Near Death Experience: An Introductory Sampler

Ben H. Swett
Christian Women's Fellowship
Bethany Christian Church
23 February 1993

Introduction

Two years ago in my Easter sunrise sermon on Resurrection I said there is some very interesting testimony in modern research on Near Death Experience. Now I'd like to expand on that comment. Granted, death is not a subject we like to think about, normally, but we've all got to go sometime, so it's better to be prepared. For example:

A cemetery lot salesman was visiting an elderly lady in her home. Her teenage grandson came into the room and said: "Oh, don't talk about that, Grandma. Don't even think about it. You're gonna live a long time yet." Later, as the salesman was leaving the house, he saw the boy washing a shiny red sports car and stopped to admire it. The boy told him all about the car and then added, "Ya gotta love it! It'll do a hundred and twenty, flat out!" "Good Lord!" said the salesman, "You're closer to needing a cemetery lot than your grandmother is!"

Death has been described as "that land from which no traveler returns," but now we do have some travelers' reports. Doctor Raymond A. Moody, Jr., MD., is the pioneer of near death research. He wrote the book "Life After Life" in 1975 based on 150 reports he collected during the previous ten years. In that book, he coined the term "Near Death Experience" and the abbreviation "NDE". He gathered three kinds of experience: (1) of people who were resuscitated after they were clinically dead; (2) of people who, in the course of accidents or severe injury or illness came very close to physical death; and (3) of people who, as they died, told what they were experiencing to other people who later reported what they said. Dr. Moody's more recent books are based on over 1000 cases, and statisticians have estimated that his sample probably represents at least eight million Americans.

Others have followed Dr. Moody's lead, and there is now a growing body of reports on this subject. I find much in these books that reminds me of things in the Bible, and especially the New Testament. I believe our faith is based on facts, and that some of those facts are being rediscovered. However, this is not a book report. The only reason I consider these books credible is because I have received similar reports from people I know -- as I will attempt to illustrate this evening.

All the reports say that near death experience is difficult to describe, because our words are not adequate. And many who have tried to tell others about this kind of experience have encountered skepticism, disbelief, scoffing, sarcasm, ridicule -- so they stopped trying to tell anyone. That's why so few people know what so many have experienced. But we can do something about that.

Part of our mission as a church is to provide each other with quiet opportunities to share experiences, things we have heard from others, and our own doubts and questions, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and sympathy, without dogmatic disagreement or ridicule. None of us has all the answers -- to anything -- but there is much we can learn from each other, and so we give each other permission to speak. This is one of those occasions. My talk will be brief. Thereafter, we will break up into three small groups to share whatever we have experienced or heard or wondered about concerning near death experience.

There Are People There

(From "Life After Life" by Dr. Raymond Moody.)

One middle-aged man who had a cardiac arrest related:

I had heart failure and clinically died ... I remember everything perfectly vividly ... suddenly I felt numb. Sounds began sounding a little distant ... All this time I was perfectly conscious of everything that was going on. I heard the heart monitor go off. I saw the nurse come into the room and dial the telephone, and the doctors, nurses, and attendants came in.

As things began to fade there was a sound I can't describe; it was like the beat of a snare drum, a rushing sound, like a stream rushing through a gorge. And I rose up and I was a few feet up looking down on my body. There I was, with people working on me. I had no fear. No pain. Just peace. After just probably a second or so, I seemed to turn over and go up. It was dark -- you could call it a hole or a tunnel -- and there was this bright light. It got brighter and brighter. And I seemed to go through it.

All of a sudden I was just somewhere else. There was a gold-looking light, everywhere. Beautiful. I couldn't find a source anywhere. It was just all around, coming from everywhere. There was music. And I seemed to be in a countryside with streams, grass, and trees, mountains. But when I looked around -- if you want to put it that way -- they were not trees and things like we know them to be. The strangest thing to me about it was that there were people there. Not in any kind of form or body as we know it; they were just there.

There was a sense of perfect peace and contentment; love. It was like I was part of it. That experience could have lasted the whole night or just a second ... I don't know.

A Sea of Golden Light

My father-in-law, Lawrence Haskins, had a near-death experience in August, 1967, long before any of the books on that subject came out. He was in Oklahoma City, being operated on for cancer of the esophagus. They almost cut him in half. His heart stopped several times, and they had to restart it.

Later, after he came home, he tried to tell me about something that happened to him during that operation. Lawrence was not a man of words, so it wasn't easy for him to describe his experience.

He said, "Well, it really seems funny, but I found myself watching them work on me. Do you think I'm crazy?"

I said, "No."

He said, "I was kind of up in the corner of the room, looking down ... and there was this body laid out, and all the people working on it ... and it was me."

"OK, what happened?"

"Well, they got a couple of things that looked like those old-fashioned flat-irons we used to heat on the stove, and they put them on that body, and it jumped, and all of a sudden I was back in there, hurting."

"OK."

"That happened a few more times. Several times. And then I kind of went away from there. I went ... some place else."

"Can you tell me what it was like?"

"Well, it was no place on this earth. It was like I was swimming in a sea of golden light ... all above and below and around me ... I was completely surrounded with golden light."

"Was anybody else there?"

"Yes."

"Anybody you recognized?"

He thought about it. "Well ... I didn't exactly see anybody, but I knew they were there ..." Then he looked right at me and said, "Ben, I'll tell you what it was like. It was like when you were a little kid at home and knew that everybody loved you." He paused, and then smiled, and added, "I'm not afraid anymore."

Calling Cards

In 1968, Lawrence was dying. He had been operated on for cancer the year before, but it came back, and there was nothing more the doctors could do for him. He was at home, rapidly wasting away.

One day, his wife, Ila, was looking all over the house for some greeting cards she had misplaced. Lawrence was dozing in his reclining chair. Suddenly he pointed up toward the ceiling and said, "There are some cards up there."

Ila didn't see any cards hanging in the air. She asked, "What kind of cards?"

"Calling cards. Don't you see them? They're right there, on that plate."

"Calling cards? Whose calling cards?"

Lawrence named several names, turning his head as though he were reading the names from cards at different angles.

Ila recognized the names as people Lawrence had known, and she realized that all except two of them were dead. She thought no more about it until some time later, after Lawrence died. Then she learned that those two people also had died before Lawrence saw the calling cards.

She also learned that Lawrence had significantly helped each of the people whose names he had mentioned that day. And she wondered if perhaps those invisible calling cards were in fact from people on the other side of life -- specifically, from friends who had come to greet Lawrence when he died.

Friends Come

(From "Life After Life", by Dr. Raymond Moody.)

A woman reports:

I had this experience when I was giving birth to a child. The delivery was very difficult, and I lost a lot of blood. The doctor gave me up, and told my relatives that I was dying. However, I was quite alert through the whole thing, and even as I heard him saying this I felt myself coming to. As I did, I realized that all these people were there, almost in multitudes it seems, hovering around the ceiling of the room. They were all people I had known in my past life, but who had passed on before. I recognized my grandmother and a girl I had known when I was in school, and many other relatives and friends. It seems that I mainly saw their faces and felt their presence. They all seemed pleased. It was a very happy occasion, and I felt that they had come to protect me or to guide me. All this time, I had the feeling of everything light and beautiful. It was a beautiful and glorious moment.

A Shining Moment

(From "Transformed by the Light" by Dr. Melvin Morse.)

A chaplain recently described how she used her knowledge of near-death experiences to help empower a patient and her family. The patient was an old woman dying of cancer. Her sisters were at her bedside. The woman rallied on the last day and spoke to her sisters. "Tom is here," she said pointing at the foot of the bed. "Oh at last, Tom is here."

"Who is Tom?" asked the chaplain.

The sisters were embarrassed. They tried to quiet the dying woman who was quite excited and still pointing.

