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Whitton, Dr Joel - Case history Heather Whiteholme 03

Identifier

026308

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Life between Life – Dr Joel Whitton and Joe Fisher

Sleep came first, sheer exhaustion at last overwhelming her agitation. She slept until six o'clock that evening, groggily opening her eyes to the astonishing discovery that she was breathing comfortably without the aid of allergy pills! What's more, the habitual headache and ringing in the ears were gone. So was the usual constriction in the chest. Her skin, too, was clearer. At first she couldn't believe her good fortune. Neither could Dr Whitton as he listened to Heather's barely disguised ecstasy on the other end of the telephone line.

When the allergies remained inactive after two more days free of medicinal encouragement, Heather ventured beyond her home environment to confront the untrustworthy gusts and crosscurrents of the outside world. Her diary records the transformation:

Thursday, September 4, 1979. Saw K- after my singing lesson. I sat amid loads of cat fur breathing in her continuous cigarette smoke without as much as a sneeze or a wheeze, and did not need an allergy pill afterwards. This is unique for me and a great pleasure.
Tuesday, September 20, 1979: Saw Dr H- today. I had great difficulty explaining how I had suddenly lost all my allergies. We both laughed a lot and she is delighted I am off allergy pills. The nurse remarked that my skin has really improved.

While Heather was overjoyed at the apparent retreat of her allergies, she was subject for three weeks to fits of crying, nightmares and depression. Throughout this time she withdrew into her own private world, shunning even the counsel of Dr Whitton who, not knowing what had been activated in Heather's unconscious mind, preferred cautiousness to optimism, even as he hoped that his patient's dramatic improvement would not turn out to be a temporary fluke. When Heather felt stable enough to resume her weekly sessions, Dr Whitton wasted no time in counting her down into trance. He wanted to see this car accident for himself . . .

Isobel and a man called Robert are driving hard towards the late afternoon sun that tilts splendidly against the Mediterranean horizon. They are both nursing hangovers and arguing ferociously. Isobel is pregnant with Robert's child and wants to marry him; Robert wants nothing of the kind. In his anger, Robert is scorning the danger of hairpin bends along the sinuous coast road that flanks the Maritime Alps near Juan Les Pins. At one of these bends the narrow road turns sharply northeast, but his Bugatti convertible is travelling too fast. The car crashes through a low roadside barrier, flies into the air, and bounces down the side of a cliff, uprooting small trees and bushes. There is a loud explosion as the vehicle smashes into a rocky outcrop.  Robert is pinned behind the steering wheel and killed instantly. Isobel is thrown from the passenger seat into a patch of sandy soil where she lies unconscious.  There are more explosions. Smoke and flame engulf Isobel's right side. Her dress and then her hair catch fire, the flames licking over the right side of her face ...

The impact of the accident alone had been more than enough for Heather to contend with. Now she was horror-stricken all over again, transfixed by the unabridged drama just as an observer might have been. But she was also very much the victim of the crash, coughing and spluttering as Isobel’s lungs were seared by the hot black smoke which poured from the burning car. Aware that she could withdraw from the hypnotic state any time she pleased, Heather watched the rescue effort that followed, noting the gathering crowd, the 'strange-looking squarish vehicles' that were the French fire tenders and the ambulance 'with a ringing bell, not a siren,. From a lower road, four orderlies bearing a stretcher scurried up the steep incline to where Isobel lay.

Heather wanted so much to avoid what was coming next. But it wasn't easy to avert her inner gaze now that she was burrowing into the seething core of her distress. The desire to look was irresistible

The source of the experience

Whitton, Dr Joel

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Rosie Rock-Evans