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Death: What Is It Like?

10 People Who Remember the Afterlife Tell Us

By Author Eve S EvansPublished about a year ago 43 min read

This list called to me. Why? Because I've died. Twice. I don't remember the first time because I was only 4, however, I do remember the second time. I wish I could give you a deep encounter with pearly gates and a world that looked to be created by Thomas Kinkade, but sadly, I only remember darkness. As I'm sure I cannot satisfy this article to the fullest without telling you briefly how I died, so I will.

Let me start by saying I have done multiple interviews as I am an author. Most of my interviews are about ghosts. However, I recently started opening up about my experiences with death as well. When I was 4 I drowned. When I was 16 I drowned. (I know... I should probably just stay away from water at this point, right?) When I was 16 I was hanging out with some friends at a dam up in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. My friends jumped out into the water, I was the last one to get in. As I was preparing to jump in, one friend called to me, "Don't jump out there! There is a fish ladder, and it will pull you under."

After I drowned when I was 4, my mom put me in swimming lessons. I mean A LOT of lessons. I'm actually an amazing swimmer. So I thought to myself, whatever, I got this. These guys don't know how good of a swimmer I am, and I jumped out. I was pulled under by the current and it was really tough to fight my way back up to the surface. I remember gasping for breath and then being pulled down again. It was a struggle to stay afloat. At the same time, the concrete steps of the fish ladder tore into my knees. It seemed like an eternity passed. Finally, I stopped fighting for air. I accepted it. This was how I was going to die. My lungs stopped burning from lack of air, and my body went numb. I felt as though I was drifting off. No more pain, no more terror, just acceptance.

When I died, it was pitch black. But even though I couldn't see anything, I felt at peace. I wasn't scared at all. The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground and coughing up water while my friends were crowded around me. Unfortunately, this experience did give me a slight fear of water. Whenever I go swimming I will not be in the water if I cannot see the bottom. I start having a panic attack.

As an author of paranormal non-fiction and fiction books, I was curious about what people remember after they die. So, I decided to interview people who had died in a variety of ways and compiled a list of their stories. Here are 10 accounts of people who remember the afterlife.

1) A Lifetime of Pictures

Last winter, I was driving home from visiting my in-laws with my wife. We’d never seen eye to eye with each other, so you can probably guess it was a less-than-positive experience. They didn’t seem to think that I was good enough to be with their daughter, and that had been a point of contention between us for quite some time. Lately, however, it seemed as though my wife has been leaning more toward their way of thinking than ever before, and there had been a rift growing between us too.

The two of us hadn’t spoken to one another since we’d gotten into the car to head home. I could feel the tension building up between us, and figured it was only a matter of time before it dissolved into one of those huge screaming matches where nobody won. The longer this tense silence lasted, the worse it was going to be later.

The best choice I could make was to start the conversation; maybe if I spoke first, I figured I could try to vent the pressure a little and make her see reason.

I looked over at her and opened my mouth to speak, but I never got the chance. The car ran straight over a patch of black ice, and the whole vehicle skidded out of my control. Unprepared, I didn’t correct the wheel in time before the car veered across into the oncoming lane. It was only by sheer luck that we didn’t hit another car. But instead, we were impacted by a telephone pole at nearly 40mph. One second, I swear I could see the individual grains of wood that the pole was made out of, then the next, all I could see was white.

I was still partially conscious at this point, but not completely. My body felt strange, weightless. Then I felt myself begin to rise. It was the strangest sensation, of my consciousness detaching from my body. I floated up and away, and that whiteness in my vision became an image again.

I could see the car and the damage that had been caused by the wreck. I was looking down at it, from somewhere far above. I saw my wife, desperately shaking me, trying to get a response out of my unconscious body. But she wasn’t going to get one. I wasn’t there anymore, my body was empty.

Then I felt a presence behind me. I turned, moving sluggishly as though I were moving through the water, and saw a beautiful woman in a white flowing robe. Her hair was red and her eyes were bright green, like emeralds. Her beauty struck me in an ethereal way; she hardly seemed human. As she walked towards me, energy began to fill up inside me. It was like every molecule in my body was reacting to her presence, vibrating with this strange power.

The woman began to speak to me.

“I am going to show you the most important moments of your life,” she said, her voice light and angelic. “Each one has been chosen because it has a special meaning to you.”

She moved back slightly, and what looked like a giant painting began to move toward me. Moving images were displayed in the center of the frame.

The picture showed a hospital room, with a woman lying on the bed in the midst of childbirth. It was my mother giving birth to me. Almost as soon as it had come, it was gone, replaced by another memory. This one showed me learning to walk. The next memory flashed up, then another, and another, each one passing before my eyes faster than the last until it was little more than a blur of color and motion. Yet somehow, I was still able to comprehend all of them, despite the incredible speed at which they were moving.

As the woman had said, these were all of my memories. Thousands of them plucked from my own past. They ranged from wonderful to heart-wrenching, every high and low I had experienced. But they were all things that had made me, that had shaped who I was today.

The painting vanished, and the woman turned back to face me. This time, her face seemed more solemn than before, and her voice was harder. “When your time comes, you will have another review of your life. But it will be different. When seeing these and other moments, you will experience how your choices have made and affected others too.”

