Steven Ridenhour and His
Girlfriend's Group NDE
is a near-death experiencer and one
of the original researchers in the field
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She is the author of many more wonderful
The Forever Angels (2019),
The Animal Lights Series of Children's Books
A Manual for Developing Humans (2017),
Dying to Know You (2014),
The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences (2014),
Future Memory (2013),
Children of the Fifth World (2012),
NDEs, The Rest of the Story (2011),
I Died Three Times in 1977 (2011),
Coming Back to Life (2008),
Beyond the Indigo Children (2005),
We Live Forever (2004),
The New Children and NDEs (2003),
Beyond the Light (2009),
Children of the New Millennium (1999), and
(1996). The following
information about group NDEs comes
P.M.H. Atwater's books The
Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death
(2000) page 163-165 and
The Light pages 60-63. Atwater
variant on death by degrees
concerns shared experiences between
experiencers. These incidents challenge
the overall significance of any
need factor a sole individual
might have, and threaten the underpinning
of any scientific argument that
body processes explain near-death
When Two or More People Die Together
time to time you hear about a couple who
both die -- in a car accident, for example
-- and have a near-death episode in which
they see one another, and one says to the
other, "I must stay, but you need to return."
And, indeed, only one comes back. I've encountered
this with married couples and with parent/child
duos. Since only one lives, it, impossible
to verify the full account. All you can
deal with is the single survivor and his
or her response to the event and the ensuing
I have encountered
other people, though, who reported scenarios
that appeared so similar it's as if they
were shared. This oddity happened in two
They were either all at the same
location within the same time span,
They were miles and years apart.
In my own case, two of my "deaths" happened
in January of 1977, the other in March.
I have since met a dozen other people whose
experiences were to much akin to my first
and last one, it's as if we each lived through
exactly the same thing. Later, I met 51
other individuals who also had three near-death
episodes in 1977, with before and after
conditions similar to mine -- even though
we "died" in different months and experienced
Atwater's Otherworldly Insights From Group
in research you run across cases of multiple
deaths and multiple miracles, where, somehow,
all of those who were dead revive. I have
noticed a fascinating peculiarity in those
I have investigated, and that is if one
of the people involved reports having had
a near-death episode, they all will -- even
if the multiple parties have yet to speak
with each other or divulge what happened
to them with anyone else. Once they do get
together and compare accounts, they are
shocked to discover they each experienced
a near-death state and how similar each
one is to the other (although precise details
Steven Ridenhour and His Girlfriend's Group
It happened one
bright sunshiny day in the summer of
1973. Steven B. Ridenhour of
Charlottesville, Virginia, and his
girlfriend, Debbie, decided to go to the rapids at the "bullhole,"
part of the river that flows behind an old
cotton mill in Cooleemee, North Carolina.
Both had been smoking pot and were bored.
Their decision to run the knee-high rapids
meant that they had to start at the beginning
of the rock incline, on down about 20 feet,
and start skiing barefooted until they reached
the moss beds. The sport could have been
great fun, but not on this trip.
"We smoked another
joint and then headed toward the rapids.
Debbie begins laughing, and the next thing
I know we're overtaken by laughter. The
giggling stops as we're swept off our feet
and dragged downriver.
out, 'Steven I can't swim. I'm drowning.'
"I feel powerless
because I can't get to her and I'm yelling,
'Hang on, don't panic,' when I take a tremendous
mouthful of water. Without any warning,
time, as I know it, stops.
"The water has
a golden glow and I find myself just
as without gravity, feeling very warm and
comfortable. I'm floating in a vertical
position with my arms outstretched and my
head laying on my left shoulder. I feel
totally at peace and full of serenity in
this timeless space.
"Next I go through
a past-life review. It was like looking
at a very fast slide show of my past life,
and I do mean fast, like seconds. I don't
quite understand the significance of all
the events that were shown to me, but I'm
sure there is some importance.
"When this ended,
it was as if I was floating very high up
and looking down at a funeral. Suddenly
I realized that I was looking at myself
in a casket. I saw myself dressed in a black
tux with a white shirt and a red rose on
my left lapel. Standing around me were my
immediate family and significant friends.
"Then, as if
some powerful force wrapped around me, I
was thrust out of the water, gasping for
air. There was Debbie within arm's reach.
I grabbed her by the back of her hair and
I was able to get us both over to the rocks
and out of the water.
on the rocks for a while, I glance over
at Debbie and it's like looking at a ghost.
As she describes what she went through,
it became apparent that we both had the
same experience underwater - the golden
glow, the serenity, seeing our lives flash
before us, floating over a funeral, and
seeing ourselves in a casket. That is the
only time we ever talked about it. I haven't
seen or talked with Debbie since."
For the next
eleven years, Ridenhour tried practically
every drug in the universe in an attempt
to recapture the euphoria of his near-death
experience, but to no avail. All he found
was loneliness, prisons, and a failed marriage.
He entered a treatment center for drug and
alcohol abuse in December 1984, and has
been in various stages of recovery ever
since. Finally, he was able to find a counselor
who knew something about the phenomenon
he had experienced and she put him in touch
with a near-death researcher. He told his
story, then quickly disappeared - unable
to face the truth of what he had been through.
It wasn't until
1993, after suppressing the aftereffects
of his experience for a total of twenty
years, that Ridenhour found himself flat
on his back because of a work-related injury
and with no choice but to surrender.
"My life started
changing right then and I can't stop it,
so I'm opening up my heart and my soul to
see where this takes me."
now in nurse's training, determined to repay
society for his previous mistakes and to
help heal people.
His youth was
wrapped around horrific incidents of child
abuse and abandonment. He grew up thinking
he was unlovable and bad. His near-death
experience so challenged this distorted
self-image that, although he wanted the
euphoria back, he could not accept the rest
of it. Confused and frightened by the incident,
he flung himself into a seemingly endless
nightmare of self-destruction.
"None of the
drugs worked," he confessed. "They couldn't
even come close to matching my near-death
Later he was stunned to learn
that many of the problems he had afterward
are in fact typical aftereffects of the
"I thought it
was all me. I never made the connection
between my experience and why I felt so
lost. It took getting injured at work before
I stopped trying to run away and just relaxed
and let all that love and joy back, and
the golden glow. I had no choice, really.
I had to accept the truth that there is
a power in me, and I can use it to help
Drug and alcohol
free, Ridenhour has helped to organize an
IANDS chapter in the Washington, D.C., area,
one of many dedicated to providing informational
meetings for near-death survivors and the
According to NDE
Janice Holden, in her book "Near-Death
Experiences While Drowning" -- where
she also documents this group NDE - Debbie
and Steven were reunited many years later
when they were both guests on a television
show. In front of the cameras, Debbie confirmed
Steven's memories of the incident, including
that their separate near-death episodes
were virtually identical.
"Death is simply
a shedding of the physical body like the
butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is a transition
to a higher state of consciousness where
you continue to perceive, to understand,
to laugh, and to be able to grow."
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Group NDE Main
Experiences and the Afterlife