Arthur Yensen's NDE



Adventurous Willie Wispo

Arthur Ellwood Yensen (1898-1992) experienced an NDE in which he thought to have received knowledge of reincarnation. In August 1932 Yensen, graduate in geology, cartoonist, inclined to a materialistic vision of life, decided to take some time off to research his weekly cartoon strip, Adventurous Willie Wispo. Since his main character was a hobo, Yensen became a hobo for some time, blending in with the over sixteen million unemployed at that time in the USA's Great Depression. He bummed rides from Chicago through Minnesota, until a young man in a convertible coupe picked him up on the way to Winnipeg. Going too fast for the road conditions, the car hit a three-foot-high ridge of oiled gravel and flipped into a series of violent somersaults. Both men were catapulted through the cloth top before the car smashed into a ditch. The driver escaped unharmed, but Yensen was injured, losing consciousness just as two female spectators rushed to his aid. After seeing the afterlife during this NDE, he later learned that telling others about his NDE often brought criticism, especially from the church. But there were those who would listen and as time wore on, more and more people would ask him about it. Finally in 1955, after much public interest, Arthur Yensen published a report of his NDE in a booklet entitled I Saw Heaven, some excerpts of which have been transcribed below. (Source:

Two different worlds

I felt as if I were coming loose from my body! While I believed that my body was me, I knew instinctively that if I separated from it, I'd be dead! My soul and body started separating again and continued to separate until I felt a short, sharp pain in my heart, which felt as if something had been torn loose. Then slowly and softly I rose out through the top of my head. Gradually the Earth scene faded away, and up through it loomed a bright, new, beautiful worl – beautiful beyond imagination! For half a minute I could see both worlds at once. The Earth fading away, and the other world looming up brighter, and brighter, and still brighter! Finally when the Earth was all gone, I stood in a glory that could only be heaven. In the background were two beautiful mountains similar to Fujiyama of Japan. The tops were snow-capped, and the slopes were adorned with foliage of indescribable beauty. Since there was no pollution, haze, or other obstructions to mar one's vision, all the details were sharp and clear. The mountains appeared to be about fifteen miles away, yet I could see individual flowers growing on their slopes. I estimated my vision to be about 100 times better than on Earth       

The true home

While I stood there marveling, I saw twenty people beyond the first trees, playing a singing-dancing game something like skip-to-mylou. They were having a hilarious time holding hands and dancing in a circle – fast and lively. Their singing, their laughter, and even their shouting was melodious. As soon as they saw me, four of the players left the game and joyfully skipped over to greet me. As they approached, I estimated their ages to be: one 30; two 20; and one 12. Their bodies seemed almost weightless, and the grace and beauty of their easy movements was fascinating to watch. As the heaven-people gathered around, the oldest, largest and strongest-looking man announced pleasantly, «You are in the land of the dead. We lived on Earth, just like you, till we came here». With unbounded enthusiasm I shouted, «This is wonderful!». «It's marvelous!» they answered. Then with delight they told me how I could swim around in the lake as long as I pleased and when I came out, I'd be dry! Another one said, «You can run, jump, dance, sing and play as much as you want to and you'll never get tired!». Then I noticed that the landscape was gradually becoming familiar. It seemed as if I had been here before. I remembered what was on the other side of the mountains. Then with a sudden burst of joy, I realized that this was my real home! Back on Earth I had been a visitor, a misfit, and a homesick stranger. With a sigh of relief, I said to myself, «Thank God I'm back again. This time I'll stay!»       

