Guided Tour of the Afterlife
With Jesus Christ
With a start I noticed that we were moving. I hadn't been
aware of leaving the hospital, but now it was nowhere in sight. The living events of
my life which had crowded round us had vanished too: Instead we seemed to be high
above the earth, speeding together toward a distant pinprick of light.
The distant pinprick resolved itself into a
large city toward which we seemed to be descending. It was still nighttime but smoke
poured from factory chimneys and many buildings had lights burning on every floor.
There was an ocean or a large lake beyond the lights; it could have been Boston, Detroit,
Toronto, certainly no place I had ever been, but obviously I thought as we came close
enough to see the crowded streets, one where war industries were operating around the
I noticed a certain phenomenon
repeatedly - people unaware of others right beside them. I saw a group of
assembly-line workers gathered around a coffee canteen. One of the women asked
another for a cigarette, begged her in fact, as though she wanted it more than anything in
the world. But the other one, chatting with her friends, ignored her. She
took a pack of cigarettes from her coveralls, and without ever offering it to the woman
who reached for it so eagerly, took one out and lit it. Fast as a striking snake the
woman who had been refused snatched at the lighted cigarette in the other one's
mouth. Again she grabbed at it. And again ... With a little chill of
recognition I saw that she was unable to grip it. Like me, in fact, she was dead.
In one house a younger man followed an older
one from room to room.
"I'm sorry, Pa!" he kept saying.
"I didn't know
what it would do to Mama! I didn't understand."
But though I could hear him clearly, it was
obvious that the man he was speaking to could not. The old man was carrying a tray
into a room where an elderly woman sat in bed.
"I'm sorry, Pa," the young man
said again. "I'm sorry, Mama."
Endlessly, over and over, to ears that could
Several times we paused before similar
scenes. A boy trailing a teenaged girl through the corridors of a school.
A middle-aged woman begging a gray-haired man to forgive her.
"What are they so sorry for,
pleaded. "Why do they keep talking to people who can't hear them?"
Then from the light beside me came the
"They are suicides, chained to every consequence of their
Gradually I began to notice something
else. All of the living people we were watching were surrounded by a faint luminous
glow, almost like an electrical field over the surface of their bodies. This
luminosity moved as they moved, like a second skin made out of pale, scarcely visible
At first I thought it must be reflected
brightness from the person at my side. But the buildings we entered gave off no
reflection, neither did inanimate objects. And then I realized that the non-physical
beings didn't either. My own un-solid body, I now saw, was without this glowing
At this point the light drew me inside a
dingy bar and grill near what looked like a large naval base. A crowd of people,
many of them sailors, lined the bar three deep, while others jammed wooden booths along
the wall. Though a few were drinking beer, most of them seemed to be belting
whiskies as fast as the two perspiring bartenders could pour them.
Then I noticed a striking thing. A
number of the men standing at the bar seemed unable to lift their drinks to their
lips. Over and over I watched them clutch at their shot glasses, hands passing
through the solid tumblers, through the heavy wooden counter top, through the very arms
and bodies of the drinkers around them.
And these men, every one of them, lacked the
aureole of light that surrounded the others.
Then, the cocoon of light must be a property
of physical bodies only. The dead, we who had lost our solidness, had lost
this second skin as well.
And it was obvious that these living people,
the light-surrounded ones, the ones actually drinking, talking, jostling each other, could
neither see the desperately thirsty disembodied beings among them, nor feel their frantic
pushing to get at those glasses.
Though it was also clear to me, watching,
that the non-solid people could both see and hear each other. Furious quarrels were
constantly breaking out among them over glasses that none could actually get to his
I thought I had seen heavy drinking at
fraternity parties in Richmond, but the way civilians and servicemen at this bar were
going at it beat everything. I watched one young sailor rise unsteadily from a
stool, take two or three steps, and sag heavily to the floor. Two of his buddies stooped
down and started dragging him away from the crush.
But that was not what I was looking at.
I was staring in amazement as the bright cocoon around the unconscious sailor simply
opened up. It parted at the very crown of his head and began peeling away from his
head, his shoulders. Instantly, quicker than I'd ever seen anyone move, one of the
insubstantial beings who had been standing near him at the bar was on top of him. He
had been hovering like a thirsty shadow at the sailor's side, greedily following every
swallow the young man made. Now he seemed to spring at him like a beast of prey.
In the next instant, to my utter
mystification, the springing figure had vanished. It all happened even before
the two men had dragged their unconscious load from under the feet of those at the
bar. One minute I'd distinctly seen two individuals; by the time they propped the
sailor against the wall, there was only one.
Twice more, as I stared, stupefied, the
identical scene was repeated. A man passed out, a crack swiftly opened in the
aureole round him, one of the non-solid people vanished as he hurled himself at that
opening, almost as if he had scrambled inside the other man.