She looked down at the crash site below and told me I would now return to my body. I tried to ask her who she was before I went, but all she did was smile and give me a gentle nudge backward, before disappearing.

The energy that I had felt moving through me began to dissipate and I floated down like a feather, weightless and free.

Then I was back in my body. My eyes flew open and I gasped for breath, trying to look around at what was happening.

Red and blue lights flashed across the interior of the car, and a brilliant white light shone through the smashed windows toward me, making me wince away.

I tried to shift my body for a better look, but something sharp cut through my leg and arm, prompting me to quickly fall still again. I was going nowhere on my own, it seemed. But judging by the red and blue lights, someone had already called emergency services.

They ended up getting me out with little further injury, and I was taken straight to the hospital. The doctors told me I’d been lucky; if the debris from the wreckage had pierced an artery, I would have bled out. Instead, it had just been missed.

I could never forget the experience that I had during those moments after the crash. The knowledge that I would experience my life through others when my time came was something that stuck with me afterward. It made me a better friend, and a better husband to my wife. It made me realize that my own actions don’t just affect myself, but those around me too.

I hope those who hear this story can take something from it.

After all, we should all treat people how we would want to be treated, in kind.

2) Right Into Me

It was like any other day. I was on my way to work on a blustery Monday morning, desperate for a coffee to warm me up. I lived relatively close to where I worked, so I usually walked there, stopping by the coffee shop on the way.

I went in, had a polite exchange with the barista as he prepped my coffee, then left. The roads were relatively quiet at the time, which was unusual, but I figured it would make the crossing over a lot easier than usual. With my steaming cup of coffee in one hand, I waited until the crosswalk flashed green, glanced both ways and started crossing. There were no other pedestrians. Nobody else is out on the street.

Nobody to shout a warning.

I didn’t see the car until it was too late. I wish there had been some kind of sign, anything to warn me about what was about to happen. I didn’t even hear it, not until it was already there, barreling around the corner. It went straight through the red light, apparently not even noticing me.

I don’t remember much about the impact, but I remember the hot sensation of the coffee, the feeling of my feet being swept out from beneath me, tossing me into the air.

Then everything went black. My last thought, in those few seconds of consciousness, before things went dark, was: “Crap. It got me.”

Although I say everything went black, that’s not entirely true. That’s just the figure of speech that everyone seems to use. But when I died, it wasn’t just blackness. It was… nothing. Everything I knew was non-existent. I couldn’t feel, couldn’t think. There was just nothing at all.

The next part came in waves of haziness. I remember my eyes fluttering open briefly as someone was giving me CPR. I was lying on the side of the road, half of my body on the sidewalk, the rest hanging over the edge. My leg was twisted in a direction it shouldn’t have been, and I figured at the time it must have been broken or shattered in multiple places. The pain was relative. I think I was more in shock than anything. Everything felt numb.

But I knew, somehow, that I had been dead just a moment before. I’d come back.

And what shocked me more than anything was the realization that after death, there was nothing. Nothing waiting on the other side. Just emptiness.

Like a light switch that stays on until, one day, it just turns off, and that’s that.

3) A Momentary Reprieve

Growing up, my grandfather was always a man to fear. He was quick to punish any transgressions, real or imagined, and was often abusive. His punishments were either being spanked, or taken over the knee with a belt applied to a bare bottom. The fact that he almost seemed to take pleasure in it all made it worse. He would always look for some reason or other to punish.

When I was old enough, I moved out of my parent’s house, knowing it was the only way to get away from him. Years went past when I didn’t go to see him, but the memories of the beatings and abuse I experienced never truly faded from my memory. I couldn’t bring myself to ever forgive him, so I completely severed our relationship.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I saw him again. My mom called me up one day and told me that he’d had a heart attack and didn’t have long left. I was told that it was time to say our goodbyes if we wanted, but then she added that he had been asking for me.

In all honesty, I had nothing to say to him. You said goodbye to people you loved and cared about, and I had never had that kind of relationship with my grandfather. All I remembered of him was the dark stain he cast on my childhood.

Nevertheless, I’ve always been a person who believes that anger and hatred are poison, and I’ve been letting mine fester for far too long. If this was the last time I was going to see him, then he would take those bad feelings with him when he finally passed on.

My mom gave me the directions to the place where he was staying, some kind of assisted living facility. The description made me imagine a clean, spacious building full of elderly people enjoying the last years of their lives in relative comfort and peace. But I had been wrong about this place.

The building was in dire need of a fresh coat of paint, and the lawn area was very poorly maintained. The grass was almost up to my calves, and there was a general dinginess about the place that made it seem unloved. As much as I detested the man, part of me felt a pang of pity for him. This was a place where the forgotten were kept; those people who were all alone or had driven their friends and family away.

Inside the building wasn’t much better. The air was thick with antiseptic and chemical smells, but there was still a sour odor that couldn’t quite be covered up. A few residents were sitting quietly in the common room, staring off into space. Nobody moved, and nobody spoke. It made me feel uneasy.

I turned away and stepped up to the front desk, where an elderly woman with a hard look peered at me over the rim of her glasses. “Yes?” She said in that sharp, impatient way that old women sometimes used.

