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People Share Their Brushes With Near-Death Experiences--And We're Clutching Our Pearls

People Share Their Brushes With Near-Death Experiences--And We're Clutching Our Pearls

Death comes to us all - and we all cheat it at some point. I fell out of a stroller on a mall escalator once. Almost drowned in the ocean. Had 5 surgeries over a year. I just wish I'd had that special NDE...

Aiden_Tindale asked Redditors who've seen the brink: What was your near-death experience?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.

Death is nothing - but what is nothing?


Heart attack. I was in the observation ward when my heart rate began to drop. Since I was being monitored, an alert was sent to the nurses station. All these people came rushing into my room and I could hear someone counting down my heart rate -50-40-30. At 30 I looked over and saw the crash cart sitting in my room and I asked a nurse what that was for. She said "just in case". My response was "just in case of what". Then my heart rate hit 20 and I passed out. I was sure I was a goner as they counted me down. Weird thing is, I didn't feel any fear. It was almost like "oh well, I guess this is it". Woke up with 2 stents and a pacemaker. No angels, white lights or tunnels. I would say nothingness, but even nothingness wasn't there, if that makes any sense.


Damn man... hope you're OK now, how is your life after this happened to you?


Actually, really good. I had the HA 3 years ago. They told me I had to wait 6 weeks before going back to work, but I felt so good I went back after 3 weeks. It also motivated me to drop from 220 pounds to 160. I think the weight loss is responsible for my sense of well being. My cardiologist said that if I had been anywhere but in the hospital when my heart rate decided to drop, I probably wouldn't have made it. I was at my regular doc because I was having feelings of indigestion. When my doctor came into the waiting room, he took one look at me and said "you're have a heart attack". He told his assistant to call 911. The odd thing is my only symptom was the indigestion. No arm pain, no shortness of breath, no chest pain or pressure. Just mild indigestion. Two hours after being admitted to the cardiac ward, I had my HA. Apparently I had one very tiny artery partially block, but because it fed the area of my heart that regulated heart rate, I had problems. I woke up with 2 stents and a pacemaker. I'm very thankful, especially for my GP who was able to recognize that I was having a HA when I didn't. I did make a point of thanking him for saving my life, because he really did. I've had the same GP for 15 years.


The relentless pursuit of getting laid. And it wasn't even worth it.

I was fifteen and full of hormones and bad ideas. Those two things are notorious in being the right ingredients for the perfect disaster. My girlfriend at the time missed me in the middle of a post St. Patrick's Day March night and wanted to see me, so I sneaked out. It was around the beginning of spring, so I underestimated how quickly the weather could change. I dressed lightly because it was really beginning to feel like spring and my desire to lose my virginity made me suddenly oblivious to the fact that she lived on a hill ten miles away in rural Northern Pennsylvania. As I rose in elevation, the inverse effect happened to the temperature, and I was too stubborn to turn around because I would be there "any second".

It turns out that I took a wrong turn, so I was completely lost and alone in a snow storm so dense that I couldn't see in front of myself. The scary thing was, I was quickly dehydrating and my clothes were getting progressively more soaked, and then my phone died. I wandered for what felt like hours, screaming for someone to help to no one in particular - it was all an idiot teenager could have thought to do.

I never did get help in the way that I had wanted. Instead, I saw a bright green light in the middle of nowhere, so I stumbled toward it with the rest of my energy and found myself at a glass door with a shamrock shaped light over it. I tried the door and... It opened. So I went in and collapsed next to the wood stove inside. I awoke to my clothes being dried and an older woman asking me if I wanted breakfast. I broke into this lady's house and she was asking if she could do anything for me. I was so lucky, and I thanked her every second that I could that morning. To get home, I helped her relatives down the road with some early morning manual labor, as they lived on a farm. Once I paid my way home, my mom whipped the ever-living sh*t right out of me for being so stupid. I won't deny that I deserved it, because I really could have died in that storm. Sometimes, fate just cuts us a break.