Was that covering of light some kind of
shield, then? Was it a protection against ... against disembodied beings
like myself? Presumably these substance-less creatures had once had solid bodies, as
I myself had had. Suppose that when they had been in these bodies they had developed
a dependence on alcohol that went beyond the physical. That became mental.
Spiritual, even. Then when they lost that body, except when they could briefly take
possession of another one, they would be cut off for all eternity from the thing they
could never stop craving.
An eternity like that - the thought sent
a chill shuddering through me - surely that would be a form of hell. I had always
thought of hell, when I thought of it at all, as a fiery place somewhere beneath the
earth where evil people like Hitler would burn forever. But what if one level of hell
existed right here on the surface - unseen and unsuspected by the living people
occupying the same space. What if it meant remaining on earth
but never again able
to make contact with it. I thought of that woman who wanted that cigarette. To
want most, to burn with most desire, where you were most powerless - that would be
Not would be, I realized with a
start. Was. This was hell. And I was as much a part of it as these other
discarnate creatures. I had died. I had lost my physical body. I existed
now in a realm that would not respond to me in any way ...
There were two other things distinctly unique
about the beings of this realm. Since hypocrisy is impossible because others know
your thoughts the minute you think them, they tend to group with the ones who think the
same way they do. In our own realm of the existence, earth, we have a saying,
"Birds of a feather flock together." The main reason that they stick
together is because it is too threatening to be with beings with whom you disagree when
they know it.
One of the places we observed seemed to be a
receiving station. Beings would arrive here oftentimes in a deep hypnotic
sleep. I call it hypnotic because I realized they had put themselves in this state
by their beliefs. Here were what I would call angels working with them trying to
arouse them and help them realize God is truly a God of the living and that they did not
have to lie around sleeping until Gabriel or someone came along blowing on a horn.
We were moving again. We had
left the Navy base with its circumference of seedy streets and bars, and
were now standing, in this dimension where travel seemed to take no time
at all, on the edge of a wide, flat plain. So far in our journeying we had
visited places where the living and the dead existed side by side: indeed
where disembodied beings, completely unsuspected by the living, hovered
right on top of the physical things and people where their desire was
Now, however, although we
were apparently still somewhere on the surface of the earth, I could see
no living man or woman. The plain was crowded, even jammed with hordes of
ghostly discarnate beings; nowhere was there a solid, light-surrounded
person to be seen. All of these thousands of people were apparently no
more substantial than I myself. And they were the most frustrated,
the angriest, the most completely miserable beings I had ever laid eyes
"Lord Jesus!" I cried. "Where
At first I thought we were
looking at some great battlefield. Everywhere spirits were locked in
what looked like fights to the death, writhing, punching, gouging. No
weapons of any sort, I saw as I looked closer, only bare hands and feet
and teeth. And then I noticed that no one was apparently being injured. There
was no blood, no bodies strewed on the ground. A blow that ought to have
eliminated an opponent would leave him exactly as before.
If I suspected that I was
seeing hell, now I was sure of it. These creatures seemed locked into
habits of mind and emotion, into hatred, lust, destructive
Even more hideous than the
bites and kicks they exchanged, were the sexual abuses many were
performing in feverish pantomime. Perversions I had never dreamed of were
being vainly attempted all around us. It was impossible to tell if the
howls of frustration which reached us were actual sounds or only the
transference of despairing thoughts. Indeed in this disembodied world
it didn't seem to matter. Whatever anyone thought, however fleetingly or
unwillingly, was instantly apparent to all around him, more completely
than words could have expressed it, faster than sound waves could have
And the thoughts most
frequently communicated had to do with the superior knowledge, or
abilities, or background of the thinker.
"I told you so!"
"I always knew!"
"Didn't I warn you!'
were shrieked into the echoing air over and over. With a feeling of
sick familiarity I recognized here my own thinking. In these yelps of envy
and wounded self-importance I heard myself all too well.
Once again, however, no
condemnation came from the presence at my side, only a compassion for
these unhappy creatures that was breaking his heart.
What was keeping them here?
Why didn't each one just get up and leave? I could see no reason why
the person being screamed at by that man with the contorted face didn't
simply walk away. Or why that young woman didn't put a thousand miles
between herself and the other one who was so furiously beating her with
insubstantial fists? They couldn't actually hold onto their victims,
any of these insanely angry beings. There were no fences. Nothing
apparently prevented them from simply going off alone.
Unless - unless there
was no alone in this realm of disembodied spirits. No private
corners in a universe where there were no walls. No place that was not
inhabited by other beings to whom one was totally exposed at all times.
What was it going to be like, I thought with sudden panic, to live forever
where my most private thoughts were not private at all? No disguising
them, no covering them up, no way to pretend I was anything but what I
actually was. How unbearable. Unless of course everyone around
me had the same kind of thoughts - Unless there was a kind of
consolation in finding others as loathsome as one's self, even if all we
could do was hurl our venom at each other.
