I died on a Tuesday at 7:06 in the morning.
The weather was cool and the birds sang a happy tune. The morning rush to work was in full swing down our way. The sounds of a waking neighbourhood filled the air.
Tuesday was not a special day, it was just the day that my time was up. Ten minutes before I usually left my 1960’s mid-terrace house everything changed. Death normally does that. I was sitting on my two-seater IKEA couch drinking the last of my black coffee when I felt a tightness in my chest.
Panic gripped me as I stood up with wide-open eyes searching the room for help. None came. I grabbed my phone off its charger and frantically dialled 999. After what seemed like far too long I heard a voice on the other end but couldn’t get any words out. The last sound I heard before blacking out was the phone making a ‘thunk’ on the grey carpet, also IKEA, and that was it. My time was up.
As I lay there, the back of my head pushing down into the thick, pile carpet, I listened to the ever-narrowing spectrum of sounds. Shadows flickered in front of my closed eyes as an acceptance and serenity encompassed me.
The strangest thoughts filled my mind. There is still washing in the machine. The grass needs mowing but it’s just rained. I haven’t brushed my teeth.
For the longest time, I thought that my dying moments would bring about thoughts from my life and all that I would miss. I thought I might see a greatest hits selection, but no. My thoughts were of the mundane. Pretty weird.
The next thing I thought was, “Why am I thinking? I’m dead aren’t I?”
I became aware of the distant sound of an ambulance hurtling down our street. I tried to make a sound but nothing worked. Like those awful dreams where you’re paralysed and trying to get someone’s attention.
Then a weird thing happened. I felt weightless and had a sense that I was rising towards the ceiling. I turned around and could see…me. Sprawled on the pile carpet with my shirt off looking quite pale. To be honest I didn’t look well at all. The paramedics worked tirelessly to bring me back to life with all their paraphernalia littering the lounge carpet. Their efforts were ultimately futile. In the paraphrased words of the mighty John Cleese, I was gone. I had ceased to be. I was an ex-human.
Without being overly dramatic, I found this new state of being slightly alarming and at the same time, very enlightening. I was still totally aware of everything that was happening. I knew the sack of meat that was once me was now just that… a sack of meat slowly decaying. Despite everything, I was a little embarrassed about the unwashed dishes in the sink. I wondered if my house had a smell and if they were judging me for it.
I watched as the paramedics carted my covered lifeless body out of my house and into the waiting ambulance. There was no urgency. Why would there be? Some of my neighbours in various states of dress were out front staring. Some were curtain-twitching. As the emergency vehicle drove off into the distance I felt a little sad that I would not be seeing my physical body again. I had grown rather attached to it over my 49 years.
I had no idea what to do next. I drifted back into the kitchen and looked out the window at the un-mowed lawn. The dishes would have to stay unwashed. The next-door neighbour’s St. George’s flag flapped in the wind. I stared at this familiar scene for ages until a thought hit me. No one knew I was dead.
As soon as that thought hit me, I was in my office. Instantly. To be precise, I was sitting at my desk looking at my computer monitor. The screen was dark. My favourite mug still had the remnants of the previous day's coffee. I looked around at all my work colleagues chatting and getting on with their day totally oblivious to my presence. My manager was on the phone and appeared quite stressed. I listened in to her conversation.
“He’s never late. No, never. I’ve called and texted but have heard nothing back. No. No. Yeah, I’ll keep trying.”
I felt bad. I probably had the very best reason for being late but I still felt bad for letting the team down. Tuesday was always quite busy as well. I ended up sitting at my desk until the news of my demise came through via social media. Someone had heard from someone who had seen the ambulance on my street. The grapevine did its thing.
As I stood there looking at the shocked looks on my work colleagues’ faces, I started to wonder when I would see this tunnel of light that people had spoken about. Surely it was time for me to cross the Great divide? Surely it was time for me to meet my Maker and all my relatives? Would there be orchestral sounds luring me seductively down a long, brightly lit tunnel? All I heard was the slow ticking of the air conditioning unit outside the window and the telephones ringing.
