A groundbreaking study of the lifelong effects of near-death experiences in the newly born, babies, toddlers, and children up to age five
• Draws on interviews with nearly 400 childhood experiencers, both fully matured and young, as well as more than 40 years of NDE research involving over 5,000 people
• Reveals how those who experience a near-death state at a young age are profoundly affected for the rest of their lives, including developing psychic and intuitive abilities, “wisdom beyond their years,” and a pervasive feeling of being “homesick for heaven”
• Investigates the wide-awake consciousness of babies being born, womb memories, and the experience of being alive on the other side of death
In this major study of near-death experiences with the newly born, babies, toddlers, and children up to age five, NDE expert P. M. H. Atwater reveals how those who experience a near-death state or other worlds at a very young age are profoundly affected for the rest of their lives, including developing psychic and intuitive abilities, higher intelligence and “wisdom beyond their years,” and a pervasive feeling of being “homesick for heaven.”
Drawing on interviews with nearly 400 childhood experiencers, both fully matured and young, Atwater explores their accounts of what it is like to be alive on the other side of death as well as what makes them different from others, complemented by a deep analysis of statistical evidence from her more than 40 years of NDE research involving more than 5,000 people. She shows how, in contrast to adult experiencers, child and infant experiencers of near-death states cannot compare “before” with “after” as adults do, because they don’t have a “before.” The world of these “forever angels” is the life continuum, a stream of consciousness that has always existed and always will. Integrating “where they once were” with “where they now are” is a lifelong challenge. The author explores how those who have a near-death experience very early in life, or even in utero, grow up “different”--sometimes geniuses, sometimes lost, yet unusually psychic and smart, all at the same time. She reveals how these experiences and their knowledge of the afterlife affect the individual in many areas, including family life, dating, health, education, and spirituality, as well as increasing the experiencer’s potential for thoughts of suicide, out-of-body experiences, and PTSD symptoms.
Examining the forever angels’ memories of the womb, birth, early childhood, and the other world, Atwater investigates the wide-awake consciousness of babies being born, the vivid recall of mature childhood near-death experiencers, and how memory of the life-continuum never fades, nor does the desire to go back.
Newspaper headline of March 2015 reads: “Toddler dead for 101 minutes is now alive.” The news clip told of a Pennsylvania toddler who was pulled from an icy creek. No pulse. No breathing. No neurological function. Yet the child came back to life - unscathed.
Death of the very young seems somehow obscene, as if in all certainty such a thing must be a violation of God’s Will. Their stories grab us, and we hang on every detail, every word said. Yet once the full story is revealed, folks backstep . . . because in 70 to 80% of the cases, either of a near-miss, terrible fright, or total finality, the children who survive talk about what it was like to be quite alive on the other side of death . . . wide-awake alive in their mother’s womb . . . totally alive in worlds beyond this one. They describe what is called a “near-death experience.”
Child experiencers of near-death states are not like adult experiencers. Most cannot compare “before” with “after” as adults do, because they don’t have a “before” - at least not in this world. They emerge as outliers, called upon to create and invent unique ways of living and loving. Dr. Penny Sartori, in her run-away best seller The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences, says these children lead charmed lives afterward. Indeed they do, once they figure out how to balance worlds within worlds. Stories of the smallest experiencers of the near-death phenomenon are both inspiring and troubling. Because of this, we’re taking a deep plunge in this book - to shine light on the whole picture - what we want to see and what we don’t, what can be verified and what cannot.
Chapter 16. Markers
Child experiencers typically see the dead, have conversations with angels, manifest stunning psychic abilities and future memory, see and hear what is invisible to anyone else, and know things beyond their years. Usually parents, relatives, friends, school teachers, ministers turn against child experiencers: making fun of them, telling them to shut up, claiming it’s just imagination gone wild, demeaning any notion of seeing and talking with “invisibles” or suddenly “knowing” things. To this day, some churches still brand the phenomenon as “the work of the devil.” For that reason, the majority keep it secret, repress, or tuck away what happened to them, convinced that they are somehow “alien.” Unbelievable but true: a number of retirees in this study said nothing to anyone for seventy to eighty years. When they were told they could at last say whatever they wanted and it was okay, some cried, others flooded my office with “forbidden” memories.
Learning about near-death experiences and what is typical for children is a must, not only for families but for the kids themselves. . . no matter how old they are! It is time for society to take off “the covers” to this subject. We’ve done that for adults. Now it’s time for the kids. This chapter opens that door by first giving you a general sweep of what to look for, then offering more specific “markers” to help everyone have a better sense of how child experiencers can change right away and over time.
The Pattern in General
• A serious illness or accident that occurs around birth and/or up to five years. Ask about any problems with the mother’s pregnancy, womb issues, or dreams/visions about the situation that might have been remembered or recorded. The same during the toddlerhood, nursery school, and kindergarten years.
• Marked differences in behavior afterward. The child may be ahead of or different from age mates, becoming more so as the years pass, as well as taking on a more nontraditional or nonconformist attitude. He or she may possess a charm or charisma that attracts people, animals, birds, etc. He or she may appear somewhat backward socially when young while still being unusually creative, clever, and bold. Unafraid of death.