Perhaps this was the
explanation for this hideous plain. Perhaps in the course of eons or of
seconds, each creature here had sought out the company of others as pride
and hate-filled as himself, until together they formed this society of the
Perhaps it was not Jesus who
had abandoned them, but they who had fled from the light that showed up
There were beings arguing
over some religious or political point, trying to kill the ones who did
not agree with them. I thought when I saw this:
"No wonder our world
is in such a mess and we have had so many tragic religious wars. No wonder
this was breaking Christ's heart, the one who came to teach us peace and
We were moving again. First
he had shown me a hellish realm, filled with beings trapped in some form
of self-attention. Now behind, beyond, through all this I began to
perceive a whole new realm. Enormous buildings stood in a beautiful
sunny park that reminded me somewhat of a well-planned university. As we
entered one of the buildings and doorways, the air was so hushed that I
was actually startled to see people in the passageway.
I could not tell if they were
men or women, old or young, for all were covered from head to foot in
loose-flowing hooded cloaks which made me think vaguely of monks. But the
atmosphere of the place was not at all as I imagined a monastery. It was
more like some tremendous study center, humming with the excitement of
great discovery. Everyone we passed in the wide halls and on the curving
staircases seemed caught up in some all-engrossing activity; not many
words were exchanged among them. And yet I sensed no unfriendliness
between these beings, rather an aloofness of total concentration.
Whatever else these people
might be, they appeared utterly and supremely self-forgetful
- absorbed in some vast purpose beyond themselves. Through open
doors I glimpsed at enormous rooms filled with complex equipment. In
several of the rooms hooded figures bent over intricate charts and
diagrams, or sat at the controls of elaborate consoles flickering with
lights. Somehow I felt that some vast experiment was being pursued,
perhaps dozens and dozens of such experiments.
And something more ... In
spite of his obvious delight in the beings around us, I sensed that
even this was not the ultimate, that he had far greater things to show me
if only I could see.
And so I followed him into
other buildings of this domain of thought. We entered a studio where music
of a complexity I couldn't begin to follow was being composed and
performed. There were complicated rhythms, tones not on a scale I
"Why," I found myself thinking.
"Bach is only the beginning!"
Next we walked through a
library the size of the whole University of Richmond. I gazed into rooms
lined floor to ceiling with documents on parchment, clay, leather, metal,
"Here," the thought occurred to me, "are assembled the
important books of the universe."
Immediately I knew this was
impossible. How could books be written somewhere beyond the earth!
But the thought persisted, although my mind rejected it.
key works of the universe, the phrase kept recurring as we roamed
the domed reading rooms crowded with silent scholars.
Then abruptly, at
the door to one of the smaller rooms, almost an annex:
"Here is the
central thought of this earth."
"Is this heaven, Lord
Jesus?" I ventured.
The calm, the brightness, they were surely
heaven-like! So was the absence of self, of clamoring ego.
these people were on earth did they grow beyond selfish
"They grew, and they have
kept on growing."
The answer shone like sunlight in that intent and
eager atmosphere. But if growth could continue, then this was not
all. Then ... there must be something even these serene beings
lacked. And suddenly I wondered if it was the same thing missing in the lower realm. Were these selfless seeking creatures also failing in some
degree to see Jesus? Or perhaps, to see him for himself? Bits and
hints of him they surely had; obviously it was the truth they were so
single-mindedly pursuing. But what if even a thirst for truth could
distract from the truth himself, standing here in their midst while they
searched for him in books and test tubes ...
I didn't know. And next to
his unutterable love, my own bewilderment, all the questions I wanted to
ask, seemed incidental. Perhaps, I concluded at last, he cannot tell me
more than I can see. Perhaps there is nothing in me yet that could
understand an explanation.
It is this realm which
removes forever the concept that we stop learning or progressing in
knowledge when we die. I could call this realm the realm of research, or
the mental realm or the realm of intellectual, scientific and religious
knowledge. All would be correct.
This is the realm where I
believe the souls go who have developed the greatest interest in a
particular field of life's endeavor, the ones who want to keep on
researching and learning more in their particular fields. This gives hope
to all people who want to keep learning and have established enough wisdom
to realize we have just begun to scratch the surface in any field when we
are on the earth's level of development.
I became aware that the
Christ was watching some souls in their study of the universe's religions
and saw he did not judge any of them. They too were not judging the
religions which they were studying but were interested in the many
different ways the beings of the universe had attempted to come to
understand their Creator. I suddenly realized how wrong it was for any of
us on earth to judge another's approach to God or to feel we have the only
answers. The moment that realization came into my mind it was followed by
his thought placed in my mind:
"You are right, for if
I, LOVE, be lifted up, I shall draw all humanity unto me. If you come to
know the Father, you will come to know me. If you come to know me you will
come to know that LOVE includes all beings regardless of their race,
creeds or color."
"Hell is a state of being we create by being
away from God until we choose to return to him. It is a state
totally devoid of love." - Sandra Rogers, near-death
to: Kevin Williams
Copyright © 2005 Near-Death
Experiences & the Afterlife
October 21, 2004