following testimony concerns the near-death experience
of a Christian Scientist named Carrie Sandberg. Also
included with this testimony are correspondences made by
Carrie Sandberg in 1933 when she gives even more insight
about her NDE. The following is reprinted by permission
Dave Keyston at
Unlimited - a Christian Science organization
The following brief paper has
been prepared for you with the idea of giving you some details of an actual
experience I had with what is called "death," some years ago, and my
condition immediately after "dying." At the time I was drowned in Lake
Chautauqua my so called physical or material body was down at the bottom of
the lake for at least half to three quarters of an hour, possibly more,
which precludes the possibility of my life being present, based upon the
functioning of the so called physical or material body. But, having a good
working knowledge of Christian Science and being developed spiritually I was
actually able to prevent myself from being "put to sleep" at all and later
on was able to "come back" so to speak. Therefore, I am sure that the
Master, Christ Jesus, meant just what he said, (John 8:51) "I tell you, if
anyone observe my teaching, he will never experience death," or be "put to
sleep," as I understand it.
Of course, it is difficult to
set forth the details of my experience so as not to be misunderstood. It is
for this reason that I am reluctant to talk about it at all. And because of
the fact that, as Mrs. Eddy says, (S&H.468:13-15) "Spirit is God, and man is
His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material, he is spiritual." Any
belief of either living or dying as physical or material person is simply an
illusion or dream. Strictly speaking, there isn't anything much to the
experience I am going to relate except that I was having a dream about
myself at the time which was considerably different from the usual mortal
dream or "state of self-deception" as Mrs. Eddy calls it. (S&H. 403:15) What
I am going to tell actually happened. Nevertheless, considering it from the
standpoint of absolute Christian Science, it wasn't a true experience any
more than the dream of living in the flesh is. The following experience is
given for your kind consideration.
Her Near-Death Experience
In the first place, a
situation was brought about that involved me in a storm on Lake Chautauqua
and I was drowned. My swimming instructor, being an excellent swimmer, tried
to rescue me, but he was not able to do so. After a desperate struggle in
the water, going down the last time, I came to the conclusion that any
further physical effort on my part was useless, therefore I "gave up the
ghost," so to speak, and became resigned to my fate. The suggestion then
came to me that because of the impossibility of my so-called physical or
material body functioning properly, I was "dead" and should "go to sleep."
The suggestion was logical, but I sensed that there was something sinister
back of it. Therefore, I began to question both of these suggestions and
refused to accept the conclusion that I was "dead" and should "go to sleep."
Thinking it over I came to the reverse conclusion that I was "alive" and
would "keep awake." Now, the instant I did so, a "voice" spoke to me
although I did not see anybody.
This "voice" was distinct
like that of some other person. From the tone of the "voice" and the way it
talked, I definitely sensed that it was something evil, insidious and
malicious. It spoke to me in rather a bored way at first, yet masterful. It
began in a gentle way to convince me that I was "dead" and should "go to
sleep." I objected and took issue with it. Soon this brought about a very
"violent argument" between the "voice" and myself. It was at this stage of
affairs that I began to use my Christian Science with telling results. Three
things enabled me to get the best of the "voice" finally: (1) knowledge of
spiritual realities, (2) realization of my at-one-ment with God, and (3)
exercise of my God-given dominion and control in my own behalf. When the
"voice" became convinced that it could not make me believe that I was "dead"
and should go to "sleep" then something else happened. The "voice" changed
its tactics altogether.
Now the speaker or the
"voice" took me on a personally conducted tour, so to speak, of certain
events of my past life. Just like a moving picture, I saw some six or seven
events of my past life involving me enacted again. Nothing good I had done
was shown me. Only events that were brought about by premeditated evil
thinking on my part, were shown. And as I once again saw or lived through
each experiences I suffered untold terrible anguish and pain on account of
the part that I had played in each one of them. All during this time the
"voice" was talking to me and commenting on the part I had played in them.
