Dr. Rene Turner's Near-Death
A Jewish Woman's NDE
Rene Turner was involved in a horrible
car accident that left her with severe
damage to her head. While she was severely
injured, she had a remarkable near-death
experience. As a result of her accident and
NDE, she founded the
Head Injury Society of New Zealand to
help others with severe head injuries. Her
NDE is featured in Kevin Williams' book,
Nothing Better Than Death.
In February 1982,
in Newcastle, Australia, Rene Turner left
her optical instrument repair firm to go
home. She was driving along the highway and
slowed to stop at lights where a road
crosses the highway. Here, her memory ends.
Reports her partner who was riding with her:
"As we approached the
lights, they changed to green.
As we went into the crossing,
the car aquaplaned and hit a
large power pole just after the
intersection. Stuart, who was
laying on the mattress in the
back of the panel van, was
thrown forward into the back of
Rene's head, driving her into
the steering wheel."
At the hospital,
the professor of neurosurgery reported
Rene's death to her parents and said they
should be grateful as she would have been a
vegetable had she survived. During this
conversation, a young frightened nurse came
rushing into the office and blurted out,
"She is alive! She sat up and spoke!"
chastised her for interrupting them and
lectured her about how "dead bodies" can
move and make noises.
But the nurse was
emphatic, "She sat up and said, 'Don't give
me any more drugs!'"
At this point,
Rene's mother took the professor by one
elbow, Rene's father by his and marched them
down the corridor to see for themselves.
They found Rene in a back corridor where she
had apparently been placed so the nurse
could remove equipment prior to her transfer
to the morgue. She was found in a deep coma
and breathing - remaining that way for a
further ten days.
The following is
Rene Turner's NDE in her own words:
I don't know when
in the above events my experience took
place. I have no memory of the process of
dying or leaving my body. I was moving head
first through a dark maelstrom of what
looked like black boiling clouds, feeling
that I was being beckoned to the sides,
which frightened me. Ahead was a tiny dot of
bright light which steadily grew and
brightened as I drew nearer. I became aware
that I must be dead and was concerned for
Mum and Dad and my sister, and somewhat
upset with myself as I thought, "They will
soon get over it," like it was, in passing,
just a fleeting thought as I rushed greedily
forward towards this light.
I arrived in an
explosion of glorious light into a room with
insubstantial walls, standing before a man
about in his thirties, about six feet tall,
reddish brown shoulder length hair and an
incredibly neat, short beard and mustache.
He wore a simple white robe. Light seemed to
emanate from him and I felt he had great age
and wisdom. He welcomed me with great love,
tranquility, and peace (indescribable)
- no words. I felt, "I can sit at your feet
forever and be content," which struck me as
a strange thing to think/say/feel. I became
fascinated by the fabric of his robe, trying
to figure out how light could be woven!
He stood beside me
and directed me to look to my left, where I
was replaying my life's less complementary
moments. I relived those moments and felt
not only what I had done but also the hurt I
had caused. Some of the things I would have
never imagined could have caused pain. I was
surprised that some things I may have
worried about, like shoplifting a chocolate
as a child, were not there, whilst casual
remarks which caused hurt unknown to me at
the time were counted. When I became
burdened with guilt, I was directed to other
events which gave joy to others, although I
felt unworthy. It seemed the balance was in
my favor. I received great love.
I was led further
into the room, which became a hall. There
coming towards me was my grandfather. He
looked younger than I remembered and was
without his hare lip or cleft pallet, but
undoubtedly my grandfather. We hugged. He
spoke to me and welcomed me. I was moved to
forgive him for dying when I was 14 and
making me break my promise to become a
doctor and find a cure for his heart
condition. Until that moment, I had not
realized I had been angry at him!
Granddad told me
that grandma was coming soon and he was
looking forward to her arrival. I inquired
why she was coming soon as she had been
traveling from her home in Manchester to New
Zealand to Miami for continual summer for a
number of years! Granddad told me she had
cancer of the bowel and was coming soon.
Granddad seemed to have no grasp of time
when I pressed for how soon.
[Grandma was diagnosed three months
later and died in August. I had upset my
mother by telling her about it when I
After Granddad and
I had talked a while, he took me further
into the room which became a hall again. We
approached a group of people whom I started
The Person who
first welcomed me came and placed his hand
on my shoulder and turned me towards him.
He said, "You must
return. You have a task to perform."
I wanted to argue.
I wanted to stay. I glanced back at Granddad
and was propelled quickly towards the
entrance. At the threshold, all became
blackness, nothing, no awareness.
I awoke from my
coma slowly, over several days, half dreamed
memories of familiar voices and glimpses of
faces. The clearest moments were several
occasions where I would awake from deep
sleep to find a nurse with a syringe and
refuse any drugs. I had no idea why! I had
three lots of surgery to repair my face,
skull, eye socket. I left the hospital with
pain, double vision, anosmia, and damage to
the eighth cranial nerve. It left me with
nausea and a disturbed balance. I was for
two years angry at G-d for sending me back
in such torment with a task to do with no
clues or instructions - only one thing: a
clear message I have no idea how to pass on,
"It is time to live
according to your beliefs,
whatever they may be - to put
your house in order - for the
end times are upon us!"
This can't be my
task. There was no booming voice or any way
I knew the message got there. I am also
unsure of the identity of the gatekeeper -
no name tag - no introduction!
It took me five
years as a zombie before I was able to
rehabilitate myself. I have gainful
employment, formed the Head Injury Society
of New Zealand in 1987, and am paraded as
the example of how well it is possible to
recover from acquired brain damage. I still
don't know my task - still have pain,
anosmia, diplopia, etc.
The memory of the
NDE is more real than what I did yesterday.