Near Death Experiences
Is there a life after death?

Pam Reynolds NDE - 2
Supplement - Pam Reynolds last interview

©G.M. Woerlee, 2005–2017


One of the regular contributors to an Amazon book review forum brought my attention to this last interview of Pam Reynolds (click here to read forum). This was an interview given to XXXXXX a few days before her death of heart failure in May 2010, at the age of 53 (see article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution). This was a revealing interview. I am grateful to this correspondent for bringing my attention to the interview because 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.

 

 

INTERVIEW

INTERPRETATION & EXPLANATION

Interviewer: You had this operation and experience a long time ago now. You remember where you were and what you thought before surgery?

Standard introduction to such an interview.

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.

  1. Robert F. Spetzler was born in Germany during 1944, and moved with his parents to the USA when 11 years old during 1955. He attended college and medical school in Illinois, and trained as a neurosurgeon at the University of California in San Francisco. Subsequently he worked as a neurosurgeon at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He started working in the Barrow Institute in Phoenix Arizona some time during 1983.
  2. Pam Reynolds was born during 1956, one year after Spetzler arrived in the USA.
  3. Pam Reynolds stated that she knew Spetzler since her childhood. So her personal childhood acquaintance with Spetzler was sometime between 1956 and about 1966 when he would have started to attend college in Ilinois, i.e. between her ages of 0 and 11 years of age.

Interviewer: Were you asleep already entering the operating room?

This is simply a question.

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.

This differs somewhat from the Sabom account in which she remembers some details of the operating theater (see what she told Sabom here).

Interviewer: How did you feel when you realized that you were outside of your body?

A question.

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.

  1. Here we have the well-known hearing of the drill and saw, as well as the statement of the cardiac surgeon that her vein and artery were too small.
  2. More interesting is the statement of Pam Reynolds that she was terrified when she saw they were operating upon her leg. This statement indicates a lack of superhuman knowledge, as well as the fact she forgot details of what must have been told her during the obligatory informed consent procedure.
  3. The statement of being terrified also differs from the account in "Light & Death" by Michael Sabom in which she mentioned felling calm, and made the curious statement that she should have told the cardiothoracic surgeon about her small blood vessels before the operation (see the statement in Sabom here).
  4. Moreover, she presumed that the doctor with the saw was Spetzler, but was not sure, indicating that she did not have superhuman clear vision or knowledge during her OBE.

Interviewer: When you saw the tool used by Dr. Spetzler was it already in use? What did you see during this experience?

A question.

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.

  1. Pam Reynolds seems rather vague here about whether she actually saw the Midas Rex drill and saw. All she says was she knew he was going to use it. This sounds much more like a memory of something she heard while having the operation explained to her prior to giving the obligatory informed consent. Quite different to the account in "Light & Death" where she described it as appearing like an electric toothbrush: " The saw thing that I hated the sound of looked like an electric toothbrush and it had a dent in it, a groove at the top where the saw appeared to go into the handle," (Page 186 in "Light & Death")
  2. The NDE she described, and the personages involved are precisely what one would expect from a person raised in an environment steeped in the Christianity practiced in the USA (click here to read the discussion on the effects of culture and religion on this page)
  3. As regards hearing the sound of the music of "Hotel California" while her wounds were being closed - this is a typical unintentional anesthetic awareness phenomenon (click here to read the explanation)

Interviewer: Can we go back to your grandmother? Is it that who you saw first? How did it happen?

This is a question going on about the apparently wondrous aspect of seeing deceased relatives - a purely sociocultural hallucination.

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.

  1. Here Pam Reynolds mentions the fact of her unique hearing abilities which stood her in good stead as a professional musician. This is also the explanation of why she was able to hear the sounds of speech in spite of the clicking sounds (click here to read a discussion of how Pam Reynolds could hear)
  2. People reporting visions of deceased relatives in a transcendental world of the dead, always report them as being younger and in good condition, or in their prime. This is another one of those sociocultually determined visions.

Interviewer: When you met your grandmother and your uncle, you remember where you were? Were you in a particular place?

Asking whether she thought she was in heaven.

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.

Sociocullturally determined hallucination.

Interviewer: It is not God?. You say "they"? Who were these people?

Another question about the transcendental world hallucinated by Pam Reynolds. This seems to be an important point for the interviewer.

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.

Socioculturally determined hallucinations.

Interviewer: In this place, you saw an aunt you did not know had died? Was she dead long ago?

A question about an apparently paranormal perception of someone she supposedly did not know had died. This is very suggestive questioning. After all, a person sick enough to require hospitalization is more likely to die than another person.

Pamela Reynolds: No. She died when I was in the hospital. I was very surprised to see her.

Pam Reynolds knew her aunt had died at the same time as she herself was admitted to hospital.

Interviewer: Did you discuss your experience to others other than your doctor?

A very pertinent question.

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.

This is one of the most critical paragraphs in this interview.

  1. Initially Pam Reynolds thought she had been hallucinating. She and her family even joked about her hallucinatory experience. But this changed when she noticed the reactions of the hospital staff.
  2. The hospital staff did not find her experience funny. Furthermore they hardly dared look at her. Was this out of fear of medico-legal repercussions because of anesthetic awareness?
  3. The medical staff were the ones who assured her that her experience was definitely not hallucinatory. In fact, they did what is always advised in cases of unintentional anesthetic awareness. They explained what happened and reassured her.

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 ...

This interviewer seems to think that most doctors shove all unusual experiences aside as hallucinations. Ths is a very incorrect viewpoint.

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.

Her physicians and other attendants did not belittle her experience by calling it hallucinatory. The veridical observations were honestly admitted as true perceptions. However, they were puzzled by her NDE and OBE.

Interviewer: Which other details you remember?

A question.

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.

Simply put, she saw a lot of people in the operating theater. Furthermore, she noted her hair had only been shaved in the region of the operation - something she had not expected.

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?

A question made in total ignorance of when her veridical observations were made. She had a normal heartbeat and near normal body temperature at these times. Nor was she under any influence by thiopental burst suppression (see discussion of the timeline and thiopental burst suppression here)

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.

An expression of Pam Reynolds' belief in an immaterial and immortal soul.

Interviewer: I feel you're still excited when you talk about this experience?...

A question.

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.

In other words between her operation in 1991, and her first meeting with Michael Sabom in 1994, she had talked with a lot of people about her experience. Her physicians, attendants, and others almost certainly explained many details of her perceptions to her during this period. This certainly supplemented her perceptions at the time she spoke with Sabom during 1994 (see discussion on this very topic here).

Interviewer: Thank you. I think your testimony has been very helpful. In our society, many people are afraid to die. And you?

A last question.

Pamela Reynolds: No! Are you kidding? I am more afraid to live! Dying is nothing. It's easy ... Living is hard.

Pam Reynolds' final expression of what she learned from this experience.

 

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.


Near-Death Experiences
GENERAL
Pam Reynolds
Other NDEs
Cardiac Arrest & NDEs
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BOOK REVIEWS

 


Illusory Souls provides multiple concrete proofs of the illusory nature of belief in a human soul as defined by: NDEs, OBEs, Alex Tsakaris from Skeptiko, IANDS, Pim van Lommel, Raymond Moody, Eben Alexander, Jeffery Long, Chris Carter, The Bible, The Quran, and many others. (Published 2014, and available worldwide as printed book, and in electronic Kindle format from Amazon)


Mortal Minds is a step-by-step analysis of near-death experiences revealing the unlikelihod of a human soul with the properties as revealed by NDEs and OBEs. (Published 2005, and available worldwide as printed book, as well as electronic Kindle format from Amazon)