ALF Rose had this experience many years ago when he was ill with pneumonia as a young child of four or five.
Suddenly I was out of my body and floating near the top of the window in my bedroom. I could see myself in bed and my mother kneeling at the side of the bed. She was crying and looked very distressed. I gazed at this scene for a little while and remember that I didn’t feel any emotion at all and was completely indifferent to what I saw. Without any warning at all I was travelling very swiftly through a dense forest.
After what seemed a short space of time I found myself on the edge of a clearing, very brightly lit with bushes and trees surrounding it.
Somehow I seemed to know that I had reached a significant stage and waited. Suddenly a lion appeared from the bushes on the opposite side of the glade. It was large, crouched on the ground and looked very hostile, gazing very fixedly at me and flicking its tail rapidly from side to side. I didn’t feel the slightest bit afraid and just waited to see what would happen. Very quickly a woman in a white robe appeared in front of the lion and looked at me. She was about thirty years old, eyes set widely apart, with bobbed auburn hair. She looked quite sternly at me as an adult would if about to reprimand a child. She ‘spoke’ to me although her lips didn’t move and I could hear no voice. She told me that I should not be there and that I must go back. Without any conscious effort on my part I suddenly found myself back in bed again, opening my eyes and telling my mother that I was hungry.
Later, my mother told me that she was sure I had died, but that when I asked for food she knew I was going to recover and that everything would be all right. I told her about the lady in white. She reassured me and explained that my lady in white was my guardian angel and that she had looked after me.
Was this a dream or a ‘real’ experience? Although it happened seventy years ago I still vividly remember all the details, and am sure I would recognise my lady in white. For me this was a true real experience, I am fully satisfied about that. I believe I had died or was on the point of death and was told to return. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t led a particularly significant or important life. I do know that I have no fear of death.
We found Alf’s a most fascinating and extraordinary story. The young Alf could not possibly have had any conception of what death meant, let alone his own death. And yet on his journey into the forest he experienced many of the phenomena of an NDE. He met a barrier (the ‘significant stage’ at which he had to wait); he found himself in a clearing with a ‘brilliant light’ and met a ‘being’ who made him aware that he should not be there, and who told him he had to go back. His lack of emotion at the sight of his distressed mother exactly parallels what adults have told us about their lack of concern for the families they are leaving behind them.
And the lion? Well, to me it would be even more surprising if a four-year-old peopled his NDE with long-lost friends or relatives. The imagery is very much the imagery of a child. Alf’s lion confirms my feeling that while some elements of the NDE are universal and independent of the experiencer, the visual imagery is largely a product of the individual and is very personal. The interesting thing is that Alf had absolutely no fear of the lion, for all its evident hostility and despite the feeling of reality which coloured the whole experience.
“Children and the Light” is a excerpt from The Truth in the Light by Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick