Twenty years ago today I had an experience that would stand among my most profound and challenging. I found myself in the out-of-body state, looking out across a vast cloudy expanse, mist in every direction, no up, or down, or even a discernible surface. It was unlike any environment I had visited before, either within the physical realm, or the seemingly trans-physical. The only sense of place about this environment was the group of around 140 people gathered a couple of hundred metres away.
I watched from afar as these people struggled to understand where they were, or what had happened. Some seemed to be going through a process, images from their lives seemed partially visible to me as I watched. A woman seemed to progress through the process quickly and move away from the rest. One man seemed to almost connect with me directly as I looked at him, and his memories flooded my mind and visual field.
Glimpses of family and a quite foreign life to me, filled with work and a traditional culture. I have a vivid image in my mind of a deeply tanned and lined face, a man with half closed watery eyes, looking at me with overwhelming emotion. Yet he also had a stillness about him, an inner peace that seemed to bring me back to the scene.
I watched as more of the group seemed to disappear into the mist or cloud all around us. It is hard to say looking back whether they were aware of what was happening, or of each other. But seeing them change, let go and move on was very moving.
I don't know why I was so convinced that this was some form of heavenly realm or afterlife, but the feeling was there intensely from the start. Much like the feeling I would have a few years later during my well known Soho experience in which I knew I was seeing a real event during the OBE.
Yet the factor of this experience that was so compelling was what happen a short time after the OBE was over. If memory serves, my father was watching television in the living home of the flat where I lived with my family at the time. I was immediately drawn to the news that was being broadcast. A plane had gone down in Norway (I now know it was the Norwegian Island of Svalbard) and 141 people had been killed.
The people who died were mainly Russian and Ukrainian miners and their families, which matches perfectly with the culture and look of the people I perceived them during the OBE.
It was a terrible crash and the worst in Norwegian history. While I have no direct link to the events of that day twenty years ago, I feel an outpouring of emotion when I think of those moments in that ethereal environment. Is this confirmation of an afterlife via evidence from this world? At the very least it is hard to deny.
What's more just two years ago I had another experience that took me to Svalbard. I didn't realise at the time it was the same place as the location of the crash. It was only when I looked up the crash for the book I'm working on that I realised I had visited the location of the crash in my OBE. The full article is here Out of Body Journey to the Arctic Ocean.
Image credit: Harald Olsen