Jeanie Dicus’ near-death experience was first published in P.M.H. Atwater’s book, “Beyond the Light” (1994). It is reprinted here by permission.
One evening in January of 1974, Jeanie Dicus of Sterling, Virginia, was lying on the sofa watching television. She remembers feeling strange, then waking up in an ambulance and being told she had had a seizure. Nothing like that had happened to her before, nor was there any family history of such a condition. This event was followed by a migraine headache and more seizures. Later, she, her husband, and her daughter drove to Baltimore where her father was a psychiatrist consultant at Johns Hopkins Hospital and where they were assured she would receive the finest care. Her case was given to the head of neurology and she was put on Dilantin and phenobarbital, normal medications for what appeared to be epilepsy. However, Dicus got much worse and was given yet another drug in addition to the two she was taking. Within three months she had become schizophrenic and was given Valium, as well. She steadily advanced into insanity, was straitjacketed, and confined to isolation in a mental ward.
Her medication was increased and Thorazine was added to the concoction she was forced to take. She became suicidal and lapsed into one seizure after another. More drugs. More compounding effects, until, by summer, she was engulfed in a catatonic coma that lasted two months. A ward doctor finally noticed what was going on, went to Dicus’ father and said, “All her symptoms are the result of the medications, not from mental illness. Stop the drugs.” The physician in charge was immediately pulled off the case and shock treatments were applied in an attempt to free Dicus from the coma. By the time this decision was reached, her hands and feet had atrophied and were twisted and paralyzed, her skin was covered with pimples. Electronic shocks did make a difference, but during the tenth treatment her heart went into fibrillation – a nurse had forgotten to give her a necessary shot of potassium – and she died. Her near-death experience is described below in her own words:
I was floating above my body. I saw green shower caps. The people in the room all wore those stupid caps. There were five or six caps and they were panicky. Their fear was so thick I could feel it. I kept thinking, ‘Hey, I’m okay, don’t worry,’ but they didn’t get my message. This was a little frustrating.
I found myself in the right-hand corner of the room. I lifted my arm and stretched. I had been immobile for so long. It felt like I had taken off a body girdle, and it was so delicious to get out of that cramped body. I felt a wonderful feeling wash over me – a sense of peace and power. I felt love and a sense of wonder as I realized that any question I could come up with would be answered.
There was Jesus. I was stunned and said, “I don’t believe in you.”
He smiled and said the etheric equivalent of, “Tough shit, here I am.”
Looking in his eyes, I asked, “You mean, you’ve been with me this whole time and I didn’t know?”
And his reply was, “Lo, I am with thee, always, even beyond the end of the world.”
Now, I wasn’t into ‘lo’ so I said, “Hey, man, this is the seventies and we don’t say lo. Come on.”
He kind of grinned, I guess I was amusing him, and answered, “You want to be reincarnated?”
“Hey, give me a break,” I yelled (only I made no sound). “I just died. Don’t I get a chance to rest?”
“Take it easy. It’s all right. You can change your mind at any time.”
I gasped, “I don’t even believe in you and now you want me to reincarnate? Help!”
Our conversation continued. He even asked me to kiss his feet. No way. I gave him a bear hug and kissed his cheek. I got the equivalent of a belly laugh. I was so happy with him that words were no longer necessary. We then communicated mind-to-mind.
Suddenly I was aware God was coming. I came to know that I had needed a human-looking Christ to relate to so I wouldn’t be scared. The Light came and I was given a choice – I could remain trapped on earth, seeing and hearing everything, but unable to help anyone, not even my daughter (I was told this was limbo), or I could stay with God. I chose God.
The White Light in front of me was sorta like a white light bulb only it was so strong. I remember thinking my eyes should be burning, but then I remembered that I didn’t have any eyes to burn. God was love and love was light, and it was warm and it permeated every molecule of me. This was so delicious, I was crying with torrents of tears that didn’t exist. It was so enormous. I was loved. I didn’t feel irrelevant. I felt humbled, awed, and amazed. For a long time after my near-death experience, I ended my prayers with, “You are soooooo big!”
It was my way of expressing appreciation.