"She doesn't know what she is saying," said one of the sisters. "Tom is her husband. He has been dead for twenty years."

The chaplain surprised them with her response. "Where do you think Tom would be if not here?" she asked.

The attitude of the women changed. Rather than reject the deathbed vision of their sister, they participated in it. "Show us where Tom is," said one of the women. They both gathered around her in the bed and looked at Tom until their beloved sister died.

The moment of acceptance made a tremendous difference for these two women. Instead of their final memories being of their sister raving from hallucinations and talking out of her head as she died, they had a powerful moment in which they were able to help their sister with the process of dying. They shared in her vision. And as a result, the grieving process was made an easier one for them.

This chaplain was comfortable with death and confident in her own spirituality. She did not attempt to interpret the experience for the sisters or let her own beliefs intrude into this very delicate moment. All she did was suggest that Tom was in fact at the bedside and that only the dying person could see him. The sisters themselves knew it was Tom. They were simply unable to act on their intuition until the chaplain, the official in the room, gave them permission.

Sunshine in the Garden

(Bethany Christian Church, Life After Death Seminar;

extract from unpublished transcript, February 1, 1978.)

Ben: Okay. What have we been told about the subjective experience of death? What have you been taught to expect your own death to be like?

Lady: I was never taught anything about it. Nobody ever died in our family, and it wasn't talked about.

Ben: Do you have any anticipation of what that experience will be like for you?

Karen: I know what my mother told me.

Ben: What did she tell you?

Karen: She said she was very near death, and she recovered. They really were standing by, ready to say, "This is the end." I wasn't there, but when I did visit with her, she called me in, and there were just the two of us in the room. She said, "I want to tell you about death," and I thought that was interesting.

She said, "I want you to know there's nothing to fear." My mother's not a person to mince words. She didn't make something beautiful, or a big story. It was just: "Here's the way it is -- take it or leave it."

And I said, "Mother, how can you know?"

She said, "Because, dear, I was in death."

I said, "Now Mother, how can you know that?"

And she said, "You ask the doctor. But it doesn't make any difference what they say, because I know I was in the state of death."

Well, she was in agony. She was dying of pulmonary edema. She was drowning. And she said, "That is not a pleasant experience, I'm here to tell you that was not a pleasant experience."

But, she said, at one point, every fearful or agonizing feeling that she had was gone -- just completely wiped away. And then it was like ... beautiful peace. She said, "Rather like ... sunshine in the garden."

And I thought to myself -- I guess I said it to her -- "I wonder if that's something that occurred in your own mind?"

But she said to me, and I know that as far as her mind goes, that is exactly how it was to her, that it was "sunshine in the garden," and it was very peaceful, and it was beautiful. Now, could she see flowers? Could she see trees? Or was it really a garden? She said, "I don't know."

Ben: She said it was like sunshine.

Karen: Yes. Like sunshine, and beautiful, and very tranquil. And then just when she was feeling comfortable in that situation, it was like someone ... well, I don't remember just how she explained it, but it was like someone said, "I'm sorry, you can't go there. Come on here. Come on. You have to come back this way." And she said, "You know, I almost didn't want to go on back, because I remembered it back here: it hurt."

And I'm not ... that was the first time I'd been getting one person's testimony, one-to-one, and certainly ... my own mother ... You know, it took me months and months to swallow that, even knowing it was my own mother.

Ben: Well, knowing you, I can believe your mother doesn't mince words, and that she gave it to you straight.

A Chaplain's Report

[This report was handed to me by Chaplain Jerry Mallory in 1978. It came to him through Air Force Chaplains' channels. The report is not dated, but the events it describes, and the chaplain's reaction to what he heard, took place at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, in late 1977.]

