Some notes taken from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), 23-25:
Vicki was born very prematurely in 1951, with eyeballs and optic nerves damaged by an extremely high concentration of oxygen in a primitive incubator and, as a result very soon thereafter, an atrophied visual cortex in her occipital lobe.
I’ve never seen anything, no light, no shadows, no nothing. A lot of people ask me if I see black. No, I don’t see black. I don’t see anything at all. And in my dreams I don’t see any visual impressions. It’s just taste, touch, sound, and smell. But no visual impressions of anything. (24)
In 1973, Vicki was left in a coma by a serious auto accident that gave her a basal skull fracture and a severe concussion, as well as fractured neck and back vertebrae and a broken leg.
The next thing I recall I was in Harbourview Medical Center and looking down at everything that was happening. And it was frightening because I’m not accustomed to see things visually, because I never had before! And initially it was pretty scary! And then I finally recognized my wedding ring and my hair. And I thought: is this my body down there? And am I dead or what? They kept saying, “We can’t bring her back, we can’t bring her back!” And they were trying to frantically work on this thing that I discovered was my body and I felt very detached from it and sort of “so what?” And I was thinking, what are these people getting so upset about? Then I thought, I’m out of here, I can’t get these people to listen to me. As soon as I thought that I went up through the ceiling as if it were nothing. And it was wonderful to be out there and be free, not worry about bumping into anything, and I knew where I was going. And I heard this sound of wind chimes that was the most incredible sound that I can describe — it was from the very lowest to the very highest tones. As I was approaching this area, there were trees and there were birds and quite a few people, but they were all, like, made out of light, and I could see them, and it was incredible, really beautiful, and I was overwhelmed by that experience because I couldn’t really imagine what light was like. It’s still . . . a very emotional thing when I talk about this . . . because there was a point at which . . . at which I could bring forth any knowledge I wanted to have. (24-25)