The "voice" was trying to fix the responsibility on me for the evil results
and I was trying to get out of it. After some three or four of these
experiences I began to wonder why nothing good was shown me because I knew
that I had done lots of good up to that time. In fact, I knew that I had
done much more good than evil. Then it dawned on me that the "voice" was
just trying to build up a case against me. Soon I began to question the
Again I took issue with the
"voice" and this brought on the second "violent argument" which I won as I
did the first, by using my Christian Science. When I won in this instance,
the "voice" stopped talking to me altogether and I had no more
hallucinations of my past life. There was a hush and everything was quiet. I
knew that I had conquered what is called "death" and I had an enormous
wonderful sense of absolute peace and dominion which is impossible to
describe in words. And while I was perfectly satisfied with my condition
then, nevertheless, I began to think about different things and began to
wonder what I was to do next. I thought about my people and the sorrow it
would cause them for me to remain "dead." I wondered what they were doing at
the time, and what was being done to try and rescue me, and I wondered just
what my position was down at the bottom of the lake. I thought about these
things just like one normally does. Then I decided to ascertain the facts.
I knew that my so-called
physical or material body was down at the bottom of the lake because I was
then still seemingly in it, although I was no longer seemingly "connected"
to it or it to me. I thought about looking it over to see just how it was
situated and the very instant I came to the conclusion to do so, instantly I
was outside of it, looking at it. I saw it then as one does any object in
consciousness." Then I thought about those who were probably trying to
rescue my body. The very instant I came to the conclusion I wanted to see
what they were doing on the top of the lake, I was there. I saw very clearly
what they were doing and heard what was said or rather shouted to each
other. In the distance on the shore I saw a crowd of people assembled. I
wondered if any of my people were there. The very instant I came to the
conclusion I wanted to be there to see, I was there. My people were not
there but others I knew were and I saw and heard what went on there at the
As my people were not in the
crowd which had gathered on the shore, I figured that they must be home. The
very instant I came to the conclusion I wanted to be home with them, I was
there in the room with them. I saw everything they did and heard everything
they said. Then I tried to make myself known to them so as to assure them
that I was not really "dead" but they didn't know I was even there. They
were talking about me coming home for lunch, etc. They had no knowledge
about me being drowned at all. Then it struck me just how much of a shock it
would be when they found out what had happened to me. It made me terribly
sad and I had an almost overwhelming desire to get away from the whole
business. I thought about going to Mars to see if it was inhabited because I
have always been curious about it. Nevertheless I prevented myself from
coming to the conclusion that I wanted to be there, so didn't go. Then I
began to wonder if it was possible for me to "come back," so to speak.
I realized that I ought to
"come back" if it was possible for me to do so. Was it really possible? If
so, just what should I do? What was to be my method of procedure? In order
to be able to give serious consideration to the problem I came to the
conclusion I wanted to be absolutely free from all personal and
materialistic considerations. The very instant I came to the conclusion I
wanted to be free from them, I was free from them. Then, not visiting or
being at any so-called location or place, I was what seemed to be simply an
enormous big sphere or ball of pure white light. How big I cannot say
because it seemed that I was right in the very center of it and that it
extended equally in all directions out to infinity. It was a steady,
brilliant pure white light that was wonderful and beyond description. I have
never seen such perfect whiteness either before or after this experience. In
this condition I began to seriously consider the problem.
First of all, I took account
of my situation. I realized that I had conquered "death" because I had used
my knowledge of Christian Science and that I was indeed very much alive and
perfectly conscious. I knew for sure, in the final analysis that nothing had
interfered with my thinking because I was able to think just like I did
before the experience. I knew that my "arguments" had been successful
because they were scientific and based upon Principle or God. I knew that I
was really only an "individual consciousness" without any personal, private,
physical or material body. Then I realized that while the so-called physical
or material body seemed to be mine, it really wasn't me at all. And I also
realized that said body presented the problem of concurrent jurisdiction.
Now that I had nothing to do with said body, it was lifeless. Therefore, I
must have given it the only life it ever had. And it was right to suppose
that if I had once given it life, so to speak, that I could do it again if I
could dominate that which claimed concurrent jurisdiction.
I realized that I didn't
really have any mortal mind or physical or material body. And I realized
that the only Mind I had was immortal Spirit, and that the only body I had
was metaphysical or spiritual, the perfect embodiment of immortal Spirit. I
realized very clearly the mental nature of everything including the
so-called physical or material body. It was perfectly evident that the
physique was an erroneous mental product produced by an erroneous sense of
things and that as it was really mental it could be dealt with mentally. I
figured that as far as what was called my physical or material body was
concerned, it was a matter altogether of dominion and control on my part
over whatever else claimed to be able to run it or not to run it, contrary
to my wishes. In this connection I knew I would have to deal with the
"voice" or so-called mortal mind, because I already had had a "violent
argument" involving it. Therefore it was necessary for me to "work" so that
I might be sure that I was the master.
