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Observations placeholder

William Howell has NDE from heart attack and cardiac arrest



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Dr Penny Sartori's case studies

William Howell

In 2009 I had a heart attack and cardiac arrest at the age of 44. There were many times before and when I was in hospital that I’d feel sick or dizzy and have chest pain. Once in work it happened and I woke up in the cold store with a cut on my head and bad chest pain. When I was in the hospital ward my aunt was visiting me, the next thing I knew I woke up in CCU. Another time I was talking to the doctor and she said ‘are you ok?’ I said yes but there were colours in front of my eyes. I must have been out for a while because I came to with the doctor standing over me asking if I was still there. I have no idea what happened in between me losing consciousness and waking up. I have an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) pacemaker now.

The day I had the cardiac arrest I was lying in the hospital bed and my wife was visiting then the nurses said to my wife I think you’d better go outside for a few minutes.

All of a sudden I was in a long dark tunnel with voices all around and people calling me. I was just floating down and I could hear voices around me. There was a man at the end of the tunnel calling me. He was a dark figure but I knew he was friendly – it may have been my grandfather. He was calling me towards him.

Next thing I could see the doctor in front of me – I could just see his eyes and teeth and he said to the nurses, ‘it’s ok, he’s back’.

After Effects

Since then some really weird things have been happening to me. I thought I was losing it and I was traumatised after the heart attack so I went to counselling. The more I talked about it the more these things were happening but my counsellor seemed to understand and helped me a lot.

About two or three months after I got home the dog started looking at something behind me, it just had a fixed stare and was wagging its tail while looking at something behind me. I turned and saw a white shadow just disappear.

Then I started having out of body experiences – any time of day. I feel as if I’m drifting away and I can see myself below then find myself in my grandmother’s house. I can see everything that’s going on. I went back to when I was ten or eleven years old. It’s like I’m reliving something that’s already happened.

When I have these experiences and go to my grandmother’s house I can smell the smoke from her cigarette – she always used to have a cigarette in one hand and a rolling pin in the other hand. It’s all so plain and real, I’m actually there again.

When these things happen I can’t respond to anyone in the room with me. My wife said I just look ahead with a fixed stare, I don’t blink. My body is down there but my spirit is up there and they can’t interact with each other.

I hear voices and people calling me then people touching me on the shoulder. I was talking about a dead friend to someone else then heard a whistling noise – there was no one else around so I don’t know where that whistling came from.

When I’m in a relaxed state things happen more. I was sitting at home with just the two dogs in the room with me. The dogs seem to notice if something happens. All of a sudden there were two pieces of paper and one started to flicker and the other one turned over completely right before my eyes. There were no windows open so how do you explain that?

I also get a lot of flashbacks of looking down that tunnel. I’ve had a lot of counselling to help me get over all of this but these experiences just keep happening, I don’t know how to explain them.

Some really strange things I’ve also noticed is that I can’t wear a watch – they just stop or the second hand will stop. My computer always crashes on me, I have to turn it off and reboot it nearly every time I use it. It works fine for my wife and the children; it only plays up with me. The last computer I had was quite new but didn’t last long, the man who came to repair it found that the fan inside had completely melted and he didn’t know why as there was no reason for it to have melted. I’ve also noticed that my hearing has become much more acute since my heart attack.

I’m not afraid of dying either, my time just wasn’t up. I now live every day for the day and don’t worry about going. I feel as if I’ve got something to do in my life but I don’t know what it is.

When I’m in public places I can see spirits around people. This sounds mad I know but I can see different auras around people, some have white, some have dark the different auras mean different things. The dark auras mean keep away. If I’m watching something like ‘Most Haunted’ on TV I can see something that others who are with me can’t see. On one show there was a mist on the camera but I could see an actual man, I could see him but no one else could.

A friend of the family has been having strange things happening in her house like things moving for no reason. I went to visit one day and could see an old lady at the top of the stairs just looking at me. I said hello and she just disappeared. My friend made me a cup of coffee and I put it down on the side and it fell onto the hearth – it just moved off a stable, solid surface without anyone touching it. I’ve been back to the house twice since then and I haven’t seen that woman again but my friend still senses her presence.

In our house an old man had passed away there before we moved in. I always hear a bang upstairs and it’s always at a certain time. It comes from the room that he died in, I feel as if I am hearing him hit the floor and die.

I don’t know why all of this is happening to me, I can’t explain it. I didn’t ask for it, it just started happening after my heart attack. I’ve had lots of counselling but no one can explain exactly why this has started to happen to me. I just have to learn to accept it and that my life is very different now.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps