Andy Kershaw’s out of body
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Andy Kershaw- No Off Switch
THE FIRST I KNEW of it was the roar of an angry engine, And it wasn't that of my granddad's Austin 1100.
It was over my right shoulder. Our Elizabeth and I were on the back seat, my granddad at the wheel and my grandma beside them. On our way to some restaurant for Sunday lunch, we were tootling down Whitworth Road, a main route in and out of Rochdale. It was November 1973.
Even louder now, the revving car was right at my rear passenger window, overtaking - or trying to - with another car coming straight towards us and only two hundred yards away.
My granddad began to yell in shock and anger. My grandma let out a long wail, and Elizabeth's screams joined a crescendo of panic.
First, there was a bump. Our car pitched to the left. The over-taking driver had tried to force his way to safety bashing into our front right wing, pushing us towards the kerb. A tremendous bang followed. I remember thinking to myself, calmly and gently, 'You're having a car crash. This is what it's like.'
Most deafening was the sudden, total silence. Then came the wails and moans. I was squashed down into the space behind the driver's seat. I know this because I was, for a couple of seconds, looking at myself from ten or twelve feet above. It was the classic out-of-body experience.
Something was wrong with my mouth. I could taste the metallic tang of blood. My right shin felt as if it were on fire. Already there were voices and anxious faces around the car. Someone opened my door and I crawled out. I was in a chemist's shop.'What the fuck was this?’
Ambulances seemed to be there immediately. And police and fire engines. I walked out through the shattered shop front and propped myself up against the wall. There was much to take in. I watched my grandparents and Elizabeth being lifted from the wreckage and stretchered into the ambulances. Grandma and Granddad looked bad: still, silent, eyes closed and blood-drenched. There were people, uniforms and flashing vehicles everywhere. A crowd of spectators joined them.
Soon enough, the ambulances raced away and the onlookers began to thin. It was when only a couple of blokes remained, sweeping up the glass, that I thought I'd better make my way to hospital. Giving their full and urgent attentions to Our Elizabeth and my grandparents, the emergency services had completely overlooked me. And for my part, I'd been too preoccupied, or too stunned, watching the activity, to tell anyone I'd also been in the crash.
The chemist's we'd almost demolished - luckily, closed and empty on a Sunday - wasn't more than 400 yards from Rochdale Infirmary. I set off there on foot, a little sore and still bleeding from my shin. It had been rammed by the impact under my granddad's seat. My jaw had smashed into the top of his head.
Otherwise, I was perfectly okay.