She broke up with me. We almost did something at a mutual friend's house a few years later but we stopped when it became evident that she had a boyfriend.


Hypothermia is definitely not how you want to go.


Not too far off from my closest brush with death.

I had a chance to see a girl I had a huge crush on. Drove 2 hours to have long meaningful conversations (not a euphemism, sigh) till 2 AM. I left super exhausted and drove for home. I wasn't familiar with the area, and this was before mobile navigation. I took a wrong turn and quickly got lost. I was too tired to make coherent decisions and realized driving was a bad idea, and looked for a place to pull off the road and take a nap.

This was winter in New Hampshire. I had dressed for freezing temperatures...from my car to her door. Fancy date shirt and a wool trench-coat (it was the 90s, don't judge). No hat, no gloves, no scarf. It was fine for 30 degrees.

While I was on my date, a cold front moved through and it dropped from 30 degrees to negative 14, not counting wind chill. As soon as I turned the car off, it got COLD, and I started shivering wildly. I knew leaving the car running while I slept was a good way to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, so I would run the heater, get the car as warm as I could, turn it off, and close my eyes to nap. When it got so cold that I started shivering, I would wake up, start the car, and turn the heater back on for a few minutes.

I had a few cycles of this, sleeping in 20 minute increments and waking up shivering. Then one time I cracked an eye open and noticed a good 40 minutes had passed. "Good!" I thought, "It must be warming up. I'm not shivering at all!". I was about to close my eyes again when I noticed frost building up on the inside of the window nearest to my head. I thought it was funny how much warmer I felt when my breath was still freezing on the inside of the car.

Then I remembered that one of the symptoms of severe hypothermia was a lack of shivering, and not feeling cold.

I started the car, and drove the rest of the way home on an adrenaline burst. I'm convinced that if I'd gone back to sleep I would have died.


But was she drunk?

While I was checking inventory at a liquor store I worked at in college, a lady drove her car through the building in the exact spot I was standing. If I had been just 5 inches to the right, she could have pinned me to death between the shelving.

Literally experienced 1 of the 2 fears I had about working in the store. There's still a video of it.


Are you able to release the video if you blur out the faces and license plate?


The only person seen is me because it's from the inside of the store.


Life can really turn on you.

Bad car accident.

A guy sent me into the divider, I flipped over while airborne, and landed straight up into oncoming traffic.

Thank god no other cars hit me. But the roof on the passengers side was completely caved in.

My friend was supposed to be with me that night.


This puts my 29-hour labor to shame.


During birth I got my foot hooked on moms ribcage and got stuck. Doctors could have killed us both if they weren't careful enough. 18 hours of labour for a total failure. Sorry mom.


Really tore her a new one, huh?


Yeah, literally.


Kids are mean.

I honestly don't even remember it at all, but apparently I got into a big fight with this older kid at my elementary school. Knowing me, I probably said something stupid. Anyway, I'm in the 2nd grade, they're in 5th grade. I learned second hand that he tried to strangle me (guy had anger issues). We had s*** supervision on the playground and I have no idea how long the choking lasted. Kids told me that I had passed out and wasn't conscious for a while. I dunno the details myself. But, my voice was gone for what seemed like forever and sleeping was a pain because moving my neck sucked.

I'm not sure if that counts as "near death", but I'm pretty sure a 5th grader choking a tiny version of me could've killed me.


Wait, could you actually not speak or was your voice just damaged?


It hurt to talk because my neck was really bruised (or whatever it is that happens when some asshole kid chokes you). But, on that note, I did more or less become selectively mute after that once middle school came around. F*cking hated middle school, but at least no one ever tried to choke me.


100% nope.

Grandmother was driving, turns out she had dementia which had escalated badly from the last time we saw her (we live in another country and she's cared by siblings) and we didn't know. She turned into oncoming traffic on the freeway and we only survived because the oncoming car was a fancy sports car with excellent breaks who only barely managed to stop.


