The birth of contemporary interest in near-death experiences is often credited to Raymond Moody’s 1975 bestseller, Life After Life.. In a sense, though, it was the near-death experience of the twenty-year-old soldier George Ritchie (1923-2007) during World War II that launched modern fascination with the subject. Ritchie went on to become a physician and a psychiatrist, not only in private practice (mostly in Virginia) but, at various times, as president of the Richmond Academy of General Practice, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry of Towers Hospital, and head of the Department of Psychiatry at the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center.
Raymond Moody’s interest was apparently kindled by learning about Ritchie’s experience during his own studies at the University of Virginia (Ph.D. in philosophy) and the Medical College of Georgia (M.D.). Ritchie himself eventually published his story as Return from Tomorrow in 1978.
Here are three quotations from Dr. Ritchie:
“Death is nothing more than a doorway, something you walk through.” (Return from Tomorrow)
“I’m not asking you to believe anything. I’m simply telling you what I believe. And I have no idea what the next life will be like. Whatever I saw was only from the doorway, so to speak. But it was enough to convince me totally of two things from that moment on: One, that our consciousness does not cease with physical death; that it becomes, in fact, keener and more aware than ever. And secondly, that how we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build, is vastly more important than we can know.” (Return from Tomorrow)
“Ever since the experience, I have carried a terrific sense of urgency to share it with the lonely, discouraged and diseased people such as alcoholics, drug addicts and the social outcast. I have shared what I have learned from this and other training experiences with my patients and audiences, the knowledge that a God of love loves us regardless of our race, creed, or color. I have received many letters and have had patients say that my sharing my experiences with them has either saved them from committing suicide or completely turned their lives around because it gave them a much better understanding of God’s love and plan for their lives. I realize I have had to inject much of my own personal history into this book, but I do so because I hope the reader will come to realize, if God can put up with a ‘knucklehead’ like myself, then He certainly can love and forgive others.” (Ordered To Return: My Life After Dying)
Posted from Breckenridge, Colorado