Experts Science

P.M.H. Atwater’s Near-Death Experience Research

P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D. (Hon.) ( and is a near-death experiencer and one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies, having begun her work in 1978. Sign up for her free online newsletter. Visit Atwater’s Q & A Blog and her NDE News Blog. Atwater is the author of many other wonderful NDE books including: The Forever Angels (2019), The Animal Lights Series of Children’s Books (2019), A Manual for Developing Humans (2017), Dying to Know You (2014), The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences (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 Light (2009), Coming Back to Life (2008), Beyond the Indigo Children (2005), We Live Forever (2004), The New Children and NDEs (2003), Children of the New Millennium (1999), Goddess Runes (1996), and Beyond the Light (1994). The following are some details concerning P.M.H. Atwater and her major works on NDEs.

Table of Contents

  1. What It Feels Like To Die
  2. What Death Is
  3. What Existence Is
  4. The Realness of God
  5. The Big Picture
  6. The Four Types of NDEs

1. What It Feels Like To Die

Any pain to be suffered comes first. Instinctively you fight to live. That is automatic.

It is inconceivable to the conscious mind that any other reality could possibly exist beside the Earth-world of matter bounded by time and space. We are used to it. We have been trained since birth to live and thrive in it. We know ourselves to be ourselves by the external stimuli we receive. Life tells us who we are and we accept its telling. That, too, is automatic and to be expected.

Your body goes limp. Your heart stops. No more air flows in or out. You lose sight, feeling and movement – although the ability to hear goes last. Identity ceases. The “you” that you once were becomes only a memory.

There is no pain at the moment of death. Only peaceful silence … calm … quiet. But you still exist. It is easy not to breathe. In fact, it is easier, more comfortable, and infinitely more natural not to breathe than to breathe.

The biggest surprise for most people in dying is to realize that dying does not end life. Whether darkness or light comes next, or some kind of event, be it positive, negative, or somewhere in between, expected or unexpected, the biggest surprise of all is to realize you are still you.

You can still think, you can still remember, you can still see, hear, move, reason, wonder, feel, question, and tell jokes – if you wish.

You are still alive, very much alive. Actually, you’re more alive after death than at any time since you were last born. Only the way of all this is different; different because you no longer wear a dense body to filter and amplify the various sensations you had once regarded as the only valid indicators of what constitutes life. You had always been taught one has to wear a body to live.

If you expect to die when you die you will be disappointed.

The only thing dying does is help you release, slough off, and discard the “jacket” you once wore (more commonly referred to as a body). When you die you lose your body. That’s all there is to it. Nothing else is lost.

You are not your body. It is just something you wear for a while, because living in the Earth realm is infinitely more meaningful and more involved if you are encased in its trappings and subject to its rules.

2. What Death Is

There is a step-up of energy at the moment of death, an increase in speed as if you are suddenly vibrating faster than before.

Using radio as an analogy, this speed-up is comparable to having lived all your life at a certain radio frequency when all of a sudden someone or something comes along and flips the dial. That flip shifts you to different frequency. The original frequency where you once existed is still there. It did not change. Everything is still just the same as it was. Only you changed, only you speeded up to allow entry into the next radio frequency on the dial.

As is true with all radios and radio stations, there can be bleed-overs or distortions of transmission signals due to interference patterns. These can allow or force frequencies to coexist or co-mingle for indefinite periods of time. Normally, most shifts up the dial are fast and efficient; but, occasionally, one can run into interference, perhaps from a strong emotion, a sense of duty, or a need to fulfill a vow, or keep a promise.

This interference could allow coexistence of frequencies for a few seconds, days, or even years (perhaps explaining hauntings); but, sooner or later, eventually, every given vibrational frequency will seek out or be nudged to where it belongs.

You fit your particular spot on the dial by your speed of vibration. You cannot coexist forever where you do not belong.

Who can say how many spots there are on the dial or how many frequencies there are to inhabit? No one knows.

You shift frequencies in dying. You switch over to life on another wavelength. You are still a spot on the dial but you move up or down a notch or two.

You don’t die when you die. You shift your consciousness and speed of vibration.

That’s all death is … a shift.

3. What Existence Is

Time and space, as we know them, exist only on the Earth realm. When you leave the Earth realm, you leave such constraints.

There are realms and dimensions of existence without number, ranging from the slower, more dense vibrations of form to higher, finer streams of non-energetic currents. And there is more beyond that, realities that cannot be measured or described in the convenience of mathematics or mind-play.

Hell refers to levels of negative thought-forms that reside in close proximity to the Earth realm. It is where we go to work out, or remain within, our hang-ups, addictions, fears, guilt, angers, rage, regrets, self-pity, arrogance, or whatever else blocks us from the power of our own light. We stay in hell (and there are many divisions to this vibratory level) for however long best serves our development. There is no condemnation here, only the outworking of our own misjudgments, mistakes, misalignments, or misappropriations (what some people call sin). In hell, we have the opportunity to either revel in our folly or come to grips with the reality of consequences – that every action has a reaction, what is inflicted on another can be returned in kind. We experience the “flip side” of our despair or our demands, “living through” the extremes of whatever we dread. This is not a “punishment for our sins” but a confrontation with any distortion of our sense of values and priorities. We do not leave until we have changed our attitudes and perceptions.

