Denis Cooper and his wife Joan ran a Christian Centre 'on the smell of an oil rag' on their farm in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1970s. They helped a number of desperate young people, rescuing some who had been on the verge of suicide. Denis’s upright life and good works plus a freedom from addictions stamp him as an impeccable witness. That he provided me with details of his NDE before the term had been popularised makes his recollections 'untainted' by modern expectations.
During the Second World War, Denis had the experience of an artillery shell landing nearby and finding himself as a spirit floating high above the devastated trench, thinking to himself as he looked down on the scene, Those men are in a bad way – that is, before making out that one of them was himself, lying in a pool of blood with a chunk blown out of the side of his helmet! An NDEr not recognising his or her corpse lying below is more common than one might suppose. A similar but more recent example happened in the Sunni Triangle, during the Iraqi war that toppled Saddam Hussein. Marcusxiii was in a Humvee blown up by a roadside bomb. He too did not at first identify his broken body lying in the road. Floating above the scene and looking at his shattered body below, he thought, ‘I don't want to go through what that man is going to go through during rehabilitation'. In one sense he was correct, he found his rehab painful and challenging, but he was successful and today is a happy man, enjoying each day of a restored life.
Denis Cooper supplied me with another fascinating example of an NDE. He had recently found their granddaughter, three-year-old Amy, floating face down in the swimming pool, apparently drowned. He and her mother Vicky, a trained nurse, applied mouth-to-mouth and CPR until Amy revived. Later on, the little girl told him, ‘Grandpa, you looked funny jumping into the pool with your watch still on’, which she could not have seen while floating unconscious face down! She also asked him, ‘Where is that doll that was lying in the pool?’ On further questioning, she described what could only have been a view of herself floating there – seen from above. I was impressed. Certainly Amy had no pre-existing concepts of what might have happened to her at death, nor did she, being a child, identify herself as the doll afloat face down below.
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