A man who believes he had a near death experience has claimed he interacted with a “presence”, which let him make the choice of whether to continue in the living world or pass over into the afterlife.

Occasionally, when people come close to death, for instance during operations or traumatic incidents, they report having a ‘near death experience’.

Though unconfirmed by science, these include survivors seeing visions of themselves outside of their bodies, having flashbacks and supposedly glimpsing into the future.

Speaking on the Coast to Coast podcast, author Keith Thompson recalled how, when he was in his twenties, he nearly drowned when he was swept into a riptide in Hawaii.

During this life-threatening encounter, Keith explained that he firmly believed he was going to die, before witnessing himself rising out of his body.

He described: “I had never had an out of body experience, but I knew I was because I looked down and there was a man in the water struggling, and that man was me. I felt tranquil, calm, serene.”

Keith suggested that he then found himself in “a place that was very much like the place Christians call Heaven".

“I had an interaction with a profound sense of presence that seemed to have been with me all of my life”, he claimed.

“And this presence said, ‘what will you choose?’ And I realised that the decision was mine, and that the decision was whether or not I was going to stay here in this infinite place of unspeakable beauty,

“Or whether I was going to continue with the choice that I had made to be born.”

“The question I asked myself finally was, ‘would it be possible for me to bring this back there?’"

Keith explained that he realised he had to try and bring the solace he had found back to life on Earth, so chose to return, saying: “And the presence to whom I was communicating said: ‘Permission granted’.

The next thing the Californian knew, he said, he was back in his body arriving close to his friends on the rocks nearby.

Aside from this supposed interaction with a heavenly spirit, Keith also claimed to have experienced some typically described features of a near death experience.

“There were other elements, classic elements of the near death experience; there was a rapid, panoramic view of my life, there was a sense of everything fitting…There was a light and a tunnel,” he added.

“I saw beings of light that were beyond description. I saw and interacted with my family grandparents, the family babysitter."

And looking back now, he doesn’t regret his decision to live on, acknowledging: “I can’t think of a single moment where I think ‘I should have stayed there’.”

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