The Website of PMH AtwaterOne of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

One of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

Child NDE

Jeffrey - Childhood Distressing NDE

This case will be hard to read. It is of a twelve-year-old boy who was shot by an older brother, died, and had a hellish/distressing near-death experience. The public is accustomed to reading only about heavenly, loving near-death experiences. Sorry, but they're not all that way. Some can be terrifying, even for children. I want to thank Jeffrey for the courage it took him to first hunt me down, and then detail his story. He gave me permission to pass his story on to you. Notice as you read it about the black mass that kept trying to take over him, devour him, claim him, then how that terror changed when he asked for God's help. The is not the first time I've heard experiencers describe a black mass trying to attack them or oozing up from the ground to chase them. The next morning he awoke to glowing light before anyone opened the shades for the morning light to come in. He could suddenly see a glow around everything and everything, and there was no more pain. The spleen he lost recreated itself - apparently he is one of fifty such cases in medical history when an organ did that. He demonstrates many of the typical aftereffects of a near-death experience, although still haunted to this day by what happened to him and what he saw. I suspect much of this will disappear now that he has told his story and reclaimed his experience. There's something about not only telling your story but writing it down, "Making Your Book," so to speak, that heals and cleans and clears and validates. I encourage anyone who has had a near-death experience to "Make Your Book." Claim it. Write it down. Validate what happened to you. You can. When you make it yours, it morphs into a change agent that heals and helps you as nothing else can. This case is important for many reasons - especially for how it illustrates that children can face the same extremes of emotion and response that adults do. ~PMH

Vera - A Child's Acceptance

Children's near-death experiences are usually brief, consisting of one, two, or three elements, and that's about it. Because they are brief, they are often missed or tossed off as something else, maybe a mystical encounter or a dream or perhaps the product of the child's imagination, with no attempt made to investigate further or to look for aftereffects. To my way of thinking, the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects can often tell us more than the actual event. How these experiences affect us, and how we change afterward, can produce powerful life markers.

Vera's experience was one of these, a life-altering event she could never share – that has haunted her throughout her years. It is brief, but notice how her faculties altered both during the episode and afterward. Reports of 360-degree vision and/or wrap-around sound, taste, touch, smell, and full sensory involvement are commonplace. Also note how she relaxed into the water when help did not come, almost as if this was the thing to do. You find this "acceptance" of possible death often with children. After a period of searching for a way out or fighting for one, children tend to lay back and "allow." ~PMH

Ray - "Not a Fairy Story"

Near-death scenarios can differ greatly in imagery and feeling sense.  They can also be very difficult to integrate. Here are the two near-death states experienced by Ray: one when he was only 10 years old, the second when 16. It is important that experiencers like Ray share their episode with others, and talk especially about what happened afterward. That way everyone can have a better idea of what actually goes in with individuals who have them and how they are changed. . . and challenged. The near-death phenomenon is not a fairy story. It is a real, physical event that happens to any one of any age, anywhere.
--Dr. P.M.H.Atwater


Michellanea - "Getting Back to the Other Side"

Child experiencers of near-death states do not respond to their experience in the same manner as do adults. Children compensate; they do not integrate. For that reason, it is not unusual for a child experiencer to take 20 to 30 years or more before they begin to ask questions about what happened to them and why they have always been a little "different" from their peers. Once they "connect the dots" and recognize how their experience really did have a tremendous affect on their lives and the choices they made, they begin to open up in healthy, new ways. In my research base of 277 child experiencers, 21% attempted suicide within about eight years to get back to The Other Side. None of those I had sessions with thought they were doing anything negative or hurtful by taking such action; they just wanted to return to the bright worlds - the place of their homey home. I discuss this conundrum at length in my book, CHILDREN OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM. Micellanea's case began with an attempted suicide and included many other attempts later on. What Micellanea went through and why should inspire all of us to get the word out, educate people, about the special needs of children. Whether their experience was fun or frightening, kids could use a little extra help processing what they went through.
--Dr. P.M.H.Atwater

Guenter - "Themes of Good and Evil"

