Throughout my 69 years of life, I have experienced 5 NDE’s and many other similar occurrences where serious injury or death was imminent, but something unexplainable happened to keep me safe. All these incidents, apart from 1, occurred whilst I was pursuing my adventures whilst rock climbing, caving, canoeing and mountaineering which at that time, was my sporting drug, my adrenalin fix, my need to tease and tempt death to call so I could laugh in its face.
A strange and odd approach to life I know, but this was tied up with being told my maternal gran, the medium and spiritualist, that spirit had told her when I was 7, that I would live to a ripe old age and die naturally in my bed after I had done what it was that I had agreed to do before coming into this human body (explained in my earlier article – Fighting the Truth).
In this article, I would like to share with you two NDE’s, both different in context, and whilst doing different activities.
In December 1959 at the tender age of 15, I travelled alone from Malta in the Mediterranean to join the Royal Air Force as a Boy Entrant. I was stationed at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton for the next 2 years.
During a military exercise across Dartmoor in Devon in 1961, I chanced to get separated from my group and as they had the map and compass, food and other necessary equipment for surviving in such wilderness, I struggled to get back to the main camp. After walking for hours in a direction I hoped would lead me to the main camp, I suddenly came upon a fenced forest which was in the middle of nowhere. I needed to go straight through the forest as any deviation around it would get me even further lost, so I decided to climb the fence and try to cut through the forest. Everything went well until I came to a very large clearing in the forest which again had a wire fence around it. Without thinking I took hold of the top wire strand with the intention of vaulting over it into the open space. My upward vaulting movement was interrupted by a sudden surge of electrical energy as it surged from the electric fence through my whole body throwing me backwards into some very marshy ground.
I lay there with my ears tingling and my toes and finger tips dead to the senses. My breathing was very irregular and my chest hurt so bad that it felt like someone large was using it for a dance floor. My mind began to clear and thinking became logical again but I panicked when I realized I could not feel or move my body below my neck.
As I lay there I got that sinking feeling, literally as I started to slowly sink into the marshy bog. My body became covered and I was concerned it would cover my face and I would drown alone in some god forsaken marshy bog somewhere on the moors. I struggled every which way to get my body to move but it was difficult to feel any sensation below my neck. I stopped sinking and hoped that I was at the bottom of whatever it was I was lying in and turned my head a little, why I don’t know as being able to turn it would not help me extricate myself nor allow me to move.
However, when I turned my head to the right I saw a white sign post attached to a corner post of the fence. On it was painted in red, the words “Danger, Trial Electric Deer Fence. M.O.D.” (Ministry of Defence). I called them a few names and allowed my head to flop back down into the bog and regretted it the instant the murky water covered my face in a tidal wave.
I knew I had to get out of the bog so tried painfully to move my fingers which responded with some difficulty. Pins and needles were surging through my arms but at least I was able to move the hands then the arms a little before I was able get them to move unconditionally.
I looked around to see what I could grab and saw the bottom strand of the wire fence and stretched with all my strength I could muster only to be reminded again very painfully that it was electrified the moment my fingers touched it.
I shouted profanities as the pain coursed incessantly around and around my body making me feel useless and helpless. I thought about crying but even that was difficult to do as my face was partially frozen.
I have no idea how long I lay there but the moon certainly had moved its position in the night sky, enough for it to come to my attention. I cried out to anyone to do something to help me as I knew that if I could not get out of the bog I was still lying in, soon I would start to suffer from hypothermia and after that, who knows.
I closed my eyes and prayed, not sure who to or what I actually said but I do know that I suddenly got all the use of my limbs at once and I rolled out of the bog onto a piece of hard cold ground which was quickly being enveloped in a frosty blanket. I rolled over onto my knees and fell over side wards into the fence but before the pain could even make it-self felt, I stood up with a mighty bounce and screamed at the top of my voice for a few seconds which must have frightened any nocturnal animals roaming within a mile radius let along anything closer that may have had ideas about tasting my flesh.
I sat beneath a sweet smelling pine tree and noticed the sun’s rays pushing the dull grey night time colours out of the way. I regulated my breathing pattern, closed my eyes and emptied my head of all thoughts, good and bad. I allowed the comforting stillness to permeate my senses and physical being, absorbing the moment fully. There in the distance was the camp. Rushing towards it the only thing on my mind was a long hot shower and then some sleep in my tent.
