When he went out for a run one day in 1983, Donald R. Morse, DDS, PhD., a Temple University science professor, was like many of his scientific colleagues, not believing in anything beyond the material world. His views regarding a spiritual world and life after death began to change a few minutes into his workout when he had a near-death experience. At that time, Morse was absolutely certain he was going to die. But when his experience was over, he discovered that he was not actually near death at all. Yet his experience was so profound, it affected him for the rest of his life. In essence, he was reborn. His journey into the spirit realm is a good example of how extreme anxiety can trigger a person into having a near-death experience. It shows that one does not have to be “near death” to have an NDE. As a result of his experience and thorough search for the truth, Morse published his findings into a book entitled, Searching For Eternity: A Scientist’s Spiritual Journey to Overcome Death Anxiety. The following is Dr. Morse’s NDE testimony in his own words.
1. Don Morse’s Near-Death Experiences
I felt myself spinning around and around in ever widening circles. Then the sounds of the world became more and more quiet. Voices of people and songs of birds began to slow down. It seems that the faster I spun, the slower and less distinct the outside sounds became. Then I heard my heartbeat. First, it was very rapid and loud. Then, when it was beating so fast that I thought it would burst in my chest, it began to slow down. Slower and slower my heart pulsated, and then I could feel it no longer. I quickly fell to the ground, and my heart stopped beating. At least, I no longer heard it. Was I dead? I had no idea, but instead of seeing nothingness, I first saw pitch darkness and then an incredibly bright, white light. It enveloped me so that I could see nothing but this light. I was not afraid. I felt secure, warm, and serene. No one came to greet me but I felt a loving presence around me.
Then in rapid succession, I saw my whole life flash before me: the temper tantrums of my childhood, my winning a dart-throwing contest, my hospital bout with colitis, the asthma attacks, the family visits to Stamford, Connecticut, throwing an opposing player out at home plate, shooting a winning basket, crying when the New York Giants lost a baseball game, seeing my father die an agonizing death from lung cancer, getting married on a cloudy day in Brooklyn, honeymooning in Bermuda, seeing each one of my three children being born, watching a developing rainbow in Las Vegas with my wife and children, vacationing with my wife in Rome, doing a surgical procedure on the day John Kennedy was killed, watching my mother wither away from Alzheimer’s disease, getting the Temple University research award, falling out of a canoe and later contracting giardiasis, going out for a jog on the hospital grounds, spinning around, and falling to the ground.
Then my review abruptly ended, I left my body, flew above the clouds and arrived at the Mt. Eden Cemetery in Valhalla, New York – the same cemetery where my mother and father were buried. At this point, everything was vague. I knew I was being buried, but I couldn’t really see it. I just had the feeling it was happening. Just as quickly as I had arrived there, I was gone. Suddenly it was another day. I was reading the obituary column of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I could not discern what was written about me, but I was certain that I saw my name. Strangely, perceiving my funeral and reading my obituary were not frightening. Was it because I had been enveloped by that wonderful light and had felt a caring presence? I don’t know, because the next thing I knew, I was back inside the hospital, and felt the sharp pain of an injection.
The injection had revived me and brought me to life, so to speak. Had I experienced another realm or was it merely a hallucination? At the time I wasn’t sure. Subsequently, I found out that the experiences of observing my funeral and reading my obituary were different than other people’s NDEs. However, the darkness followed by the glorious light, the life review, the blissful feelings, and the loving presence surrounding me, were similar to many other NDEs. Most importantly, that NDE set the stage for my journey to overcome death anxiety.
After this incredible experience, it was important to find out whether or not I had conquered death anxiety. To do that, I had to continue the spiritual journey. There would be several paths on the journey and since I had an NDE of sorts myself, I decided that the first path to explore would be NDEs.
2. More About Dr. Don Morse
Dr. Don Morse is Professor Emeritus at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is a polymath having graduate degrees in dentistry, endodontology, microbiology, psychology and nutrition. Dr. Morse has been the principal investigator in many research projects involving hypnosis, meditation, acupuncture, and brain wave synchronizers (BWS). Dr. Morse has written over 200 scientific articles and twelve books, including nine non-fiction books – seven of which are on stress and its management. Dr. Morse was President of the Philadelphia Society For Clinical Hypnosis for two years and was Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Psychosomatics for ten years. He is presently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Religion and Psychical Research. Dr. Morse has given courses in hypnosis, meditation, BWS, relaxation therapy, stress management, and dealing with death anxiety throughout the United States and in 28 other countries. Dr. Morse is also an avid life extensionalist who believes in maintaining proper exercise and diet. He won the Senior Grand Master title at the 2005 Natural USA Bodybuilding Championships of the Natural Physique Association. He also won the Grand Master Championships at the 2004 Musclemania Nation’s Capitol Bodybuilding Contest.