When I told her I was here to see my grandfather and gave her his name, she looked surprised. If he was anything like the man I used to know, then she was clearly familiar with the type of person he was.

She schooled her face into that hard look again, then gave me the room number and vague directions to get there. I thanked her, then turned down the hallway that would lead me to the room.

The walls were dull and grey, and the facility was one giant square, so all I had to do was follow the hallway and I would eventually end up back where I was. It felt almost like a prison.

My grandfather’s room lay just around the corner from the front desk, not quite far enough for me to have figured out what I was going to say to him.

When I opened the door to his room, I barely recognized the man on the bed. He was hooked up to various tubes that snaked up to a monitor beside the bed. He was a shadow of the man I had known. Time and age had stripped him of the vigor that had once filled him. He lay with his eyes closed, his face gaunt with shadow, and I would have thought him dead if not for the steady beep of the heart monitor.

I exhaled a deep breath, knowing I had been given a reprieve from having to speak to him. Seeing him in this state had put my mind at ease somewhat.

I turned back towards the door, intending to leave, telling myself I didn’t want to wake him when he called out my name. His voice wasn’t the same as I remembered; there was no harsh, angry roughness to it like there had been when I was younger. He sounded desperate, pleading.

Knowing I couldn’t walk away now, I turned around and looked into the eyes of a desperate man. There were unshed tears in his eyes as he gestured me over to a worn recliner in the corner of the room. Admittedly, I didn’t want to sit, but I’d come all this way to see my dying grandfather, so I eventually forced myself to move. The least I could do was give him a chance to say his peace.

As soon as I sat down, his words came out in a torrent, barely audible beneath his stutters and groans.

Somehow, I managed to make sense of what he was telling me.

When he’d had the heart attack, he’d been dead for nearly five minutes before the paramedics brought him back. During those few moments when his heart had stopped, he described waking up and seeing fire and demons around him. They had taunted him with promises to make him suffer, thousands of times worse than the abuse he had doled out to his victims. They told him he would know their pain, and more. Whatever this place had been, those five minutes had felt like a lifetime to him; a lifetime of torment and punishment.

I saw the fear in his eyes as he told me. This was a man who had been shown the consequences of his choices, and he was terrified. For a moment, I thought he had been genuinely sorry for the things he had done to us growing up. But then I realized what was really happening. This was nothing more than an attempt to beg for forgiveness in the hope of buying his way out of that place. This wasn’t a changed man. This was a desperate one, a man trying to make up for a lifetime of hurting people out of fear for what came after.

The visit didn’t last much longer after that. I sat quietly while he told me how sorry he was, begging me for my forgiveness. I told him that it would take time; wounds like this didn’t just heal on their own. He didn’t seem to like my answer, and he went silent, so I took my leave of him.

He died a few days after that.

In the end, I think he was a man destined to go to hell and just didn’t want to accept the fate he had brought on himself.

4) Unawake

When I was 21, I had to undergo major chest surgery due to an incident I had been involved in at work. Everything seemed fine leading up to the operation; the doctors were confident I’d pull through and my family would be waiting for me on the other side.

One minute I was in the operation room, my eyes hurting in the bright fluorescents above me as I slowly succumbed to the anesthesia. Then everything went dark as the sedative kicked in.

It only felt like a few seconds had passed before I woke up, thinking the surgery was over. But it took me a moment to realize I wasn’t actually awake. Although I was aware of it, I was surrounded by complete darkness, like a void that absorbed everything.

I could hear voices, but they were distant, almost as though I was hearing them through the water. I knew they were talking about me, praying for me to get better and pull through. Although I couldn’t recognize the voices at the time, I had a feeling it was my family that I could hear and wanted to reach out to them.

But then the voices began to dim, fading away as though someone had turned the volume down. I wanted to keep hearing them because in a way they seemed to tether me amongst this complete darkness. But then the darkness faded too, and a bright white light filled its place. I knew it wasn’t the lights of the hospital, or the sun, or anything so ordinary. This light was so bright, so brilliant, it was almost blinding, and yet I couldn’t look away. There was something hopeful about it, as though it radiated happiness and peace.

I felt the light getting closer to me, almost enveloping me inside it. I almost felt as though I could reach out and touch it, that if I stretched out, my fingers would have felt it. The rays of light drew closer, and tears began to stream down my cheeks. I couldn’t stop them. Whatever I was seeing had affected me so deeply.

After what felt like a few minutes had passed, basking in this radiating light, I finally worked up the courage to reach out and touch the light. Just as my fingertips grazed the edges of the radiance, I woke up. Everything disappeared, and instead, I was lying in my hospital bed with the faces of my family staring down at me. They were all ashen with worry, and several of them began to cry when I opened my eyes.

Before this experience, I had never been religious or believed in anything supernatural. But I still wonder what I saw. It could have merely been a dream or some kind of side-effect from coming out of the anesthetic. But what convinced me the most that it was something more, was the fact that I flatlined during surgery. I would have died, had the doctors not resuscitated me.

And it made me wonder if I’d had a glimpse of what was waiting on the other side.

5) Riptide

I had been minding my own business when I saw them. Just a glimpse at first, a shock of dark hair, dipping below the surface of the water, then the arms, slapping desperately against the current that had taken hold of them.

