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Experience description:  


I had a vivid dream which seemed very real and sensory. I found myself seated next to my cousin, in the passenger seat, in the car he used to drive when he was in high school. It had a deep turquoise interior and was a convertible, but the top was up, not down. I was stunned to find myself in a car being driven by my cousin because I knew he was supposed to be dead. I asked him if he was "all right" to drive. He laughed, and said emphatically that he was fine, absolutely fine, but that he had something to tell me. I remember thinking how young he looked and how healthy. He then said, "I wanted to tell you that you and I wasted a lot of time when we were young. You have a lot of important work to do, and you'd better get on with it." He said this even though he himself looked so young. He had been 45 at the time of his death. I was 42 when I had the dream, but in the dream I felt that I was also younger and that my age was correct relative to his, as he appeared. Though what he told me was serious and it seemed very important to him to get his point across, he also laughed, as if to say how foolish we'd been. I did not feel that he was warning me of my own impending doom, just reminding me of my mortality and letting me know that I would be making a contribution to the world and that I should live my life and do my work to the best of my abilities. He was right. I did find important work to do, which ended up coming as a surprise, and not the career path I had chosen.

Was this experience difficult to express in words?  No


Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased?          Yes

            Describe what you heard, how clearly you heard it and what was communicated:    I asked him if he was "all right" to drive. He burst out laughing and said with emphasis, "I'm fine, I'm absolutely fine." Then he grew more serious and said, "I wanted to tell you that you and I wasted a lot of time when we were young. You have a lot of important work to do, and you'd better get on with it." He turned and looked at me. His voice was clear, deep and strong, as I remembered it to be.

            Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally or outside of you, inside you, or did you not hear a voice or sound, but had a sense of knowing what was communicated?  Externally. He was speaking directly to me. I heard his voice clearly. We were conversing.

            If you heard a voice or sound, was it similar or dissimilar from the voice or sound the deceased made when they were alive?           His voice was deep and clear, as always, with all his familiar speech patterns and there was a hint of a lecture about it. He spoke with confidence and reassurance. It was his voice. He also had a way of sounding slightly amused, or superior, either self-mocking or bemused by absurdity. That was there, too.

            Is there any possibility what you heard was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?           None. I was asleep in bed in the middle of the night. The house was shut down for the night. We live in the country and have no near neighbors and my husband and child were asleep.

            Was there any possible impairment to your hearing at the time of the experience?   No

Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased?            No

Did you see the deceased?         Yes

Healthy, fit, youthful, well-dressed, confident as ever. He knew where he was going and what he was doing.

            How clearly did the deceased appear?            Solid.

            How much of the deceased did you see?       All, but from a side view, until he turned and looked at me. I saw the crisp striped shirt he was wearing, his sweater vest, and his khaki trousers. His hands were on the wheel, steering.

            Did the deceased appear or not appear to be the age at which they died?       He appeared much younger, perhaps in his twenties.

            How healthy did the deceased appear to be?            He looked wonderful--so healthy with no signs of illness. At the time of his death he was completely ravaged by his disease.

            Is there any possibility what you saw was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?           No

Did you smell a distinct smell, scent, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased?      Yes

            What smell, scent, fragrance or odor did you smell?           The car interior and his aftershave, which I always liked.

            Was the smell, scent, fragrance or odor familiar?     It was an aftershave he used in the late sixties, called Timberline.

            Was anything communicated by the smell?   Familiarity and a connection with the time when we were the closest and younger, with the future and all of its possibilities ahead of us.

            Is there any possibility that the smell, scent, fragrance or odor was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?        No. My husband doesn't use aftershave or cologne.

How long did the experience last?        It was like a scene from a movie. It felt as though we had traveled a couple of miles together in the car, maybe five minutes or so.

Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden?         Since it occurred in a dream, it began suddenly. I felt surprised to suddenly find myself sitting in a car with my deceased cousin who was doing the driving. He told me what he needed to tell me and then it ended abruptly.

Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased?           Yes

He was very happy and he seemed to really want to get his point across, but all in good humor.  It seemed that his "visit" was solely to reassure me that he was fine and also to deliver his message. It was for me. I felt that he had come purposefully and gladly, to do this.

Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know?  He said. "You and I wasted a lot of time when we were young. You have a lot of important work to do, and you'd better get on with it." He said this even though he himself looked so young. He had been 45 at the time of his death. I was 42 when I had the dream, but in the dream I felt that I was also younger than my age, like I was mirroring his youth. Though what he told me was serious and it seemed very important to him to get his point across, he also laughed, as if to say how foolish we'd been. I did not feel that he was warning me of my own impending doom, just reminding me of my own mortality and letting me know that I would be making a contribution to the world and that I should live my life and do my work to the best of my abilities. He was right. I did find important work to do, which ended up coming as a surprise.

How do you currently view the reality of your experience?           Experience was probably real

            Please explain why you view the reality of your experience as real or not real:           it was not dreamlike in that I knew intellectually that he had died and that something quite special was going on. Otherwise, it seemed as real as any time I had been with him. Especially when it ended. I was both pleased and stunned by it.

            Was the experience dream like in any way?   Yes

Only that I was suddenly transported to a beautiful landscape and encountered my dead cousin. I was aware that this was not "normal." He drove the car over a gorgeous hilly road, up and down over rises and into valleys, all the time through a lush, green, pastoral landscape that looked vaguely like where we grew up, but was impossibly beautiful.  

Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience:           I was at first very surprised to find myself in the situation. it did not seem like a dream, it seemed very real. I knew he was supposed to be dead, but was surprised and relieved to find him looking healthy, young, and at the wheel. He had been very, very diminished and suffered a great deal before he died. He seemed to understand my confusion and reassured me with a big smile that he was fine. Then things just proceeded normally as they would in a conversation, except that I took notice of how beautiful the landscape was that we were passing through.


Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience?           Yes

Yes. I knew for certain that he cared about me and wanted to get a message to me and that he wanted me to see that he was well and happy. What he said was true and I needed to hear it.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      Seeing him, feeling his strong presence, knowing he wanted to get a message to me.

The worst part was that sometimes I feared that he was warning me that I didn't have enough time left to do my "important work" and that I had wasted too much time already.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         Yes                 Describe:      I have taken leaps of faith and trusted my instincts more. I try to see everyone as a spiritual being. I also see the natural world as spiritual.       

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?
   Yes     I felt certain that death is not to be feared. Only the physical trauma perhaps, but not what comes after.

Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.?            Yes     I understood that it is possible we go on in some way after death, though I'm not sure how or if we do or if it's eternal. Perhaps consciousness or the mind also exist in a higher dimension, or are separate from us and our brains are just receivers. Do we keep our personalities and continue in some form of existence, doing our chosen work among loved ones and friends? Or can we begin anew? Perhaps we only "hang around" for a time as our "self," before our energy is re-absorbed and distilled into the universe to become part of something else.

Death Compacts are when two or more living people promise among themselves that whoever dies first will try to contact the other(s).  Have you ever made such a compact?        No

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          Uncertain It turned out that I did have important work to do, which came as a surprise. It is a source of happiness for me.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            I felt so happy. I felt that he had come to say goodbye, since we had not seen each other in the few months before his death. I felt that I mattered to him enough for him to take the time to visit and speak to me. I felt our strong connection still existed. Before he died, his mother and sisters had told me he didn't want to see anyone--even me, and I was family. I was hurt by this. I spoke to him once on the phone about a month before he died. Years later I was told by his former partner that the family had kept everyone from him because they were in denial and wanted to hide the true nature of his illness. He told me that my cousin had wanted to see me and that my cousin loved me. The family lied and told everyone he had cancer, because they were ashamed. I suspected what his true illness was, since I knew him so well and I had seen him during the early stages. I was so angry that I had been denied the chance to see my cousin, who was both like a brother and a dear friend to me. After the experience, I felt happy and believed that he was fine, and was continuing on in some other existence, and that he had taken the trouble to come to see me. I felt I would see him again some day.