Robert H. McPherson

Chaplain, Major, USAF

Protestant Chaplain

Department of Pastoral Care

The patient, Air Force active duty (retired while in the Medical Center), was diagnosed only one month prior to death as carcinoma of the liver. He knew of the terminal aspects of the disease shortly after being admitted. He was married and had two children (ages 10 and 4). His wife has a degree in psychology and works as a volunteer with dying children and their families. Though she was familiar with the literature on death and dying, her husband had not taken a great interest in the matter and had not discussed the phenomena with her.

Mr. C. was a member of the Methodist Church. He "accepted Christ" when he was 17 and two weeks prior to death was "re-baptized" by a civilian pastor with whom he had developed a close relationship. Also the Medical Center Chaplains assigned to that ward were close to patient and family.

As duty Chaplain, I was called to his bedside about 8:00 p.m. on Friday at the request of the patient and his wife. They wanted pastoral support until the arrival of their own minister. Death seemed imminent (within 3 or 4 hours). Following a bedside ministry of Scripture and prayer, I stayed with the family until the arrival of Pastor J. (around 9:30 p.m.) He said he would remain, if possible, until death occurred.

Around 9:40 a.m. on Saturday, I was called by the Medical Center Information Desk and told that the patient had expired. I responded to the ward and was advised that the wife was in the doctor's room with a friend. The nurse on duty said that the wife had had quite an experience and seemed to want to share it.

I went in to see her. She was not in the usual state of deep shock and grief but seemed alert and with a "calm exhilaration." She said she wanted to tell me what had happened, if I wanted to hear. I said I did, and then she related to me the events of the night before and the early morning hours which she later retold in my office.

Throughout the night the wife, nurse and ward attendants were present with the patient.

I have attempted to put the event in chronological order, based on recorded interviews of the three accounts and accompanied the dialogue with Scripture relating to this experience.

[Some scriptures have been removed for the sake of brevity.]

W: Up to this point [the patient] was very hard to hear. You had to get right down near his lips to hear his voice, and then suddenly you had no trouble in making out what he was saying.

Time: 11:30

Patient seemed very distressed.

W: What's wrong?

PT: I'm between here and there and I want to get there. I want to die and go, and I can't get there. I want to go. Where are you?

(2 Cor 5:1-2a) For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling ...
W: Where are you?

PT: Help me. This is agony. I'm between here and there and I want to get there to him. This is agony.

W: I know it. Where are you hurting? Is it your stomach?

PT: No. It's just the agony of being in the middle. I've got to get there. I'm not in pain. It's just the agony that I can't get there.

W: (He was going through this all night. It was almost like a fight. A pull between himself and whatever ... he wanted to go, and he didn't know how to let go. He would go if he thought I could go with him.)

PT: Hold my hand. We've got to go together. We've been together for twelve years now. We've gotten through everything so far. We're supposed to be together. Take my hand and I'll take you with me.

(Mt 19:6) Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.
W: (And then he would try to go. And then he would have to come back.)

PT: It's not time. It's not time. It's not time. I love you. I don't want to leave you.

W: (Then he would calm down for 5-10 minutes.)

(For a couple of hours he talked of our love for one another.)

PT: O my God! God's left me in limbo! We must go up! We must go up!

(22 Psalm) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer; and by night, but find no rest. I am poured out like water ... my heart is like wax, my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
W: What do you mean, "He left you in limbo?"

PT: I'm just here, and I'm all confused. Hold my hand! Talk to me and I'll find my way up. But you have to keep talking to me. I can't . . . I see God . . . the light . . . very pretty . . . very pretty.

W: What does he look like?

PT: The light . . . the light . . . Hold my hand tight. We've got to go together.

W: (Then he got through.)

PT: It's very pretty here.

(Psalm 23) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou are with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
W: Do you hurt?

PT: No, I don't hurt. I'm happy. It's very pretty . . . very, very pretty.

(Romans 8:18) I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
W: Are you all right?

PT: Don't worry about me. I'm all right. I'm through it now. I understand. I'm happy.

(1 Cor 13:12) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
W: Are you happy?

PT: Yes.

W: Have you got a beautiful place to go?