When I arrived, I took a long shower and then went into my tent and fell into my sleeping bag and slept like the proverbial baby. It was not long before I started to dream about getting lost on the moors and meeting the devil’s disciple at a small rock pool. I did not know at first who or what he was but I sat down and started up a conversation with him. He asked me what I wanted most in the world and I told him without giving it another thought. He said I could have it for a small price. When I asked how much, he said not money but a promise that when I had got everything I ever wanted in life, my soul would belong to him.
I made the pact and some years later I met the same person whilst climbing in the Andes who said my time was up as I had achieved everything I had ever wanted in life. But I had not got to the summit of Cerro Torro and started to argue with him and a fight quickly ensued. We both fell off the mountain into an icy abyss. I spent an eternity fighting with him trapped there in my icy tomb. I woke up in a sweat and went outside for a smoke and to clear morbid thoughts that were swimming around in my head.
As I sat by the dying camp fire, I sensed someone sitting beside me. Terrified, I slowly turned to see the person who had been in my dream but this time he was wearing a sickly grin. Nothing was said but then we started to fight again and we rolled into the dying embers and my clothes caught fire. I pushed him away but my breathing was stifled by the smoke from my burning clothes. I could not breathe and tried to scream for help which drew a bucket of cold water being thrown over my face. I came around still lying in the bog beside the electric fence in the forest, fingers and toes tingling, just a little less than they were a few minutes ago.
It had all been in my head and nothing was real so I said something unprintable and managed to roll over a few feet out of the wet soggy bog but took care not to touch the fence again. I had had enough shocks for one day.
Whilst I sat there for a while being angry at it all being a dream, surreal maybe but none the less, just a dream, I tried to make sense of it all and especially what if any, were the message someone was trying to give me. Nothing made sense so I assumed it was the second electric shock that had drove me into a dream-like state and my sub conscious took me into the surreal world to compensate for my physical pain.
A bird called out somewhere in the darkness and I knew trying to find the camp that night was hopeless so ambled back under the forest canopy and settled beneath a large tree resting my back against the bony trunk.
I know I dozed on and off through the night as the cold refused to allow me to sink down into a deep slumber despite being very tired and weary. After an eternity passed, I was pleased to see the dark sky turning lighter ushering in a new day and renewed hope in finding the camp site.
As I sat and watched the sun rise slowly and effortlessly into the new day, pushing the cold dank darkness away, I marvelled at the natural way shapes changed colour in the rising sun’s rays. I was glad to be alive but could not help recalling time after time, the dream I had had whilst unconscious. I felt it disturbing, feeling somehow that the dream was a message and one that would have significant meaning for me at some stage later on if I could only work out what the hell it all meant.
I shuddered and caught something move over to my right. It was a shadowy figure moving slowly towards me. I knew instinctively that it was not going to hurt me and so I accepted it into my consciousness when it came right up to me and appeared to go through me. Time stood still and noise vanished into a soothing silence of other noises. I heard laughter, sensed warmth and love permeate my body and I felt a sense of spirituality as I thought had done earlier.
I closed my eyes and heard a voice inside telling me that I had to do what I had agreed to do with my life, with the time I had been given and the knowledge I would gain in the future. I heard myself agree and with a loud silent sigh, the figure vanished. I stood up and felt fit and satiated so set off in the direction I knew the camp would be in.
After a few yards I came across my body still lying in the wet marshy ground and realised I was in fact no longer alive. I looked down at myself and noticed how peaceful I looked, dirty yes but peaceful. I suddenly started to worry about what to do next. I looked for that tunnel of light but saw nothing. I looked around for someone to guide me but was totally alone. The thought of being totally alone as spirit was too much for me so I ran towards the electric fence forgetting that as spirit I would just pass through it, but when I touched it, I felt the sudden pain of electricity which made me sit up and roll out of my wet and marshy position. I was back in my body, I was alive, and I had beaten death again!
I continued on my way and as I turned the edge of the forest, I came upon a steam and followed it as it was going in the direction I was travelling in. I took great delight in seeing that the stream started to run uphill to a cut in a hillock and down the other side. I knew I was on the right track and this was just the sign I needed to lift my spirits. I smiled as I strode uphill alongside the stream. It all made perfect sense. Soon I heard a muffled voice then another then a bugle playing Taps. I was back at the camp site. Back to reality at last.
