Throughout all of mankind and humanity, people have searched for an answer for why we are here, what was supposed to be doing, and what happens after we die. While this mystery has yet to be solved, some people have some interesting stories as to what they experienced in near death.
Ah, death; it’s been the scariest thing to think of since we are children. We all wonder what happens when we die. It really might come down to what religion you practice or believe in when it comes to where you think you’re going after death. Science has even studied this on multiple different occasions, and while researchers believe they have proved consciousness moves on after death, people are still far from being comforted – especially after thee stories. While I typically write about the more comforting aspects of spirituality, in the spirit of Halloween, you’ll surely enjoy these visions of hell after death.
When it comes down to it, everyone probably envisions the same basis. After death, you are greeted by either a man with a red face and some eerily tall gates entering the land of despair, or you’re met with a wise man dressed in a white robe with a long white beard in front of a pretty ornamented gate made of pure gold.Which one you go through is determined by the character you displayed in your life – good or bad?
People these days are having a much harder time believing in the karmic justice of being a bad person following you into the afterlife. However, many people have experienced near-death phenomenon in which they actually went to hell and made it back to the physical world. Even well-known atheists were met with powerful realms of darkness, repentance, and eternal torment – unless they were to preach the name of God. What do you think? Check out the stories below.
1. Matthew Botsford, Gun Shot Victim
everything changed on one March night in 1992. Matthew and two sales associates were in Atlanta on business. They had just left a restaurant and had gone outside to catch a taxi, when suddenly Matthew and the others never saw it coming. Behind them, several men were arguing when three of them pulled out guns and started shooting. One of Matthew’s friends took a bullet to the head and died instantly. The other was unharmed. Matthew was also shot in the head, and he too died.
“Utter blackness. Incredible fear. I went to a place what I believe was hell. It was void of anything good. Beyond anything any words could describe.
“This hand came down towards me, and as it did, it brought warmth, just flooding this room I was in with this brilliant white light. I was being pulled upwards. I heard this voice say, ‘It’s not your time.’”
Mathew was resuscitated on the scene and taken to Piedmont hospital in Atlanta. Nancy flew in from their home state of Michigan. Her first meeting with the doctor was devastating.
“He said there’s a 30 percent chance he’ll make it through the night. After that, he’ll probably be in a wheelchair,” Nancy recalls. “They didn’t know with the brain injury if he’d be a vegetable or not. He says he might even have to be in an institution.”
Nancy took a walk down a corridor to clear her head.
“I just saw this blackness, and this blackness in front of me just started getting bigger. I felt myself just falling into this blackness. I had no control. I was just losing it. That’s when I felt this heavy hand on my right shoulder. I felt this pull back, and I turned around. There was nobody there, and I knew it was Jesus,” says Nancy. “I went straight back to Matt’s room. He’s all wrapped up and bandaged. I just said, ‘Lord, I’m not saved. Bring back my husband even if he’s in a wheel chair. It doesn’t matter but bring back who he is, who his heart is, who his personality is. I promise I’ll stay with him.’”
That promise would be tested. Matthew was in a coma and flatlined several times.
Nancy lived hour-to-hour as it seemed that one crisis followed another. But with every crisis came a glimmer of hope.
“Every situation would be critical and then things would turn around,” she says. “He was put on kidney dialysis, and they said he’ll be on it three weeks. In three days, things turned around.”
After 27 days, Matthew awoke from his coma.
“It was incredible,” she says. “The whole focus now was to get him on his feet. To go against the odds that he’s going to be in a wheelchair. Our focus now was just get him better.”
2. Howard Storm, World Renowned Atheist
I saw my body lying on the bed, but I refused to believe it was me. How could that be me if I was standing there,” he wondered.
Suddenly he heard people outside the room calling for him by name. They spoke English, without a French accent, which seemed strange, because everyone in the hospital either spoke French or heavily accented English.
“Come with us,” they said. “Hurry up, let’s go.”
Howard went to the doorway. “Are you from the doctor?” he asked. “I need to have surgery. I’m sick and I’ve been waiting a long time.”
“We know all about you,” one said. “We’ve been waiting for you. It’s time for you to go. Hurry up.”
Howard left the room and started to walk with them down a long hallway, which was very dimly lit – almost dingy. “They took me on a very long journey through a grey space that got increasingly darker and darker,” he recalls.
They walked a long time, and Howard wondered why he was not tired when he had just suffered the worst day of his life.