Was the experience witnessed or experienced by others?           No

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   Yes

The place was more beautiful than reality, we were both younger, driving in his lovely 1960s car that has now long been rusting in a junkyard. It too was restored to "youth." I knew my cousin was dead and yet there he was, as real to me as anyone I speak to in the wide awake world.

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    Yes

I felt that he was telling me I had a purpose that I was not yet aware of. That we were meant to use our time wisely and for good.

Did you become aware of future events?       No

Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?         Yes

Occasional dreams containing imagery before cataclysmic events, like the World Trade Center attacks, the tsunami that killed over 200,000, and my own brother's sudden death, which was cataclysmic to me, and my mother's stroke. These usually occur about five days to a week before the event. In the case of my brother and mother, the dreams had symbols and metaphors that were very literal and descriptive. In the cases of the tsunami and TWC, I dreamed that I was caught up in the events. I was snatched up off a beach by a wave from the tsunami. I was spinning underwater trying to fight the forces of the water and grasp my daughter's hand, who was also being swept away. Shortly before 9/11, I dreamed that I was flying in the air between two burning, towering skyscrapers. I knew I was in New York and that a war or great catastrophe was taking place. Whenever I have these dreams, I wake up knowing that something awful is going to happen. I don't feel comfortable talking about them.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     Uncertain

I had the same personality and consciousness, but in a younger body, in a more parallel way to my cousin, as he appeared to me. It was almost as though I traveled to him, rather than the other way around, since I found myself plopped down in the passenger seat of his old car.

Did you meet or see any other beings other than the deceased?       No

Did you see a light?           Yes

It was a glowing landscape. A place of incredible beauty and sunlight. Gorgeous.

Did any part of your experience seem to occur in a place other than the location described above?            No

Have you shared this experience with others?        

Yes     A therapist did not discount it. My husband thinks it was just a dream and does not believe in any kind of existence after death.

Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site?   No

 Is there anything else you would like to add regarding your experience?       No.

Were there any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?            No

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No 

Did you ever in your life have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual event?           Yes 

I had an experience with light when I was about twelve. I saw a being of light, a shimmering column that looked like sunlight reflected on rippling water. It appeared in the doorway of my bedroom during the night. It felt like a luminous presence. I think I first became aware of a dim glow, as though someone had left a light on and then suddenly it was full-size. It stayed there, undulating and shining brightly for a while. It did not illuminate the space around it. I thought of my recently deceased and very dear grandfather, since it was about the size of a person, though it was hovering above the floor. I was just a kid, so I thought it might be a ghost. I was alone in my bedroom and fully awake. There were no lights on and we lived along a dead end road with no traffic. My room was on the second floor of the house. My parents' room was downstairs and at the back of the house. I did not want to call out, or draw attention to myself, because I felt that it wanted to communicate, so I slid under the blankets. It frightened me, yet it did not seem menacing, just inexplicable. I eventually peeked out and it had gone. 

There was another time, about a year after my cousin died. My sister-in-law had just died young of cancer. I was despairing and mentally questioning, where are you, are you all right? I was driving alone on a highway at night when I had that thought. Suddenly I felt as though s plug had been pulled, and all of my energy became heavy and drained out of my body like sand. Immediately after that, I felt an infusion of joy pouring in through the top of my head and into my body, like liquid into a vessel, filling me with intense joy and lightness, like a balloon. As that occurred, I heard a voice inside my head, not my sister-in-law's voice, but an unknown voice said, "She is FINE!"

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes

Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire.    Perhaps, when discussing dreams, you could ask on a scale of one to ten, how real did it seem.