Heaven is a term used to describe levels of positive thought-forms that reside in close proximity to the Earth realm. It is where we go to recognize or enjoy our worth, talents, abilities, joys, courage, generosity, caring, empathy, giving-ness, virtue, cheer, diligence, thoughtfulness, patience, loving kindness, or whatever else reveals the power of our own light. We stay in heaven (and there are many divisions to this vibratory level) for however long best serves our development. There is a sense of benefit here, as if one has found one’s true home and all is well (what some people call “recess”, or a time of rewards). In heaven, we have the opportunity to assess our progress as a soul, to evaluate pros and cons and outcomes, to remember all truths including that of our real identity. We experience the glory of love and the power of forgiveness.

This is not an end point, but, rather, the realization of our purpose in creation’s story, how we fit, and what possibilities for future growth and learning exist. We do not leave until we are ready for our next advancement either in the world of form or beyond it.

No one knows how vast creation is … only that it has always been and will always be. Shapes and embodiments change and alter, substance is recycled, but existence exists, as does energy.

Existence is life, never ending and ongoing, forever and ever eternal. Yet its only true movement (without the distortion time and space give) is expansion and contraction, as if the existence that exists were capable of breathing. What appears as a progression, a time-line of starts and stops and ever-changing variations, is but an overleaf, an illusion, that helps us to focus on whatever spot on the dial we currently inhabit so we will accomplish what we set out to do (or at least have an opportunity to), and not be distracted by The Truth that undergirds reality.

Using television as an analogy, the picture we enjoy seeing, the progression of a storyline with characters acting out a script, is but a trick of perception. What exists, what is really there, is quite literally one electron at a time (with black and white, and three at a time with color) fired from the back of the television tube to the screen to be illuminated once it hits the screen as a tiny dot. The continuous barrage of electrons-turned-into-dots creates the appearance of images, as scanning lines roll from top to bottom separating information coming in (new dots) from information fading out (old dots). You adjust the vertical hold on your set, not to remove strange bars appearing in the picture, but to place all screen activity within the range of your own perceptual preference. A television picture tube is nothing more than a “gun” that fires electrons at a screen. Your mind connects the electron dots into the picture images you think you see, while it totally ignores the true reality of what actually undergirds the operation. The way television operates, at least in our daily experience of it, is an illusion.

Existence is a lot like television. What exists, what really exists, can’t be fathomed by how it appears to operate or what it seems to be.

4. The Realness of God

God is.

God is the one presence, the one power, the one force and source of all. There are no competitors to God, no reality existent outside of God. God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). There is no place where God is not, simply because nothing exists without God.

God is neither a man nor a woman nor a thing.

God is no one’s father or mother or benefactor. These terms are used only to help us understand relationships – ours to God – not to establish a more human type of parentage. We use such terms as a matter of convenience or because it is comforting to do so. We call ourselves children of God because we do not know what else to call ourselves, and it seems as good a term as any to use. We are made in the image of God, not in the sense of physical appearance, but with respect to the power of our souls and the potential of our minds. God is the Creator; we are co-creators. It would be more appropriate and more in line with Truth, if we called ourselves extensions of God or, perhaps, thoughts in the Mind of God. It would even be appropriate to use another name for God, like The Force, The One, The All, The Is-ness, The One Mind, The Source, or whatever conveys that sense of deity that is without limitation or boundary, beyond what can be comprehended.

While God is more than any name, protocol, hierarchy, concept, or grandiosity could describe or define; God truly is as near as our next breath – as close as our next thought. We are part of God and existent with God. A belief in separation, that we could possibly exist and have our being apart from God, is the only real sin. This belief is of our own making. God has not decreed separation; this we did ourselves by our own perception that somehow, some way, we could transcend That Which Cannot Be Transcended.

God is not dependent on our belief, for our belief or disbelief in God does not affect God – only us.

God is not a member of any church or religion. It is the churches and the religions that are members within the vastness and the glory that is God. There is no one religion just as there is no “chosen” people or person, nor any single way of regarding what cannot be fully comprehended. We are all “sons” of God in the sense that we are all souls of God’s creation, without gender, without form, without nationality, complete and whole and perfect as we explore the never-endingness of God’s wonderment. A spark from the essence of All God Is resides in each and every one of us has an unbreakable connection, that thread or cord that ensures we remain a part of That Which We Could Never Leave.

The splendorous joy of recognizing and acknowledging our special-ness, our greatness, as creations of God and as co-creators with God, is akin to being engulfed by overwhelming floodtides of God’s Glorious Love.

5. The Big Picture

There is no sense of “crime and punishment” in God’s Light, only the clear, complete, and total knowing that you are loved unconditionally and fully – right now and forever more.

Truth in this light, God’s Light, is so powerful and so piercing, there is no way you could lie, exaggerate, avoid, or deny what you have done with God’s gift to you, the gift of an embodied life in the Earth realm replete with abundant opportunities to learn and develop and grow – be the best that you can be. This gift, the Earth life God gives us, comes with a catch: We are to give the gift back.

We cannot keep the life we have on the Earth realm, not our possessions or attachments or relationships. What we can keep is our memories and our feelings of what we have integrated into our heart of hearts from the experience of being here, plus the love we have shared with others. This that we can keep enriches God’s experience of us as well as enriching our experience of ourselves and one another. How joyful this is depends on what we did about who we are.

