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Observations placeholder

Laubscher, B J F - Jamie goes out of body whilst having his leg amputated



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

B J Laubscher – Where Mystery dwells

While in my third year of medicine I was doing surgical dressings and writing up case sheets and histories of surgical cases.

In the course of my ward visits to patients I met a most cheery young Scots coal miner. The infection of his leg was such that the surgeon had decided to amputate above the knee. Everyone had a greeting for Jamie and his wit and quaint Doric expressions caused roars of laughter. I was drawn to him and would take him cigarettes and other gifts. Furthermore I was learning to speak the dialect and was doing all my history taking where possible in broad Scots. Jamie was very proud of me because of my enjoyment and frequent usage of his native tongue. [sic]

Then came the morning of the operation. I was present in the theatre and assisted the anaesthetist beforehand. In those days they employed chloroform and ether and the operating theatres were hot and stifling places with the permeating smell of chloroform and ether. Now it was the usual practice for students sometimes even during their second year to attend operations and it not infrequently happened that the sight of blood and the warm heavy anaesthetic-laden air induced a faint.

The moment we saw a student turn pale, swallow and begin to sway we usually hurried him out to recover in the fresh air. To their credit I must say that I never witnessed a faint where the student did not return to the theatre the moment he had recovered.

The sense of shame that one could not stand it and the superior smiles of the nurses constituted a challenge which no budding doctor would evade.

On this particular morning as the saw went through the bone, one of the students next to me turned deathly pale and would have fallen as if struck down, if I had not caught him and with assistance carried him out into the corridor. In a short while he came to and after swallowing some salvolatile returned to the theatre and stayed there until the operation was completed.

The next day I was accompanying the surgeon on his rounds when we stopped at Jamie's bed and as we moved away he asked me to come round and bring him a few Woodbines his favourite, cigarette; besides he had something astonishing to tell me. I duly obtained the cigarettes and listened to Jamie's most extraordinary experience.

He said that shortly after he started to breathe the anaesthetic he found himself somewhere near the ceiling of the room looking down at us giving him chloroform and ether. He then followed the body into the theatre and saw the operation. He thought that he was dead and said to himself : "Michty me there is nae punishment for ma sins."

But while he was up there above our heads he saw a student faint and as we carried him out of the theatre he also saw a gossamer-like translucent form of the student walking out with us; in fact accompanying his physical body. Thereafter everything went black and he remembered no more until he regained consciousness from the anaesthetic……………….

Jamie insisted that he was wide awake in his ‘astral body’ and after his first realization that he could see his own body with the surgeon at work he felt delightfully free and contented; in fact he was quite indifferent to his body. He thought that he had died under the anaesthetic.

The source of the experience

Laubscher, Dr B J F

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Science Items


Activities and commonsteps