Then the oldest man, who looked like a Greek god, continued to explain. «Everything over here is pure. The elements don't mix or break down as they do on Earth. Everything is kept in place by an all pervading Master-Vibration, which prevents aging. That's why things don't get dirty, or wear out, and why everything looks so bright and new». Then I understood how heaven could be eternal. Next I noticed that I was loving everything and everybody and that it was making me intensely happy. Apparently only the good in me had survived. Without the bad, which is discord, I was happy beyond anything I had ever known. My next question was, «How do you explain this intense happiness?». «Your thoughts are vibrations which are controlled by the Master-Vibration. It neutralizes all negative thoughts and lets you think only the good thoughts, such as love, freedom and happiness». «Then what becomes of the old grouches?». «If they are too bad they go to a realm of lower vibrations where their kind of thoughts can live. If they came here, the Master-Vibration would annihilate them. After death people gravitate into homogenous groups according to the rate of their soul's vibrations. If the percent of discord in a person is small, it can be eliminated by the Master-Vibration; then the remaining good can live on here. For example, if a person were 70% good and 30% bad, the bad could be eliminated by the Master-Vibration and the remaining good welcomed into heaven. However, if the percentage of bad were too high, this couldn't be done, and the person would have to gravitate to a lower level and live with people of his own kind. In the hereafter each person lives in the kind of a heaven or hell that he prepared for himself while on Earth. If you threw a small pebble into a threshing machine, it would go into the box – not because it is good or bad, but because of its proper size and weight. It's the same way here. No one sends you anywhere. You are sorted by the high or low vibrations of your soul. Everyone goes where he fits in! High vibrations indicate love and spiritual development, while low vibrations indicate debasement and evil»      

What really matters is what you are

When I asked what a person should do while on Earth to make it better for him when he dies, he answered, «All you can do is to develop along the lines of unselfish love. People don't come here because of their good deeds, or because they believe in this or that, but because they fit in and belong. Good deeds are the natural result of being good, and bad deeds are the natural result of being bad. Each carries its own reward and punishment. It's what you are that counts!». While we talked, my mind, or whatever I had to think with, became crystal clear. Instantly and without effort I could remember everything I had ever known. I seemed to understand the Earth and all about it. The whole scheme of life was plain as day. Everything on Earth has its purpose. It all fits into a pattern which will, in the end, work out for justice and good. People worry because of their incomplete viewpoints. They don't realize that trouble is nature's way of teaching lessons that won't be learned otherwise. If we would only learn from other peoples' troubles, we could avoid most of our own.    

Going back «to that horrible place»

While we were still talking, and I was enjoying the ecstasy of heaven, my friend gently announced, «You can't stay here any longer. You have to go back to Earth». «Back to Earth! Oh, no, not back to that horrible place!». But already I was leaving this beautiful land and slipping back into my body – still enough in heaven to have no inhibitions, and yet far enough back into my body to have terrible thoughts. Like a kid having a tantrum I kicked and screamed, «Let me stay! Let me stay!». But all my protesting did no good. As I moved farther back into my body, there was a painful, prickly feeling all over, similar to a foot waking up. Also a crowded feeling as if the real me was having to compress itself to get back into its hateful prison. The last thing the strong man said to me was, «You have more important work to do on Earth, and you must go back and do it! There will come a time of great confusion and the people will need your stabilizing influence. When your work on Earth is done, then you can come back here and stay».      

Nonconformist and educator

Arthur Yensen's NDE ends here. Born on a Nebraska sandhill during the blizzard of 1898, Yensen recalled being force-fed religion as a youngster. Not only did he turn against it, but he started challenging his parents at every turn – including questioning the way they ate. He observed that their farm animals did just fine on a diet of fresh greens and whole grains, yet family members were always suffering indigestion and constipation from the white flour, sugar, and grease they consumed. Behind his parents' back, he cured himself by eating bran flakes. Yensen continued to defy the conventions of his day, switching from atheism to mysticism after his NDE at the age of thirty-four, marrying afterwards, and built his own home in Parma, Idaho, from blocks of tuff (pumice) he and his sons quarried. He later became an educator, public speaker, was active in politics, specialized in historical sculpture (his work adorns Parma's city park), was a movie extra in several Hollywood films, an authority on organic gardening and nutrition, and was singled out as one of Idaho's Most Distinguished Citizens. Although a public figure, Yensen was frequently at odds with the school boards where he taught: opposing any procedure that capped a child's creative drive; speaking out against the incarceration of American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II; and ignoring school rules by sharing his NDE in class as proof to his students that morality matters and life really has a purpose. Ironically, Yensen was still questioning whether or not he had fulfilled his life's work when he returned home in 1992, the quiet benefactor of thousands. What follows are answers to questions people always asked him about.    

Domande e risposte

Can you tell us a little more about heaven?
Heaven is really hard to describe in Earth language because our words aren't adequate to describe things beyond our imaginations. However, the heaven I saw is characterized by its vivid greenness, its crystalline cleanliness, its newness, its all-pervading music and its overall beauty – all of which are maintained by the Master-Vibration. It's a vigorous, lively place with an outflowing happiness that's uncontainable. It's an over-answer to everything we should have, and so far as I know, it's a final home for the soul. It's not a place of rest, as so many tired people picture it, because no one there gets tired. It's more like a new lease on life. No one could possibly use all the bubbling energy that wells up from his diaphragm. It's a lively hilarious place that's unbelievably sweet, serene and melodious. The people there reminded me of uninhibited, carefree children – before well-meaning adults work them over. In heaven where all people really love each other, there are no inhibitions, or need for them. Everyone does exactly as he pleases. This works out well because only the best in each person survives, and good is all anyone wants to do. This allows a freedom and happiness that people on Earth can't imagine. On Earth, where everyone is more or less evil, we need thousands of laws and inhibitions to keep order. For some people these restrictions are so severe that they become depressed, which may cause them to commit suicide. But in heaven, where there are no restrictions, people want to live forever.            

What can you tell us about hell?
Not much, but I hear it's a cool place. Heat is molecules in motion, while cold is their lack of motion. Likewise, love is a fast vibration of the soul, while hate is a slower vibration. Complete love would be God, while complete hate would be death, leaving the soul extinct. The temperature in heaven was just right, neither hot nor cold. But that stranger who said he'd been in hell three weeks described it as a dark, dank, chilly, frightening place. A place where everyone retains their physical desires without a way to satisfy them. For example, the glutton can't eat because he has no physical body. The alcoholic can't drink for the same reason, neither can the smoker smoke, nor the drug addict get a fix. The miser can't protect his money, and the sex-maniac, who doesn't believe in love, finds it impossible to satisfy his lust. Hell is real hell for anyone who lives only to satisfy his selfish desires. Without physical bodies, feelings of hate and fear are intensified as souls vainly try to hide from their enemies. Their only hope is to reincarnate. Then unfortunately when they do, they may forget all about their torment in hell and again lead lives of greed and tyranny. This miserable cycle can continue forever unless they find salvation in one of their lifetimes. Such people really need a savior, since they are not able to help themselves. I'm sure Christ incarnated to help them because he said, «I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance».      

How does a person get ahead in the next world?
You don't. There is no place in heaven for discontent or personal ambition. You may not be able to change at all after you arrive... The Bible also tells us that when the Devil got too ambitious he was kicked out of heaven. If everyone completely understood the afterlife, they'd quit trying to keep up with the Joneses and start learning how to live unselfishly. Here we can change ourselves quite easily and should use this life to make ourselves into the kind of people we want to be in the hereafter. This world is a miserable place for anyone who hasn't learned internal harmony – characterized by unselfish love. Mankind is like a chain. What one does affects us all. We should try to strengthen our weakest links. In heaven, as far as I could tell, all people do is enjoy themselves. They're like children who don't demand work in order to be happy.       

What is success and what is failure?
We came into this world to have trouble and to learn from it. Unfortunately many people don't realize this and complain about their bad luck and spend their lives chasing pleasure, fame and money. Then they die without making any spiritual progress. And so they waste life after life. It should be obvious that all we'll take with us is our character, our karma and our abilities, and that we'll have to live with people like ourselves. Therefore, our highest success would be to rise into the highest heaven through unselfish love. And our most dismal failure would be to hate ourselves out of existence – if that is possible.      

Why didn't you mention God and salvation?
I didn't omit them intentionally. It's only that I didn't see God, Christ, or hear anything about salvation. However, I do consider the Master-Vibration as part of God because it controls the universe and seems to regulate everything except the evil minds of people on Earth. To understand God, I believe one would have to be almost as great as God is. Or at least be like Christ who was in harmony with God. On the other hand, salvation is simple. All one has to do is to love so unselfishly that his soul-vibrations will rise high enough to fit him into heaven   

What is sin?
Sin is anything that stops spiritual growth. The three great sins are: not learning from experience, letting leadership turn into tyranny, and letting selfishness turn into greed. Everyone should constantly check themselves for developing greed, tyranny, fear, worry, anger, hate, jealousy, and especially guilt. By conquering these harmful traits we keep in tune with our oversouls (guardian angels), God and the universe. Sin is anything that causes us to lose this contact. When the subconscious mind feels guilty it is ashamed to face its oversoul and builds up barriers to shut it out. Without the oversoul to guide it, such a person is like a child lost in the dark. The only hope it has is to get rid of its guilt and re-connect with its oversoul.   

