blinkstar.gif (494 bytes) Jack Marcellous Ward

VoidThis may be rather lengthy, but I ask your indulgence to read it through with an open mind before forming any judgment upon its content. First, it is necessary to impart considerable history to get to the major point of this epistle. 

I was born cesarean on Dec. 4, 1939 (making me 64 years old at the time of this writing). I joined the United States Air Force in 1957, trained as a jet engine mechanic, was station in France, and after three months working as a mechanic in the hangar, I had experienced two black-outs for which I was finally sent to the Base Dispensary for examination. It was determined that the black-outs were caused by exposure to raw jet petroleum (JP-4) fumes, and was transferred into ground radio. Shortly thereafter I was assigned to be a Mobile Control Officer (being stationed in a mobile glass structure on the end of the runway to verify functioning electronic instruments and visually verify mechanical flying viability of F-100 and F-101 fighter/interceptors before take off), and inevitably was exposed to the burnt residue of JP-4 for hours at the time.

My "black-outs" continued at a rate of about once a year for a good many years, until about 1987 when they began to increase in frequency. Since I had had a heart attack in 1982, the increase was thought to be related to my coronary disease. As a disabled veteran (disability due to impaired hearing as result of jet noise exposure) I was treated at VA Medical Centers, and nothing could be determined as to what might be causing these "black-outs." Between 1991 and 1996 the "black-outs" increased in frequency again to about four to five times a year. In December of 1996, I was examined by electro-cardiologist Dr. Andre Natalie at the Durham VA Medical Center in Durham, NC. His supposition was that I was suffering from vasovagal syncope; so he gave me a "Tilt Table" examination, during which I blacked out about 16 minutes into the test. He reported to me that I had "died" during the black-out, that my EKG and EEG both went flat-line for 58 seconds, but that I recovered on my own. I did not know until this point in time that I was having NDE or DE, whichever you prefer to call it.

Now to describe what I feel during the experiences: I do not have any visual perception at all during this time. I can only say that I feel the most wonderful peace in which nothing material matters at all (not even physical perceptions), and that I feel myself in the presence of someone with whom I am very comfortable. I maintain the impression that I have been conversing with this "presence", but am never able to remember what is said. Upon reviving from the "black-out" (or NDE) on my own, I am unable to remember anything at all for about one minute or so (I can't even understand the spoken word). However, all memory returns shortly and I feel a great exhilaration, almost like being hyped up for the rest of the day. This was explained to me by Dr. Natalie as receiving a massive dosage of adrenalin from my system when my heart and brain immediately resume their functions (he stated that it was not a gradual resumption, but that I started back "clean", as he put it). The doctor also stated that he knew of only one other person in the world recorded as having syncope (heart pause) for more than ten seconds, and resuming function on their own; thus he saw no reason at the time to install a pace maker since I always recovered on my own in every case I had conveyed to him. The following day, I suffer from a chemical depression for about three to four hours, a sort of "crash-down" from my adrenalin high. I must add here that this "communication" I sense with this "presence" during death is not in the sense of material auditory speech, but rather different, almost as if it is from mind to mind, or telepathic, if you prefer.

Just a bit more history, then some comments on my appraisal of what's going on. After discovering that I was flat-lining in 1996, my Veteran's Service Officer, Sgt. Maj., Robert Avery, USMC Retired, sought to increase my disability to 100% due to brain damage from exposure to JP-4. He was unable to find much information on this subject in U S medical journals, but found reams of information in foreign medical journals that substantiate that raw and burnt residue of jet petroleums cause brain damage as result of nitric-oxide and arsenic poisoning. The VA Medical Center had discovered a frontal lobule sub cordial enhancement (brain lesion) some three years before my test with Dr. Natalie. But after several other brain scans, they stated that it "wasn't doing anything, such as growing or affecting the areas controlled by that portion of the brain. However, as far as Mr. Avery could acquire, the VA relented to allow me 60% disability for hearing impairment, 10% for vasovagal syncope, and 30% for unemployability, awarding me service connected total of 100% disability (the 10% allowing me to continue to be treated for the "black-outs"). I have had many other doctors to say that Dr. Natalie's findings were impossible: i.e., that no one can flat-line on EKG and EEG for that period of time and recover on their own without some sort of artificial resuscitation efforts. However, it still continues to happen to me in exactly the same way, but with less frequency now, about twice a year. I was prescribed Meclizine HCL to ward off "dizzy spells" that usually precede the black-outs. Whether this is the reason the frequency of death experiences has decreased or not is left to conjecture.

Since this discovery, I cannot say that my life has changed drastically, except to say that I feel stronger emotions of compassion, empathy, depression, and happiness than before (however, this may also be due to the aging process whereby my emotions may be maturing). However, I would like to interject some of my feeling and speculations about NDE. I have read and studied much about such experiences, and have heard both sides of the issue. I still hold my judgment about material perceptions during such experiences in abeyance. However, I feel that every NDE depends upon the psychic make-up of the individual. 

The material perceptions of some NDE may be mere hallucinations, or may not, but are nonetheless very real to the person who experiences it. Anyone who has meager knowledge of paranormal experiences can certainly speculate on the fact that such experiences seem to be "timeless" in scope, and realize that it is entirely possible that material hallucinatory perceptions can be imprinted in one's brain and memory in a matter of seconds (just as dreams that seem to last all night, in reality only lasts a few minutes in real time). And too, since we know so little of the workings of the brain, I don't believe anyone can say emphatically that a "dead brain" ceases to function on all levels at the time those functions are no longer electronically measurable.

I only know that in my own experience, I believe it is strictly spiritual in every sense of the word. I am a Christian, albeit probably not a very good Christian; and I believe the "presence" I sense while my heart and brain are "dead" in what the Bible calls the "Holy Spirit" (be aware that I am not a "bible-pounding, save-the-world, Jesus freak" but merely that I have a strong belief in Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord). 

It is my intent to share this with you so that you may add it to your immense catalogue of NDE, and perhaps give you other areas of speculation. I believe that there is life after death. I believe that I have been allowed to experience many brief sensations of it. Yet, it has been my experience that when trying to discuss this with other so-called "religious" people (including clergymen), most tend to shy away from the subject and imply a desire to change the subject quickly. From this, I must surmise that people, by and large, don't wish to consider or speculate any concepts concerning their mortality. I've found this also to be true with people whom I have spoken, who knew they were dying, but do not want to discuss death. 

As a result of all this that has occurred in my life, as well as the education I have acquired concerning death and dying (some even from first-hand observations as a minister and veteran's organization chaplain), I do not fear death, but will rather embrace it when it comes to its final fruition. However, as much as any human being, I do wish to live long enough to accomplish some things to leave as legacy for my daughter, and granddaughters - the only sense of immortality left for anyone. I feel very strongly that I will live forever in another plane, but I am trying to do so in this plane. -So far, so good!

PS:  If you wish to discuss this with me at any time, please email me and we can make some arrangements for further communication. I remain alive and still dying, Jack M. Ward - Uzul me janum - Jack Marcellous Ward


Webmaster's note: Jack, it sounds like you had a wonderful "void" NDE experience. Often, a black void is the first stage of a many NDEs. You can read more about the void on this web page.

"The last to be overcome is death, and the knowledge of life is the knowledge of death." - Edgar Cayce

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