For many years this so-called
material body, which mortal mind said was mine and was me, did what I told
it to do generally speaking. Now, because I didn't have anything more to say
about it much, it was "dead" and soon would decompose and disintegrate. I
figured that if I had once gotten the best of the "violent argument" with
the "voice" and had been able to definitely silence it, then I must be more
powerful, bigger and better than it was. I knew that this was so because of
my actual at-one-ment with God. So, I reasoned that I did have the necessary
dominion and control and really was the master. My plan was to completely
dominate and control the situation so as to take charge of that specific
illusion or dream of material sense, said to be my physical or material
body, and once again present myself as a human being so as to make my
presence known to those requiring the illusion. Therefore, my plan worked
out with the idea of "coming back," I started in to pray scientifically and
very earnestly so as to be ready for my next move.
At the time, I was some
distance away from my so-called physical or material body. I decided to
approach it in three or four deliberate moves, and did so. In close
proximity to said body, I contemplated it for a few minutes. Then I moved
in, so to speak. At once the "voice" started talking to me again. And now
the "voice" seemed very much concerned indeed. It tried to assume the role
of being the waster and put me on the defensive. Nevertheless, I was the
master and I put it on the defensive. This brought about the third "violent
argument" which was the worst of all. It was perfectly awful. It was
terrible! Hell broke loose! It is impossible to describe this battle at all.
I just can't do it. And when I began to get the best of the "voice" it
stopped arguing and began to make direct suggestions to me. Faster and
faster they came. Stronger and stronger they became. Soon they were coming
with the rapidity of machine gun bullets. I was face to face with aggressive
mental suggestion raised to the Nth degree, so to speak.
Nevertheless I was good
myself. I became more and more active, and more insistent, and more powerful
in stating the facts of being, Finally, I literally beat the "voice" into
submission and silence. I do not know how else to explain it. Then I had
full and complete dominion and control. I made my so-called physical or
material body jump up from the bottom of the lake some two or three feet.
Those who were looking for me were some distance away, but they saw me, the
storm being over, and they came over and rescued me at once. They took me
ashore, rolled me over a barrel and commenced the regular methods to revive
me. After working on me for some time and getting no results, they decided
to give me up. Then the "voice" started in to talk to me once again. I took
issue with it right away and this brought on the fourth "violent argument"
which was comparatively easy for me to win. Also those who had been working
on me, started in to work again. This time I realized I had to start my
so-called physical or material body to function again and I did so. I gave a
cough and started in breathing once again. It was not long until I felt
Being of a scientific turn of
mind I decided to check up on my experience so as to satisfy myself that I
was not suffering altogether from what might be called hallucinations during
the time I was "dead." I proved that I did visit the places I was at, while
my so-called material body was at the bottom of the lake, by checking up on
everything I saw and heard. My swimming instructor, an MD from Univ. of
Pennsylvania, said that I must have been dead because it was a physiological
impossibility for me to live under such conditions. He said that my
experience proved that "death" did not "end all" to those who know enough to
live although he didn't even pretend to be able to explain what took place.
He did say that "death" and "sleep" were evidently closely related, if not
the same thing, and that I certainly had overcome both by being mentally
developed along certain lines not generally understood. He also said that my
experience proved that consciousness was not dependent on physical
conditions. Altogether this experience was rather weird. Not being "bound"
to a so-called physical or material body was a distinct advantage in many
ways and a distinct disadvantage in many other ways. However, I never would
have "come back" if it had not been for the fact that I wanted to spare my
people the great sorrow my "death" would probably have caused them. What
will I do next time? Will there be a next time? Who knows? As I see it now,
the best thing to do is to prevent a recurrence of such an experience if
possible. Certainly what was possible for me to do, others can do and more
besides. Christian Science has opened up a field of unlimited possibilities
that are little dreamed of even by serious-minded people and advanced
In the final analysis it must
be perfectly evident that, there is no death at all. And, it must also be
perfectly evident that man could only "pass on in belief, in a dream"
because the real man is altogether spiritual and he is actually the perfect
expression or reflection of the infinite, immortal Spirit. And certainly
there is no place for the infinite to go from or to. It is, as Mrs. Eddy
says, "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is
All-in-all." (S&H. 468:l0-11)
Dear Mrs. ............
