Ned Dougherty is a former director and media spokesperson for the International Association for Near-Death Studies. Following his near-death experiences, Dougherty started the Mission of Angels Foundation speaking on life-after-death issues. During his near-death experience, Ned received a message from the angel Michael.
Ned's near death experiences including passing through a tunnel, meeting friends and family that preceded him in death, a life - review and meeting a God of incredible light and love. He was also given a mission to accomplish on his return. Religious upbringing comes to bear when describing what one sees in eternity. One person might recognize the appearance of an angel and call it an angel. Another might refer to it as a 'spirit being'. A building in heaven could be called a hall, chapel, amphitheater, stadium, cathedral, or any similar term. Ned uses some words that may sound strange to someone familiar with the descriptions of heaven contained in the bible. I believe he may be decribing the same things in different words.
At the time of his NDE, Ned was a nightclub owner, living life in the fast lane and didn't believe in an afterlife. The following is an excerpt from his book, Fast Lane to Heaven.
I agreed to meet my friends at the restaurant after doing a walk-through tour of Marakesh (Ned's nightclub) and checking up on the employees who were preparing the club for opening. I thought that the business associate, who had already been released on bail, would have enough sense to lie low for a couple of days after his arrest. Knowing that I would not have to deal with him personally, I started feeling even better as I approached the club.
Several of the club's security personnel were setting up the stanchions and velvet ropes on the sidewalk in preparation for the night's crowd. I walked into the front lobby and climbed the stairwell that led to the private VIP lounge that overlooked the main level and dance floor of the club. From my vantage point in the VIP room, I could look out over the rest of the club and decide how the staff was performing.
Although the VIP room was relatively dark and quiet, I sense that someone else was in the room. It was the business associate who was the focus of my rage. He began shouting as he walked toward me with a drink in one hand, while pointing a finger at me with the other. I didn't even listen to what he was saying. I just exploded; I leapt at him with a volley of fists, knocking him backwards. As he stumbled and fell, I lunged at him with both hands in a death-like grip around his neck. My instincts, fueled by rage, were murderous. As he gasped for breath, I squeezed harder, recognizing that I could easily resolve this business association by pressing my thumb further into the vulnerable spot at the center of his throat. As I seriously contemplated actually murdering him, something happened inside me that I didn't expect. I couldn't force my thumb to sink further into his neck to cause more severe or even fatal damage.
As I recognized that some invisible force was holding me back, I realized that some other, evil force had overwhelmed me only moments before to the point that I was actually contemplating murdering someone and, in a moment of madness, had assumed that the murder would somehow be justified. For someone who took pride in maintaining control and being patient, my explosive reaction in this situation was as much a surprise to me as it was to the employees who overheard the commotion.
At the moment, when my uncontrolled and violent attempt to commit murder was abated by an inner voice, another force in the form of a security guard grabbed me in a body-hold from behind and pulled me away from the object of my rage. I was as startled by the inner voice that had stopped me from committing murder as I was by the security guard's intervention. For several seconds, as I was being pulled from my intended prey, I realized that only a few seconds and an unforeseen force had kept me from committing murder and possibly spending the rest of my life in prison.
The security guard, probably as startled by his own response as he was to the unreality of the situation, persuaded me to go back downstairs. As I stumbled down the stairs to the front lobby, I concentrated on calming myself. I was gasping for air and trying to control my breathing. I soon realized that my lungs were hyperventilating out of control. My chest seemed to be expanding and contracting more and more rapidly, but with each expansion and contraction, less oxygen was reaching my lungs. I could hear my heart pounding heavily in my chest.
As I walked out of the front lobby onto the sidewalk, I passed the security guards and employees at the entrance who were unaware of the explosive incident that had just taken place in the VIP room. I was walking alone now, still trying desperately to catch my breath as I stumbled into an alleyway. I spotted my friend Bill and suddenly realized that something was seriously wrong. Alarms were going off inside my head, but just as suddenly I felt surrounded by a warm and secure feeling, despite the fact that I felt that I was no longer in control of what was physically happening to me. For the first time in many years, I shot a glance up into the dark sky above me as if I was reaching to heaven to come to my aid. The warm and secure feeling that I was experiencing must have been coming from someplace other than from inside because what was going on physically within my body was creating terror and trauma in my mind.
