Deze ervaringen zijn verschenen in de Britse krant de ‘Daily Mail’ op 30 januari 2014 en zijn slechts zeven van de duizenden reacties die de krant ontving na publicatie van een serie artikelen gebaseerd op het boek Near Death Experiences door Penny Sartori, een verpleegster in de intensive care.
Carol Kingston, 67, a retired store manager, lives in Milton Keynes with her husband John and has two grown-up children. She says:
It was one o’clock in the morning in May 1982 when the ring of the doorbell woke us up. My husband John went downstairs to answer the door then returned to the bedroom looking miffed, saying nobody was there.
For some unknown reason I had a strong sense it was my 25-year-old younger brother Steve. He was in the SAS and based nearby.
A few seconds later it rang again and John traipsed back down the stairs. Again, there was nobody there.
It buzzed a few more times after that, but we decided to ignore it.
At 10.00 the next morning my father phoned with devastating news. Some officers had arrived to inform him that Steve had been killed in a helicopter crash in the Falklands.
At that stage we knew very few details of how he had died but that night my oldest son, Robin, who was then eight, had a dream that his Uncle Steve had risen up out of the water with his arms up and said: “Don’t worry about me. I’m OK now.”
Incredibly, I too had experienced the exact same dream. We later learnt that the helicopter had crashed into the South Atlantic Ocean and Steve had drowned.
Juliet Rudkin, 43, a divorced police officer, lives in Buckinghamshire with her five children, Daniel, 23, Georgina, 19, Andrew, 17, Alex, 13 and David, 10. She says:
In April 2003 I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby boy who I called David. My then husband Bill and I were over the moon.
But when David was just a few months old a horrible, dark feeling crept over me, day and night. I can’t explain why but I felt a hideous dread that my son was going to die.
I didn’t tell anyone because I worried they would think it was postnatal depression, but the feeling persisted. A few months later when my mother, Geraldine, a super-fit 60-year-old, came to my house to take my eldest children to school, I had the strangest experience.
As she stood in the hallway waiting to leave I found myself staring at her, unable to look away. She met my gaze and it’s hard to explain but it was as though I was looking straight through her eyes and into her soul. She asked me why I was staring at her so strangely and I had to mumble an excuse and look away.
After she left, just a few hours later, I received a phone call from Ian, her husband, telling me she had collapsed at home and had been taken to hospital. She died a couple of hours later of a dissecting thoracic aneurysm.
I heard myself telling doctors: “Thank God, I thought it was my baby that was going to die.”
Ruth Sheard, 67, a retired mathematics lecturer, lives in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. She says:
I was lying in bed in my home in Wakefield one night in 1991 when I felt a presence in the room.
I woke and ‘saw’ my long dead grandmother Adelaide standing at the foot of my bed. She said: “The gun fired at this time” and I looked at the bedside clock and noticed it was exactly three o’clock.
Then she added: “It was in the afternoon, not morning. Tell your father.”
When I woke the next morning I discovered three small blisters on the outer surface of the bathroom radiator out of which water was seeping. I called a plumber and thought little of it.
I visited my 78-year-old father and told him what had happened the night before and his face turned pale. I had always known that my grandfather Arthur, his father, had died in the famous naval Battle of Jutland in 1916, but I had failed to recall the date.
“Today is May 31st, 1991,” said my father, his face losing all its colour, “the 75th anniversary of his death.”
Intrigued by my grandmother’s reference to the time, I started to do some research. My grandfather’s ship, the Indefatigable, had come under fire from the Germans and after a first volley of three shots hit the deck the ship blew up.
The time it happened? Three in the afternoon.
When I think of the vision and the number of holes in the radiator, a shiver goes down my spine.
Judy Smith, 66, lives with her husband Alan, in Maldon, Essex. The retired fishmongers have two grown-up children and four grandchildren. She says:
In 1969, when I was 22, I worked in a local branch of a bank in Chelmsford. It was an old building and had a fireplace opposite the tills.
It was early afternoon when I looked up and to my great surprise saw my great auntie Lil sitting in a chair ‘in’ the fireplace. She was looking as she always did, wearing a green dress that I often saw her in and looking content and comfortable.
I don’t remember feeling any other emotion other than faint surprise. I wasn’t scared but I just thought, “Oh, there’s auntie Lil.”
She wasn’t in solid, human form and I knew somehow I wouldn’t be able to touch her.
I had worked at the bank for a couple of years already and knew better than to get up from my cashier’s desk when I had a queue of people standing in front of me, so I didn’t get up.
Auntie Lil lived above our family’s fishmongers and was still fit and well, despite being in her 80s. I remember she used to pinch our cheeks when she saw us; I was dearly fond of her.
I watched my great aunt sitting completely still in the fireplace for a few minutes before she disappeared. She never waved, nor even smiled at me. I just remember her looking in my direction quite serenely.
I didn’t tell anyone because I was worried they would laugh but minutes later I received a phone call from my mother to tell me Lil had just passed away from old age. I said, “I know, I’ve just seen her.”
Susan Radwell, 60, a psychotherapist, lives with her husband in Oxford. She says:
Because of my job I am used to trying to analyse rationally what goes on in people’s minds. In 1999, however, I had an experience which challenged my view of how the mind works and its capabilities.
One night that summer I was lying next to my husband fast asleep at home when at about 2 am I was woken by a hand that wasn’t my husband’s gently tapping my right shoulder.
Sleepily, I opened my eyes and saw Jack, a friend from work, standing in front of me. Days earlier Jack had gone on holiday to Cairo, so I knew it couldn’t be him, really. But there he was nonetheless, shimmering, surrounded by a hazy light and wearing a white gown from the neck to the floor. He was smiling at me and looked relaxed and well.
By now I was wide awake, my eyes straining to take it all in. I wasn’t scared, I just felt reassured and strangely comforted. It’s hard to explain, but it was an entirely good, peaceful sensation. He leant forward, gave me a bunch of lilies and left.
I calmly fell asleep, not wanting to wake up my husband or share it with him as it had felt like a very personal experience.
The next day at lunchtime I got a call from another mutual work friend. She told me Jack had died following a sudden heart attack while on holiday in Cairo. It had happened just hours before he appeared to me.
It’s hard to explain why he visited me as we had only known each other for three years, and only ever in a work context, but it made me feel more at peace with death.
Alan Greaves, 62, is a retired senior sales manager who lives in Manchester with his partner Jean, a retired business owner. He has two grown-up sons. He says:
One night in 1983 I woke up having had a nightmare that my neighbour had fallen off my roof and died. I woke up with my heart pounding and my skin covered in sweat, then moments later heard a man’s voice that I didn’t recognise telling me to lie back down and he would explain the dream. Confused, but keen to find out the meaning, I lay back down and heard the same voice explain slowly and deliberately that it was actually my mother Rachel who was going to die, and that she wasn’t going to fall off a roof but give in to illness while surrounded by her family. I asked the voice when, and it said, quite precisely, in three months at 1.30 p.m. It then told me to go to sleep. I wasn’t scared at all and drifted off straight after.
The next day I told my wife Elaine and rang up both my sisters to tell them what I’d heard. Our mother had been ill with Parkinson’s disease for four years already but was coping relatively well on her own still. Over the next three months, though, her condition spiralled downhill.
The night before the day the dream had told me she would die, I was at her bedside with my three sisters and their husbands and my elder brother. I was crying in the corridor when my brother-in-law put his arm around me. I said it was no good and that I knew she was going to die tomorrow.
The next day at 1.15 pm her breathing suddenly worsened and she passed away at 1.30 p.m. – the exact time and date that had been predicted three months earlier.