Stefan Jankovich's NDE
A car accident and a transformation of personality
In 1964 architect Stefan Jankovich (1920-2002) was involved in a serious car accident in Switzerland, where he lived. His is one of the first experiences carefully reported, and is supplemented by ethical and religious observations later elaborated by the protagonist, as a result of his reflections on what had happened to him. The story of the experience was recorded by Jankovich on tape as soon as he was able to do so, when he was still in hospital. In Jankovich's experience (which includes the vision of his injured body and the place where the incident occurred, the perception of a different dimension made of peace and light, the medical care that brought him back from that beautiful dimension and the return to the body felt as a violence), we find a recurrent element in the NDEs, the life review, present in various testimonies reported by people who were about to die or fell due to a mountain accident. The story of Jankovich was published in 1973, nine years after the accident, by the German magazine Esotera and in 1976 by the Italian quarterly Luce e Ombra.
I've always been a sportsman, an active and healthy man. Raised according to the dictates of a beautiful religion, I have always been inclined to believe many things. However, my faith has never given me any particular religious or philosophical problems, because I have always dealt with concrete, everyday, practical things. A great tragedy was needed to reawaken the divine forces in me: in fact, following a car accident, my soul and spirit separated from the physical body. This made me aware of the need to deal with the problems of life, man, death and divinity. This is why I use to say that on 16 September 1964 I died, to be reborn a few minutes later, completely transformed, with different ideals and superior knowledge. That day I had a serious car accident, during which I was thrown out of the car on the road, where I stayed unconscious, with 18 fractures all over my body.
My experience probably began when my heart stopped beating, that is, after the interruption of my life. My brain cells began to change due to lack of oxygen, and at the same time my astral body, the subtle substance which harbors the soul (that is, my higher principles) and my spirit detached themselves from my physical body. During this time I did not feel any sensation, or at least I do not remember it. My consciousness was completely blurred. When death began, or rather when my astral body and the highest part of my being detached themselves from my wounded and mangled physical body, a curtain rose before me, as in theater. Then a show began, which consisted of several scenes or phases, in which I probably saw life on Earth and astral life. These scenes are certainly innumerable in the other life: I lived some of them, which made on me such a strong impression that I became a completely different man.
Consciousness and experience of dying
The experience of death began with my realization that I was dying. I was very surprised not to find death unpleasant. I was not afraid of it: it was all so natural, so obvious! I realized that I was dying and I was leaving this world. During my life I never imagined being able to separate myself from life so well and so simply. I found that state very beautiful, natural, cosmic, divine. I thought, «Finally I came here! I am happy to die without fear, I am only curious to see how this process of death will continue». I realized that I was hovering, and I heard wonderful sounds. I could recognize harmonious forms, movements and colors. Somehow I had the impression that someone called me, consoled me, guided me higher and higher in the other world, the one in which I was about to enter. A divine peace and never-heard harmony now filled my consciousness. I was completely happy, I was not worried by any thought. I was alone, nobody disturbed my peace. Later I often wondered if at that time I had in mind some thought connected to Earth or to some people, but I could not give an answer. I was, as I said, completely alone, happy and in perfect harmony. I had a clear feeling: that at last I was dying. I hovered higher and higher, towards the light, I felt a growing harmony, the music became louder and more beautiful, and at the same time colors, shapes and movements appeared to me.
The vision of his dying body
After this wonderful phase, the curtain opened again and everything changed. It was weird: I was swaying on the scene of the accident and I saw my tormented, lifeless body lying on the road, in a position that was later confirmed to me by doctors and police reports. I also could see very well the car and the people who had gathered around the accident site. There was a man, a doctor, trying to bring me back to life: he knelt down on my right side and made an injection. Two other people held me on the other side and took off my clothes. I saw that the doctor opened my mouth with something, maybe a piece of wood. I noticed that I had a broken arm. I saw that the doctor was trying to revive me artificially, then he realized that my ribs were broken. In fact he said: «I can not do a cardiac massage». After a few minutes he got up and said, «It does not work». He spoke German with a Bern accent, and also Italian, in a somewhat approximate way. Finally he said, «There's nothing to be done, he's dead».
Then they wanted to get my body out of the way and asked a soldier (a column of military vehicles had in fact halted for the accident) if they had a blanket to wrap my body. I almost laughed when I witnessed that silly scene, because I knew I was there, and I was not dead. I wanted to tell them: «People, I'm not dead yet, do not be foolish!». I found all this a little comical, but it did not bother me. I enjoyed the idea of looking at those people's efforts. Finally I saw a man in a bathing suit rushing with a small bag in his hand. This person spoke in excellent German with the other doctor. Then he bent over me and began to do something. I saw the face of this man very well: and indeed a few weeks later a normally dressed person, who had that same face, came to my hospital room. I was impressed, because I was sure I had already seen him somewhere: he confirmed that he had been present at the accident, that he was the doctor who had practiced right in my heart the injection that had saved my life (I would call it a satanic injection!). I recognized him immediately, even by his voice, and later we became friends.
