Pam Reynolds gave a last interview a few days before her death of heart failure in May 2010 at the age of 53. This was a revealing interview, as it supplements and expands on existing knowledge of this case. Here is an excerpt of this interview with the persons marked for clarity.
Interviewer: You had this operation and experience a long time ago now. You remember where you were and what you thought before surgery?
Pamela Reynolds: Before the operation, I had a terrible headache that no one could explain and for which there was no effective treatment. They called it the "cluster headache". I had three small children who needed to be attended to and for years I continued to live as if nothing had happened. Then one day my husband and I went to Virginia to promote a record, and I fell very ill. On my return, my mother decided to call the doctor for whom she had worked as an assistant, convinced that I had a problem in my brain. We went to his office and he sent me directly to the analyses. When he had the test results, he told me that I had an aneurysm and I had to prepare myself for the end, see a lawyer to prepare my departure and enjoy my children while I can… He was telling me that I had no chance of survival and it was very hard for him. It was a family friend and I knew him since childhood. The chance that this operation would succeed was very thin. But it was my only chance to stay alive.
Interviewer: Were you asleep already entering the operating room?
Pamela Reynolds: I do not remember the operating room. I remember anesthesia then nothing until the time I left my body through the top of the head. I know it sounds crazy but that's what happened. I left my body through the top of my head and I could see my body from above.
Interviewer: How did you feel when you realized that you were outside of your body?
Pamela Reynolds: I was quite happy, it was surprising. Then I saw something that made noise. A sound I had heard for the first time just before leaving my body. I heard this thing making noise. Then I saw the doctor, Dr. Spetzler I presume, who held the object, a kind of saw. I saw the box where they were stored and different bits they kept in there, an impressive selection.
Then I heard: "Her arteries and veins are too small," and the voice of Dr. Spetzler answer: "Use the other side." At that time, I was afraid because it was a brain surgery and I saw them operate at the leg. I was afraid that they had made a mistake and were operating in the wrong place. There were too many people so I couldn't see what he was doing on the leg. I just knew they weren't operating in the right place and to tell you the truth, it was terrifying.
Interviewer: When you saw the tool used by Dr. Spetzler was it already in use? What did you see during this experience?
Pamela Reynolds: No. the noise was just beginning. But he used it before I left (into the other dimension) the operating room. I know this because the noise made by the saw became louder. At first you hear a sound and the sound becomes more pronounced. Well, it was the same thing and then I knew he was going to use this tool. Just after hearing that my veins and my arteries were too small and after thinking they were in the wrong place for the operation, I saw a tiny dot of light and I heard my grandmother called me. So I went towards it and I thought I must be dying.
Then I told myself that I did not deserve to be there because I was not someone perfect. She started to laugh. She told me - not talking to me because they have another way to communicate - I was like a child who is sent to school, they were proud of me and that I deserved to be in their presence. I saw many people I knew and also many others that I do not know but I knew that I was related in some way. I knew I was going to return to our world.
I did not want to but I think I had already made the choice before I even got there in here because I had children and a husband, and that it was not time for me. However, I wanted to join this light, which became greater than ever. I wanted to go in.. but I was not allowed to. They told me that if I went too far, I could not return to the "me" that was on the operating table with surgeons and nurses.
Then my uncle took me back and asked to return to my body. He told me it was like jumping into a pool but I did not want to. I was afraid it would hurt and I did not want to return. So he told me, "Do not you want to see your children? Do you not love your husband? And my sister… Your mother? "
At that moment, I thought my children would be okay and that my husband would take care of them and my mother had always been able to cope so I had no intention of returning. Then he pushed me and it felt like as if I had been pushed into a pool of ice water. It was cold, uncomfortable, and my chest ached. Then I heard the defibrillator on two occasions. The first time, I did hear that, but the second time I saw them. What surprised me the most that day, is that they had music in the operating room. I did not know that was done. I heard the song of Eagles, Hotel California, and words that say: "You can check out any time you like but you can never leave." I thought it was terrible… So insensitive. I also told my doctor when I woke up. He said that I needed more sleep… It was impossible for me to be awake at that time.
Interviewer: Can we go back to your grandmother? Is it that who you saw first? How did it happen?
Pamela Reynolds: I heard her voice. I was born with a unique inner ear and I hear great voices, sounds and tones. It was also my job. And I remember very well the voice of my grandmother. On hearing it, I remembered the time she called us for dinner when we were kids it was the same thing. However, I was very surprised when I saw her because she was not the same. When she died, she was old but there she didn't seem to be old. I did not expect to see her so well. And my uncle, who had died young didn't look like he did at his death. It was them, but they were really nice and seemed in good shape.