Then I was instantly zapped to a domed room with square screens up and down the walls, on the ceiling-hundreds of television screens. On each screen was a home movie of one event in my life. The good, the bad, the secret, the ugly, the special. Everything was going on at once; nothing was chronological. All was silent. When you look at one screen, you focused in, and you could hear what was there. Not only words, but your thoughts, your feelings, everything; and when you looked at the other people or animals, you could hear their thoughts, their feelings, too. And you made the connection between these and the event which ensued. You were filled with, not guilt, but the strong sense of responsibility.
God said to me, “I gave you the precious gift of life. What did you do with this gift?”
I answered in a puny, wimpish voice, “I’m only twenty-three. I didn’t know I supposed to do anything. I have a two-year-old daughter. I spend my time and energy on her.”
It wasn’t a good answer, but it was the truth. I was the judge and I was satisfied. I guess that was what God wanted. But the next time this happens, I’m having a list ready. I now have a card on my fridge that says, ‘Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.’
I asked a lot of questions, about sin, murder, and such, and I got a lot of answers. I was told that before we’re born, we have to take an oath that we will pretend time and space are real so we can come here and advance our spirit. If you don’t promise, you can’t be born.
I understand that the reason I was ripped away from paradise was for my father. He could not have taken my death. He had a Jewish surname and a Jewish nose, lived in France, and was a doctor and captain in the French army during World War II. At that time, the French believed that Nazis were their allies. He was on a hill when he looked down and saw the German army invading France. He fled and just barely made it out alive. He wound up in New York, turned against any form of God or religion, and became a stanch Freudian psychoanalyst . He married a psychiatric nurse and had three daughters, of which I am the oldest. As I grew, I became an atheist just like my father and married another one, a freshman at Princeton who did not believe in God or anything-yet he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy so as a professor he could get paid for arguing about religion and still get six months paid vacation a year. When I revived, I had tubes all over me. Dad was sitting next to my bed humming French songs, and had been for weeks, which is a monumental feat considering that he is almost tone deaf. I hummed back. He shot up about three feet in the air, landed flat on top of me, gave a war whoop, and hugged me and cried. You have to remember he is a dignified psychoanalyst going on sixty, trained never to blink an eye — so much for promising him I wouldn’t tell.
I am psychic, whether I believe it or not. I’m a stay-at-home mother. I don’t have dynamic thoughts about the world of business or politics. Yet I feel an internal pressure, A NEED TO MOVE, to find a direction to be of more service. I’m still adjusting to the earth plane. It’s been twenty years and my experience is clearer to me than yesterday. Change that “twenty” to (almost) thirty, and that’s what happened. There are a few changes I’d make … by the time I went into the coma I was put on Dilantin, Phenobarbital, Valium, Stelazine and Thorazine. When I came out of the coma I was on 100 milligrams of Haldol. That stuff was the pits. And it was awful getting off.
Since then I’ve changed my direction from palm reading for God to quilting for him.
About Jeanie’s NDE, P.M.H. Atwater has this to say about it:
“I truly wish I had enough space in this book to carry all of Jeanie Dicus’ story. Certainly, it is filled with mind-numbing tragedies. But to hear her describe what happened, especially when she was talking to Jesus, well, it’s the funniest thing I have ever come across. Amazingly, she was able to hear what the medical personnel said when near her body during the time she was in coma.
“No one would accept Dicus’ near-death experience afterward, especially not her father or husband. Wheelchair bound, she was put on Haldol, a chemical lobotomy, and given a bleak prognosis. Over time she was allowed to go home. What she went through in the hospital and afterward is frightful. After several surgeries to repair some of the damage to her hands and feet, she decided on her own to decrease and finally stop all dosages of Haldol, and did so without its deadly side effects. Although she had two more children, life with her husband became impossible. He couldn’t handle her “newness” or her claim that the Light she had come to love so dearly had guided her to take up palm reading. He left. She later remarried, this time to a gentle man who supports her “strange” ideas even though he doesn’t understand them. They have a child, her fourth. A self-taught palmist, she continues to amaze people with her ability and the power of her love.”