Each gain or loss anyone makes affects everyone else to some degree. That’s because we are connected, somehow, as sparks from the Mind of God. Everything created either has a soul (independent power mass) or is capable of being ensouled (from out of the group power mass). Because human forms contain larger portions of a soul mass than many other types of form, they represent opportunities of greater diversity, challenge, and involvement. Yet even animals, minerals, plants, and planets, enfold degrees of ensoulment replete with intelligence, feeling, and volition. Density of structure or shape may seem to deny this, but the creative fire is ever-present, nonetheless.

All souls are holy in God’s Light, and all souls are loved.

And all souls have a purpose for their existence and a reason for being who or what they are.

Whatever form a soul empowers “fits” in creation’s story, for each soul has a job to do, a position to fill in the greater scheme of things.

And all souls evolve. Nothing stays as it is because nothing is static, regardless of how “otherwise” conditions may appear to be.

Evolution is not restricted to linear progression. It only seems so.

Thus, the drama of creation’s story is unbounded – neither limited by our perception of it, nor by our ability or lack of ability to comprehend it. This drama is as stupendous as it is terrifying, as awesome as it is wonderful, as miraculous as it is mysterious, as beautiful as it is the ultimate act of all-consuming love. To witness even a glimpse of such glory, to know the Real Truth of it, leaves a mark so deep and so profound you are forever uplifted and transformed.

You return from your NDE knowing we affect each other because we are all part of each other, and that we affect all parts of creation because all parts of creation interweave and interrelate with all other parts. Any sense of aloneness or separation dissolves in the Light of such knowing.

We each matter. And we are each challenged to “wake up” and realize that we matter. Once we so awaken, our task is to act accordingly.

To know is not enough. We must express that knowing. How we do that is up to us.

Although we are each connected to the other and to all others, we are individual in our choices, in the power of our will, and in the product or result or consequence of our ever having breathed a breath in the Earth realm. The responsibility we have for this totality of our being-ness is as freeing and exciting as it is humbling. And it represents high adventure.

The greatest fear we have in living out our Earth life is not what might happen to us, but what might be expected from us if we recognized who we are.

6. The Four Types of NDEs

P.M.H. Atwater has identified four distinctive types of NDEs. She discovered elements similar to those described by Moody and Ring but different patterning from what was billed as the classical version; each pattern type was accompanied by a subtle psychological profile suggestive of other forces that might be present. These four types have consistently held up throughout two decades of interviews, observations, and analysis regardless of a person’s age, education, gender, culture, or religion. In her book, Beyond the Light, P.M.H. Atwater used separate chapters to discuss each of the four types. Below is a shorter rendition of the scenario patterns.

a. Initial Experience (Sometimes referred to as the “nonexperience”)

Involves elements such as a loving nothingness, the living dark, a friendly voice, or a brief out-of-body episode. Usually experienced by those who seem to need the least amount of evidence for proof of survival, or who need the least amount of shakeup in their life at that point in time. Often, this becomes a “seed” experience or an introduction to other ways of perceiving and recognizing reality. Incident rate: 76% with child experiencers, 20% with adult experiencers.

b. Unpleasant or Hell-like Experience (Inner cleansing and self-confrontation)

Encounter with a threatening void or stark limbo or hellish purgatory, or scenes of a startling and unexpected indifference, even “hauntings” from one’s own past. Usually experienced by those who seem to have deeply suppressed or repressed guilt, fears, and angers and/or those who expect some kind of punishment or discomfort after death. Incident rate: 3% with child experiencers, 15% with adult experiencers.

c. Pleasant or Heaven-like Experience (Reassurance and self-validation)

Heaven-like scenarios of loving family reunions with those who have died previously, reassuring religious figures or light beings, validation that life counts, affirmative and inspiring dialogue. Usually experienced by those who most need to know how loved they are and how important life is and how every effort has a purpose in the overall scheme of things. Incident rate: 19% with child experiencers, 47% with adult experiencers.

d. Transcendent Experience (Expansive revelations, alternate realities)

Exposure to otherworldly dimensions and scenes beyond the individual’s frame of reference; sometimes includes revelations of greater truths. Seldom personal in content. Usually experienced by those who are ready for a mind-stretching challenge and/or individuals who are more apt to utilize (to whatever degree) the truths that are revealed to them. Incident rate: 2% with child experiencers, 18% with adult experiencers.

Note: P.M.H. Atwater has noticed that all four types can occur at the same time during an NDE, can exist in varying combinations, or can spread out across a series of episodes for a particular individual. Generally speaking, however, each represents a distinctive type of experience occurring but once to a given person.

Evidence Science

Children Have Similar Near-Death Experiences as Adults

P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D. (Hon.) ( and 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), Coming Back To Life (1988), Beyond The Light (1994), and Goddess Runes (1996).

Since my specialty in near-death research is one-on-one sessions with experiencers, I can speak little of the phenomenon’s historical significance – except to point out the fascinating anomaly that an amazing number of people important to the evolution of humankind may well have had such an episode during their childhood. I discuss this at length in both Future Memory and Children of the New Millennium. Some of the notables I came across in only one week of perusing library records were Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth I, Edward de Vere/the 17th Earl of Oxford (who most likely is the real Shakespeare), Winston Churchill, Black Elk, Walter Russell, plus several others. Either I was possessed of “library luck” that week or there really is a connection between near-death states and possible structural, chemical, and functional shifts that appear to occur in the brain, elevating the individual in appreciable ways. My research leads me to believe the latter.

