Out of Body Experience
I have never died but I have come close. I actually watched what I thought was going to be my death. I had what many call an Out Of Body Experience. When you hear that term you think of someone on the operating table who has medically died. They stop breathing, their heart stops pumping, and they are unresponsive. Somehow, they are revived either on their own or through medical intervention. When they awaken, they recall everything that happened to them while they were “dead”. During this period they were floating above their bodies, and could even move to another room where they saw and heard loved ones. They remembered details that defy explanation.
That is what others have experienced. In my case, I was not ill, not in a hospital and not clinically dead. Let me explain how I had this Out Of Body Experience.
It was a three-day weekend, but I forget which Monday holiday was being celebrated. My wife was visiting her relatives in Panama while I remained home in Washington D.C. My wife's sister, Chindy, who was working on a master's degree at Penn State, invited me up for an extended party. She hung around with other foreign students, mostly from Latin American countries, and they knew how to party. She had arranged for me to stay with a Belgian friend, Pierre, who lived just off campus in his own apartment. So I was looking forward to a fun-filled time as I set out on a Friday afternoon after work. I had a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, a fun little car to drive around town, but it was underpowered and not designed for prolonged highway driving. The drive to Penn State took 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic. The last 50-mile stretch of road was two-lane and there were plenty of hills to slow down heavy-laden trucks and the traffic behind them.
It started raining when I reached Pennsylvania and as I got closer to State College, where Penn State is located, the rain turned to sleet and then to snow. The road became treacherous and I was tense from the concentration required to keep the light little VW on a steady course under the blustering conditions.
I came to the top of a long hill and as I descended the VW picked up speed. As I reached the bottom of the hill, a large semi truck came barreling down the hill from the opposite direction. As we passed each other the suction of the semi jerked my VW into an uncontrolled spin. I instantally knew then and there that I was going to die in a bloody crash.
Suddenly I found myself far above the scene. I was floating and watching my VW spin several times, and I fully expected the vehicle to collide with an oncoming car. Somehow, the VW kept spinning but it missed hitting any of the cars approaching from the other direction. Finally, the VW slammed sideways into a large snow bank and came to halt.
The next thing I remembered was being back inside the VW. Someone was rapping on my window and yelling at me to see if I was okay. I rolled down the window and stammered that I was okay. I really wasn't. I was shaking and confused, wondering how I had managed to live through that terrible ordeal. Since the VW was off the road, I sat there for several minutes and then lit a cigarette to calm my nerves. I finished the smoke and decided to check out the car to see if it would run. I was surprised when the VW started on the first turn of the key. I turned back onto the road and continued the drive to State College but at a very slow speed. It was snowing heavily and I didn't want to risk another incident.
I finally arrived at State College, drove over to Pierre's apartment and with my suitcase in hand, rang his doorbell. Pierre opened the door and was happy to see me He greeted me with air kisses, which only Europeans and Latinos do and invited me in. Once inside, Pierre could see I was upset. I asked him if he had anything to drink and he quickly poured me a glass of brandy. After a couple of swallows, I related what had happened. Pierre sat on the edge of his chair with his eyes open wide in amazement at the story I had to tell. He refilled my glass and tired to calm me down. I eventually did, and we began talking about other mundane things. As it turned out, I did have a good time that weekend with Pierre, Chindy and all their friends. I told Chindy what had happened, but I asked her and Pierre not to repeat the story to the other friends. I didn't want to put a damper on the party mood.
Many years have passed since that experience. I still think about it and I wonder how it could have happened. I do believe that there is something beyond this life, that we have some kind of spirit or soul or whatever you want to call it. If that essence of awareness can exist outside the body then surely there must be an afterlife. Maybe everyone has that same experience when they die. Everyone has to die and I know I won't be afraid when my time comes.