Medical Researcher Has Documented More Than A Thousand Near-Death Cases
A medical social worker from Seattle asserts that she has catalogued more than a thousand cases in which those close to death have returned with what appear to be glimpses of eternity.
The researcher is Kimberly Clark Sharp, whose background includes work in critical care, bone marrow transplant, and academic medicine. She herself had a brush with death as a young woman -- an event that she says sparked her interest in others who may have transcended the physical.
Sharp, now part of IANDS, a research group studying such phenomena, recounts in a book called After the Light. the case in which a middle-aged woman who had suffered cardiac arrest described leaving her body in the wake of a massive heart attack. Her name was Maria, a migrant worker hospitalized at the prestigious Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where Sharp worked counseling patients.
"When I got to the critical-care unit, Maria was lying slightly elevated in bed, eyes wild, arms flailing, and speaking Spanish excitedly," recounts Sharp. "I had no idea what she was saying, but I went to her and grabbed her by the shoulders. Our faces were inches apart, our eyes locked together, and I could see she had something important to tell me."
What Maria had to say was that during the second cardiac arrest she had "left" her physical self and was up in a corner of the room watching medical personnel as they worked below on her body. In uncanny fashion she described the placement of all the equipment and the reactions of those in the room, right down to the way a machine was spitting out chart paper during the attempt at her resuscitation.
Most astonishing was the woman's detailed description of her spirit then leaving the hospital and allegedly hovering around the exterior of the building.
Her tremendously accurate depiction of the hallways, doorways, and other features was impressive, yet scientifically explicable, notes Sharp, who went through years of rigorous scientific training. One could argue that Maria recalled the details subconsciously or from a previous roaming through the corridors (even though she had not thus roamed).
But what remained inexplicable was that during her little "trip," says Sharp, the migrant worker had spotted an object on a window ledge about three stories above the ground. "It was a man's dark blue tennis shoe, well-worn, scuffed on the left side where the little toe would go," writes Sharp, recounting the woman's testimony. "The shoelace was caught under the heel."
Still, the medical worker wondered if Maria was "confabulating": filling in details with her own subconscious. Sharp decided to see if she could verify the shoe and began a painstaking search of the hospital. From the outside, she could see nothing on any ledge. It was a huge facility. The tops of ledges were obscured.
But Sharp kept looking and took her search inside -- entering rooms that Maria could not have entered and peering out the windows.
There was nothing on the north side where Maria's room was located nor the east side of Harborview -- but when the medical researcher peered from a window on the west, there it was, a well-worn blue tennis shoe with the lace tucked under the heel!
"My knees nearly gave out from under me," recalls the medical worker of her astonishment, which sparked recollection of her own incident. "I leaned against the window for support, my forehead still pressed against the pane."
The astonishment was because the sneaker was not visible from below and Maria did not have access to this room -- in fact, the woman had been nowhere but the entrance and intensive care, where she had been on life-support. When Sharp reached out and grabbed the shoe, she even found the scuff that Maria had described -- which wasn't visible from any window.
How could Maria have seen it with her physical eyes? "It was a perspective, I realized, that would only be possible from midair, three stories above the ground," maintains Sharp in the book.
Sharp herself had a similar experience when she collapsed while growing up in Kansas and had watched ambulance attendants attempting to revive her. For a while she had been without a pulse, with rescuers fearing they had lost her. After the experience she encountered intense mystical activity, allegedly able to see angels and evil spirits (we'll get to that in the next installment). The incident gave her the mission of ministering to those like Maria who "die" and come back.
Intriguing stuff, this, as Sharp recounts cases in which non-believers experienced the afterlife and Protestants encountered a gray area that sounds like purgatory!
When such experiencers return, says the researcher, they discover a greater appreciation for the meaningfulness of life. They see that everything is for a reason. They know now that God is watching. At all times. And they feel a part of Him, yearning to be back in His Presence.
They have a special sense of purpose.
They know now that everyone has a special mission. Often it brings them closer to Christ.
And, says Sharp, they lose their fear of death (although, now knowing they have a mission, they are in no hurry for it). They realize that their spiritual essence -- their consciousness and individuality -- will survive physical death. They present such testimony despite the skepticism of doctors, who find such experiences impossible to physically explain and thus attempt to reject them.
"A respected cardiologist once shouted at me that none of his patients had ever had a near-death experience, but from my bedside vantage point, the evidence was irrefutable," says Sharp. "Eventually, I documented the cases of more than a thousand patients, including some of his..."
[next: the researcher's own near-death experience and visions afterward]
November 17, 2004
Medical Worker Sheds Light On Working Of Prophecy And Intervention Of Angels
By Michael H. Brown
When we left off we were discussing Kimberly Clark Sharp, a medical social worker from Seattle who studies near-death experiences because she herself had one.
We have to be careful with such cases. They can sometimes veer onto strange paths. Those who have them often put their own spin on them (including the New Age). But Sharp, now in her fifties, comes as a trained observer, and her bent toward the scientific belies extraordinary instances of mystical insight.
It was as a 22-year-old in Kansas that Kimberly, the daughter of a lawyer, had her brush with death. She was with her father at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Shawnee Mission to register her first car and suddenly felt dizzy.
Minutes later, she had collapsed. At various times during the attempt to revive her, her pulse was lost; no one was sure what was wrong. What she was sure of is that she left her body and "watched" the attempt at rescue, then encountered an "explosion of Light" that she believes was God.
Like many who have such an experience, Kimberly had visions of emerald grass and beautiful meadows, apparently representing Heaven. Such visions have been recorded since the time of Pope Gregory the Great (who personally collected them).
Upon return, Kimberly -- also like many who report these experiences -- remembered only scattered snatches of what she had seen, but from then on she was deeply in tune with the spiritual.
Things happened to her.
Frequently the veil was lifted and she saw backstage into the spiritual struggle we all face.
"I've wrestled with a demon and been visited by angels," maintains this otherwise staid professional. "Sometimes I've seen the future before it happens."
Kimberly recounts that she was granted special insights, especially into personal affairs. For example, she allegedly was given a prophecy of how and when she would die: it was supposed to be in the crash of a small white plane, before she was 35.
That didn't happen. Just a month before her 35th birthday, she had to take a plane from Maui to Honolulu on the way back to Seattle, and it turned out to be a small white plane. Not only that, but there was a severe storm, so severe that right after takeoff, the airport closed. The plane, meanwhile, was mercilessly tossed around the sky, to the point where passengers were crying and clutching sick bags.
By this time in her life, Kimberly had fallen in love, and where before she was ready to go whenever God wanted her, even if it was before the tender age of 35, now she wanted to live into old age. She wanted to get married. She wanted a family.
It seems God granted that. The plane made it to Honolulu.
"My near-death experience had taught me many things over the years, and one of the most important was the power I have -- that we all have -- to make our own choices," she writes in a book called After the Light. "My visions, powerful as they were, were like maps. They revealed potential courses or directions for my life, but they did not force a certain route upon me."
And that's fascinating. The implication is that when there is a prophecy, it is often the vision of a possibility or a probability that can be altered, a snapshot of the spiritual atmosphere at that particular moment, explaining why a number never materialize. Does the same apply to those who have had visions of global catastrophes?
We offer this for your discernment. It is certainly intriguing! Sharp also notes that while the experience opened her to greater heavenly forces, it also exposed her to a more intense level of demonic activity -- sending a warning to other mystics who are not aware of the mix of spirits.
This was one insight. Another was the power of angels. On one occasion during that fateful Hawaiian trip, Kimberly was body surfing with the man she ended up marrying when a rip current pulled them out to sea.
She got back, but her boyfriend was swept out and under huge waves. There was also another swimmer fighting for his life, and soon a third man who tried to help.
Kimberly prayed. Desperately! She asked for the angels. It was no doubt a prayer from the heart! Aren't our best prayers the prayers of desperation?
And in the next moment, she saw two objects heading for her friend Don. At first she thought they were little motorboats.
"The churning water seemed to swallow everyone up," she recounts. "I stood alone on the rocks, searching waves as big as houses and straining my ears for the sound of cries for help. Except for the power of prayer, I was helpless to save them."
But suddenly she saw everyone between the waves, and the "boats" ended up being surf boards with two broad-shouldered men heading out to the rescue.
They dragged first one man, then another across their boards and got them back to the beach.
But they were not normal surfers. They never said a word. The half-drowned men were shivering and Kimberly was wrapping towels around them when suddenly "a heavyset Hawaiian woman appeared, striding purposefully out of the jungle beside the beach. She wore a faded sarong and had thick black hair hung in a shank down her back. She wasn't just large, she was massive, and when she padded across the sand in her rubber-soled thongs, I swear the earth shook.
"Her face was impassive as she headed as she headed straight for Don, who stood up at her approach," writes Kimberly.
"Slowly, she lifted her two brown arms, placed her hands on Don's shoulders, looked deep into his eyes, and said, 'You lucky, man. No surfboarders, you dead. You lucky, man.'
"Her pronouncement concluded, she regally walked back into the jungle, while we watched in open-mouthed amazement."
Meanwhile, when they turned to thank the surfers, there was no one there.
November 18, 2004
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