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Observations placeholder

The near death experience of Thomas Say, the Quaker



Type of Spiritual Experience


As far as I can make out this is a different Thomas Say to the botanist.  This man lived about 80 years before Thomas Say the botanist

A description of the experience

From Dr Robert Crookall - More Astral projections

Case No. 286-Thomas Say, the Quaker

THE experience of Thomas Say, (1709-96) was given by Dr W. J. Graham (Psychical Experiences of Quaker Ministers, Friends 'Historical Society, 1933).

ln 1726, when 17 years of age, Say, of Philadelphia, fell into a coma and was taken for dead. On recovering, he told his parents that he had considered himself as having died and as "going to heaven". He said, "After I left the body I heard the voices of men, women and children singing praises unto the Lord.

... Through these I passed, being clothed in white and in my full shape ... As I passed along towards a higher state of bliss, I cast my eyes upon the earth (which I saw plainly) and beheld three men, whom I knew, die. Two of them were white men, one of whom entered into rest: the other was cast off.  There appeared a beautiful transparent gate opened; and as I and the one who entered into rest came up to it, he stepped in; but as I was stepping in, I stepped into my body.

When I recovered from my trance, I mentioned both their names, at the same time telling how I saw them die, and which of them entered into rest and which did not. I said to my mother, 'Oh, that I had made one step further! then I should not have come back again!'

After I told them of the death of the three men, they sent to see if it were so, and when the messenger returned he told them they were all dead, and died in the rooms, etc., as I told them; upon hearing it, I fell into tears and said, 'Oh, Lord, I wish thou hadst kept me, and sent him back that was in pain !'; after which I soon recovered from my sickness.

"The third whom I saw die was a negro, Cuffee, belonging to the widow Kearney. ... Some time after my recovery I told her that I saw her negro man die, whilst I was a corpse. She asked me, where did he die? I told her in the back kitchen, between the jamb of the chimney and the wall; when they took him off the bed his head slipped from their hands. She said, "So it did !' and asked me if l could tell her where they laid him? I told her ... and she was satisfied. ...

The negro and the person who entered into rest were in white; the other who was cast off had his garments somewhat white, but spotted. I also saw the body in which each lived when upon earth, but not my own. The reason why, I take this to be, that my soul was not quite separated from my body, as the others were from theirs.

After this experience "the other world" was to him the reality and this world the shadow.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Being in a coma