PT: Yes . . . very pretty. I'm going to like it here.

W: I'm glad you have a pretty place to live.

PT: I'm going to like it here. You have my body. I'm here. I'm so happy. It's so very pretty. The light is blinding. I see God. It's the light.

(1 John 1:5) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.
W: Can I come live with you?

PT: Yes. Yes. (smiling) Don't make any mistakes or you won't come. (very definite)

(John 14: 1-2) "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?"
W: And then he started losing his senses and talking about driving a car, and all those things, and that went on until about 7:30 in the morning. He had already been through all of this, and then he was gone later on that morning around 9:00 a.m.

I asked the nurse if she had experienced this before and she said, "No. I've seen people beg for mercy, swear. I've seen them just die. But I've never seen anything like this, when they tell me there's life, that there is a difference between here and there."

I don't think I would feel so much peace in myself so soon if I hadn't experienced that. I heard from his own lips that he was alright. That he was happy and that he liked where he was at. I heard this with my own ears, and no one can ever take this away from me.

(1 Cor 15:42-44, 54-55) So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. ... When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?"

Why My Interest? by Dr. Melvin Morse, MD.

(From "Transformed by the Light")

I have often been asked why I am so interested in near-death studies. Frankly, it is because I believe these stories. These stories are told with such beauty and simplicity by children and adults alike who have nothing to gain by making them up. They demand to be investigated.

I did not always feel this way. When I first heard of near-death experiences, I thought they were just hallucinations generated by medication or lack of oxygen. I, like most of my peers, thought they were some sort of psychological defense mechanism designed to soothe the fear of dying.

After four years of medical school and two years of residency training, I had helped patients cheat death many times. Yet never once did I hear one of them speak about going up a tunnel to another world. Now I realize that many of my patients might have had near-death experiences. I just didn't spend enough time listening to them to find out.

Luckily, a shy and pretty seven-year-old girl told me about a vivid NDE that occurred when she nearly drowned in a community swimming pool and was clinically dead for nineteen minutes.

While casually telling me what it was like to almost die and come back, she must have noticed the shocked look on my face. "Don't worry, Dr. Morse. You'll see, heaven is fun!"

After that story, my life has never been the same. I realize that there is room for emotion and spirituality in medicine. After researching NDEs all these years, I have heard plenty of both, untainted by a need to please. These stories are straight from the heart.

You Must Go Back

[I received this report last Sunday, from a lady you all know. I have her permission to read it to you.]

On January 2, 1980, I was admitted to the hospital. I had begun to hemorrhage during my seventh month of pregnancy. I remained in the hospital for the next several weeks. On February 8, 1980, an emergency Cesarean section was performed. I had requested an epidermal so that I could be awake during the delivery. A few moments after my daughter's birth, I remember hearing one of the doctors say, "Oh my God! Help me!" The moment the words were spoken I felt a pain that is indescribable. I remember hearing myself scream, and then the pain stopped. I found myself watching from a corner of the room as paddles were applied to me. I did not realize that I was watching myself. It seemed like only a moment later I heard the doctor yell that they had a heartbeat. I then heard the doctor tell the others in attendance that a hysterectomy would be necessary to stop the bleeding. (I discovered later that a rare chemical imbalance had caused the outside of my womb to attach itself to my other organs.) When the attempt to remove my womb was made, they were as yet unaware of the complications, and many organs were literally ripped. At that point I watched my body go into cardiac arrest. I watched as they unsuccessfully tried to revive me, and I watched them quit trying.

Then there was silence and complete darkness. A man's voice spoke to me out of the darkness, and said, "You must go back." Now I have never taken well to being bossed around, and I didn't like someone telling me I "must" do anything. And I did not want to admit that I didn't know where I was supposed to go back to, nor did I know where I was. Then the voice spoke to me again only more firmly. This time the voice said, "It is not your turn to come home with me." Now I was getting mad, so I spoke back. Actually, to be honest, I yelled back: "Who are you, and what makes you think I want to go home with you?" Then the voice spoke again, only this time the tone of voice was like that of a father who is running out of patience with a child. This time he said, "You must go back. Your granddaughter will need you." Now I was really mad and I informed this man that I was only 25 years old and I didn't have a granddaughter. Then he ordered me: "Go back!"