As Bill met me, I tried to tell him I needed help, but it was too late. Although my uncontrolled hyperventilating had ceased, so did my breathing. Time and space stood still. My sense of hearing turned inward, and I was listening for sounds from my now-silent lungs, which seemed to have collapsed. Just seconds ago my heart had been pounding loudly and now, suddenly, the pounding stopped. For a long pregnant moment, everything before me stood still. I was dying and I knew it. In a split second, I thought: This is it! This is how it all ends! Suddenly, I felt what seemed like an electrical explosion in my head, and my body collapsed to the sidewalk.
The Fast Lane to God
As a massive field of energy began to form in the sky directly in front of me, I heard a loud, grinding mechanical noise as the mass of energy shaped itself into a cylinder funneling upwards. It seemed as if the darkness of the sky turned into liquid as the mass of energy curled like an ocean wave and formed a perfect tunnel that stretched into the heavens.
As I stared into the large and imposing tunnel of energy, a shimmering, luminescent-blue field of energy began to float down the tunnel toward me. As it rapidly approached, I watched the luminescent-blue field mass into a form and begin to materialize into an image of a human being. As the image composed itself, I found myself face to face with an old friend. His name was Dan McCampbell, but I had never expected to see him again. After all, he had been killed in Vietnam.
As Dan and I communicated, I realized that we did not speak to each other as we had communicated in our earthly lives. As soon as I thought, "Dan, I recognize you," it was communicated to him. We were communicating telepathically, which connotes a communication of words between minds by means other than by vocal communication, but such a description falls short of the spiritual communication we were experiencing. We were not only communicating with words; we were communicating with feelings and emotions. As we thought, we also emoted our thoughts. Both thoughts and emotions were being communicated telepathically and spiritually in a manner that far surpassed normal human communication.
Dan communicated to me, "You are on the threshold of an important journey. Each of these places and events that are before you are for you to absorb as much as you can. It is important that you remember everything that you see before you. You will be going back, and you must go back with what you experience. You have a mission ahead of you in your life, and this experience will guide you on that mission."
Suddenly, I was enveloped in this brilliant golden light. The light was more brilliant than the light emanating from the sun, many times more powerful and radiant than the sun itself. Yet, I was not blinded by it nor was I burned by it. Instead, the light was a source of energy that embraced my being.
I was alone in the glow of this light and suspended before a magnificent presence. I immediately believed that I was in the presence of God, my Creator. I felt that God was embracing me, and he had love for me, a love greater than any love I had ever known on Earth. I realized that God was bestowing his light of love on me, as his light transformed from a brilliant golden light to a pure white light. As I became more accepting of God's love, the light of God became brighter, of a pure whiteness beyond description. When I sensed that my spiritual being had received God's love to the point of overflowing, I became aware that God was stabilizing and energizing my being in preparation for my mission. I realized that I would be returning to earthly life and that God was preparing and orienting me for that return.
God began to imbue me with universal knowledge. I realized that I had always thirsted for this knowledge and I wanted to absorb as much as I could. As I remained suspended in God's light, I felt this knowledge penetrate and absorbed by my spiritual being. This knowledge was flowing through me in the same manner as God's love, pulsating through my being. Dan was back at my side again. We descended together from God's light into a universe of bright stars. We were again in the deepest void of space, but now I felt comfortable in this environment as well as in my spirit body, and I felt at home in this celestial location. As Dan and I continued to descend, I was startled by the magnificent ethereal structure directly below us. The heavenly structure resembled an amphitheater similar to those found in ancient civilizations. This amphitheater was made of a brilliant, crystal-like substance that radiated multi-colored waves of energy throughout its form. The amphitheater was suspended in the void of space in the same fashion that a space station might hover in space. The amphitheater was similar in size to a sports stadium and conveyed a great majesty.
As Dan and I descended closer to the amphitheater, I realized that it was filled with thousands of spiritual beings. We hovered directly over the structure, and I felt a vibrant energy envelop me. The energy seemed to come from the crystalline structure of the amphitheater. The lower we descended, the more I was drawn to the energy.