I did encounter near-death states in people of other cultures, as I met many who were foreign born or of racial backgrounds quite different than the typical white Judeo-Christian mindset.

Of the 3,000 adult experiencers in my research base, Caucasian Americans, European and Arabic people predominate at 80%, with 20% being of the black race (15% African Americans, 5% divided between Kenya, Haiti, and African Canadians). Of the 277 child experiencers, the mix is: 60% white, 23% Latinos, 12% blacks, and 5% Asian.

There have been excellent studies done of NDErs in their native countries, as well as a government study sanctioned in China; but I want to mention the ongoing work by Todd Murphy of child experiencers in Thailand (PDF). We’ll all be hearing about Todd’s findings soon as the Journal of Near-Death Studies will be publishing several of his articles. Early-on he was kind enough to discuss his ideas with me, so I am familiar with his study – a research project that eventually came to confirm or support many of my own observations.

Having this exposure to accounts from a broad range of racial and cultural traditions, enables me to make some “across-the-board” comments – especially about “greeters,” who, according to reports, are the first ones met “at death’s door.” I think you will find this of interest. The terms that follow are those most commonly used by the experiencers themselves.

Initial Greeters Met in Near-Death States (Ranked in the order most frequently encountered):

  1. Light beings or bright ones (“beings of light,” kids generally call them “The People”)
  2. Angels, such angels are with or without wings (can be white, black, or of various skin hues)
  3. Deceased loved ones (including relatives not met or known about before who are later verified)
  4. God or God’s Presence or God’s Voice (seldom given a gender by adults, described as an older male by children)
  5. Religious figures (usually conform to the predominant religion the experiencer was exposed to, but not always – Jesus has appeared in near-death scenarios of Jewish people, for stance; a Muslim man once told me he was met by Buddha)
  6. Animals (most often beloved pets who are deceased, yet there are many of non-pets such as horses, lions, or even chickens, who come as “guides” or to deliver a message)

To go a little further with this, most adult experiencers describe God as a powerful, almost blinding sphere of light, that is ecstasy itself. Young children do not use such terms, saying instead that God is like a loving father or grandfather.

Over 70% of children’s near-death scenarios involve angels. Not that many adults claim this, more like 40% (although adults often use terms like “light beings” or “bright ones” as if they were describing angels). Just who is what and whether or not there is any real difference between these various emissaries cannot be determined solely by near-death research.

Children sometimes describe an animal heaven they must visit before they can go to the heaven where people are. And they tend to be explicit about skin tones when talking about any religious figure who visited them. By that I mean, Jesus is seen as a man with tan skin (adults are the ones who usually see Jesus as white); Buddha’s skin is more often seen as somewhat yellowish; Mohammad is described as having brown skin (yes, there are little ones who claim they saw Mohammad). Children seldom deviate in their description of such coloring regardless of their own skin tone or cultural exposure; adults do.

There is another greeter, though, who is sometimes encountered – a living person – more commonly reported by children than by adults. This may be a favorite teacher, the kid down the block, friends, or relatives. Does this fact call into question the validity of near-death imagery? No, and here’s why.

In every case I have thus far investigated where this occurred, the living greeter did not remain in the scenario any longer than it took to alert or relax the experiencer. Once that happened, the living greeter disappeared and imagery more common to near-death states emerged … as the episode deepened. It is almost as if the sole purpose of living greeters is to ensure the continuance of the episode so that it can become more meaningful. They don’t “stick around” like other greeters usually do.

While speaking of greeters, I also want to address this curious observation: child experiencers are often met by a “critical or caring” parental-type of being, seldom biologically related to them, but almost always someone the child recognizes as an authority figure they must respect (religious or otherwise). This being instructs or lectures the child on behavior and what must be done to fulfill the reason for his or her birth. These instructions or lectures can be quite stern and involve incidents where the child is judged on his or her progress toward the goal. If a tribunal is present, it is not unusual for the “judges” to be animals rather than people.

This curiosity is rather typical of near-death cases from kids residing in Asia (Todd Murphy discovered a number of them), with indigenous societies and Third World nations. But I have also found them with youngsters from well-educated families in Europe and the United States. Although many “parental” greeters are gentle and loving, some are rather fearful and threaten the child with punishment if he or she does not obey.

One of these cases in the U.S. involved a nine-day-old infant who “died” during surgery for a serious staph infection and abscess. I had intended to include it in Children of the New Millennium, but the account was somehow lost during rewrites and is only mentioned in brief on page 70, and even there in error. I have since apologized to Judith Werner, the experiencer involved. However, thanks to the generosity of Barbara Rommer, M.D., this account will at last be published – in the addendum to the second printing of Barbara’s book, Blessing in Disguise (Llewellyn, 2000).

Her book, by the way, is an important study of unpleasant and distressing NDEs. Judith’s scenario involved being surrounded by white-robed figures devoid of emotion, a huge light which glared from above, and a heavy voice called “Inner Stranger” that sounded like a critical and demanding parental authority. The drawing she did of this scene looks like the typical layout of the average medical operating room complete with nurses and surgeons. Still, if you put yourself into the mind of one so young, the white-clad figures easily become evil giants, the light a torture device, and her subsequent treatments (also shown in the drawing) akin to ongoing punishment.

Once verbal, Judith told her parents about the incident and about Inner Stranger and the threats made (“obey me or you will die”). They pooh-poohed her story, and so did everyone else she told it too. She then repressed the experience until, when twenty-eight, she had a near-death-like episode that explained what had happened to her when nine days old. The closure that resulted enabled her to understand lingering childhood fears and angers, and begin the process of turning her life around in a positive manner.

Any discussion of this case must address the question: how could an infant only nine days old remember surgical details, respond to and retain the words of a threatening male – throughout her entire life?

Today, Judith speaks well of Inner Stranger, acknowledging that, although frightening to begin with, his advice has proved to be invaluable over time. Black Elk, the famous Lakota Sioux medicine man, had a similar encounter during his childhood near-death state in the sense that the wise ones who came to him were stern “parental-type elders.”

Comparing the kind of accounts we have become accustomed to with those from other cultures and other time-frames in history, helps us to enlarge our perspective of the human mind and of life and death.


Near-Death Experiences of Children

P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D. (Hon.) ( and is a near-death experiencer, a near-death expert (especially in childhood NDEs). Visit Atwater’s NDE News Blog and her Q & A Blog. Sign up for her free online newsletter. Atwater is the author of many wonderful NDE books on the subject 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), Coming Back to Life (2008), Beyond the Indigo Children (2005), We Live Forever (2004), The New Children and NDEs (2003), Beyond the Light (2009), Children of the New Millennium (1999), and Goddess Runes (1996). What follows are some of the childhood near-death experiences profiled in her book, Children of the New Millennium reprinted by permission. Brad Steiger’s near-death experience is an excerpt from his excellent book, One with the Light. David Goines experience is an excerpt from his website which, for some reason, no longer exists on the internet. I suspect he is now in spirit.

Table of Contents

  1. Laura’s NDE (age 3 ½)
  2. Clara’s NDE (age 10)
  3. Cecil’s NDE (age 11)
  4. Brad Steiger’s NDE (age 11)
  5. Guenter Wagner’s NDE (age 11)
  6. David Goines’ NDE (age 13)

1. Laura’s NDE (age 3 ½ )

My father, in a blind drunken rage, raped and sodomized and beat me to death in the middle of the night. At the most extreme outpost of pain, I cried out to God and in that moment I was torn from life.

As I died I felt myself raised up by angels in robes of many colors. I did not know where they were taking me as they flew, carrying me up higher and higher in the sky. Finally, we reached a place where emptiness gave way to form, and form took the shape of huge cloud-like masses on which other angels seemed to be walking, although they too floated through the air.

The angels carrying me lay me at the feet of a beautiful female angel whose radiating love was more powerful than any of those around her. She said to me in a voice whose sweetness and tone are unknown here on Earth, “Tell me your story.”

I said to her, not in spoken words but in thoughts, “I will, but now I need to rest.”

My spirit had no energy, even to answer this loving lady.

God in the manifestation of infinite light appeared off to my left, and I was engulfed in a form of all-powerful, all-nourishing love. That divine being appeared as a massive column of golden light, with the suggestion of a human shape inside. I both saw and felt his light, feeling as if I were in a warm bath that completely healed and protected me. I never wanted to leave. No conversation passed between us, but in those infinite moments I acquired the knowledge that allowed me to go back to Earth to complete my life.

After this infinite moment had passed, there began a battle for my life between the angels in heaven and the doctors on Earth. Every time the doctors pounded on my chest, my spirit was sucked into my body for a split second, only to be pulled back again by the angels. They held me by my feet, struggling to keep me from coming back. Finally, the doctors pounded one last time. I heard an angel say, “They’re stronger than we are,” and I was sucked back into my body, sat up, screamed, and passed out.

To this day, I always have the feeling that I need to go back, that there was something more I was meant to do there before returning. That feeling of incompleteness keeps me half in the other world all the time.

2. Clara’s NDE (age 10)

I was in the fifth grade when I became sick with extreme pain in my lower right side. My teacher thought it was only a stomach ache and ignored it. Two hours later I was rushed to the hospital. I was terrified and begged to go home. I was fighting the ether mask when it happened. One second I was awake, scared to death, the next second I was falling straight down a dark hole as if in a well.

There were loud sounds like buzzing and ringing and metal scraping together, then I was up by the ceiling looking down on myself. I felt as though I was spread out all over the room like vapor or a cloud. I watched as the doctor had a square green machine wheeled into the room by a nurse, and then worked on me using it. There were several nurses there.

Suddenly I was standing alone in a room with large, heavy doors leading into other rooms. Someone came to me. I didn’t see him; I only heard his voice. He led me up through what seemed like a tunnel. I seemed to be walking, but my feet didn’t touch a floor. Suddenly I heard what sounded like a city-sized playground full of kids, laughing and playing. Hearing them calmed me. Another man came to meet us. I didn’t see him either. He asked the one leading me who I was, then he went away. When he returned he told the man with me that I had to go back, that they weren’t ready for me yet.