It was fascinating to witness the scene of a man's death after a car accident. Particularly interesting was the fact that I myself could be able to see all this without emotions, very calm, in a state of happiness and celestial harmony. It is not common to see our own death, especially by feeling this sensation: at last I die! I was swaying over the scene of the accident, at a height of about three meters. All my senses worked very well, my memory registered everything, I did not notice impediments. I had the impression of being alone, but at the same time being surrounded by good creatures: everything was calm and harmonious.
The theater of his life
Then this scene disappeared and I found myself again immersed in that dimension that I had experienced before. The games of light and color became wider, fuller, and finally submerged me. Somewhere, on the right and upward, I saw the sun becoming ever more radiant, luminous, pulsating. Immediately afterwards a fantastic theatrical performance began, which consisted of countless images and scenes from my life. Each scene was complete in itself. The director had arranged things so that I would see the last scene of my life first, that is, my death on the road near Bellinzona, and lastly my first experience, my birth. Each scene, as I have already said, was complete, that is, it had a beginning and an end. Only the order was reversed. So I started reliving my death. The second scene was the journey on the San Bernardo: I saw even the white capped mountains, shining in the sun. My way of seeing the scenes was this: not only was I the protagonist of every event, but I was also the spectator. My senses allowed me to record everything I saw, felt and perceived. My soul was a very sensitive instrument, through which my consciousness immediately evaluated my way of acting and judged myself, that is, it established whether this or that action had been good or bad. I was struck by the fact that the bad deeds I had done were not included in this show: there were only those in which I felt serene and happy.
Harmony was not just in myself, but in all that surrounded me and also in the souls of those who took part in the scene. It seemed weird to me that harmonious memories were also associated with those scenes that our current morality would consider bad deeds, or our religious conceptions would make us consider sins or even deadly sins. Good and evil are evaluated in the afterlife in a completely different way from ours. In the meantime, I was listening to a music that seemed to come out of a four, five or six-dimensional stereo system!
The sun was vibrating and I knew that the sun was the divine principle, the alpha and the omega, the source of all energy and all its manifestations. What I saw, however, was not exactly the sun, it was a wonderful appearance similar to the sun, warm and bright. My soul, deprived of the body, and my spirit began to harmonize with the vibrations of that light. I felt more and more happy and comfortable, while my consciousness vibrated more and more. I think that in that period of time the so-called silver rope, which bound my astral body to my brain matter, had become increasingly thin and elastic. The moment was approaching when this string would be broken, like an over-stretched rope. And this would have meant the ultimate end, the one that follows the clinical death that had come for some time: after that, there would have been no chance of coming back. I do not know how long it would take the silver rope to break. According to the terrestrial measurements there was perhaps a margin of a few seconds, or even hundredths of a second, but in the fourth dimension time and three-dimensional space no longer have any value. In this way the short time of a few minutes that followed my clinical death seemed to me to last several days or weeks, since what I had experienced had been of fundamental importance. Since then I often say: «The most beautiful experience in my life was my death», or «I am happy to have to die again».
The memory of the experience
Other details of this experience were recalled during an interview reported in the book Qualcuno è tornato (Someone is back) by Paola Giovetti.
What impressed you most in your story?
Can you tell me something more about this movie?
And what did you experience at birth?
Did you remember any details of when you were a little child?
How long have you been clinically dead?
Have you seen anyone in the afterlife? In your report you wrote that you were alone.
Do you know other people who have had experiences of this kind?
Which is your religion? Have your religious conceptions changed after your NDE?
Are you judged in the afterlife? Is there a judge?
Do you talk willingly about your experience?
How does react who hears for the first time about your experience?
Considerations on near-death experiences
In fact, the researches of Moody, Osis and Haraldsson, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and others have shown that these experiences are real and true.
It is therefore necessary to distinguish very carefully between experience and experience.
Are there any common points between the various experiences you are aware of?
What would you suggest, in addition to what you pointed out before, to those who study these experiences?
The main interest of Jankovich's testimony is that, as he himself stated, the recording of what he remembered of his experience was made shortly after the event, to avoid distortions or embellishments, which may be present in other NDE reports. Even here, however, there are some cultural references, such as the silver rope or the astral body, which are beyond the direct perception of what was experienced in the NDE. Moreover, during the interview, we can notice the protagonist's attempt to consider as an objective reality what happens in the so-called otherworld, rather than simply recognizing the subjective reality of the psychic tunings experienced by the conscious Ego of those involved in the experience. On the other hand, this NDE dates back to 1964: today, after more than half a century of NDE testimonies, it is known that these experiences can present similarities, but also substantial differences from case to case.