was working on a construction job in Puerto Rico. It was
1967. I was 17 years old. I contracted a severe case of
gastroenteritis and was unable to afford proper medical
care. I went to a clinic, got a bottle of pills, and went
back to the room where I lived. To put it mildly, I had
the most severe diarrhea you can imagine. I was losing water
at this fantastic rate, just going to the bathroom all the
time. The woman who ran the rooming house was good enough
to bring me water, but basically I ate nothing. Oh man,
I was SICK! I was getting weaker and weaker.
On the eighth day
of this misery, I seemed to just float right up out of my
So, I'm looking
down at my body lying in the bed still as a corpse, and
I said, "Oh, &$#@*! I've died!!" I was basically
unnerved by this. But in the next second, I thought to myself,
"Hey, if I'm dead, who is thinking these thoughts??"
So, then I felt
calm and very good, thinking, "Well this sure beats being
sick as a dog. This is quite okay."
So, I'm floating
in the room, right? And its daytime. Outside there was a
church (this was in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, near the University)
and the bells started ringing. This was normal. I had a
strong urge to go check it out so I floated out of the window.
Outside it was blindingly
bright. Whoa! It was SO BRIGHT. In a word, it was hard to
see. Don't ask, "See with what?," because I don't have a
clue. My eyes being back in my body. But I could see the
church steeple and made a circuit of it.
At this point I'm
feeling very exhilarated. I'm flying around free of my body!
And two things really hit me at that moment. First, the
body isn't ME. It's just a body. Second, the whole heaven
and hell thing is nonsense. We all just float off peacefully
because the spirit endures. So that was a great thing to
At last though, some part of me
got lonely for my body and I went back inside. I sort of
lay down in my body and slept. The next thing I knew, the
illness had broken and I was recovering.
a result of this experience, I came to think that the spirit
endures and we go off peacefully. This idea I have had ever
since, deep down.
I do accept the
idea it could be a hallucination of some sort; but, it seemed
very genuine. So, on the real significance of near-death
experiences, I just don't know. But I've not feared death,
per se, during my life for which I am very grateful.