Interviewer: When you met your grandmother and your uncle, you remember where you were? Were you in a particular place?
Pamela Reynolds: Oh yes! I do not think it was paradise but maybe somewhere between the two, a sort of waiting room, a beautiful place… I felt an energy fed into the top of my head. This energy restored my strength. Like when you consume a meal while you're exhausted and hungry. I asked them if the light was God and they said no. They found that funny and said: "No, no, no… The light is not God. The light is what happens when God breathes.
Interviewer: It is not God?. You say "they"? Who were these people?
Pamela Reynolds: I knew some, and not others… There were uncles, cousins, aunts… It was as if everyone knew that this was so. They were clothed in light. This is what struck me the most. They looked like human beings but unlike us they were clothed in light. They were beings of light all of which had different tones. They don't communicate by direct voice.
Interviewer: In this place, you saw an aunt you did not know had died? Was she dead long ago?
Pamela Reynolds: No. She died when I was in the hospital. I was very surprised to see her.
Interviewer: Did you discuss your experience to others other than your doctor?
Pamela Reynolds: Yes, everyone. It was pretty funny also. I thought I had hallucinations and when I talked with my family and my husband, we were joking. That made everyone laugh with the exception of nurses, the doctor, the anesthesiologist and neurophysiologists… They did not seem to find it funny and they hardly dared to look at me. In fact, they knew that I was not hallucinating and that this had occurred. They had never heard of such things before. I thought maybe it was my imagination and I had a dream, but they told me that this was not the case and what I saw really happened.
Interviewer: This is surprising, they were convinced you were not hallucinating! In most cases where people report such things to their doctor, the doctor will think they are hallucinating…
Pamela Reynolds: They kept telling me that it was not a hallucination… And I sometimes still do not believe them. Many people ask me what does it mean. They are searching for religious answers to try to make sense of this experience. I have no answer to give them, and I do not know what it all means. All I know is that it happened. For the meaning, it would have to go to another person. Not me, I’m a musician.
Interviewer: Which other details you remember?
Pamela Reynolds: I saw a heart-lung machine. I knew what it was. I saw the lights and I could see the tops of heads, full of heads. More heads than I had ever seen. There were many people in the room. And my hair was cut in a strange way. I expected them to have shaved all my head but they did not.
Interviewer: You had your eyes completely closed, headphones on your ears and your body temperature was 15.5 degrees. How do you think you could see all these things?
Pamela Reynolds: I don't know. Dr. Spetzler also said he doesn't know. Sometimes I think he knows, but he prefers not to say anything. And sometimes I think it's just like everyone else and he has no idea. I think he knows how the brain works and how the mind works. I think he knows that we have a soul for example. I do not see what the problem is. The brain is like a computer that runs our body but the soul directs energy when we have a body.
I know I was dead because someone (doctor) told me that I was dead. On religious or spiritual level, it has not changed me but anyway, we are talking about a personal experience. I believe deep within me belongs to me.
Interviewer: I feel you're still excited when you talk about this experience?...
Pamela Reynolds: I think anyone who experienced what I did would feel the same. I wish everyone could experience this. So that no more questions would arise, everyone would know. I think this is beyond science. Was this first published with Michael Sabom? As I have said, the doctors knew from the beginning that it happened and I think they wanted to find out what it was, how to use it. Dr. Sabom wrote a book about this experience, and he has spoken first. But everyone present knew it from the beginning. It was not a secret.
Interviewer: Thank you. I think your testimony has been very helpful. In our society, many people are afraid to die. And you?
Pamela Reynolds: No! Are you kidding? I am more afraid to live! Dying is nothing. It's easy… Living is hard.
This is a large block of text. When people with differing belief systems read such a block of text, they often only extract that which they want to remember, and ignore the rest. So two different people can sometimes come with two very dissimilar conclusions from the same text, especially when fundamental belief systems are challenged. So I have put the different paragraphs in table form so the individual phrases, sentences, and paragraphs can be analyzed individually to reveal more than a general impression from a large block of text. The most important interpretations are highlighted in pink.
This is an interesting interview. It is also the last interview Pam Reynolds ever gave before passing away. This interview reveals that the basic elements and aspects of her experience as published by Michael Sabom during 1998 remain unchanged. This sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph method of analysis also reveals hw such an analysis reveals more about the subject than is revealed by a total overall reading, scanning, and remembering only the last sentence. And very interestingly, this interview reveals some new information revealing more about the nature of her experience. In fact, this information confirms once again, that this experience was one of those rare cases of unintentional anesthetic awareness combined with an OBE and an NDE.