Tricia Barker was depressed. She was 21 years old, in college studying English, unsure what career would follow, and generally feeling that life was hopeless and painful. She tried to take her own life by washing a handful of pills down with alcohol.
On the way to the race, she had a terrible car accident.After her suicide attempt, Barker trained to run a 10 km race as a way to recover from deep depression. After weeks of training, she was on her way to run the race when she had a head-on collision. Her back was broken in several places, she couldn't feel her legs, and she had internal injuries. Without health insurance, it took nearly 20 hours to find a surgeon who would operate on her. She spent those 20 hours lying in the hospital without painkillers or any relief.
Finally on the operating table, Barker was anesthetized.
In an instant, her spirit left her body.“The anesthesiologist put the mask over me and then I was out of my body,” she said, snapping her fingers to show how quickly it happened.
She saw her own body on the table, with her back opened up and blood everywhere. Two angels came to her and calmed her. She saw them send light through the surgeons and into her body.
At that moment, she knew the surgeons would be able to remove the debris from her back and she would walk again.
While her body lay there dead, she visited her loved ones and saw events that were later verified to have really happened.Distressed at seeing her body there dead, unsure how the doctors could revive her, she didn’t want to view the scene any longer. With that thought, she was instantly in the hallway.
This is where something happened that has made her case of great interest to near-death experience (NDE) researchers. She saw her stepfather, a health nut who would never touch sweets, getting a candy bar from a vending machine in the hallway of the hospital and eating it. This was later verified to have really happened.
Such an event is called a “veridical perception.” Veridical perceptions are observations a person remembers from an out-of-body experience that can be independently verified. These are things that they could not have known through ordinary means.
Scientists have tried to explain NDEs as processes in the brain, but Dr. Jan Holden says none of those explanations can account for the phenomenon.Yet Dr. Jan Holden, a professor at the University of North Texas and a long-time NDE researcher, has identified about 100 cases of veridical perception. She has determined through her examination of hundreds of NDE cases that this common phenomenon cannot be explained through the kind of ordinary processes proposed by Nelson.
One in five people who have a brush with death have an out-of-body experience.Holden has found that about one out of every five people who have a brush with death have a similarly profound out-of-body experience. Many people don’t discuss them openly, for fear of ridicule. Some NDEers have even been put in psychiatric care because of talking about their experiences.
"I had never felt any love like that — a mom's love, romantic love, nothing could compare."Barker’s experience didn’t end with the candy bar. She heard the silent prayers of her mother, her aunt, and others. When she heard the sorrow in her family’s prayers, she almost wanted to go back. But a light beckoned. "The light was so incredible, I had never felt any love like that — a mom's love, romantic love, nothing could compare," she recalled.
She found herself in a field more real and beautiful than anything on Earth. Her grandfather, who had already died, was there with her.
She felt what it was like to be on the receiving end of her actions, what impact she had on others.The past as well as the future flashed before her. It wasn’t necessarily the major events or relationships in her life that were emphasized, but rather her interactions with people who had played small roles. There were people she didn’t connect with because she thought they were different from her, but she saw that they had prayed for her and worried about her when she was depressed.
She felt that the angels and God did not judge her negatively for the things she had done.Although Barker felt remorse for some of her actions, she felt that the angels and God did not judge her negatively for the things she had done. They felt sad for some of the choices she made, but they didn’t judge her in a bad way. They just wanted what was best for her.
She saw that when she attempted suicide she had multiple paths around her she could have taken instead. She could have reached out to people around her.