Yes, I must have
unintentionally omitted that part of my experience about being free from the
belief, claim, or suggestion of a location or place just before I started to
"come back" so to speaks when I last had the pleasure of discussing my
experience with you in person. At the time of my experience, this phase of
it seemed so perfectly natural and normal that it did not impress me as
certain other phases of it did. Nevertheless, as time has gone on and I have
given more serious thought to my experience, this phase has come to mean
more to me and to impress me more and more. Now to me that particular phase
of my experiences being absolutely free from a so-called location or place
with its attendant illusions of personal and material characteristics, is
more truly representative of man's real condition than is the dream of
living in the flesh and in a material world. But mankind seems to have
accepted certain false beliefs, claims, or suggestions, which have driven
mankind to certain evil or erroneous conclusions which are the basis for the
whole dream of "the world, the flesh and the devil." Therefore, it still
seems that we are condemned to "till the soil," or improve our sense of
things, until nothing is found in consciousness that is evil or
erroneous at all.
My experience proved to me
conclusively that I was an "individual consciousness" or a "specific
mentality" and nothing else. And as pure awareness I was without any
personal or material characteristic at all. I didn't have any "ghost-body"
or anything like that in any way comparable to the so-called mortal concept
of me. I did not have any (matter-like) head, arms, legs, etc. My real body
or consciousness was then, from the materialistic point of view "without
form and void." Nevertheless, I was a definite entity and could see and hear
perfectly (not smell, taste, or feel) at all locations or places, but could
not make myself known. My ability to think was better and my emotions were
Now, while existing in the
state of pure awareness, without any so-called physical or material body, I
seemed to be absolutely all alone in the state or condition I was in then. I
did not see or hears or in any way know of others who are supposed to have
"passed on." This was disappointing to me and is something I do not fully
understand. Perhaps if I had "passed on" further I might have come to some
sort of recognition of them. I do not know nor am I at all certain that I
might have done so. I say this because, I am sure that the state of pure
awareness I was in then, could be maintained indefinitely by me. It was the
most perfect, natural and normal condition I was ever in, and was devoid of
all personal or material characteristics. Now, if recognition is dependent
upon personal and materialistic factors or elements, then it is impossible
to know those in a state of pure awareness. And it is impossible for those
in that state to know others "after the flesh." Question -- Is it possible
for those in a state of pure awareness to come to know others in the same
state, except as they come to know themselves?
Dear Mrs. ...........
I was pleased to hear from
you once again. As you have requested me to do, I have written up the
experience I had with what is called "death" for you in the form of an
article which I am enclosing for your kind consideration. And I will do my
very best to answer your questions satisfactorily. If I do not make myself
perfectly clear or if there are any other questions you would like to ask
me, please do not hesitate to call on me again.
I only found myself free from
evil suggestions and mortal or material limitations, when I demonstrated the
fact that I was free from them. Yes, it was only because of my belief in
human relationships and their attendant sympathies and responsibilities and
love that I "came back" so to speak. I did it for those I loved and not for
myself. As I see it the resurrection is simply the awakening to the divine
or true facts of being. And to the extent that one does wake up, just to
that extent is one delivered from the limitations of material sense. The
divine demand is to always "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the
dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Eph.5:14) The reason probably
others did not see me when I was present without a so-called physical or
material body was that they needed the illusion as evidence of my presence.
Strictly speaking I didn't again assume a false sense of body but I did
effect dominion and control over the illusion said to be my physical or
material body for evident reasons. It was my freedom from a false sense of
body that enabled me to do what I did. I suppose that the Master, Christ
Jesus, had to make himself known to his friends because they wouldn't
believe even the so-called physical or material evidence he presented of his
presence, after he was supposed to have died. Yes, it is always possible to
demonstrate the divine or true acts of being and so prove that one is really
free from all the limitations of mortal or material sense. The action of
others in getting the so-called body in shape to function again was helpful
although I was the one that gave it life again, so to speak. It was not
physically resuscitated at all. In regard to those who have "passed on"
please see that last paragraph of my article. Remember, Christ said (Matt.
28:20) "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Indeed,
much can be said about future conditions which I think should be kept for
Mrs. Carrie H. Sandberg, C.S.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston.
Mass. September 15 1933.
Dear Mrs. Sandberg,
I was pleased to hear from
you this morning and to receive a copy of Mr. Peter V. Ross' new lecture for
which I thank you very much. And, as you see, I am answering your letter at
once and will send it to you by Air Mail so that you will be sure to get it
before you leave there for New York City.
