Dr. Rene Turner's
Rene Turner was involved in a horrible car accident
that left her with severe damage to her head. While
she was severely injured, she had a remarkable near-death
experience. As a result of her accident and NDE, she
Head Injury Society of New Zealand to help others
with severe head injuries. Her NDE is featured in Kevin
Better Than Death.
In February 1982, in Newcastle,
Australia, Rene Turner left her optical instrument repair
firm to go home. She was driving along the highway and
slowed to stop at lights where a road crosses the highway.
Here, her memory ends. Reports her partner who was riding
"As we approached the lights, they
changed to green. As we went into the crossing,
the car aquaplaned and hit a large power
pole just after the intersection. Stuart,
who was laying on the mattress in the back
of the panel van, was thrown forward into
the back of Rene's head, driving her into
the steering wheel."
At the hospital, the professor
of neurosurgery reported Rene's death to her parents
and said they should be grateful as she would have been
a vegetable had she survived. During this conversation,
a young frightened nurse came rushing into the office
and blurted out, "She is alive! She sat up and
The professor chastised her
for interrupting them and lectured her about how "dead
bodies" can move and make noises.
But the nurse was emphatic,
"She sat up and said, 'Don't give me any more drugs!'"
At this point, Rene's mother
took the professor by one elbow, Rene's father by his
and marched them down the corridor to see for themselves.
They found Rene in a back corridor where she had apparently
been placed so the nurse could remove equipment prior
to her transfer to the morgue. She was found in a deep
coma and breathing - remaining that way for a further
The following is Rene Turner's
NDE in her own words:
I don't know when in the above
events my experience took place. I have no memory of
the process of dying or leaving my body. I was moving
head first through a dark maelstrom of what looked like
black boiling clouds, feeling that I was being beckoned
to the sides, which frightened me. Ahead was a tiny
dot of bright light which steadily grew and brightened
as I drew nearer. I became aware that I must be dead
and was concerned for Mum and Dad and my sister, and
somewhat upset with myself as I thought, "They will
soon get over it," like it was, in passing, just a fleeting
thought as I rushed greedily forward towards this light.
I arrived in an explosion
of glorious light into a room with insubstantial walls,
standing before a man about in his thirties, about six
feet tall, reddish brown shoulder length hair and an
incredibly neat, short beard and mustache. He wore a
simple white robe. Light seemed to emanate from him
and I felt he had great age and wisdom. He welcomed
me with great love, tranquility, and peace (indescribable)
- no words. I felt, "I can sit at your feet forever
and be content," which struck me as a strange thing
to think/say/feel. I became fascinated by the fabric
of his robe, trying to figure out how light could be
He stood beside me and directed
me to look to my left, where I was replaying my life's
less complementary moments. I relived those moments
and felt not only what I had done but also the hurt
I had caused. Some of the things I would have never
imagined could have caused pain. I was surprised that
some things I may have worried about, like shoplifting
a chocolate as a child, were not there, whilst casual
remarks which caused hurt unknown to me at the time
were counted. When I became burdened with guilt, I was
directed to other events which gave joy to others, although
I felt unworthy. It seemed the balance was in my favor.
I received great love.
I was led further into the
room, which became a hall. There coming towards me was
my grandfather. He looked younger than I remembered
and was without his hare lip or cleft pallet, but undoubtedly
my grandfather. We hugged. He spoke to me and welcomed
me. I was moved to forgive him for dying when I was
14 and making me break my promise to become a doctor
and find a cure for his heart condition. Until that
moment, I had not realized I had been angry at him!
Granddad told me that grandma
was coming soon and he was looking forward to her arrival.
I inquired why she was coming soon as she had been traveling
from her home in Manchester to New Zealand to Miami
for continual summer for a number of years! Granddad
told me she had cancer of the bowel and was coming soon.
Granddad seemed to have no grasp of time when I pressed
for how soon.
was diagnosed three months later and died in August.
I had upset my mother by telling her about it when I
After Granddad and I had talked
a while, he took me further into the room which became
a hall again. We approached a group of people whom I
started to recognize.
The Person who first welcomed
me came and placed his hand on my shoulder and turned
me towards him.
He said, "You must return.
You have a task to perform."
I wanted to argue. I wanted
to stay. I glanced back at Granddad and was propelled
quickly towards the entrance. At the threshold, all
became blackness, nothing, no awareness.
I awoke from my coma slowly,
over several days, half dreamed memories of familiar
voices and glimpses of faces. The clearest moments were
several occasions where I would awake from deep sleep
to find a nurse with a syringe and refuse any drugs.
I had no idea why! I had three lots of surgery to repair
my face, skull, eye socket. I left the hospital with
pain, double vision, anosmia, and damage to the eighth
cranial nerve. It left me with nausea and a disturbed
balance. I was for two years angry at G-d for sending
me back in such torment with a task to do with no clues
or instructions - only one thing: a clear message I
have no idea how to pass on, which is:
"It is time to live according to
your beliefs, whatever they may be - to
put your house in order - for the end times
are upon us!"
This can't be my task. There
was no booming voice or any way I knew the message got
there. I am also unsure of the identity of the gatekeeper
- no name tag - no introduction!
took me five years as a zombie before I was able to
rehabilitate myself. I have gainful employment, formed
the Head Injury Society of New Zealand in 1987, and
am paraded as the example of how well it is possible
to recover from acquired brain damage. I still don't
know my task - still have pain, anosmia, diplopia, etc.
The memory of the NDE is more
real than what I did yesterday.
a dozen times since their death I've
heard my mother or father, in an ordinary
conversational tone of voice, call my
name. They had called my name often
during my life with them ... it doesn't
seem strange to me."
- Carl Sagan
Copyright 2007 Near-Death
Experiences & the Afterlife