Raul is from Puerto Rico and, although he has lived in the United States for awhile, the English language is still difficult for him. I have elected to carry his case "as is," without editing, so you can gain a sense of how someone from another country might struggle with word usage. You will also notice as you read Raul's case, that his Roman Catholic upbringing plays heavily into the imagery he experienced during his episode and in how he interpretswhat happened to him. That imagery was both positive/negative, heavenly/hellish, and includes a broad expanse of events and outcomes that had yet to happen, that indeed really did occur- and- as revealed to him. I thank Raul for having the courage to share his near-death experience, an experience that still puzzles and sometimes troubles him. In sharing, what ofttimes happens, is that we find meaning and peace and a great relief from the burden of secrecy.
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
Here is a near-death experience that comes from a man in Columbia, South America. His name is Diego. His description of what happened to him is a little different than North American cases, maybe his English not as you are used to, still, we need to consider all aspects of these episodes. And, we need to keep in mind that an experiencer in a country like the U.S. will differ somewhat in their interpretation and feelings about what happened to them than those in other countries. Diego is part of my original study of child experiencers of near-death states. I discuss his case in both "Children of the New Millennium" and "The New Children and Near-Death Experiences."
--Dr. P.M.H. Atwater