I was led up a sidewalk to a large building with large doors. I walked inside and saw people all around working and doing things. I was taken to a huge iridescent white room and told to sit down on some steps that led up to a large white chair, and wait there for someone who was to talk to me. He came out a door at the other end of the steps, walked to the chair above me, and sat down. He was dressed in a white, long-sleeved, floor-length robe with a wide gold band around the mid-section. He wore sandals. His dark brown hair was shoulder length; he had a long face, broad chin, dark eyes with black around both eyelids, like eyeliner pencil, but it wasn’t. His skin was olive colored and his eyes were as liquid love. He communicated by looking at me. No words had to be spoken, as we could hear each other’s thoughts. He told me what I had to do in life and had me go to the other side of the room and look down into something like a TV set so I could see my future. What I saw made me very happy. This man, who I believe is Jesus Christ, said that once I woke up in the hospital I would forget what I was supposed to do in life.

“Nothing can happen before its time,” he cautioned.

As I was leaving the room he said I must obey his commandments if I wanted to come back.

When I revived, a nurse was sitting beside my bed and she said, “Thank God you finally woke up.”

I told the doctor that I had watched him work on me and the color of the machine brought into the surgery room. He didn’t know what to say.

3. Cecil’s NDE (age 11)

My brother and I went swimming. He had a problem. I tried to get him out of the water, but in his panic he pulled me under several times. We both drowned. He died and I came back. I can remember it all like yesterday. Just as I could no longer stay afloat, a strange sound like ringing in my ears started. A peaceful feeling came over me. I felt my spirit come out of my body and I went into a black void. That was a little frightening.

A long way off there was a pinprick of light. I moved toward it, slowly at first, then faster and faster as if I were on top of a train accelerating. Then I stopped and stepped fully into the light. I noticed everything – sky, buildings, glass – emitted its own light and everything was much more colorful than what we see here. A river meandered around. On the other side was a city, and a road running through it to another city, and another city and another and another.

Right in front of me but across the river were three men. They projected themselves to me. They didn’t walk or fly; they projected over. I didn’t recognize them, yet I knew one was Lynn Bibb. (I was named after him. He died a matter of weeks before I was born.) I knew these three men were looking out for me, like a welcoming committee to escort me over the river to the first city. I had the feeling that if I went with them, there would be no coming back, so I hesitated.

The first city was like first grade. People stayed there until they were ready to go to the next city – your eternal progression, from city to city. Behind me and to the left was a strong light source, very brilliant and filled with love. I knew it was a person. I called it God for lack of a better term. I could not see it; I felt what seemed like a male presence. He communicated to me, not so much in words but telepathically, and he asked, “Why did you hesitate?”

I replied, “Well, I’m kind of young to die.”

He chuckled. “We have babies die.”

I said, “Well, there’s some things I want to know first.”

He replied, “What do you want to know?”

“What is death?” I asked.

He said, “Turn and look to one side.”

As I did, I saw a bad car wreck. Several people had been killed. Out of some of the bodies a spirit came up to progress on.

Some who did not believe it was possible stayed in their bodies and would not emerge. I asked if they could be reached and he said, “Yes, some more quickly than others and some maybe never.” Death, then, is not believing in anything.

I asked, “What is hell?”

He said, “Turn and look again.”

I saw an old woman in a rocking chair determined to sit and rock and worry about children and grandchildren and everything else. Hell is therefore a lack of wisdom and not moving on, choosing not to go any further, sitting there and doing nothing. Hell is not a place.

I asked if there was a Devil or Satan.

He said to me, “Would God allow that?” He continued, “If I made you God for just a few seconds, what would you do first?”

I knew my first act would be to eliminate any Devil or Satan. I asked, “How do I know right from wrong?”

He replied, “Right is helping and being kind. Wrong is not only hurting someone but not helping when you can.”

We walked as I asked about the universe and reasons for everything. All of these things were shown to me. Then he wondered if I still wanted to return to the physical world.

“I do want to return.”

He asked, “Why?”

I said I would help my mother whom my father had left with four children and one on the way. God kind of chuckled and asked me for the real reason. I said I would leave the Earth a little better than I found it.

Then you may return with some of the knowledge of the things you have learned, but the rest will be veiled for a time. Live in such a way that you will not be going back when you return here again.

I woke up face down in the mud of the river bottom and was ‘lifted’ to the top. I threw up great amounts of water, then pulled myself out of the river only to discover my brother had died.

4. Brad Steiger’s NDE (age 11)

Brad Steiger was a famous author of paranormal books such as Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places, Dog Miracles: Inspirational and Heroic True Stories, and Angels Around the World. On an August day in 1947, 11-year-old Brad Steiger nearly died of multiple skull fractures after being caught in the metallic blades of a piece of machinery on his family’s Iowa farm. He felt his “essential self” drift away from his body. He watched his sister run for help and realized he was simultaneously in his father’s arms being carried from the field, and above himself, observing.

While “out” of his body he was shown a geometric design of colors and seemed to see the patterns inherent in all of life. He came back to his body just as the surgeons were about to operate.

Although he did not understand it, he felt he had been shown a plan of the universe, and that he had a mission “to testify to others that the human spirit is eternal and that we are not alone in the cosmic scheme of things.”

Children report being taken on a tour of heaven, seeing angels, colorful geometric patterns, and dead relatives and pets. One 9-year-old boy, after 36 hours in a life-threatening fever, reported seeing his sister during a tour of heaven. It was she who told him he had to come back to life. His father assured him he couldn’t have seen her there as she was safely away at college. The following morning they found out that the daughter had died the night before in a car crash.