There were two of them, just kids, maybe no older than seven or eight. They were struggling to keep their heads above the water as the ocean current pulled them further and further away from the shore.

I remember looking towards the guard tower, hoping someone would notice them and spring into action. But the windows were boarded up. There were no lifeguards on duty, and it didn’t look like anyone else had noticed them.

I had always considered myself in good shape and a strong swimmer, but it had been a while since I’d swum against a tide this strong. Nevertheless, I threw off my clothes and charged into the ocean.

In those thirty seconds it had taken me to get into the water, the current had already pulled them further away. I couldn’t go directly towards them, otherwise I’d risk getting sucked into the riptide myself, so I had to go around, which meant swimming further to reach them.

Wave after wave crashed over me as I swam against the tide. But every time I made progress, I felt myself being pushed back, almost as though the ocean was telling me that I wouldn’t make it.

My body was already tiring beneath the effort of every stroke, but I was determined to get to them. I didn’t know how much longer they could hold off against the current, but it felt like the seconds were moving far too quickly, and I wasn’t making progress fast enough. I was starting to doubt that I’d get there in time.

But I pushed on. And somehow, they had managed to stay afloat, their heads above the water, long enough for me to finally reach them. Both of them grabbed hold of me as soon as I was in arms reach, but the sudden extra weight dragged me, and them, under the water. Kicking hard, I fought my way back to the surface, holding the kids up so that they would be higher above the water.

It was then I realized how much the swim had taken out of me. Even as I took each breath, my lungs burned and my legs were growing numb from trying to keep us all afloat. When I looked back to shore, I realized the impossibility of getting all of us back there. It was too far, and I wasn’t strong enough. All I could do was hold on and hope for a quick rescue. Someone must have seen us by now and called for help.

As I scanned the surface of the water, I saw a yellow boat coming towards us. From the color, I knew it was a lifeguard boat, and it was heading straight for us. But I also knew that I didn’t have much time left. Keeping all of us afloat drained every ounce of strength from my body, and I could feel my legs begin to fail me. It was only a matter of time before they gave out and dragged us all under. All I could do was desperately hoping that the boat reached us in time.

By the time the boat reached us, I was done. I had nothing left. In a final act of desperation, I flung the two kids up towards the waiting arms of the lifeguard, and let myself sink. My last thought was wondering if I’d done enough to save them. I didn’t even try to fight the water filling my lungs. It was all just too much effort. I let myself go.

Then everything went black.

When I came to, the world was still dark, but I could hear the sound of waves lapping at the shore. My face felt warm, as though the sun was shining down on me.

Then I opened my eyes, and the bluest ocean I’d ever seen was lapping pure white sand. I was alone, sitting in a chair that wouldn’t have looked out of place by the poolside of a 5-star hotel.

I stretched out my arms and legs, feeling like I had just woken up from an afternoon nap beneath the sun. It was a great feeling. I truly didn’t remember ever feeling this good before; this content and peaceful.

Yet part of me knew it wasn’t going to last. In the distance, someone was walking towards me. They didn’t appear to be in a hurry, walking at a slow, leisurely pace, but I knew they were here for me. There was nobody else around. As the figure drew closer, his face didn’t seem familiar, but somehow I felt as though I should know this person.

He spoke as soon as he was near enough, in a voice like silk. “You’re not supposed to be here. Not yet. It isn’t time,” he told me.

“What do you mean I’m not supposed to be here?” I asked. “Where is here?”

He gave me an amused smile and shrugged in a slow, careless sort of way. “There have been a lot of names for this place over the years. It doesn’t matter anyway.”

I stared at him, realization dawning on me. “I’m dead, aren’t I?”

“What do you think?” He said with the same amused smile.

“The last thing I remember is trying to save a couple of kids from drowning… are they okay? Did they make it?”

“Does it matter anymore?”

His lithe, careless attitude was starting to irritate me. Why wouldn’t he just give me a straight answer? The only thing he’d told me so far was that I shouldn’t be here.

“Well, it’s time for you to go back now.” Before I could open my mouth, he pressed a hand against my chest, and my vision went completely white.

Pain exploded through my body a moment later, and I woke up coughing, hacking up saltwater that burned my lips. The inside of my chest felt raw from swallowing so much seawater.

When the coughing finally subsided, I found myself laying on my back at the bottom of a boat. I remembered the sky seemed incredibly blue at that moment, so clear and bright.

They must have pulled me out of the water after all.

“Are the kids okay?” That was the first thing that I said.

The guy above me - the lifeguard who pulled me out - nods. “Yeah, they’re fine,” he said. “But you came real close there, buddy. Good job we got here in time.”

That experience is something that I still carry with me to this day. I have never been a religious person, and while this didn’t change that, the idea that there is something after death is something I now know to be a fact. There really is someone waiting on the other side.

6) The Wreck

The motorcycle roared as I upped the revs to a few thousand RPM, waiting impatiently at the junction for the lights to turn green. I wanted to get away from the noisy bustle of the downtown part of the city and go somewhere quiet, where I could gather my thoughts.

I had come down here with some of my friends, trying to wind down after a tough day at work. It had been a long week; my boss had been going on at me for my work, and nothing I did seemed good enough.