I was new to this ‘being dead’ thing so I couldn’t have possibly known what lay ahead. There were plenty of books on the subject but none prepared me for the sheer madness of what followed.
I’ll begin with the aliens.
Mid-summer in Kent could be quite pleasant. Sure, some days were too hot but at least I was able to wear my favourite pair of grey shorts.
When I died I lost the ability to see any part of myself. I was literally a wondering spirit without the need to be clothed. I missed those shorts. I missed many things. The smell of coffee. The taste of chocolate. Playing a few chords on my guitar. I can’t say I missed the look of myself in the mirror. That would be a total lie. As a slightly overweight, bald man I found the mirror far too truthful.
There were some things that made the experience quite unique. Of course, there was the ability to be anywhere I wanted to be by just thinking about it.
One minute I could be in the Grand Canyon, the next I could be on the moon. I could even be at the bottom of the ocean without needing to take a breath. It was in this particular location that things took a twist I wasn’t expecting.
While I was alive I didn’t enjoy the sea. I was frightened of the deep, dark depths not to mention the creatures that lurked there. It was while I was deep underwater off the coast of Big Sur, California, USA, that I spotted what some would call an anomaly. More specifically it appeared to be some kind of craft. Not a submarine as it was far too big. I’m talking about the size of a city. I was obviously quite shocked by this discovery and decamped to the comfort of my empty home to think about it. Old habits die hard.
According to old Indian texts, Gods descended from the skies in flying vehicles called Vimana. I had been interested in the subject for many years but was starting to believe it was all something made up to distract from dark government projects. Don’t worry, reader. I’m not going to try and convince you of anything. I mean, I’m literally a dead man talking at this point so you may as well hear me out.
I returned to the area of said craft after the excitement proved too much. This time I wasn’t just observing. I was inside the thing. The surroundings did not look man-made. They looked organic. Kind of like the craft had grown out of the ocean floor. The walls were ribbed and covered in a gel-like clear substance. They actually looked more like a reptile’s skin.
At the far end of the cavernous area I was drifting in I saw a small, dark figure. The entity slowly approached me and seemed to be gliding across the floor. When it reached my position it stopped and stared at me. I couldn’t determine if it was male or female but it was beautiful. Long, blonde hair hung down to its waist. Its body was covered in a fabric that glimmered like the inside of an oyster shell. The five fingers on each hand were long and elegant. Its skin was deathly pale but incredibly smooth. I couldn’t make out a nose or mouth but its eyes were massive.
After a few moments, I asked if it could see me. After a brief pause, it answered but without words. Somehow it transmitted images straight into my head. Images from my life and ultimate death. I was speechless. I knew the entity meant me no harm but didn’t know how I knew that. As it turned and walked back from where it entered the cavernous space I felt compelled to follow. I didn’t seem to have a choice.
The next thing I knew, the sound of what seemed like a trumpet or flute filled the air around me. I started to feel a little dizzy before everything went dark.
At this point, I should probably tell you about my good friend Mark. Mark was an only child just like me. He grew up on a council estate outside Canterbury in Kent, just him and his mother Jean. She was the loveliest woman I’ve ever met. My second mother if you will. She was a feeder. Whenever I went round to their house I put on weight. She also had the most wicked laugh you’ve ever heard.
Mark was a genius. I don’t say that lightly. From a very early age, he invented things. He fixed things. He deconstructed things. His brain didn’t work like mine and I loved him for it. He was very excitable and his love of life was infectious. We would spend our time playing with his inventions and trying to make things explode. I honestly don’t know how we didn’t get hurt.
Things were going so well for both of us until a tragic day in June 1994. That was the day his inventions stopped. That was the day he stepped out in traffic and didn’t look both ways. That was the day a motorcycle hit Mark and put him in a coma. Jean was inconsolable. At 14 years of age, my best friend was ripped from his beautiful path and confined to a small bed in a hospital ward.
Mark was in a coma for 16 years, 5 months and 20 days. His eyes flickered open a few weeks before Christmas 2010. It took him a whole year to regain the use of his body and about the same time to start speaking again. When he did, the story he told was nothing short of extraordinary. I was the only person he confided in. In the beginning.
