Heaven Knows… An Interesting Old NDE

Heaven Knows… An Interesting Old NDE

The following post is from Sandy Coghlan’s blog “Heaven Knows…” and is reposted with permission. The original can be viewed HERE.

Photo by Guille Pozzi

Much has been written about NDE’s since the late 1970’s, following Dr. Raymond Moody’s ground-breaking book on the subject, ‘Life After Life’.

Many have wondered if the reports describing tunnels and lights are genuine experiences, or if they spring from an over-active imagination coloured by previously recorded accounts. This is one of the reasons I set out to research and write my own book, Heaven Knows, which features many pre-Moody accounts.

During this research, I came across an old (pre-Moody) book called ‘Psychic Odyssey’ by Percy W. Cole, in which the author describes his own NDE in 1935. His account includes a feeling of intense exhilaration and joy, the presence of a guide and other souls, a bright light, a desire to remain on the other side, and of particular interest to me, a two-way tunnel!

Mr. Cole was an Englishman residing in Australia. He had made arrangements to have all his teeth extracted. However, a few nights before his appointment, a lady called Dorothea (who was no longer “of this world”) visited him in a dream and warned him that the anaesthetic he was to have for the operation presented a major risk.

While he doesn’t say so, it would seem that Cole dismissed this as nothing more than a strange dream.

When the day for surgery arrived, the dentist and doctor gathered at Cole’s home to perform the operation. (Remember, this was 1935, and in those days it was not unusual for such an operation to be performed in the patient’s own home.)

A mask, sprinkled with ether, was held over Mr. Cole’s mouth and nostrils in preparation for the operation.

While I have included excerpts of this NDE in Heaven Knows, what follows is the full account in Percy Cole’s own words …

Photo by Daniel Sessler

Suddenly a doubt came into my mind. Had I done the right thing in having a general anaesthetic instead of having local injections? After all, I had been warned about it. I tried to tell the doctor, but found I could not make him hear. So I closed my eyes and let myself go.

The next time I woke up, I found myself completely out of my body. There were others in the room now, besides the doctor and the dental surgeon. One of these was the lady of my dream, Dorothea.

Realising that I was out of my body completely, I had a feeling that for many years I had not experienced. It was a sensation of intense exhilaration and joy. I can best describe it perhaps, in terms of youth and buoyancy; it was like the early morning on my far-away school holidays, when as a schoolboy waking up prepared to go to school but with reluctance, the faint murmur of breaking waves on a distance beach would steal into my sleepy ears, and I would suddenly remember that I was on holiday. Then the whole morning would take upon itself a new and radiant aspect and it was a pleasure to get up and dress before racing down to the beach.

That was the feeling, that “holidays” were just beginning.

Looking round the room, I stood between the two men, the doctor and the dentist. I could hear their spoken conversation as well as knowing what they were going to say before the spoken word was uttered. It was as if I knew by some process of telepathy.

They were discussing the price that a man, known to the three of us, would get for his house, which he had put up for sale. A certain sum was mentioned, and I took the opportunity to interject with “he won’t get it.” Neither man appeared to hear me.

Dorothea turned towards me and said, “We warned you about this.” Then she went on to say that now that I was on the “other side” she was not at all sure that I would be able to get back again.

I had a look into my own open mouth, as I walked round the table, and saw that the dentists had taken out all the teeth that I wanted removed. Looking at my pallid features, the doctor said that I looked as though I had had about as much as I could stand. Glancing at my corpse-like face, I felt that had there been much more to come, it would certainly have been too much.

At some time when the operation was getting near to its end, I stopped breathing. I could see the concern of the doctor. More than that, I could see what he thought, for all at once it appeared to him that I might slip through his fingers. He said nothing to the dentist but shouted “Breathe, breathe, Mr. Cole”.

I was not in my body but standing at its head, yet somehow I managed to make it breathe.

A great bright light shone on my left, for although the summer sun was shining in at the window from a cloudless sky, it was not nearly as bright as that other light. Near to the door, two people were standing. I could not see them clearly or else it is that I cannot recollect them, but I had the impression they were my deceased parents.

Turning to me, Dorothea told me that it was time I got back. She wasn’t sure, she said again, that I should be able to go back, but added with a smile “You can stay here with us, if you like.”

For a moment only I hesitated. The world and its work seemed so very far away. It would have been lovely to have stayed, but – just at this critical moment – our dog Patch barked as she ran across the lawn below the open window. The sound of that bark from close at hand brought me back to a sense of my responsibilities. I thought of all the trouble I should bring upon my wife and son, if I did not come back.

“No, I mustn’t stay,” I replied, and turned to go.

“You’ll have to put up a fight for it, if you are going to get back,” Dorothea said.

So I turned away from the light, into the darkness of a kind of tunnel. I fought my way against the stream, for a stream of shadows pressed against me as they passed on towards the light.

How long this kept on, I do not know, but at last I saw in the distance a tiny light, just a mere glimmer far away. Struggling against the stream, I pushed my way towards it.

When at last I got there, I found myself in bed, with my wife sitting by my side.

(extract from ‘Psychic Odyssey’ by Percy W. Cole, published by Regency Press, England.
No publishing date, but our copy signed and dated by the author on March 14, 1959)


You can read more of Sandy’s writing in a previous post from her about Elizabeth Kübler-Ross HERE.



Sandy Coghlan worked in advertising and television in Australia and London prior to becoming an on-air director at a Melbourne TV station in 1979. Her first book, Travel Guide to Tasmania (Penguin) was commissioned by ‘Life. Be In It’ in 1984, while her articles on health and metaphysical subjects have been published nationally. From 1990 until retirement, Sandy qualified in a variety of alternative therapies, and in 1991, wrote and conducted a nutrition correspondence course for pharmacy assistants around Australia. She also taught creative writing and healing techniques at adult education centers. Sandy now lives with her partner Barry and their 2 cats in a bayside area of Victoria, Australia and is working on the second book in the Heaven Knows series.

One comment

  1. Joyce Tozer

    It is so comforting to read these accounts. I have not had an ND E but know several people who have. On the morning of February 18 1997 I was sitting up in bed waiting for my husband to bring me my morning cuppa. Something made me look up from writing my dream diary to see my mother (passed in 1995) and eldest brother ( passed in 1993) standing beside my bed. I said in surprise, what are you two doing here, your both dead. Sounds stupid now. They just faded away. 2 hours later the police came to tell us that my son had been killed in a motorway accident. I know they came to let me know that he was with them. Fortunately I wrote it in my diary before the police came . My husband thought I’d gone back to sleep and was talking in my sleep.

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