This person is either a cat or is meant for greatness. Just like a cat.


I was the worst child. I have had multiple near death experiences, if it was up to natural selection I would be super dead.

First was drowning. I was on a baby floaty and had somehow managed to tip it over and my dad didn't notice because "there was a lady in a see through white bikini" talking to him. My mom says she could see just my little legs kicking in the air while the rest of my was under water, while she rushed out yelling at my dad to flip me back over.

Second one was drowning, and actually not my fault. I was pushed into a pool by an older man (I was a 3 year old at the time) I did not know how to swim and my mom was helping my brother. I was actually sorta dead at that point (not breathing).

Third was almost being squashed to death, my mom had a tv on top of a dresser with a cabinet the tv was inside of. I pulled the drawers of the dresser out to climb on them and the entire thing tipped over. The tv had moved just enough that I was not squashed. But still landed on my leg and broke it. I was 4 at the time.

And finally I was 8 years old and did a somersault off of the playground equipment while playing a game of grounders. I broke my collarbone, compressed my vertebrae and hit my head on the way down and was in a coma for 15 hours.


This future engineer.

When I was about 6 years old I was playing in my room with a metal toy airplane. Being a stupid six year old I had the great idea that if I wrapped a wire around the plane and put it in to the wall socket it might fly. I electrocuted myself horribly.


I'm happy I learned this lesson with a small fan. For context when I was little I had this small fan I would take everywhere around the house during the summer because we were too poor for AC. The only issue was that the prongs has this tendency to bend out. Maybe I was just a stupid 4 year old and yanked the cord out all the time, I don't remember. But I want to plug it in, squeezing the prongs right because they were too wide to fit and pushed it in a little too far. All I got was a quick jolt and a vibrating feeling an I let go. I definitely cried after that.



Went to these tidal pools in Oahu and made the climb down OK.

On the way back up however my group took a wrong turn and we ended up on a pretty steep cliff so we had to free climb back up to the road in flip flops while making our way through thorns and prickly brush. My flip flops broke midway so I was terrified that I was a goner.

I'll leave this on a cliffhanger to make you wonder if I survived or not.


Some say OP is still on that cliff...








Did Sonny Bono teach us nothing?


TLDR at bottom

I was airboarding with some friends at my local Ski hill, montage mountain in Pennsylvania. It was getting dark out and we were gonna do our last run down the hill. I forget what happened exactly but I ended up going down the hill a minute or two later than my friends did.

On the way down the hill, because it was pitch black out and the trail was illuminated only by the spotlights placed on the side of the trail, I ended up nearly crashing into a skier in front of me that was wearing all black. Because he was wearing all black and it was dark out, I didn't see him until I was practically on top of him, and when I tried to lunge to the side to avoid hitting, I lost grip on my board and started tumbling down the mountain at ~30 mph.

After maybe 100 feet of rolling down the hill at high speed I slammed chest first into a boulder sized chunk of ice that had fallen from one of the posts holding the ski-lift up. After colliding with it at 30mph I slid across the ice for another probably 20 feet before coming to a stop in the middle of the trail. Thank god there was somebody stationed at a watch cabin right next to where I crashed, because if nobody had seen me crash, I could have laid there for several more minutes than I did, or god forbid somebody could have even crashed into me while I was laying there. I have no doubt that if I hadn't crashed right next to the watch cabin, I would have died, because nobody would have seen me.

I broke 9 ribs, punctured my left lung in 3 places, collapsed my right lung, got a stage 3 spleen laceration, and several vertebrae in my back were moved out of place. I spent 5 days recovering in the ICU and then an additional 4 days in the pediatric unit (I was 15 at the time) and wasn't able to return to school for another four weeks, and even after that was barred from participating in any physical activity for the next 3 months.