I think what struck me the most was when he said that he was aware of everything around him the entire time that he was in a coma. He said at times it was frightening and at other times highly entertaining. He learned a lot and sometimes too much. Then came the extraordinary bit.
He said that most days he met and conversed with someone from another dimension. They were as real as you and I. They kept him company during his darkest days and taught him that we are so much more than we think. I remember being amazed by the things he told me and at the same time thinking how powerful the mind can be when under extreme stress.
I rather hastily believed that what he experienced was merely a coping mechanism for his predicament. I didn’t for one moment think that what he experienced actually happened. I was just grateful that he had that coping mechanism.
I awoke to a soft, green flickering glow. Actually, it was more like a pulsing glow. It took a while for my eyes to focus on the scene in front of me. I was no longer in the belly of a submerged craft. I was staring up at the aurora borealis or Northern Lights phenomenon.
I wasn’t alone. Next to me was the long-haired entity also looking up at the beautiful display. We then proceeded to have an actual mind-to-mind conversation with actual words. Mind-blowing in so many ways but I’ll recount the experience as best I can.
“Where am I?”
“You are where you need to be right now.”
“You can speak!”
“You can listen.”
“Am I dead or is this all some trippy dream?”
“If you define death as ceasing to exist then, no, you are not dead. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Your physical existence in one particular dimension has ended.”
“Yes. There are many.”
“Do I exist in every dimension?”
“YOU exist outside of dimensions. You are not separate from others. There is only one. Dimensions are a way to know yourself.”
There followed a long silence. There was a lot to take in and I was grateful for the opportunity to do so.
The entity continued and this time went into a lot more detail.
“The light show you see before you is the perfect metaphor for dimensions. Although the process may seem magical, it is entirely natural. Everything is frequency and vibration. The difference between you and me is perception. When you are in human form, you perceive your reality through your five senses. Once you shed that human form your perception widens and you are able to fully digest the wonders that surround you. I know you have many questions and you are free to ask them all. Perhaps an easier way would be to help you to see it all for yourself.“
In an instant, I experienced what I can only describe as a data download. I was able to see and feel everything, everyone, from all angles, throughout time and space. I was them and they were me. There was no separation.
Everything I believed and thought I had a handle on in life had now been spectacularly shattered in death.
There followed another lengthy silence after which I turned to my new friend and asked.
“Who are you?”
“I am an inconvenient truth. I have been with you throughout time. We have swapped places many times but you have now reached a point where you need to make a decision. Once you have made that decision, our paths will diverge.”
“What decision do I have to make?”
“A pretty simple one. Do you wish to continue on this dimensional plane or do you wish to move on to the next? You are here now with me because you no longer need to learn lessons in physical form. That part of your journey is complete. You can, however, choose to stay and help others achieve what you now have.”
“If I choose to stay, will it be permanent?”
“Not at all. You have free will and can simply move on when you feel the time is right.”
With that, my new friend was gone. In an instant, I was back at my home. The grass out back was still unmowed. I don’t know who I thought may have mowed it in my absence. I had a decision to make. Through force of habit, I tried to open the fridge. I laughed when nothing happened. I carried on laughing for quite a while. This ‘being dead’ was an absolute hoot!
Three years after his miraculous recovery from a 16-year coma, Mark joined the talk circuit and spoke about his fantastic experience. He spoke well and gained a lot of recognition in the UK and abroad. I was so happy for him and for Jean. She had spiralled into a deep depression after the accident and there was absolutely nothing I could do to help her. I can’t even imagine how she must have felt when he emerged from the coma.
Mark was a very busy man for the next few years. His time was precious and his tours were long. I didn’t get to see him as much as I would have liked to but I understood. A few weeks before my death he sent me a postcard from Switzerland with ‘Wish you were here’ cheekily emblazoned across the back. He knew I loved the place.
I attended one of Mark‘s talks in London and listened intently. What he said was truly extraordinary and pushed the boundaries of many belief systems. His experience was obviously real to him. What I admired about him the most was that he wasn’t trying to convince anyone of anything. He was just recounting his experience and leaving it to his audience to decide.
