Atheist Howard Storm's
Near Death Experience
Atheist Howard Storm's Near Death Experience
|Howard Storm (born October 26th, 1946, in
Flushing, New York) is a former atheist and art professor and chairman
of the art department at the Northern Kentucky University, best known as
the author of the book My Descent Into Death about his near-death
According to Nancy Evans Bush, a near-death researcher specializing in
"distressing" near-death experiences, Storm's NDE is the best known of
contemporary distressing NDE accounts.
Storm's account has been termed
probably the most complete description among NDE accounts of evil
spirits in another world.
Storm's NDE has been cited frequently in near-death studies literature
both before his book was published and afterward.
The book was
originally published in 2000 and, after being noticed by author Anne
Rice and supported by her, was acquired by Doubleday and re-published as
a hardback book in 2005.
Storm has told his story to numerous audiences
and appeared on NBC's Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 48 Hours,
Discovery Channel and Coast to Coast AM.
In June 1985, Storm took a group of his students on a field trip of
Europe. After returning to his Paris hotel room with his wife around
11:00 a.m. after a morning excursion, he experienced what he would later
learn was a sudden puncture to his duodenum caused by an ulcer or
He was transported immediately to the biggest
and best hospital in Paris, had a diagnosis within an hour, and was told
he needed surgery immediately.
Because the hospital was understaffed on weekends,
however, surgery did not occur until around 9:00 p.m., causing Storm to
suffer severe and debilitating pain for several hours after initial
injections of morphine given him when he first arrived wore off.
For people that believe in the paranormal they may
see this as a reality. Near death experiences are possible if you keep
an open mind but science can explain this as well from distress to the
brain. What is the truth behind near death experiences?
Storm describes in his book that as he lay waiting for surgery, he believed he was going to die, gave up the will to live and mentally prepared himself to die.
After saying goodbye to his wife, he eventually passed out and believed he was dying. He states he did not understand what was happening when he opened his eyes again and found himself standing outside of his body. He was allegedly drawn by seemingly-friendly voices calling his name and he followed them, but eventually realized that they were malevolent.
They turned on him and attacked him savagely in the darkness. His book chronicles an experience that involved him being severely beaten, bitten and torn to pieces by many of these shadowy creatures, and though he managed to survive he experienced severe pain. His overall impression was of a process of "initiation".
He later felt a voice within him telling him to "Pray to God" and half-heartedly recited fragments of religious material mixed with fragments of the Pledge of Allegiance. He claims this recitation gradually drove away the malignant beings.
After a time of deep despair, he resorted to calling out "Jesus, please save me!". He was rescued from that dark place by a being of light that he believes was Jesus, and he was also visited by other "spiritual beings of light" as well.
The Future of the United States
He soon experienced a life review, which he found to be intensely discomforting because it highlighted the selfishness of his life.
To his surprise they were more interested in his relationships than his personal achievements.
He was then asked by the beings if he had any questions, and he says that he proceeded to ask them every question that he could think of.
He states that at one point he asked about the near-future of his country (the United States) and says that he was told that the US was a "blessed nation", but if it did not change its ways it would lose its prosperity. This was in no way portrayed as a punishment of God but rather as a natural consequence.
He saw visions of a future plagued by war, natural disasters and despair. It is important to note that he was told that this scenario was avoidable if there was a major spiritual "shift" in the consciousness of the world. The core of his message was primarily about the importance of love and peaceful unity among people, who he says are "all loved by God".
He constantly reiterates the importance of caring for others and seeking spiritual truth. In his book he states that he was informed by these beings of light that the "correct religion" is that religion that "brings you closest to God", negating his attempt to force them to say that one specific religion or denomination was "the only correct one".
He states that the deepest desire of these beings is only to serve "the One" (which humans refer to as "God"), and part of their acts of service include assisting humanity to "return to the One".
Storm concedes there is no medical evidence that he ever died. His alleged NDE occurred while he was unconscious in a hospital bed awaiting surgery.
He regained consciousness as nurses arrived to prep him for surgery, and he was so not near death that he was able to speak to the nurses, asking them to be more careful when moving him because of the extent of physical pain he was suffering.
Storm's surgery that evening was successful and he appeared to be healing rapidly, but 'a Voice' told him to ignore the advice of doctors and buy tickets to return to the U.S. only a week post-surgery (doctors advised no travel for at least a month post-surgery).
Traveling against doctor's orders caused Storm to develop multiple complications which debilitated him for close to a year.
According to Storm's statements, most of the doctors stated that there was no way that he should have been able to live through the amount of damage his body sustained during the trip back to the U.S.
Storm credits his supernatural experiences as leading to the fact that he is alive today, yet sidesteps the fact that it was only because of a supernatural experience (i.e., listening to 'the Voice') that his life was put into danger in the first place.