Having a couple of drinks with my buddies had done little to dull the edge of the frustration I felt, so I left and hopped on my motorbike, hoping that spending some time riding around might help clear my head.

The light finally turned green, and I hit the accelerator and sped off, hoping the extra boost might help me outrun my problems. As if that ever worked.

The stretch of road that led out of downtown was a large, sweeping curve that let you hit the 60MPH speed limit. I was already at the limit as I entered the first part of the turn. Knowing I would have to take a wide turn to maintain my stability, I edged the bike next to the yellow line and leaned hard into the curve.

What I didn’t notice was the sand. My back wheel skidded over the loose particles, and the back end of my bike came out from underneath me, sending me sliding toward the concrete barrier at the side of the road.

The gravel and sand shredded my tennis shoes, and I crashed head-first into the barrier at nearly 50MPH. When I crashed, I barely even felt the impact.

Instead of darkness, my entire field of vision was filled with the color white. At the center of it was a bright, glowing orb that seemed to pulse in time with my own heart rate. And besides, the orb was a figure. When they turned towards me, I saw that it was a man wearing white robes, a hood hanging low over his face. Inside the hood was completely black; I could see no features, no face. The color, or lack thereof, was startling against the whiteness around him.

“You are here before your time,” a voice said, seeming to come from everywhere at once, even from within my own head. I somehow knew it was the robed figure who was speaking to me. “You are not ready to cross over to the next step.”

I tried to speak, to ask who he was and where I was, but the words wouldn’t come out. The more I tried to speak, the tighter my throat felt, as though someone was squeezing it from the inside. I was not permitted to ask questions.

“Go. Leave this place.” The voice was gentle, but I had no doubt it was issuing a command. One I could not refuse.

All of a sudden, my body was yanked backward, away from the figure in white, and into empty space. I was being pulled at speeds that shouldn’t have been possible, that should have torn me apart.

I felt like I was flying through space. I saw stars and planets, burning around me as I plummeted headfirst past them. I continued to accelerate, getting faster until everything became a blur of white, red and yellow.

As I finally began to slow down, I knew I was coming to the end of this strange journey. There was a bright, blinding flash, and then everything went black.

And then I felt pain. Worse than anything I had ever felt before. It radiated from every part of my body, fluctuating between feverish warmth and numbing cold. I wanted to open my eyes but even that sent another wave of pain through me. Everything just hurt.

There was something wet trickling down over the top of my head. I wanted to reach up and touch it, but I couldn’t move my arm, and it felt like I was still wearing my helmet. There was no way I had the strength to get it off. I just wanted to lay back down and go to sleep, sink into that peaceful darkness. But instead, my head was throbbing and the left side of my body felt like it was on fire, and I could do nothing to dull the pain.

I must have eventually lost consciousness, because the next time I woke up, there was light and sound, moving sluggishly around me. I didn’t stay awake long. I kept falling in and out of reality. Sounds and movement kept coming and going, and in between, I saw flashes of that robed figure. I was struggling to distinguish between what was real and what wasn’t. People spoke to me, but their voices were far away and I couldn’t make out any words.

When I came to, I was in the hospital. The drugs I had been given managed to dull the pain to the point it wasn’t completely unbearable, and I was finally able to open my eyes and look around. A vacuum had been hooked up to my foot, where the sand had cut away nearly two inches of flesh and skin, and the doctors had performed surgery to insert a plate into my head where I had crushed part of my skull.

They told me I was lucky to be alive.

To this day, I still get migraines from the wreck. And every time I have one, I’m reminded of the figure I saw. Remembering that white place is both fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Is it the place you go to be judged when you die? I don’t think I’ll ever know for certain. But if it is, then I am one of the very few people that have seen it and lived to tell the tale.

7) Struck

As I looked up at the sky, I noticed that the dark clouds that had been gathering over the horizon had drawn closer while I wasn’t looking, creating a dark canopy over where I was standing. I only hoped the weather would hold out until my round was over; a little rain on the course wasn’t a problem, but from the black, bulbous appearance of the clouds, it looked more like a storm was coming in.

I still had a couple of hours left before my time on the 18th green was up, but I’d spent an excess of $100 to play on this course, and the last thing I wanted to do was cut things short and waste my money. Instead, I ignored the clouds, adjusted my stance, and swung the club. Unsurprisingly, I managed to shank the ball off to the right, straight into a group of trees.

As I went off to find my missing ball, I felt the first thick droplet of rain hit the top of my head. I put my head down, hoping it would pass over, and trotted into the copse of trees to take my next shot. This time, I managed not to make too much of a mess of things and put the ball out through the trees and back onto the fairway.

Against my luck, the rain had picked up a great deal in the past few minutes. The light shower had escalated into a downpour, creating a curtain of rain that lashed the course. Without a jacket to keep me dry, I decided to cut my losses and hope that the people at the clubhouse would let me come back another day due to weather conditions. The decision was finalized by the heavy rumble of thunder nearby. The last thing I wanted was to get caught out in a lightning storm.

After shoving the club back into the bag, I ran to retrieve the ball. If I had known what was about to happen next, I would have left the damn thing and gone straight home.