I always considered myself a fairly intelligent person with a solid worldview. What Mark seemed to be saying was that there were other realities outside of our own. Other dimensions outside of our narrow perception. But how could that be? Surely more intelligent minds than mine had studied the subject for years and come to the same conclusion as me through the lens of science? That reality seemed solid. Ghosts and fairies aren’t real. If there are other dimensions and other versions of me, what is their purpose? What is my purpose?
It blew my mind in so many ways. Obviously, I wasn’t going to say anything to Mark. As far as I was concerned, this was part of his recovery. I would never wish to hamper the progress that he so obviously made over the next few years since awaking from his coma.
Those last few weeks before my untimely death, I thought about Mark‘s experience a lot. I actually started to hope that what he was saying was true. I don’t know why. I didn’t have any premonitions of my demise and I wasn’t feeling ill.
When you are a single man living on your own you have far too much time with your own thoughts. I had a few regrets. I had never met the right person to share my life with. I never got to share what I knew with any children. I was a loner. For many years this suited me just fine but in the last five years of my life, it really started to play on my mind. I actually started to date again, if that’s what it’s called now, with hopes of finding the right person. Ultimately that wasn’t to be.
I remember there was one thing that Mark said in his talks that stuck with me until the very end. He said that according to this entity he spoke with whilst in his coma, everyone had a plan. There was a plan with regards to what we would experience throughout our lives. We all came here to this earthly plane to learn and grow. Everything, every new experience, was pre-planned.
I remember thinking at the time that sounded absolutely absurd. It just sounded ridiculous to me. Determinism was not a doctrine that I subscribed to. But when I thought back to all the peaks and troughs in my life and all the hard lessons that had obviously helped me progress, it started to make a strange sort of sense. When it all started to get a little too much for me I applied Occam's razor, the idea that the simplest explanation is probably true. Mark was obviously under the influence of the powerful chemicals in his brain. They were helping him cope with a difficult situation.
I had to know more. The data download had provided many answers but there were still a few gaps that needed to be filled. I was back in the belly of the craft before I knew it but this time it seemed different. This time it was bigger and lighter. This time I had a body!
I spent an inordinately long period of time scrutinizing my hands. They had a glow and were translucent. When I finally looked up I saw a whole group of entities slowly gliding toward me. I knew them. They weren’t family but they might as well have been. I felt an all-encompassing love that surpassed anything I had felt before. I literally cannot describe the exact feeling. The intensity was off the chart.
I asked a question without speaking.
“Why do I have a body?”
The answer was instantaneous.
“You are a light being. You do not need a body but there will be occasions where you will be able to use it to enhance your subject’s experience.”
“What do you mean by ‘enhance your subject’s experience’?”
“You are familiar with the term Seeing is Believing?”
“That is your answer.”
This made sense.
“One more thing. What is the purpose of this craft we are in?”
“You believe it is a craft. That is all that was required to make contact with you in this dimension.”
Before I could respond, I was back in my old home.
This time it was different. The grass was mowed. This threw me. Had someone moved in? I searched the house but didn’t recognise anything as mine. I couldn’t believe someone had moved in so soon after my death. I was a little upset, to be honest. It really was time to move on.
I began to think about who I might choose to ‘guide’. I also wondered what that would actually look like. Yes, I understood what needed to be done after the ‘data download’ but applying this new knowledge would take some practice.
I thought I might check in on Mark to see how he was getting on. I imagined he was probably kicking up his heels on a tour of some European city. All I had to do was think about him and I would be transported to his location.
He was not on tour.
He was in the major trauma ward on the 8th floor of St. Mary’s Hospital, London. The exact same ward he was on after his accident. I immediately thought he had had another accident and looked around for Jean. She was outside Mark’s room on the phone. I could hear her crying. She turned briefly and that’s when everything slowed down. In fact, time stopped entirely. Standing in front of me was a much younger version of Jean. I returned to Mark’s room and looked at the figure in the bed. It was definitely Mark but also a much younger version.
I was so confused I didn’t know what to do next. I glanced up at a calendar on the wall. That’s when a shocking realisation hit me.
The date? June 1994.