I sensed that the thousands of spiritual beings there were also absorbing this energy. They were sending out waves of energy to one another as well as to Dan and me. We were now descending onto the celestial field, which was surrounded by the large arc of the amphitheater. Although I first felt it as energy, I recognized that the energy emanating from the crystalline structure was also a symphonic sound.
Soon Dan and I were suspended in the center of the celestial field which meant that we were the focus of attention for the thousands of spiritual beings positioned throughout the amphitheater. Above, below, and behind us was the deep void of space. In front of us, thousands of spiritual beings were communicating, by musical sounds, feelings of goodwill to me. Their sounds of greeting were in harmony with the symphonic sounds of energy emanating from the amphitheater. Once I settled onto the celestial field, I could look directly into the crystalline surface of the amphitheater and watch as multi-colored prisms of light pulsated through the structure.
I was overwhelmed by the awesome sight before me, but the feelings of love that were conveyed to me by the spiritual beings were even more overwhelming. The spiritual beings were cheering me, conveying loving encouragement and support. "You are doing wonderfully. We are here to support you. Continue to do good work, and we will help you. You are part of us, and we are part of you. We stand ready to come to your aid when you need us, and you will. Call us. Beckon us. We will flock to you when the time comes!"
Frankly, I was confused by all the attention. There wasn't anything wonderful about the way I had conducted my life. Perhaps the spiritual beings were speaking of what was yet to come. They certainly could not have been speaking of earlier events in my life. I thought, "How can I be doing wonderfully? I almost killed someone tonight. Could I be justified in what I tried to do?"
Dan interceded. "You were spiritually rescued from a negative event that was taking place in your life. You just tried to communicate a negative thought concerning this event. You cannot speak of such things here. There are no negative thoughts here, only positive affirmations. They cannot hear you; they will not hear you when you speak or think in negativity. You must be positive to perform your mission."
I turned to my right, realizing that a group of spiritual beings had joined us on the celestial field. This event was indeed a homecoming for me. Among the group of spiritual beings, I recognized deceased friends and relatives from my life. I also recognized other friends from my spiritual life prior to my birth on Earth. I was filled with joy when I recognized my grandparents, aunts, and uncles who had died during my life. However, I was disappointed because I did not see my Dad among the group. I then recognized other friends from my life, including a girl from high school. I did not know she had died. The feelings of love and joy that I shared with these relatives and friends were far beyond the emotions I had shared with them during my life. As the child of an alcoholic and broken home, I did not communicate feelings to relatives or friends very well. In fact, I wasn't aware that I had many feelings. Most of my feelings were hidden inside.
Now that I was at my homecoming as a spiritual being, the greetings were the kind that I had imagined took place in a healthy family. It seemed as if we were celebrating every major holiday, every birth and birthday, every wonderful event in all of our lives in a manner that we could never celebrate as mortal human beings. I wanted this celebration and homecoming to continue forever, but a silence suddenly fell across the crowded amphitheater.
All attention seemed to be directed to the celestial field around me, and a shimmering, luminescent sphere enveloped me, making me feel as if I had stepped into a crystal globe. Although I was aware that the crystalline sphere was suspended on the celestial field in view of all the spiritual beings in attendance, I found myself in a different celestial realm. Somehow the spiritual beings were still observing me inside this crystal sphere. I realized why the hush of silence had fallen over the crowd: My life review was about to begin – in public, it seemed. I was aware that I was about to review every event, thought, emotion, and experience of my life. I became aware that the purpose of the review was for me to evaluate my life in terms of my intended mission as a human, to review my life in a manner that permitted me to focus on the areas that provided the most important experiences in terms of my spiritual growth and development.
Although I was alone in the crystalline sphere, I was aware that I was in the presence of God and watched over by the many spiritual beings in the amphitheater who were encouraging me with their love and support. Nothing about my life was a secret to God, nor to the spiritual beings, yet I did not perceive that I was being judged. I realized that all who were part of God's spiritual creation had fallen from God and had made mistakes in their own journeys. There was no one among the assemblage of spiritual beings who was about to cast the first stone at me.