I was almost at the ball when every hair on my arm stood on end. It came out of nowhere, and then I felt a strange tingling sensation on top of my head. I reached up to touch it, and that’s when everything went white, followed by the sound of an explosion.

When I came to, I found myself standing in the middle of the golf course, on the exact hole I had been playing. I wasn’t sure how long had passed, but the first thing I noticed was that the rain had stopped. I don’t mean that the weather had cleared up, but the droplets of rain had been suspended in midair, as though time itself had been put on pause.

I couldn’t feel any pain, which was surprising since I was sure I was hallucinating.

When I looked around, trying to figure out what was happening, that’s when I saw the body. It was lying crumpled on the ground a short distance away. Something about the person seemed familiar in a way that filled me with a sense of the dream. Every instinct told me that I knew who this person was, but I couldn’t place the name.

I circled around them, trying to get a look at the face, but every step seemed more difficult, as though some force was pulling me back, trying to keep the identity a secret from me.

I knelt down and reached out to roll the figure over, but my hand passed straight through the body. Even though this should have worried me, my mind told me that this was perfectly normal, that this was supposed to happen, and at the moment, I accepted that.

As I pulled my arm away, the person in front of me shuddered. Pain tore through me for the first time, and this was the moment I realized something was wrong. Even though, moments before, I had wanted to know who this person was, the thought of unveiling their identity now terrified me. I think deep down, I already knew who this person was. It was me. Somehow, I was looking down at my own body, which meant only one thing: I was dead.

I tried to deny the fact, but the more I fought against the idea, the stronger it became. I was dead. I didn’t know how it was possible. One minute I was playing golf, the next I was lying, crumpled on the ground. What had happened? It wasn’t like I had dropped dead for no reason, with no warning.

Pain shot through me again, more intense than before, almost crippling me.

A power beyond my control was drawing me toward the crumpled figure on the ground. This time I wanted to fight it, to get away from the body, but it was stronger than any will I possessed to fight it. Each step brought me more pain, but with the pain came the understanding that I was doing the right thing. I had to go back to the body - my body - so that I could keep on living. Although, it wasn’t as though I had a choice. My time simply hadn’t come yet, and this power, whatever it was, was fixing the mistake.

When I finally reached my body, there was no soft, comforting reunion. It was painful. More painful than I had ever felt in my life. It was like I was being forced into a vessel that was far too small to hold me, yet I was being stuffed in there against my will.

The first breath was excruciating. My lungs burned as oxygen forced its way inside. But with every gasp of air, the pain began to subside, and breathing became normal again.

My entire body tingled and itched from head to toe. It was an odd sensation, combined with the numbing feeling of cold rain pelting me from the sky.

Trying to sit up, my body gave out and collapsed back down. Everything hurt. I could barely move. That’s when a face came into view. It was blurred and unfamiliar, not a face I recognized, but to be honest, it could have been one of my own family members and I’m not sure I would have known at the time.

“Stay still. I’ve called for help. You were struck by lightning,” he added, as though he was telling me I’d cut my knee or something. I think the man’s calmness helped me keep calm too, though, which I was grateful for.

Fortunately, help arrived very soon after, and I was taken to the hospital. I received treatment and was released only a day later.

But I know for a fact that I died on that golf course. Even though I never truly saw the face, I knew it had been me who was lying there on the ground. For a moment, I had been looking down on myself, as a spirit or a ghost. Although it was strange, I don’t recall being scared, other than the initial point where I realized what had happened.

Some people have told me that it was merely a manifestation from my mind as it shut down, and others say it was a spiritual experience. But whatever it was, it’s not something I will soon forget.

8) Desert Conflict

Crushed against the window of the armored Humvee, I tried to adjust the seat to a more comfortable position. It was a futile attempt, however, considering these vehicles were built for safety, not comfort. If it was the comfort that I wanted, I wouldn’t have joined the military.

The Humvee rocked as we turned the corner onto a narrow street, with multi-story buildings cramped together on either side. My heart rate sped up just thinking about the enemies that could be hiding just out of sight on those rooftops and balconies. It was impossible to see from this angle.

But no shots rang out, and so our vehicle moved on down the street with the rest of our caravan.

We reached our next checkpoint and then took another turn. As before, tall buildings rose from either side of a street that seemed a little too tight for our large vehicles. It wasn’t a road that would lend us a quick escape.

Our driver must have sensed something was amiss, as he suddenly put his foot down and increased our speed.

That’s when everything went wrong.

The truck in front of us exploded without warning. It must have been a direct hit by an RPG, as the impact flipped it over completely onto its roof. The sharp, metallic pings from an automatic rifle echoed through the interior of the Humvee, sending us all scrambling. Our driver punched down on the gas and plowed ahead, passing the wrecked truck as he tried to get us out of the kill box.

From the other side of our truck, another explosion ripped through the interior. The world seemed to turn upside down as our vehicle flipped, and my body collided with something hard. The last thing I remembered was screaming, though I couldn’t tell if it was coming from myself, or all around me.

The next thing I knew, I was standing facing my dad. He had been dead for over twenty years, but the fact that he was now alive didn’t seem to bother me. I just took it as a fact. He looked just how I remembered him. Even after all this time, he hadn’t aged a day. He stood there, looking at me with that same understanding smile he always had.

