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Observations placeholder

Alexander, Dr Eben - the underworld



Type of Spiritual Experience


Dr Alexander called this the underworld, so I have called it the same thing in the title, but I do not think it was the underworld I think it was 'Purgatory' - the red colour and the sounds are an indication - the Fire level - the last level before you get into the Aether level.

Consciousness had transfered to his Higher spirit which is why all he had were perceptions and no memory

A description of the experience

Proof of heaven – Dr Eben Alexander

Darkness, but a visible darkness-like being submerged in mud yet also being able to see through it. Or maybe dirty Jell-O describes it better. Transparent, but in a bleary, blurry, claustrophobic, suffocating kind of way.

Consciousness, but consciousness without memory or identity-like a dream where you know what's going on around you, but have no real idea of who, or what, you are.

Sound, too: a deep, rhythmic pounding, distant yet strong, so that each pulse of it goes right through you. Like a heartbeat?  A little, but darker, more mechanical-like the sound of metal against metal, as if a giant, subterranean blacksmith is pounding an anvil somewhere off in the distance: pounding it so hard that the sound vibrates through the earth, or the mud, or wherever it is that you are.

I didn’t have a body-not one that I was aware of anyway.

I was simply…  there, in this place of pulsing, pounding darkness. At the time, I might have called it "primordial." But at the time it was going on, I didn’t know this word. In fact, I didn’t know any words at all. The words used here registered much later when, back in the world, I was writing down my recollections.

Language, emotion, logic: these were all gone, as if I had regressed back to some state of being from the very beginnings of life, as far back, perhaps, as the primitive bacteria that, unbeknownst to me, had taken over my brain and shut it down.

How long did I reside in this world? I have no idea.

When you go to a place where there's no sense of time as we experience it in the ordinary world, accurately describing the way it feels is next to impossible. When it was happening, when I was there, I felt like I (whatever "I" was) had always been there and would always continue to be.

Nor, initially at least, did I mind this. Why would I, after all, since this state of being was the only one I'd ever known? Having no memory of anything better, I was not particularly bothered by where I was. I do recall conceptualizing that I might or might not survive, but my indifference as to whether I did or not only gave me a greater feeling of invulnerability. I was clueless as to the rules that governed this world I was in, but I was in no hurry to learn them. After all, why bother?

I can't say exactly when it happened, but at a certain point I became aware of some objects around me. They were a little like roots, and a little like blood vessels in a vast, muddy womb.

Glowing a dark, dirty red, they reached down from some place far above to some other place equally far below. In retrospect, looking at them was like being a mole or earthworm, buried deep in the ground yet somehow able to see the tangled matrixes of roots and trees surrounding it.

That's why, thinking back to this place later, I came to call it the Realm of the Earthworm's-Eye View. For a long time, I suspected it might have been some kind of memory of what my brain felt like during the period when the bacteria were originally overrunning it.

But the more I thought about this explanation (and again, this was all much, much later), the less sense it made. Because hard as this is to picture if you haven't been to this place yourself-my consciousness wasn't foggy or distorted when I was there. It was just ...limited. I wasn’t human while I was in this place. I wasn’t even animal. I was something before, and below, all that. I was simply a lone point of awareness in a time-less red-brown sea.

The longer I stayed in this place, the less comfortable I became. At first I was so deeply immersed in it that there was no difference between "me" and the half-creepy, half-familiar element that surrounded me. But gradually this sense of deep, timeless, and boundary less immersion gave way to something else: a feeling like I wasn't really part of this subterranean world at all, but trapped in it.

Grotesque animal faces bubbled out of the muck, groaned or screeched, and then were gone again. I heard an occasional dull roar. Sometimes these roars changed to dim, rhythmic chants, chants that were both terrifying and weirdly familiar-as if at some point I'd known and uttered them all myself.

The source of the experience

Alexander, Dr Eben

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Bacterial infection


Being in a coma
Brain damage