The next incident occurred 3 years later when I was 18 years of age (1962) and serving at an RAF station in North Yorkshire.
One Saturday evening I was walking through a Yorkshire village on my way to catch a bus into town when as I past the local pub, I saw a shiny new motor bike standing there alone and crying out to be rode, so as the key was still in the ignition, I obliged it and climbed on and started the engine. It was a BSA Road Rocket, 1,000cc of power and energy and something I had never rode before.
Without helmet or any protective clothing, I roared off down the road south opening the throttle as far as I could just so I could feel that adrenalin rush of excitement of riding over 100mph on an open straight stretch of road again. As soon as I topped speeds of over 100mph I decided to return to the pub and leave his bike there hoping he would not know it had been taken. I turned around and started back up the long straight stretch of near empty road.
I felt alive as the oncoming wind pushed my breath back down my throat and before I realised it, the pub suddenly appeared from nowhere and I slammed on the brakes forgetting I was doing about 80mph. The bike spun, we parted company, the bike falling on its side spinning in frantic circles around the middle of the road, and me taking flying lessons without wings.
The noise emptied the pub and a few local houses nearby but as I had landed over a large hedge that runs around the airfield of RAF Station I was posted to, I was out of everyone’s view which was just as well as the bike owner looked big and angry.
I lay there for a long time not because I thought discretion was the better part of valour but mainly because I couldn’t. My legs were numb and my head hurt like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was not worried about any injuries but was annoyed because I was starting to feel cold as the day was losing its warmth as the sun had long since departed the sky above giving it over to darkness and the full moon slowly arcing its way higher into the heavens.
Military planes took off and landed a few hundred yards away from where I lay in the fading light, the pilots being totally oblivious to my world. The lights of the pub were shinning bright and I heard music seeping out of the walls and I got angry at those inside who were enjoying the warmth of an open fire which would be blazing away casting its randomly yet ordered dancing shadows across the smooth white washed walls. I envied them. No I hated them.
As the night drew on, I started to succumb to sleep not with tiredness but with hypothermia setting in. The night mist was creeping across the airfield and the absence of any aircraft now taking off and landing was noticeable by the silence that gave way to the distant call of a snipe making its last call before turning in for the night.
I continued to lay there with the cold seeping into my very veins and I was starting to regret taking the bike but what the hell, I had enjoyed the ride despite my eventual predicament. I heard the pub emptying and voices saying goodnight to each other. Then silence. Lights go out.
I sat up the minute I felt the warmth from the bright sun envelop me in a cocoon of heat. I did not recognize the place at all nor any of the people milling around who were chattering away to each other all at the same time. Someone came over to me and held out their hand to help me up. I was grateful and thanked them for their efforts. They replied in a foreign language but I made no bones about it, I was just glad to be off the cold and damp ground. I was also pleased that nothing appeared broken although my clothes were a little worse for wear but then, clothes are just material and can be replaced so why make a fuss about it.
I tried to join in some of the conversations that various small groups were having but everyone was ignoring me. I got angry and frustrated and shouted out for some attention. No one moved they just kept on with their own little conversations oblivious to my concerted efforts to get their attention. I decided to walk away but every time I did, I just seemed to come back to the same spot. It was as if I was in an enclosed space with no obvious barriers but whichever direction I walked in the groups of people were always there.
The thought struck like a bolt of unexpected lightening, I was dead. I shrugged my shoulders and sat down. I decided to just lie down and take it easy if this was all there was to being dead, trying to have boring conversations with groups of people who could not even be bothered to speak English.
After an eternity, I felt bored and so got up and went over to the nearest group who were still speaking in a foreign language and still standing in a nice neat circle. I pushed my way into the circle of people and shouted for silence so I could speak, but all that happened was that the circle of people seemed to move away leaving me standing on my own. I was getting annoyed by now and really wanted to make my presence known so started to run over to the circle of people but ran right through them as if they did not exist. I sat down and was about to cry when I saw a shining ball of light low on the ground over to my right. I got up and walked over to it and as I approached it, I put my left hand down to touch it. There was a loud bang and darkness.
I awoke the next morning in my bed in my billet on camp. My clothes were damp and muddy with rips here and there. No body bruises, no cuts or scratches where I flew through the hedge when I came off the bike, nothing. Being me at that period in time, I shrugged it off and got on with my life.
The next article will be about my most profound NDE, and which played a major role in my life back then and still does today, some 37 years later.
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