It was pretty traumatic, and I don't remember much of it. The few memories I have of it are just snapshot images I took mentally, and the sound that I made when I slammed into the boulder. After slamming into it I immediately realized that my lungs had collapsed, because for the next ~30 seconds I could not inhale, only exhale. As the air was forced out of my lungs, I made the most horrible wheezing sound I had ever heard, and the air that leaked into my body from my punctured lung made a crackling noise as it moved around in my chest cavity and neck, almost like someone crinkling paper or the sound that Rice Krispies makes as it snaps crackles and pops in the cereal bowl.

TLDR: Got into an air-boarding accident at my ski hill, broke 9 ribs, punctured one lung and collapsed the other one, got a stage 3 spleen laceration and several vertebrae were knocked out of alignment.


Tell me the ski hill now demands some level of reflective kit at night now.


Nope. They didn't do jack diddly about it. What's seriously f*cked up is that while I was bleeding to death in the first aid bay waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the montage employees wouldn't stop asking me if I signed the waiver when I arrived. Eventually the nurse that was doing her best to stop the bleeding had enough and told the guy to shut the f*ck up, and that it won't matter if I signed the wavier if I'm dead. If I could have given that nurse a hug I would have.


Airboarding sounds a lot cooler than what that actually is: sledding.


Lucky, lucky, lucky.

I was in a car accident, as a passenger in the backseat behind the driver. We were teenagers (not drinking, no drugs), and my friend, the driver tried to make a light that was already red and we got t-boned on the side I was on. (Dumb teenage invincibility)

No airbags in the backseat then, this was the 90's, and the front seat had broken and was laid on top of me, the side of the car was dented in and there was glass everywhere.

I must have passed out because all I remember is my three friends yelling at me from outside the car. I was pinned in, and couldn't get out.

Cops, fire truck etc came. I was completely calm, (shock), and really thought I was dying. Felt very peaceful and didn't feel any pain and closed my eyes as I was very drowsy from hitting my head.

Woke up as I saw a flash like something bringing me back to reality and then realized a saw was cutting off the top of the car to get me out. Full panic set it and I became hysterical and was in insane amounts of pain. Started crying and hyperventilating.

I remember this fireman who was probably 30 or 40, look down at me, grab my hand and started breathing with me to calm me down. He rubbed my arm, was very soothing and took my mind off the commotion around me. He stayed there with me while they cut out the hood and seat, and he lifted me out like I was a feather and got me stabilized on the stretcher with a neck brace. He came with me in the ambulance because whenever he left me my heart rate shot up and I started freaking out again. Once at the hospital they had given me sedation and when I awoke he was gone.

Never got his name, my mom called to find him so we could thank him and they said no one was with me, even though the paramedic confirmed he was in the ambulance with me. Thank you sir, you helped a frightened young girl through a horrific night.

And I had some major injuries but I was lucky as I had age and health on my side and I healed fast with physical therapy and positive thinking and was as good as new within a year.

Side note: I was brought to the hospital my mom worked at by pure luck as my other three friends were brought to the hospital close to us. The EMT actually knew my mom and bypassed dispatch to go straight to her hospital.


Drinking then driving is never worth it. Just don't.

When I was in high school, my friends and I were out on Halloween night in front of my house. There were 8 of us total, and three of us, including me sat on the bumper of my mom's car.

As we were talking, we heard screeching from a car turning onto our street. We ignored it, except for one friend (call him Joseph) who was sitting on the bumper. It was a weird screech, so he mimicked it and said "Sounds like Michael when my mom smacks him." Joseph and Michael are brothers, so Michael (older brother) chases after Joseph, who ran towards my backyard. As Joseph ran, he dropped his cellphone without noticing so I got up to grab it for him.

Seconds later, the car that we heard screech ends up ramming into my mom's car. Drunk drivers. They tried to run away, but both ended up breaking their legs in the impact.

Joseph's silly joke saved our lives.


What's the closest you've ever come to dying?