“Hi son,” he said, his voice sharp and clear. “It’s been quite a while.”

I ran over to him and fell into his arms, holding him as tightly as I could. It was like we were trying to make up for the last twenty years with that single embrace.

“Dad! How… how are you here?” I asked him, finally realizing I didn’t know where here was exactly.

My dad’s smile turned a little sad. “Well, son, that’s up to you. You have a choice. You can come with me and see what waits for you next, or you can go back.”

His words confused me. What did he mean I can go with him, or go back? Go with him where?

“What does that mean, dad? Come with you or… or go back?”

He looked down, as though he couldn’t quite look me in the eye. “Son, you’re dead right now. The vehicle you were in was hit, and your heart stopped,” he told me. “But you have a choice. You can come with me, or you can go back and continue living your life. The decision is yours.”

I’m dead? “But what happens if I choose to go with you, dad?”

He looked at me sadly. “I can’t tell you the answer to that question. Some things you’re not meant to know until the time comes. But either way, I’ll be here when the time does come, if you choose to go back now.”

My heart ached to know that I’d already made my decision. My dad just smiled at me. He seemed to already know the choice I’d made, saving me from having to say it out loud.

“It’s okay, son. I’m glad I got to see you again. Know that I love you very much, and I am so proud of the man you have become.”

The empty space around me and my dad dissolved into a kaleidoscope of colors, more vibrant than anything I had ever seen before. And a low, steady beeping noise began to fill my ears.

Beep, beep, beep.

It was a constant sound, echoing dully through my head, bringing me back to reality. I began to recover feeling, and the first thing I noticed was the pain in my head. It wasn’t crippling, but I was aware of it. My whole body ached.

The beeping noise continued, and I realized it belonged to a heart rate monitor. I must have been in a hospital.

They told me afterward that I had been officially dead for nearly six minutes before I was brought back by a medic. I then spent the next week recovering in the hospital before I finally regained consciousness. For me, it had only felt like a few minutes had passed, when in reality it had been days.

I later found out that the crash had been caused by an indirect hit by an RPG, on the opposite side of our truck. If it had been a direct hit or had landed on my side, there would have been very little chance of survival. Although the explosion caused severe enough injuries to get me discharged from the military, I’m happy to still be alive today.

But what happened in those six minutes when my heart stopped beating, I would never forget. Had I really seen my dad? Had he been waiting for me to cross over?

I don’t think I can ever be certain if what I saw was even real, but it does give me a sense of hope that there is something beyond this world we live in.

If there is, then I know I’ll see him again.

9) Charged Up

My boss had told me it would be ‘safe’. I had trusted him when he told me that it was okay to work on the power box, that it was dead. Even afterward, he swore that it was deactivated, and wouldn’t accept that he’d made a mistake. A dangerous one. The reality was that I had worked on a live J-Box. An 880-volt three-phase one to be exact. The line had carried more than enough power to be fatal which, it turned out, it was.

It all happened in an instant. In my profession, that’s how it always goes. As an electrician, you quickly gain a solid kind of respect for what energy can do, and what it’s capable of. I haven’t met a single person that has worked in this job who doesn’t have a story of themselves, or someone they know, coming close to death. Far too many things can go wrong. Even when you’re careful and follow all the right procedures, it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong.

For the second that I was conscious, it felt like someone had dumped gas over my entire body and lit a match. I remember seeing a flash, so bright it burned my eyes, and then I was launched backward. I found out later that it was about 20-25 feet that I fell. I was dead before I hit the ground. My heart had stopped, and medically I was dead.

One of the most common questions I get when I tell people my story is if I knew I was dead. The answer is simply yes. It wasn’t as though someone was there to tell me. I just knew. But at the time, it wasn’t like I was sad about it either. It’s just the way that it was, and I accepted that.

What came afterward was a sense of weightlessness. Like I was floating. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling. It wasn’t like I was floating through the water, but rather energy. I felt like I was part of a power that was far greater than myself. It wasn’t just me there either, but countless lifeforms. Plants, animals, humans, anything that was living was there. I have come to call this place the Ocean of Souls because that’s what it was. Countless souls, all floating together in this ocean of energy.

Somehow, I could understand the thoughts of everything there. They just flowed through me as though they were my own. We were all connected.

It was the most peaceful place I’d ever been to. I wanted to stay there, but I knew that I couldn’t. My time on Earth wasn’t done yet. I still had things to experience, and things to learn. My time here would come eventually, but not yet.

With that thought, my eyes fluttered open, and I saw a metal plate above me. My whole body was in pain, but I managed to move my head enough to look around. I was in an ambulance, being taken to hospital. A place that I wouldn’t leave for almost a week.

I ended up losing part of my arm to the accident and suffered major burns over a great deal of my body.

Some people might see what happened to me as a tragedy. And don’t misunderstand me, because I wish that it had never happened either. But what I saw, the state of being that I experienced during those moments of death, is something that I will always carry with me. It brings me a sense of peace and understanding, to know what awaits me when my time eventually comes.

A lot of people my age fear death, and what happens to us when we die.

But now I know, because I experienced it, and came back to tell the tale.