“Where are we going? Howard asked. “How come it’s taking so long? What is the doctor’s name?”
“Shut up,” one said. “Be quiet,” another said. “Don’t ask questions.”
Howard’s fear and apprehension grew at the same time he lost trust in his guides. “Finally it was so dark I was terrified and I said, ‘I’m not going any farther. I want to go back.”
“You’re almost there,” one replied.
Howard dug in his heels. “I’m not going any farther,” he said firmly.
A fight ensues
His guides began to push and pull at him. Howard fought back, but he was horribly outnumbered.
“We had a big fight and the fight turned into them annihilating me, which they did slowly and with much relish,” he says. “Mostly they were biting and tearing at me. This went on for a long time. They did other things to humiliate and violate me which I don’t talk about.”
When Howard was no longer “amusing” to them, he collapsed on the ground, ripped apart, unable to move.
He lay there motionless for a few moments, completely spent. Then he was surprised by a small voice inside his head that said, ‘Pray to God.’
He thought, ‘I don’t pray. I don’t even believe in God.’
Then he heard the voice a second time, ‘Pray to God.’
‘But I wouldn’t know how to pray even if I wanted to pray,’ he thought. Whose voice was this, he wondered? It sounded like his voice, but the words were completely foreign to his own thinking.
Then he heard the voice a third time repeat the same message. His mind drifted back to his days in Sunday school as a child. “I tried to remember things I memorized when I was very young,” he says. He struggled to think of something he could pray.
Then he managed to blurt out, “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want…”
When the people around him heard his attempt to pray, they became enraged. “There is no God and nobody can hear you,” they cried, along with other obscenities. “If you keep praying we will really hurt you.”
But Howard noticed something curious. The more he prayed and began to mention God, the more they backed away from him.
Emboldened, he began to shout out bits and pieces of the Lord’s Prayer, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “God Bless America.” Finally, he was screaming any fragments of God’s truth he could muster from the moldy recesses of his memory bank.
It seemed to work! Even in the darkness, he could tell they had fled, but not too far away.
As he lay there, Howard began to review his life. “I came to the conclusion I led a crummy life and I had gone down the sewer pipe of the universe. I had gone into the septic tank with other human garbage. I was being processed by the garbage people into garbage like them.”
“Whatever life was supposed to be about, I missed it,” he thought. “What I received was what I deserved and the people who attacked me were people like me. They were my kindred spirits. Now I will be stuck with them forever.” Feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness filled his mind.
His thoughts floated back again to himself as a nine-year-old in Sunday School, “I remembered myself singing “Jesus Loves Me,” and I could feel it inside me. As a child, I thought Jesus was really cool and he was my buddy and he would take care of me.”
“But even if Jesus is real, why would he care about me? he thought. “He probably hates my guts. I’m not going to think anymore; I’m going to ask him.”
“I’ve got nothing else to lose. I’ll give Jesus a try.”
Then he yelled into the darkness, “Jesus, please save me!”
Within an instant, a brilliant light appeared that came closer and closer. He found himself bathed in a beautiful light, and for the first time he could clearly see his own body’s miserable condition, ghastly for his own eyes to behold. “I was almost all gore.”
Immediately he recognized Jesus, the King of Kings, the Rescuer, the Deliverer. “His arms reached down and touched me and everything healed up and came back together,” he recalls. “He filled me with a love I never knew existed.”
Then he picked up Howard, like one football player picking up a fallen teammate on the field, put his arms around him, and Howard cried like a baby in His arms. “He carried me out of there and we headed to where God lives.”
In his mind, Howard began to think that Jesus made a terrible mistake. “I’m garbage and I don’t belong in heaven,” he thought.
They stopped moving, and both Howard and Jesus were hanging in space, somewhere between heaven and hell. “We don’t make mistakes,” Jesus said tenderly.
“He could read everything in my mind and put His voice into my head,” Howard recalls. “We had very rapid, instantaneous conversations.”
Then Jesus told Howard He had angels who would show him his life. “It was a terrible experience because my life deteriorated after adolescence. I saw I became a selfish, unloving person. I was successful, a full tenured art professor at 27, the department head, but I was a jerk.”
In this reply, he saw his heavy drinking and adultery. “I cheated on my wife proudly. It was horrible.”