One of her professors at the Chicago Theological Seminary once told of a girl who was dying and reported seeing her brother right in front of her in the hospital, telling her it was “OK.”

When told of this after her death her parents were stunned. They had never told her she had had a brother who died years before she was born.

5. Guenter Wagner’s NDE (age 11)

Read Gunter Wagner’s NDE in the Exceptional NDEs section.

6. David Goines’ NDE (age 13)

This is the true story about an event that forever changed David Goines’ life and that has been the basis for the way he has since lived. When he was thirteen years old, he was riding his bike to school when he was hit by a concrete mixing truck. His resulting near-death experience revealed to him many of the secrets of the afterlife. Many questions concerning “Why are we here?” and “What is the meaning of life?” are answered here. At the end of his experience, he was given a choice – a choice that is offered to all of us. It is a choice we all must make when we die. The following is David Goines’ NDE testimony in his own words.

I remember the fear of impact (getting hit), however, I have no recollection of the impact or having my body become totally integrated with the bicycle, nor hurtling over sixty feet through the air and landing in the canal. My next memory was quite a scene in the hospital emergency room. It was the most unique experience of my earthly life. Unique, because I was observing my own body in the emergency room and all the activity going on, except that I was not in my body. I was above it all – looking down. I was feeling no pain.

Everyone was very busy. I knew by their activity that I was in serious trouble. There was much discussion about how to extract me from the tangled wreckage of my bike and/or whether they would need to leave me in it until I was stabilized enough to try. I could see and hear everything. It was gruesome. It was frightening. They finally decided they had me stable enough to get rid of the bike and they called for a welding specialist to bring a torch to help cut me out of the bike. Thank God my body seemed to be unconscious. All of this would have been quite enough for my young mind to endure – until one nurse, whom I knew, said to another, “Well – it certainly makes you wonder if it is worth saving this mess.”

She nearly scared me to death! At that moment, it was more than I could stand above and watch. I wanted to run away from this scene. I needed to escape. Quickly, I turned, took one step through the wall so to speak and found myself in total darkness. I looked back – nothing but darkness! Before I could barely think, “Now I’ve done it!” I apparently took another step; and I was instantly in the most beautiful garden I have ever seen. This garden was like a formal terrace which had been carved out of a rough mountain, just a few feet below the peak. Everything was white marble and evergreen. The air was so incredibly light and clear and fresh and cool. It seemed like I was breathing pure chilled oxygen. The garden was trimmed in evergreen shrubs, each a perfect specimen; and the fragrance of evergreen lightly scented the air. This place seemed so perfect in every detail. Directly in front of me, just a few steps away, was a marble bench which seemed to invite me to come, sit, and rest.

As I sat down and breathed in the fresh wonderful air, I looked around. What a wonderful place to rest. The floor was flat and smooth, polished to perfection such that it looked seamless. This garden terrace was surrounded by low marble pillars and a marble railing and looked like it had been formed right out of the side of the mountain in one seamless effort. I noticed the stark contrast between the formal perfection of white marble and the surrounding mountain that was rough and ragged by comparison.

It seemed like only moments while I looked around this beautiful setting, when I noticed a very warm, kindly, old gentleman sitting beside me on the bench. I had not seen or heard him come – he was just there. A light smile crossed his face, and I knew he was a friend. His face was warmly wrinkled, but soft. His eyes were a soft blue and yet with a depth and sparkle of wisdom. I looked away so as not to fall into his eyes; and as I did, he spoke to me. His voice was firm, but soft and loving.

He said, “Well, you’ve had a rough day,” as if he knew all about it.

With a tired sigh I said, “I sure have!”

No further explanation seemed necessary as we both sat there. Then, I remembered just how much trouble I really was in; and I looked back at him hoping he would have an answer I could stand to hear.

I asked “Am I dead?”

He smiled to assure me and said, “No, you are not dead. Your body is in a lot of trouble, but it is being well taken care of and you do not need to worry.”

I remember I felt so relieved to be told that I was not dead. Life was not over. This was not the end. All these things ran through my mind like a whirlwind that stopped abruptly, and I was filled with a million questions as to explain my current condition. I could not explain why I felt like I was sitting here in this place feeling very much like I had a body and yet knowing very much that I had left it behind.

Again I looked at him, and his face looked so understanding I knew he had the answers even before I asked the question. It was like we could read each others thoughts – even before words were spoken – and I’m not sure but what a lot of our communication did take place this way, mind to mind. Then a kind of panic set in.

I demanded of him: “How am I here, in this place, when I know that my body is back there in the hospital?” And “Where is this place? How do I see this place and you, if I’m not with my body? How can I be two places at once?” I began to feel very upset. “What are you?” I demanded!

His voice calmed me immediately. He said, “You are in a very special place. You are safe.”

He went on to explain that, though my body was in the hospital, it was my physical body and that each of us has also our spiritual body and our mental body.