How are we saved?
By unselfish love. When we love unselfishly, our vibrations are so high that the only place we'll fit into is heaven. There is no other place we can go if we want to. This is divine justice because it gives all the people who ever lived, as well as all the higher animals who know right from wrong, an equal chance to eventually attain internal harmony which will fit them into some kind of heaven – regardless of their intelligence, education, indoctrination, ignorance, wealth or poverty.    

Can you explain the trinity?
The Father, of course, is God, or Infinity, who created and controls the universe. The Son is an individualized portion of God who has attained a perfect oneness with God – which is also our goal. The Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, would be the Master-Vibration which flows into us as freely as the barriers we have built up against it will allow.    

Do you believe in the devil?
No, but if there is one, he would have to be an insane angel who was crazy enough to fight with God, which would be as futile as for us to try to stop the sunrise. I believe the devil is a mythological character, invented by humans and used for a scapegoat. Grown people with immature minds like to blame the devil for their misdeeds instead of acting like people and taking the blame themselves. However, there may be earthbound spirits of low vibrations, whom we may regard as devils because they annoy us through mental telepathy. These demons tune in on us through our low vibrations of hate, fear and greed. They can be tuned out with unselfish love, or if necessary be chased away by the stronger spirit of Jesus Christ. There's an old saying, «Birds of a feather, flock together». The way to be rid of the devil is not to be like him.    

Do you believe in predestination or free will?
Both. Since they told me I had a destiny, why wouldn't everyone else have one? Obviously, our brains can only know what we've recorded in them, but our oversouls know all about us. That's why they try to guide us, and keep us in our bodies until our life's work is finished – just like we try to stay in our cars until we reach our destinations. Yet, we all have free will. Any of us can get drunk and drive into a telephone pole.   

What's wrong with fixed beliefs about the hereafter?
Things change little in the hereafter. Suppose we have the fixed idea that we'll sleep till the resurrection of the body. Then suppose there isn't a resurrection of the body. We might sleep a very long time. On the other hand, if we have no fixed beliefs about anything, we'd be free to adapt to the new surroundings and fit in where we belong with no unusual difficulty. Everything has its place. Fixed beliefs are useful in prayer where doubt is fatal. Yet doubt is always useful in sizing up religious dogma, reading junk mail, listening to commercials, and the promises of politicians.      

Why are people turned off by religion?
Any complete body of knowledge is like a spoke in a wheel – pointing to the center of ultimate truth. Science, art, music, philosophy and religion run into trouble because they are not yet complete bodies of knowledge even though religion is advertised and sold as such. Many religionists think they have the whole truth and the only short-cut to heaven. And in their well-meaning zeal to rescue wayward humanity, they argue, persuade and even go to war to force non-believers to accept their formula for getting into heaven. Outsiders are turned off mostly because the churches can't agree among themselves. Some churches have even resorted to torture to force their particular brand of God's love on people who were perfectly satisfied and thought they were on good terms with God already. But even though the churches have abused religion, and the beliefs of some churches are ridiculous to other churches, I believe everyone should have some kind of a religion, or philosophy, to encourage them to think and grow spiritually.    

What is God like?
I don't know. I didn't see him. But I did feel a Master Vibration which must be a part of God because it kept everything in good order and controlled the universe. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit. People differ a great deal in their ideas of what God is like. Little children imagine him to be a gray-haired old man with a long white beard. One religious denomination believes there is a Mr. and Mrs. God. Other churches consider God to be a universal spirit that created and rules the universe, while the atheists say there is no God at all – until they get in a jam. Then they pray like there really is one! Under self-hypnosis, I once asked what God was like. I saw a huge mountain almost covered with clouds. Here and there were small peepholes through which I could see lightning and great activity. Then a voice from somewhere said, «To fully understand God, you'll have to be almost as great as God is!». This put me in my place. But for reasoning purposes I had to have some kind of a mental image of what God is like. To me now, after many years of thought, he's a combination of many things such as: the known and unknown laws of nature, light, electricity, gravity, time, space, infinity, love and life itself – totally incomprehensible! But since we have life, we must all be a small part of him. That's probably why we call him Father and consider ourselves his ornery kids – who always need forgiveness.      

