Vicki’s optic nerve was completely destroyed at birth and she was born blind. Yet, she appears to have seen during her near death experience. Her story is a particularly clear instance of how near death experiences in the congenitally blind can unfold in precisely the same way as do those of sighted persons. As you will see, apart from the fact that Vicki was not able to discern colour during her experience, her account of her near death experience is absolutely indistinguishable from those with intact visual systems. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Ring’s book, used with his kind permission.
Vicki told Dr. Ring that she found herself floating above her body in the Emergency Room of a hospital following an automobile accident. She was aware of being up near the ceiling watching a male doctor and a female nurse working on her body, which she viewed from her elevated position. Vicki has a clear recollection of how she came to the realisation that this was her own body below her.
“I knew it was me … I was quite tall and thin at that time. And I recognised at first that it was a body, but I didn’t even know that the body was mine initially. Then I perceived that I was up on the ceiling, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of weird. What am I doing up here?’ I thought, ‘Well, this must be me. Am I dead? …’ I just briefly saw this body, and … I knew that it was mine because I was not in my body.”
In addition, Vicki was able to note certain further identifying features indicating that the body she was observing was certainly her own: “I think I was wearing the plain gold band on my right ring finger and my father’s wedding ring next to it. I noticed this one the most because it is most unusual. It has orange blossoms on the corners of it.”
There is something extremely remarkable and provocative about Vicki’s recollection of these visual impressions, as a subsequent comment of hers implied. “This was,” she said, “the only time I could ever relate to seeing and to what light was, because I experienced it.”
She then told them that following her out-of-body episode, she found herself going up through the ceilings of the hospital until she was above the roof of the building itself. During this time she had a brief panoramic view of her surroundings. She felt very exhilarated during this period, and enjoyed tremendously the freedom of movement she was experiencing. She also began to hear sublimely beautiful and exquisitely harmonious music akin to the sound of wind chimes.
With no noticeable transition, Vicki then discovered she had been sucked head first into a tube, and felt that she was being pulled up into it. The tube itself was dark, Vicki said, yet she was aware that she was moving toward light. As she reached the opening of the tube, the music that she had heard earlier seemed to be transformed into hymns and she then found herself lying on grass.
She was surrounded by trees, flowers and a vast number of people. She was in a place of tremendous light. Vicki said that the light was something you could feel as well as see. Even the people she saw were bright. She said, “Everybody there was made of light. And I was made of light.” What the light conveyed was love. “There was love everywhere. It was like love came from the grass, love came from the birds, and love came from the trees.”
Vicki then became aware of five specific persons she knew in life who were welcoming her to this place. Debby and Diane were Vicki’s blind schoolmates, who had died years before, aged 11 and 6. In life, they had both been profoundly retarded as well as blind, but here they appeared bright and beautiful, healthy, and vitally alive. They were no longer children, but, as Vicki phrased it, “in their prime.” In addition, Vicki reported seeing two of her childhood caretakers, a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Zilk, both of whom had also previously died. Finally, there was Vicki’s grandmother – who had essentially raised Vicki and who had died just two years before this incident. In these encounters, no actual words were exchanged, Vicki says, but only feelings – feelings of love and welcome.
In the midst of this experience, Vicki was suddenly overcome with a sense of total knowledge: “I had a feeling that I knew everything, and that everything made sense. I just knew that this was the place was where I would find the answers to all the questions about life, about the planets, about God, and about everything. ”
As these revelations were unfolding, Vicki noticed that next to her was a figure whose radiance was far greater than the illumination of any of the people she had so far encountered. Immediately, she recognised this being as Jesus. He greeted her tenderly, while she conveyed her excitement at being there with Him.
Telepathically, He communicated to her, “Isn’t it wonderful? Everything is beautiful here. But you cannot stay here now. It s not your time to be here yet and you have to go back.”
Vicki reacted, understandably enough, with extreme disappointment and protested, “No, I want to stay with You.” But Jesus reassured her that she would come back in the future, but could not stay there for now. Jesus explained that she had to go back and learn and teach more about loving and forgiving.
Vicki then learned that she also needed to go back to have her children. With that, Vicki, who was then childless but who “desperately wanted” to have children, became almost eager to return and finally agreed. Vicki has since given birth to three children.
However, before Vicki could leave, Jesus said to her, in these exact words, “But first, watch this.” Vicki then saw “everything from my birth” in a complete panoramic review of her life, and as she watched, Jesus gently commented to help her understand the significance of her actions, and their consequences.
The last thing Vicki remembered, once the life review has been completed, were the words, “You have to leave now.” Then she experienced “a sickening thud,” like a roller coaster going backwards, and found herself back in her body.
Vicki’s story is used with kind permission from the book, “Mindsight: Near Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind” by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (William James Centre for Consciousness Studies 1999).
Vicki Umipeg’s story may be found also at the following internet address: http://www.near-death.com/experiences/evidence03.html
The true story of Vicki is included, with kind permission, in the free e-book BEYOND THE FINAL FRONTIER which includes 27 similar true stories, and may be freely read and downloaded from this web site.