Olaf Sunden's NDE



An overdose of ether

The following experience is taken from the first chapter of the book Transformed by the light by Melvin Morse: dates back to the 30s of last century, when the protagonist – Olaf Sunden, a Swedish boy – was 14 years-old.

The way in which Olaf Sunden almost died was simple enough. What happened after the experience of his near-death is too complex for me (Melvin Morse) to comprehend. At the age of fourteen, Olaf had his tonsils removed. During a routine surgical procedure, he was overdosed on ether, a frequent occurrence in those days when ether was administered drop by drop onto a cotton cloth placed close to the patient's face. Olaf stopped breathing and his panicked surgeon began to shake him. His heart may well have stopped at this point, too. Although he was technically comatose, Olaf had a sense of being dead. As he wrote in a very dramatic report: «Suddenly I rolled into a ball and seemed to smash into a wall into another reality. The passage from this side to the other was extremely painful, a suffocation. The forces which brought me through the death barrier were terrific and the boundary-barrier was extremely strong. Suddenly I was on the other side, and all pains were gone. I had lost all my interest and attachment to my biological life. (I realized that) the boundary between life and death is a strange creation of our mind. It is horrifying and real when perceived from this side (the side of the living) and yet is insignificant when perceived from the other side. My first impression was a total surprise. How could I exist in such a comfortable way, and how could I perceive and think while being dead, and yet have no body?»

The keys to universal knowledge

Olaf felt as though he were floating in «a universe with no boundaries». He saw the universe as a system of shrinking soap bubbles, one in which the bubbles appeared in spherical, concentric trains that moved in intricate patterns that he completely comprehended. On the verge of death, this fourteen-year-old boy with a mediocre school record felt as though he had been handed the keys to the universe. «I felt I had a total comprehension which made everything understandable,» he wrote. In his near-death experience, Olaf stood at a bright orange light. He called this light the point of annihilation, a frightening place to be but one that gave him universal understanding. Although Olaf wanted to stay with the light, he felt his mind splitting into two parts with that portion that understood everything being left behind. He saw it disappear above him as a beautiful bright galaxy of light, while he was forced into a tunnel and back to his body. «I remember thinking, "please let me understand this new physics of relativity"», wrote Olaf. «When I felt a bump and was caught in a channel and transported with tremendous force back into my body. I collected all my power to remember the cosmic comprehension of the universal machinery».    

An intellectual progress

Olaf's cosmic journey ended in an illuminated operating theater where he awoke to find himself surrounded by broken glass and scattered instruments, four frantic physicians and several upset nurses. Two years later he learned that he still had his tonsils left, they had never been removed as planned. The near-death experience immediately changed Olaf's character. He went from being an average student to one who was arrogant and even heretical, refusing explanations presented at school in search of his own. He used theories he had learned on the other side to explain the work of Albert Einstein. Olaf at first felt that the near-death experience was little more than an extraordinary dream. As he progressed to the honors program from being a student who seemed learning disabled, he realized that something had happened in the course of his cosmic adventure. Still he did not truly trust his vision until the early sixties, when he was in his mid-forties. It was then, when the discovery of the neutrino was made public, that Olaf realized that his near-death insights were correct. A neutrino is a type of nuclear particle that is able to pass through the massive core of a star without being altered or affected in any way. When Olaf read about neutrinos he realized that they were among the particles he saw in his experience, the soap bubbles that passed through solid bodies. Now he believed that his near-death experience gave him tremendous insight into the nature of the universe. Some mysterious source of intelligence had been tapped. He was smarter than before, but also free from thinking that confined him to accepted theories and values.          

Proof of this increased intelligence lies in his many technical accomplishments, most of which occurred as a result of his trusting the intuition that came to him as a result of the near-death experience. He now refers to his near fatal tonsillectomy as my cosmic gift. Olaf holds about a hundred chemical patents, discoveries that made him one of the top engineers in the research and development field. He discovered a way of including more chalk in making paper. Paper is made primarily from wood pulp derived from chopped-up trees. With his highly developed scientific vision, Olaf discovered a way to add 25 percent more chalk or kaolin to the paper without changing its quality in any way. That discovery translates into roughly 25 percent fewer trees having to be cut down to supply our paper needs.    

A daughter in a coma

Olaf cites another piece of evidence when proving the validity of his cosmic gift. Twenty-five years ago his teenage daughter sustained severe head injuries in an automobile accident. She was in a coma for three months and doctors predicted she was likely to stay that way. They frankly told Olaf that his daughter would exist in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. In this desperate situation, Olaf's near-death experience came to his and his daughter's help. He had to accept the neurological diagnosis, but he did not accept that all possibilities to an acceptable life were exhausted. He supposed that his daughter was on the other side and in a situation like that in which he was after the ether suffocation. He remembered how his own memory of swimming along with the sea waves appeared like a key that opened up the tunnel for his return to life. Perhaps such a memory from life could also be the key to his daughter's return. Fortunately, Olaf was in possession of a medical substance, a strange relative to caffeine, that he had successfully tested on himself and on his daughter in order to improve their memories during both scientific lectures and school examinations. Olaf decided to make a final desperate experiment with this substance.      

The first test, seven weeks after the accident, gave a dramatic effect. The unconscious, inactive girl tried to rise up from the bed for fifteen minutes but then fell back in total coma again. A second test was made a week later with a much stronger result. When the doctors were called, they confirmed that the coma, against all odds, was reversing, even if any mental contact could not be established for sure. A development toward life had begun, and after a month the girl became conscious. She could then, by pressing the hand, answer mathematical questions. One month after the awakening she was examined in mathematics and passed her student examination, that she otherwise would have failed. It took her three years to learn to walk again, and two painful eye operations were required to get the eyes in parallel positions. She is now an architect and mother to two children but still suffers from paralysis in one leg when walking.  

The importance of NDEs

To Olaf, this tragic story is an indication that cosmic gifts of this kind should be given serious scientific attention. Olaf learned about my work (of Melvin Morse) from such medical journals as: Lancet, and The American Journal of Diseases in Children. He then read Closer to the Light before writing me a letter. Could he come from his home in Sweden to visit? I told him I would be honored. We met in Washington, DC, at the International Conference on Near-Death Experiences. Olaf is a tall man in his early seventies. Gray and distinguished, he was the dynamic sort of man who would seem more at home at an ambassador's residence than at a meeting of near-death experiencers. Yet Olaf was delighted to find so many people like himself, people who had gained special insight into life by passing briefly through death's door. We went to dinner at a French restaurant in Georgetown. Olaf conversed easily with the waiter in French. After ordering a fine bottle of wine, he got to the point of his visit. «I no longer think I am crazy or a crank because of what happened, – said Olaf. – I know that my experience was real and not a fantastic dream. But the question I have is this: Did that knowledge come from inside my own brain or did it come from someplace else? And this universe that I entered. Did I really go to an altered reality?».       

Was Olaf's experience real? Did he really gain knowledge through a near-death experience that led him to create more than a hundred formulas so unique that he could have them patented? When these questions were asked, Olaf calmly and emphatically said, «These death experiences represent a step upwards on the evolutionary ladder. That is the reason why... a criminal younger may become social after such an experience. He has taken a step upwards».


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