• A pattern to their aftereffects. Some display electrical sensitivity; most a unique sensitivity to light and sound, and especially pharmaceuticals. Even though the majority go on to exhibit good health, there is a noticeable increase in numerous sensitivities and allergies. School is often a problem, but not for the usual reasons - most know more than the teacher does. Boredom is an issue.
• An almost obsessive drive to accomplish a particular task or project, as if it were their mission to do so. Most will work with no sense of time or money or recognition, yet are inclined to own a home or be aligned with unusual places or ways of living. Marriage interests them but not necessarily a traditional life.
The child’s vision of heaven or of any of the other worlds beyond death is alive with a sense of truth and realness that challenges families, teachers, and therapists. Theirs is not just a vision but an experience that both colors their sense of the life they are living and the purpose behind their life. That many repress or tuck away their experience speaks to how they are treated and whether or not they are believed . . . or even allowed to share their story in the first place.
In my work, I’ve noticed three main types of child experiencers.
1. Those who are quiet and more reserved, often aware of their mission and the commitment necessary to fulfill that mission. They are careful observers, loving, and sensitive when they feel safe - drawn to creativity and helping others.
2. Those who seem numb or “shell-shocked” by their experience and how different they are now from age-mates. More likely to be made fun of or put down by others. May turn to alcohol or drugs; prone to ignore or repress.
3. Those who act out or become angry, tend to set themselves apart. Restless, impatient, can be argumentative. May appear confused about differences between “here” and “there.” Visionary knowers. Can be pushy, energetic.
P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., is a distinguished researcher of near-death experiences, prayer chaplain, spiritual counselor, and visionary. She is the author of 15 books including Coming Back to Life, Future Memory, We Live Forever,The New Children and Near-Death Experiences, Beyond the Indigo Children, and Children of the Fifth World. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“P. M. H. Atwater, in her new study, establishes that the full pattern of NDE aftereffects--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual--has a far greater impact on children (and adults) than anyone thought or has found before. She concludes that it takes the average child experiencer at least twenty to forty years to integrate their NDE, because they usually try to compensate, to adjust, and to ignore. This new book is a very important and valuable contribution to our knowledge and insight about NDE in very young children.”
– Pim van Lommel, M.D., NDE researcher and author of Consciousness beyond Life
“In The Forever Angels, P. M. H. Atwater tackles the particular challenges of the very youngest near-death experiencers but from an innovative angle. In this novel approach, Atwater interviewed hundreds of people near the end of life who recalled having had an NDE in their first years of life. This strategy gives us an unprecedented “long view” of how NDEs influence these children over the entire course of their lives. Unlike adult experiencers, these children did not have the chance to develop “normal” attitudes and behavior patterns before their NDEs, which makes them a unique group of people, with unique traits and challenges. There is no other book like this, nor is there likely to be one.”
– Bruce Greyson, M.D., Carlson Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the Un
“In her truly groundbreaking book, P. M. H. Atwater has boldly gone where no researcher has dared to go before--into the lives of the newly born who have had NDEs. And what she has found gives us an important new way to view NDEs--for these children, it isn’t what we thought. P. M. H. Atwater is the field’s most creative and tireless researcher! This is a helluva book.” Kenneth Ring, Ph.D., author of Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience
– Kenneth Ring, Ph.D., author of Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experie
“I had a near-death experience when I was five years old, and I had not understood my early childhood difficulties until I read The Forever Angels. Besides helping you understand yourself, this book’s greatest value may be for parents who need to understand an alienated child, a child in great need of finding security at home.”
– Barbara Hand Clow, author of The Mind Chronicles: A Visionary Guide into Past Lives
“One of the most influential researchers into the mystery of the near-death experience is P. M. H. Atwater. She has given a voice to those whose experiences during childhood and infancy has, to date, been somewhat neglected and, in doing so, has given other authors like myself, a great deal of food for thought and an intriguing new area of investigation.”
– Anthony Peake, author of Opening the Doors of Perception
“P. M. H. Atwater is unafraid to venture into sketchily charted territory. Using her considerable knowledge and skills, in direct staccato style, she exposes life experiences too fragile or too subliminal for others to have unmasked. Read The Forever Angels; you will be guided beyond the mundane into our larger existence.”
– Lynn B. Robinson, Ph.D., author of Loving to the End . . . and On
“If you want to know what really happens in near-death and out-of-body experiences in the words of real people in the real world, look no further. P. M. H. Atwater has assembled an astonishing collection of accounts that shows us not only what occurs during these events but how they impact the individual’s development over the lifespan. A beautiful work!”
– Rev. Terri Daniel, M.A., CT, end-of-life advisor, interfaith chaplain, and founder of the Afterlife
“As a psychotherapist, I found this book expanded my understanding of the powerful impact of NDEs on children’s development. I recommend this very readable, very interesting book. It’s full of detailed information that will be especially relevant for psychotherapists working with young children.”
– Fonya Lord Helm, Ph.D., ABPP
“The Forever Angels is a triumph. I was riveted from beginning to end with these amazing stories. ”
– Julie Loar, award-winning author of Goddesses for Every Day
“A fascinating review of the youngest survivors of near-death experiences.”
– Karen Newell, coauthor Living in a Mindful Universe