women of different religions or no religion, after they reached summit, everyone fell to their knees in thankful prayer for their preservation.

Suddenly the fighters could feel the flames again, and they hiked out to a ranch in the area where they called to be picked up and taken back to their base camp. John still fights fires but is more careful now because he has better understanding of the importance of life and doesn’t need careless thrills anymore.

From his NDE, John learned that love and acceptance of each other are the most important things on earth. He emphasized that we lived before we came here, we live now, and we will continue to live.

During his NDE, John asked numerous questions and some of the answers he received were:

Free agency is a number-one issue, and wrongs are allowed to happen because of this agency.

Everyone has equal chances to make good choices and will be judged on how they use their agency.

Not only will people be judged for their actions, they are accountable for how they react to situations that they face.

Punishment for suicide depends on the motivation. Those who chose to take “the easy way out” were shunned, while those who committed suicide because their frame of mind was not normal and would not have done it other wise were not shunned.

There were beings of both genders in the spirit world, and men and women were equal. Women in that spiritual realm are concerned how men treat women on earth. He learned that because God places women in a position of high esteem, men will be judged harshly if they mistreat them.

Marriage relationships are especially important, and couples should learn to get along, be kind to each other and not push each others buttons.

Husbands and wives will be judged jointly and will both be held responsible for how they raise their children.

Sometimes we recognize people on earth because we knew them as premortals before we came here.

Often couples make pre-mortal covenants to find each other during mortality, and when they find each other they know they are supposed to be together for eternity.

Pre-mortals make promises to deity concerning things they are to accomplish on earth.

Spirits come to earth to gain a body. They want to come here and will accept bad conditions to do so.

Life starts at conception, and unborn spirits are able to visit their unborn body like we visit an unfinished house.

Spirits are full grown when they enter their infant body at birth.

Some people are born with disabilities so thy can have certain experiences that can only be provided by those bodies.

Everyone must give up ill feeling toward each other. These feelings cause illness and shorten life.

People in the spirit world can petition for those on earth to live longer or die sooner so they can fill certain needs or do jobs that must be done.

There is enough food, necessities and room for everyone on earth, but because of the wickedness of some leaders, people suffer. Those leaders will be held responsible for their greed.

There are many different races on earth because at the Tower of Babel, not only were languages changed, but also color and facial features.

4. John Hernandez’s March 2012 Presentation

While doing research for this article, I discovered an MP3 audio broadcast of a presentation given by John Hernandez in 2012 before the Utah Chapter of IANDS which you can download here.