(Ned then experiences his life in complete review and is shown the future of mankind including a message from the Archangel Micheal.)
Archangel Micheal's Message
Some time after his near-death experience, Ned visited the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. While standing in front of a friend's name on the wall, Ned had another near-death experience involving the Archangel Michael. The following is the experience as he describes it:
"I stood again in front of the slab of granite bearing my friend's name. I thought back to the night of July 2, when I left my body in the ambulance and floated free to be greeted by Dan. That evening had been the start of a long and difficult path of spiritual discovery that was still only just beginning. It was no coincidence that I had been drawn back to this wall on this particular night. As I reached out to touch my friend's name on the wall, a shock of energy went through my body. I felt my body falling to the ground. I was now free of that body and floating above it.
"I was enveloped in an intense light. I was in the presence of a great spiritual being. A booming voice filled the air; it was the most powerful voice I had ever heard. It was the voice of the Archangel Michael. I recognized that he was conveying a message of importance:
Your forefathers created one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all. These were men of high ideals, spiritually guided and inspired to create a nation and a civilization to be admired and respected, to set an example for the rest of the world. In exercising their free will under God's guidance and direction, they created a Constitution and a Bill of Rights for every man, woman, and child to live in freedom in the pursuit of happiness. Yet these high-minded and spiritual men were soon replaced by others who, in the exercise of their free will, chose to put their egos before God and to joust with God's plan.
You became a nation of spoilers, man against man, brother against brother, government against citizens, and the chosen nation became a warrior with and against other nations. You have become a nation of criminals and murderers. You murder in wars. You murder the innocent. You murder your children. Your leaders create laws to justify the murders, to attempt to make wrongs right, to rewrite morals and ethics to support your own earthbound greed and desires.
You have become a nation further and further from the spirit and the influence of God. You have created sciences and philosophies to support activities that only recognize earthbound realities that not only refuse to recognize the spiritual nature of man himself, but refuse to recognize even the existence of God.
You have taken God and his works of prayer and meditation out of your government, out of your institutions, out of your schools. You have done everything you can to deny his existence, and you find yourselves in a world filled with wars, hatred, starvation, and death, and you do not understand why the rest of the world does not follow your shining example.
You are a nation at war with itself, filled with hatred, prejudice, crime, drugs, and murder. Yet when the few of you who do look to God ask him why all these things are allowed to happen, you do not hear his answer.
You are members of the human race, universally created by God and given free will individually by divine right, and you would not wish to have it any other way. Yet every little act of free will that man has exercised from the beginning of time that was not in accordance with God's plan, multiplied in its impact and its negativity on the future of man. Every simple act of aggression multiplied into acts of world war. Every simple act of greed multiplied into worldwide human suffering and starvation. Every act of destruction of God's environment on Earth multiplied into destructive forces of nature - earthquakes, floods, pestilence, nuclear destruction and nuclear waste. Every act of violence escalated into acts of murder and the extermination of ethnic people for their appearance or beliefs.
Yet, God created a nation of high ideals for you to survive other empires and civilizations that crumbled into oblivion, for their leaders placed themselves as men above God, and now those empires and civilizations are but piles of dust or buried under the waters. You sit on the edge of the new millennium, poised for the future of humankind, and you are headed, like all great civilizations of the past, to be reduced to piles of dust, to be covered over by the waters.
Yet, God comes to you again, to appeal to you as a people, to appeal to you as a nation, to appeal to your leaders. His army of angels is visiting upon you with a life force of energy, a spiritual energy radiated by the Creator to all humankind. Many of you feel the vibrancy of his energy and his divine presence. He is communicating with you spiritually, telling you to raise yourselves to the level of spiritual transformation that is necessary for those of you who hear him to spread his message and his energy, to recognize that he is coming.
Guided by prayer and meditation, all men, women, and children may answer his call, but it must be soon. Time is running out! The angels are coming! Do you hear them? Are you listening?
Are you listening?
As the Archangel Michael's message ended in a haunting echo, I began to float gently back down into my body. Several people were standing over it as it lay sprawled on the sidewalk at the base of the wall. Further away, I could see a team of EMTs with a gurney rushing toward my body.