I became aware of pain and movement instantly. There was something over my face, and I pushed it aside, and looked up into the face of a very large man, and I remember saying, "Did I hear you say you were going to do a hysterectomy?" And then he screamed! I was told later that he was the attendant who had come to take me to the morgue. I then slipped into a coma for the next two days. During that time the man with the voice came back to me. He told me to tell the doctors that I was bleeding and told me to tell them where.

When I woke up I told the doctors that I felt "hot" inside. A few seconds later, the bed was covered in blood. When I realized what was happening, I remembered what the man had told me, and pointed to where I was bleeding from. The doctors ignored me as they rushed me back into the operating room. I was told later that when they opened me up, there was so much blood that they could not locate the source. The doctor told me that he did not understand how I could possibly have known where the bleeder was, but that I had pointed to the exact location. Had I not told him, and had he not remembered, I would have bled to death on the operating table.

My family was told that I was not expected to live. I had suffered two massive heart attacks, and had received 56 pints of blood in a 48 hour period. My one kidney had been removed, my other kidney was damaged, and I was on complete life support. On February 19, 1980, I walked out of the hospital with my eleven day old daughter. The doctors were unable to explain my recovery, nor were they able to explain how I was able to tell them in detail the events in the operating room on that day. Since this experience I am no longer afraid of death, nor am I afraid of life. I have a sense of being at peace with myself that I really can't describe, except to say "It's OK."

Gay MacLean

Church Secretary

Bethany Christian Church

Books on Near-Death Experience

Raymond A. Moody, Jr., MD.; Life After Life (Bantam Books, 1975); Reflections on Life After Life (Bantam Books, 1977); The Light Beyond (Bantam Books, 1988)

Melvin Morse, MD., with Paul Perry; Closer to the Light: Learning From the Near-Death Experiences of Children (Ivy Books, 1990); Transformed by the Light: The Powerful Effect of Near-Death Experiences on People's Lives (Villard, 1992)

Kenneth Ring, Ph.D.; Life At Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan; 1980)

George G. Ritchie, Jr., MD., with Elizabeth Sherrill; Return From Tomorrow (Chosen Books, 1978)

Biography of Authors

Dr. Raymond A. Moody, Jr. received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. After teaching philosophy at East Carolina University, he received his MD. from the Medical College of Georgia in 1976 and then served his residency at the University of Virginia Medical School. As a philosophy teacher, he had a special interest in ethics, logic, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of medicine. The latter led him into the study of the phenomena of survival of bodily death, and resulted in his writing of Life After Life, which became a nation-wide best seller. Since then he has spoken around the country to nursing and medical groups, and conducted interviews with people who have had "threshold of death" experiences. This research has been incorporated into his more recent books, Reflections on Life After Life and The Light Beyond.

Melvin Morse, MD., is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and a recipient of the National Service Research Award. He is a recognized authority in the field of near-death studies, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, and has a busy private practice in the suburbs of Seattle, where he lives with his wife and their four children.

Dr. Kenneth Ring is a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut. He received his B.S. degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, and co-founder and First Vice-President of the Association for the Scientific Study of Near-Death Phenomena. Since becoming involved in near-death research he has lectured widely on this topic and has appeared on many radio and television programs as well as in a documentary film. Dr. Ring lives in Mansfield Center, Connecticut.

George G. Ritchie, MD., reports his own near-death experience. In the early morning hours of December 21, 1943, he died of pneumonia in an Army hospital in Texas. According to hospital records, he was dead for at least nine minutes, and perhaps longer. What he experienced during that time, and how it influenced his life after he was resuscitated, is told in his book "Return From Tomorrow".