Your visit to Boston must
have been full of many very happy experiences. I know you were glad to see
Dr. Colby and his good wife, and Miss Coulson, and the others you visited.
Of course, I am pleased too that you had the opportunity to talk with my
teacher, Mr. Frank Bell, and to go into my experience with him somewhat.
Yes, I ran into the person
mentioned by you the other day on the street and finally persuaded him to
talk a little. Being ignorant and superstitious it was difficult to get him
to say anything and he was very reluctant to talk to me at all. He said he
saw me sitting in the seat and then where I was there was a sort of a light
and a mist or cloud formed and then the seat was vacant and I had completely
disappeared. He said he felt very queer about what had happened and kept
turning around and watching the seat where I had been sitting. After the car
had gone some few blocks he said he turned around to look again and saw a
cloud or mist forming in the same seat and then a sort of a light and then I
was back again sitting in the seat just like I had been doing. He said he
thought he must be going crazy and was seeing things until one of the others
on the car, who had seen what took place, mentioned it to him as he was
getting off and this reassured him that he wasn't crazy. He said he spoke to
one who was sitting near me and who got up and changed his seat some
distance away, as he was getting off and that this man was too scared to
speak or wouldn't say anything. He said another man, in getting off, said
that it was certainly hot and that he thought the heat was getting him
because he was seeing things. In a way I am sorry it happened and so shall
be careful in the future.
Now what is called "death" is
certainly an "enemy" of mankind and it must be mastered and overcome.
However, before death can be actually destroyed it is necessary to effect
longevity so that the individual may have the opportunity to acquire the
knowledge and the power from on high that makes this individual the master
of death. In other words, it is necessary to extend or prolong human life
until the individual is ready to "step out" himself and demonstrate a better
sense of things. One should not be forced into anything but should always be
able to take the initiative. It is well to take the "sting" out of death but
not so that it can be more easily experienced by somebody. For a long time
false theology has been teaching people how to die but the "sting" of death
has always been the great stumbling block and has held people back. Shall we
make it easier now for people to die by taking the "sting" out of death? God
forbid that we should do so.
I wish to call your attention
to another point which has appeared and been voiced, in the name of
Christian Science. I am sure I will not be misunderstood when I say Life is
the eternal mandate of Mind, just as our textbook declares. There is no
provision of any kind for death, or what is called passing on, or any
seeming death, any more than there is for disease and sin.
It is necessary for us to
understand this. It would be a matter of regret if we should discover after
a while that some thought of ours concerning this belief had in some way
hampered somebody's demonstration over it.
The beliefs of false theology
recur in human thought. They need to be recognized. The suggestion that
there is anything good or normal or proper in the passing on of any person,
is old theology, and is based upon utter misconception of God and man. It is
unreligious, unscientific, un-Christian, and utterly untrue.
To say that someone has done
good work and has gone to his reward is the utterance of magnetism, and
should be so recognized, and totally denied, and if necessary, audibly
To say that someone has
finished his work, and there is a reason for that person's passing, is a
travesty of Christian Science.
The legitimate end of a
finished career is not death, but ascension and there is no other
legitimate outcome, and no other outcome is a complete demonstration of
This is a point I have felt
impelled to touch upon, but I think it right to be kept entirely within your
own thought, and that you should not speak of it outside but merely begin to
understand and demonstrate more fully the Life which is eternal.
September 23, 1918
Mrs. Eddy's remarks to Dr.
and Mrs. Frank L. Riley upon their visit to Mrs. Eddy in November 1897.
"Having lost our oldest son
three years previous, and the subject of death was still a source of
wonderment in our thought. [Mrs. Eddy related:]
Now in regards death!
Supposing you are sitting in that chair and I am here conversing,
(pointing to chairs opposite each other), and an archer should come to
that window and put an arrow into your heart; you would experience a
sudden shock or commotion within, nothing more.
You would try to continue
our conversation, but I, believing the arrow had killed you, could no
longer converse with you. So you would arise from your chair, leaving
no body in the chair, and go amongst those you could converse with,
while I would have to bury my belief of you which was still in the
"This is word for word as
Mrs. Eddy gave it to us and is wonderfully helpful, especially just now when
our boys are fighting for the right and freedom from bondage of human will."
Mrs. Florence E. Riley, 1825 N. Bronson
Ave., Hollywood, Calif.
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