What is karma?
Karma is the totality of all our actions – good and bad – which determine our fate, or destiny. If we do only good things we will eventually run out of bad karma and only good things will happen to us, and vice versa. The purpose of karma is to force us to learn life's lessons whether we want to or not. Between lives, with the great knowledge of our oversouls, we choose the next life we are going to live and how much karma we are going to meet and settle. For example, if you abused animals, or people, in one life your oversoul would probably cause you to reincarnate into a situation where you'd get abused to make you realize the misery you've caused others. The only way to bypass karma is to develop so much unselfish love that paying for bad karma will serve no purpose – much like a college student challenging a course he already knows.      

Do you believe in reincarnation?
«Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God» (John, 3:3). Reincarnation certainly explains a lot of things that would be hard to account for otherwise. From my experience I'm convinced we have all lived and died many times. The reason we don't remember our former lives is because our vast soul memories are not transferred to our baby brains at birth. All we know in this life is what we learned in past lifetimes. That would be the reason why some things are so much easier for us to learn than others. For example, Mozart didn't have to learn music because he already knew it. One of the good things about reincarnation is that at the beginning of each lifetime we are cleared of all past prejudices, learning blocks and wrong teachings, and are ready for a fresh start – just like a new term at school – and, like school, when we have learned enough of life's lessons, we graduate and don't have to come back to this Earth anymore, except as volunteers to teach stragglers. Since our opportunities for spiritual growth on this planet are probably limited time-wise, we should realize that in dealing with children, the learning value of any incarnation can be spoiled by indoctrination before the child is old enough to reason. In some cases this is worse than murder because it may waste a whole lifetime instead of just a few years. Some scholars say that in the Dark Ages the Church had all references to reincarnation deleted from the Bible, so as to better control the people by threatening them with hell fire. But they didn't get rid of every passage that refers to reincarnation because there are some that could hardly mean anything else, such as: «He who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of God and he shall go out no more...» (Revelation, 3:12).         

What do you think of Jesus redeeming humanity by suffering and dying on the cross?
Jesus was called a master because he had mastered all the problems of mankind. To help us with our slow spiritual progress he magnanimously volunteered to reincarnate and teach us how to evolve faster through unselfish love. His teachings made so much sense to his followers that they called him the long-looked-for Messiah! And they would have crowned him king except that the ruling Jews who were afraid of their jobs, had him crucified first. But their murder of Jesus backfired. His disciples, and many others, believed that he had risen from the dead and that he was the son of God! And so Christianity was born. Then traditional Jewish sacrifices were such a bloody nuisance, the Christians proclaimed that Jesus had sacrificed his life on the cross to end all other sacrifices! And that's how the doctrine of vicarious atonement got started. It made good sense in those days and saved the lives of thousands of innocent sheep and doves. But now, 2,000 years later, it's pure nonsense. Suppose I were God, and to please me, you sacrificed a son, or a daughter. I'd be outraged! Or suppose you cut a lamb's throat and let it bleed to death just to please me. Next lifetime I'd let you be the lamb! But if you gave your wife a bouquet of beautiful flowers – I'd love you for it!      

With these words Yensen's report ends. The most interesting aspects of his experience concern the master-vibration, which radiates a form of energy capable of keeping everything alive and immune from wearing out, and the different levels in which affine spirits join themselves, according to their degree of evolution. In this case too, the importance of recognizing what one is, combined with the desire to evolve on the spirit plane, constitutes one of the foundations of human existence. Yensen also deals with the controversial theme of reincarnation. 


Pam Reynolds
Anonymous French
Howard Storm
George Ritchie
Jayne Smith
Yuri Rodonaia
Ned Dougherty
Reinee Pasarow
Arthur Yensen
Lynnclaire Dennis
Thomas Benedict
Stefan Jankovich
Christian Andréason
Josiane Antonette
Juliet Nightingale
Jeanie Dicus
Linda Stewart
Laurelynn Martin
Olaf Sunden
Distressing NDEs
Medical evidence
A  metamorphosis
Final considerations