10) Mayday

I force myself to relax my fingers in a feeble attempt to ease the pressure from the death grip I have on the steering column. The momentary reprieve does little to ease the tension in my hands or my already shredded nerves. The window next to me rattles, and involuntarily I redouble my efforts to crush the instrument guiding my small plane through the storm.

No matter how many hours I log in the pilot's seat, I still can't shake the anxiety that overtakes me when dealing with severe turbulence.

"Just breathe, man, take a breath. You're fine."

The small pep talk starts to work until the back of my eyes light up red from the flash of lightning that strikes someone nearby. The boom of the thunder sends chills down my spine. The plane shivers right along with me as if afraid it might not make it either.

A flash comes out of nowhere and turns my vision white. The sound that follows is deafening, and I'm sure the plane has been torn apart around me. The only thing that lets me know that hasn't happened is I don't feel the wind on my face, or that I'm already dead.

What sounds like an explosion off to my left makes me flinch. Reflexively, I raise my arms to shield myself from any debris that might strike even though I don’t know what has happened. My stomach is forced into my throat as the plane loses lift and drops into the sky.

An alarm sounds in the cockpit, and I struggle to regain some semblance of control over my thoughts and emotions. Blind and disorientated, I feel the plane starting to list in an unusual direction. I want to take hold of the wheel, but without knowing which direction I'm pointing, doing so could mean making matters worse. The alarm continues to sound; every second seems to bring with it a high pitch and a faster cadence.

I do the only thing I can think of, which is blink and rub my eyes, trying to speed up restoring my vision. It seems to be helping but slowly. The first thing that comes into focus is the steering column of the plane. It looks more like a shadow on a grey background. The rest of the instrument panel and the interior of the plane come next.

When I can finally make out what is outside the window, part of me wishes that I could go back to being blind so I could reject what was coming at me. Trees. Thousands of them were rushing up to meet me. In my panic, I hadn't looked at what the altimeter said. I was under 2500 feet, and the ground was rushing up towards me.

I already know there isn't going to be any chance of recovering before I hit the ground. My best chance of survival is to pull up as much as I can. I grip the wheel and yank back as hard as I can. It fights me, unwilling to give up the fast descent. I brace my feet against the floor and strain with everything I have, willing the plane out of the drop. Time seems to speed up and slow down at the same time as the wheel comes towards me in what seems like slow motion, yet the needle on the panel looks like it is speeding up.

I'm going to die. I'd never been so sure of something in my entire life. I look over just in time to see one of the wings get sheared off by the top of a tree then everything goes black.

The next thing I see is my home. More specifically, I see my childhood home, a place I didn't even know I remembered what it looked like. But now that I was looking at it, there was no doubt that this was the place I grew up in. Even some of the toys I had forgotten about that I swore I couldn't live without at the time sat in the yard, waiting for me to rediscover them.

Slowly the door opens, but I can't see inside. A blinding light bursts from the opening. Just inside, I can see the silhouette of a man. He is waving me towards the door, beckoning me into the house. I can't see his face, but in my heart, I know it's my father, a man I hadn't seen for nearly two decades, not since he died of pancreatic cancer.

With this knowledge, his voice called out to me, "Welcome home, son. I've missed you."

The draw of his voice was so inviting. I have never wanted to go to someone more in my life. I took a few steps towards the house, sure that I would walk through the door. The closer I got, however, the more I felt like I was letting go of something. It didn't matter, though; I just wanted to be with my dad. That was more important than what was behind me.

Standing at the threshold, I looked in. The figure was gone, but the pull was overwhelming, just one step, that's all it would take, and I would be with my dad. It was then that I remembered my own child, my daughter, and how much I loved her. The realization that I would be leaving her behind, just like my own dad had done, broke my heart. I didn't want to, no, I couldn't leave her when I had a choice.

I ran from the door, away from my father, and into the unknown. Every step away brought excruciating pain flashing through my whole body. The pain was so great that I almost turned back. The only thing that kept me going was the image of my daughter burned into my mind.

I felt myself dropping like I was on the longest roller coaster I've ever been on. When the feeling stopped, I jumped. I'm back in the airplane, strapped into my seat. The motion sends a wave of nausea through me, and I nearly pass out. Although I do remain conscious, the pain is enough to make me throw up all over myself.

Looking around, I see that somehow, I've managed to not hit a tree. It is nothing short of a miracle. Even though I'm not dead, at least not yet, I'm far from unhurt. Every breath feels like knives are stabbing into me; one arm is obviously broken and likely an ankle too. There's no way I'm going to get myself out of here. I'm going to have to call for help.

I reach out and take hold of the radio, hoping it still works and someone will hear me. "Mayday, please, someone I need help..."

Death is a mystery to us all. Though some have experienced it and come back to tell us about it, we cannot know for sure what happens after we die. From the stories of those who have died and come back, we can gather that there is some form of afterlife, but what that afterlife looks like is different for everyone. We may never know for sure what happens to us after we die, but that doesn't stop us from wondering.

Stories included in this article are ©Eve S Evans and may not be used without written consent from the author.

healing

About the Creator

Author Eve S Evans

After residing in two haunted houses in her lifetime, Eve Evans is enthralled with the world of paranormal. She writes ghost stories based on true events and fictional thriller & horror novels.

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    Author Eve S EvansWritten by Author Eve S Evans

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