For the first time, he realized the way he lived his life hurt Jesus. “I was in the arms of the most wonderful, holy, loving, kind person and we’re looking at this stuff. Embarrassing doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
3. Angie Fenimore
It’s this detail from Fenimore’s account that brings to mind the Revelation of Sister Josefa Menendez. She was an early-20th-century Spanish nun who was directed by God to write a description of Hell. She didn’t want to, on account of how it would require her to visit Hell and all, but she did it anyway. What she came back with included the same physical pain and torture by demons and such that you’ve come to know and love, but she swore that what the soul endures is far worse. In her Hell, souls wander aimlessly, too consumed by grief and anger to ever know love or human connection again.
Sister Menendez died at the age of 34, after just a few years of service in God’s dedicated staff of travel reporters. Angie Fenimore is still around, though! She’s got a book you can buy — on cassette, no less — and has apparently been named the Divine Royal of Utah and Prophetess of the Church of Latte Dei Saints.
I don’t think I have to tell you what that last part means! At least, I hope I don’t have to, because I have no clue. But seeing as how she was already being referred to as “Her Royal Majesty Princess Angie Fenimore” before the promotion, it’s probably not that big of a deal.
4. Dr. George Ritchie
After dying of pneumonia in 1943 during World War II, he awoke in what appeared to be a hospital room. He looked around and noticed that all of his stuff was missing, but before he had time to get upset about that, he noticed something else: There was someone lying in his bed.
He found that odd, seeing as how he’d just gotten out of that bed, but rather than stopping to contemplate what was going on, he decided to leave. He stepped out into the hospital hallway and headed through a set of metal doors that led outside. It was then that he decided he needed to get to the aforementioned Richmond, and he decided to do it in the most practical way possible. He was going to run there.
Desperate to figure out what was happening, he made his way back to his hospital room, presumably using the same kind of travel magic that allowed Jack Bauer to get anywhere in Los Angeles in 15 minutes or less on the pro-torture television classic 24. In no time at all, he was back in his room, standing next to his lifeless form. And that’s when he met Jesus.
So there’s a twist! Meeting Jesus upfront is rare in these situations, it seems, but things took a standard turn from there when he was subjected to the same life review that so many other people who go through near-death experiences talk about.
5. St. Mary Faustina
St. Mary Faustina was an early 20th-century Polish nun now recognized by the Church as a saint. But perhaps what she’s best known for is a series of visions which culminated in her journeying into Hell itself.
Unlike the gore-happy sadist who wrote the Apocalypse of Peter, St. Mary refrains from describing the tortures the damned face in too much detail. However, what she does include will make your skin crawl. According to her account, Hell is a gigantic, smoky chamber filled with a suffocating indescribable stench in eternal darkness. Demons tiptoe from pit to pit, unleashing special tortures tailor-made for each new soul, while God Himself burns sinners with His own agonizing fire.
The majority of souls in this Hell are specifically named as unbelievers, while those who believed but sinned get to wind up in purgatory instead.
6. St. Don Bosco
St. Don Bosco had some pretty extreme views on Hell. Specifically, his infamous dream of April 10, 1868, revealed a terrifying image of cruelty in his subconscious.
In his telling of it, Bosco finds himself on a road sloping gently downhill towards an everlasting pit. Suddenly, people, he knows start sprinting past him and over the edge like an anathematized version of Wile E. Coyote. Looking into the pit, Bosco sees children he’s taught writhing like mad dogs, tearing flesh off their own faces and throwing it high into the air. And that’s just for starters. As our guide descends deeper and deeper into Hell, he encounters other former students lying motionless, worms chewing on their eyeballs, hearts, hands, and legs. When asked, his guardian angel says they will suffer this for all eternity “with absolutely no reprieve whatsoever.”
The dream ends when Bosco puts his hand to one of the walls of Hell. He’s told that this is an outer wall, and there are a thousand more walls, each a thousand miles thick and a thousand miles apart, before you reach the true fires of Hell. Even way out here, Bosco’s hand burns so badly he wakes up.
7. Anne Catherine Emmerich
Born in the late 18th century, Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich was a full-time mystic. From early adulthood, she was known to exhibit signs of stigmata and see horrifying visions, the most horrifying of which was her account of Hell.
In Anne’s version, Hell is a dirty, run-down city: a place of collapsing buildings and swamps where the damned engage in all sorts of depraved activities. Meanwhile, vipers and reptiles slither between the buildings, consuming lost souls who wander into their clutches. Demons wander the ruins and a great smoky abyss lies at the very center, where Lucifer is chained in howling agony.