You will be surprised by this account from Guenter Wagner of Germany. His near-death experience when 11 years old is not at all like the reports of loving encounters with the Light that the public is used to hearing from both adult and child experiencers. But then, a lot of accounts deviate as his does from the so-called "classical model." He originally termed his episode an "out-of-body experience." Still, it has all the characteristics of near-death, as well as those more typical to youngsters, so for that reason I am publishing it herein the NDE Cases Section. Notice how themes of good and evil interweave the scenario,and,how he as a child is lectured and even taunted by a predominant"Voice" - to the extent of becoming as fearful and confused as elated. Information about future careers and achievements are common to childhood accounts, as well as stern or threatening messages given with great authority. I refer you to my book,CHILDREN OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM, which details how children's near-death experiences can differ from those of adults, and how suicidal tendencies and alcoholism can be a problem afterwards. This account is followed by some personal data from Guenter Wagner, and then a brief Question/Answer exchange. Although he remembers very little in the way of aftereffects, I suspect he was far more affected by this experience than he admits(children tend to ignore or compensate for"differences").
Dr. P.M.H.Atwater

Greg - "A Child's Near-Death Experience"

In the forefront of my consciousness has always been my earliest memory. I doubt most people think of their life in chronological order, but my earliest awareness was the equivalent of an intense wonderful, mystical, heavenly LSD trip, although LSD hadn't been discovered yet! It turned out not to have been caused by drugs, but something even more sinister. I had always assumed it was a vivid, intense childhood dream which for some odd reason just stuck with me throughout life. What confused me however, was the fact I remember little of my early childhood except the "dream." Decades later, as a grown man, I was given information and the circumstances behind it...


Rarely does a researcher such as myself run across such a long and detailed account of a near-death experience and its aftereffects from a person in a culture that, at the time the experience occurred, considered such incidents to be evil. This account will tug at your heart. It concerns a woman named Emel who nearly died when a tiny babe. The golden light she encountered not only filled her soul but it followed her throughout the 28 years she has thus far lived. A Muslim, she could never be like her siblings nor could she understand the abusive nature of her parents. Notice how hungry she was and still is for knowledge, her need to learn and grow, her curiosity, her ability to see "through" people and events and know what the truth really is, as well as having a sense of "future." Most of the pattern of aftereffects are mentioned in her story - additionally, her vivid and informative dreams.

Emel speaks to us in English. Please skip over her many mistakes with our language. I think she does a great job, all things considered, and she is easy to understand. You may think in reading her case that the abuse heaped against her was exceptional, and you may also be inclined to blame it on her Islamic religion. Read her story carefully, and I think you will feel differently. Emel is well-versed in her faith. She knows what is in the Koran and what is not. Plus, being made fun of and rejected by the family is not that uncommon for child experiencers of near-death states - in any country - including the United States!
I feel truly humbled and honored that Emel contacted me, and was willing to share her story with all of us. It's 18 pages long, so prepare yourself. It's quite a story.
--Dr. P.M.H. Atwater

Denise - "Lessons from the Spirit"

The case of 10-year-old Denise and what she went through, the diabetes coma and then a stroke, seemed to have no other outcome but death. Yet she recovered, and quite miraculously. Her recovery centered around the near-death episode she experienced while at death's door and how that changed her - and her entire family. Denise is one of six children; her family a religious one. Relatives, friends, family members, church elders, Mom and Dad, were all challenged by the "new" Denise and her "new" otherworldly abilities. Her Dad, Doug Mendenhall, was inspired to write about their experience. The book is called "Possibilities. . . Lessons from the Spirit." Check out their website at for more details about how to obtain the book.. --Dr. P.M.H.Atwater

Christine- "A Child's Near-Death Experience"

I receive many reports from people all over the world describing their near-death experiences. What happens to child experiencers is especially poignant. Here is a brief sharing from Christine in England.
--Dr. P.M.H. Atwater

Bruna - My Miracle NDE

Child experiencers of near-death states often grow up thinking that what happened to them was a “dream” The very young have no way to connect what once occurred with how they are now. They may even confuse this world with the other world. Please refer to my book “The New Children and Near-Death Experiences” for more details about this type of puzzle child experiencers may face. The following case of Bruna is an example of this – plus a most unusual twist. Bruna grew up with her strange “dream” until contacted by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. They told her the truth and even produced evidence of her miraculous recovery from a drowning and high fever, signed affidavits from witnesses and medical staff. The Vatican declared her case a miracle and she was given a special medal and a trip to Rome. Here is one case of survival/near-death that has been officially recognized and recorded. I have included at the end of this text a photo of the medal given to Bruna.
NDE Cases