He said, “It is your mental and spiritual body that is here. It is with your mental and spiritual eyes that you see this place. Likewise, it is through your mental and spiritual body senses that you perceive everything in and about this place. This place is in your mind’s eye, your imagination; it is as it is because this is exactly what you need it to be. Your physical crisis and mental need caused it to be just as you perceive it. I am here too without a physical body. You see me as I see myself in my own mind’s eye. A mental picture (a thought) from my mind to your mind’s eye. I am as you see me because this is the way that I perceived that you needed me to be. Who I am or my name is not important. I am here for you on behalf of your heavenly Father’s love for you and to remind you from where you came.”

My first thought was – The hospital?

He smiled a smile of wisdom and patience beyond wisdom itself and said lovingly, “No, I mean your Father’s house.”

It was then at that moment that I realized that I knew everything that he was saying was true and that I had known this consciously before I was born to this Earth to have a physical body. I remembered that I was also a spiritual and mental body (being), and it all made perfect sense. I even remembered coming through the veil to find and choose my physical body. I was mildly puzzled that I could have even forgotten such things – when he reminded me that to have/experience a physical life – it was necessary to at least for a while, forget a little of our prior knowledge so that we might more fully experience the physical things, be physically challenged, make choices of free agency, and yes, even make mistakes so that we could learn from them in ways that only a physical life could impart.

If we retained all of our prior knowledge, we might not bother to experience the physical life for its fulfillment – we might decide to skip the pain and thus miss the pleasure. I also remembered the promise I had made to my heavenly Father upon accepting the opportunity, challenges and responsibility of a physical life. To make the most of this opportunity for myself and for him. To return to my Father’s house with the knowledge and experience gained such that likewise, my Father (Creator) could be enhanced by the experience. It was upon this basis that I realized why we need to experience a separation of our total reality when we take a physical body. That is because in order for us to appreciate, benefit, and learn all we can from our physical life, we must seemingly have to re-discover what we knew before – now in physical ways. Likewise, through this physical life we must discover how to return to our heavenly Father. By the good that we do to each other here, by the ways we improve our minds, and by the ways that we learn to cope with a physical body and physical life, do we earn our right of safe passage back to our Father’s house; and in so doing, do we likewise magnify and glorify (honor) our Father. It is our Father’s love that sends us on the journey and it is our love for him that will allow us to go back home to his loving arms again.

As soon as I had remembered all that I needed to know, my loving, special friend disappeared.

This was a wonderful place; it was everything I needed it to be. I not only remembered and could see from where I came, I could also see and remember where I was going, the many things that I was supposed to do. I knew when I chose this life that it would be challenging. I knew that I would be responsible for finding a physical life mate and that, together, we would accept the responsibility of providing new physical life so that others of God’s children (creation) could likewise share in a physical experience for themselves. I knew that I would be responsible for choosing between good and evil so that my life would serve to glorify my heavenly Father upon my return to him.

As I continued to ponder and re-affirm these things, I felt very refreshed and again more conscious of my garden place. I turned and noticed a small winding path leading up to the crest of this rugged mountain. I had not noticed this path before, but it was there now and it beckoned me. I got up from my marble bench and began making my way up the steep access of the path. It was difficult and my footing was very unsure. As I reached the top, I looked down upon a beautiful meadow on the other side. It was so tempting. There were flowers of every description and color. A beautiful brook flowed playfully through the meadow, and I made my way through the lush grass to be by its side. The brook was only a few inches deep. The water flowed quickly. I picked up some pebbles and tossed them one by one into the water. I was about to turn away and leave when I looked on the other side of the stream and saw a beautiful white light much like sunbeams. From this beautiful light a figure appeared. It was clothed in white robes and white light such that I could scarcely tell the difference. I could not make out a face – but I clearly saw hands. These hands stretched out to me and a voice said: “Will you come unto me?”

Without hesitation I stepped into the water, then I paused. I was shaking all over. Then I remembered that I had a life to learn and experience. I turned; and as I stepped out of the water, I said “No, I still have many things which I must do.”

I made my way quickly, running as fast as I could back up to the top of the hill and back down that winding path, nearly falling several times. As soon as my feet touched the floor of my beautiful marble garden, I was consciously back in my physical body, awake, and suddenly in more physical pain than I ever thought possible. My body was in five-way traction, and I was barely touching the bed. Everything hurt.

My first conscious thought was, “Big mistake – boy, I’ve done it now! I’ve screwed up big time! That white figure was Jesus and I told him, “No!”

I don’t know whether I cried more from the physical pain I was in or the spiritual and mental torment I was having over this decision. Later through prayer and meditation, I have been comforted. I now understand and have so often reflected that through this experience I was being offered a choice. A choice which I, and each of us, have the right to make. My heavenly Father has such a profound love for me and all of his children, for that matter, that I was offered through his son Jesus the opportunity to come back to him right then.

His love is so great for his children that he was and is willing to sacrifice his potential for glory. Fortunately for me, I have the opportunity on his behalf to experience a physical life; and hopefully in doing so, I will ultimately magnify and glorify my heavenly Father and more so than if I had accepted grace and forgone this opportunity.

I did not realize that my garden experience had lasted for twenty-one days, until I was told by my doctors and nurses that I had been in a coma all that time. It was from this experience that I was able to draw enough strength and energy to rehabilitate my body, learn to walk again, and do all the things that I have been able to do so far in my life.

I am telling you this story, one, because I needed to tell it; two, because, perhaps you needed to hear it; and, three, because it allows me a credible basis for sharing with you much of the magic that can enhance a physical life.