Man who died for 10 minutes revels in new life

Barb Sweet
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Ted Warren’s heart stopped for 10 minutes, and while he has found renewed beauty in life, he is no longer afraid of death.

“My experience is that it’s love. All of a sudden I went from ‘there’s nothing but death’ to ‘there’s nothing but love,’” the 56-year-old former newspaper and magazine editor and columnist said while recounting the experience Thursday.

Since recovering from what happened Sept. 11, Warren, a man with a slight build who has suffered relapses and remissions of multiple sclerosis (MS) for years, has been rebuilding his strength.

Ted Warren told The Telegram Thursday about what he experienced when his heart stopped for 10 minutes in September. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

There were no warnings leading to that morning when at 10 a.m. he dropped to the bedroom floor in his downtown home.

His then girlfriend called an ambulance. Warren can’t recall collapsing, but said a paramedic later told him that it was his first day on the job, Warren was his first patient and he wasn’t losing him.

“The doctors keep using the M word — ‘You’re a miracle,’” Warren said.

After five or six shocks with a defibrillator and some broken ribs, Warren’s heart started again. He spent two weeks in an induced coma at St. Clare’s Hospital and two months in total in hospital.

Warren said his MS symptoms flared last summer and he was on steroids, but he had no problems with his heart since 2010 when a stent was put in to treat a blocked artery.

According to Warren, the September 2013 event was caused by an arrhythmia without an identified reason, and he now has a pacemaker.

Warren believes he came back for a new purpose in life, but he’s just not sure what it is.

Perhaps, he said, it was to tell the story of what happened to him in those 10 minutes — the events that erased his fear of death — and change others’ views so they can feel the same positivity about life.

The experience started out as bleak, according to his recounting.

“There was nothing. I was in a huge immense void and there was nothing. And there was no me. There was no world, no history, nothing, just a consciousness,” Warren said of the first sensation.

“Nothing but death. Waves and waves and waves of death. … And if I stayed there, I was dead. So I had to get out. And I don’t know how I got out. But all of a sudden I wasn’t there anymore.”

At that point in his retelling, Warren paused and said people might view his experience as flaky. and some he’s told it to have rolled their eyes at what they feel is “nonsense.” He also said he has met others who had similar death experiences.

From the waves of death, he said he found himself in comforting and loving place where he felt he was a small part of something greater.

“You know when you shine a light through a prism and light goes off in different directions? I felt that was me,” Warren said.

“I was unware of any personal identity, of my history. I didn’t know who I was what I was. I didn’t know I was. At first I was terrified and then it was really, really comforting.”

Warren said he would catch glimpses, as if someone was raising a curtain.

“There were countless little shafts of light that each represented something,” he said. “And it was a place of incredible beauty.”

He said he saw classical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart collaborating with reggae artist Bob Marley.

Next, Warren said he was in Stephenville — a place he has no particular connection to — directing a play with an unknown co-director.

Later during recovery in hospital, Warren said he came to realize that it was his life in the play.

“It went through my life story and every time that I made a questionable decision in my life,” Warren said.

Each time in life he had excused some action as noble was revisited to acknowledge the reality of it. The events ranged from his reaction as a boy to a friend killing a bird with a BB gun to events surrounding his two divorces.

At the play’s end, Warren said, he had a decision to make: come back or stay there.

“Where I was was so beautiful and so comforting, I didn’t want to come back. But I had a sense that there was something I had to do. There was some reason to come back,” said Warren, who grew up Anglican, but is not religious.

Prior to last fall, he believed there was something after death but wasn’t sure what it was.

He said he continues to experience a kind of music — a love song harmony of people and nature reflecting a billion voices and the returned love of the creator, who he believes is spiritual rather than religious.

He credits the Miller Centre as a great resource, where a team of health professionals helped him recover and walk again.

Warren goes to the gym three times a week and is involved in the brain injury association.

He had suffered numbness in his fingers and toes since the 1980s, an early symptom of MS. But the lost feeling returned in his recovery from last fall.

“I feel I was rebooted, like old computers,” he said.

“I’m excited about life.”

Geographic location: Clare, Stephenville

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Recent comments

  • Eileen James
    December 14, 2015 - 18:11

    I saw Ted Warren on NTV today, December 14/15. I would very much like to talk to him about my near death experience. Would like to get a email contact for him.

  • Eileen James
    December 14, 2015 - 18:10

    I saw Ted Warren on NTV today, December 14/15. I would very much like to talk to him about my near death experience. Would like to get a email contact for him.

  • Tony Rockel
    March 22, 2014 - 14:47

    Whether you're a believer or a nonbeliever, these 2 links make interesting reading.

  • Tony Rockel
    March 22, 2014 - 14:46

    Whether you're a believer or a nonbeliever, these 2 links make interesting reading.

  • Tony Rockel
    March 22, 2014 - 14:45

    Whether you're a believer or a nonbeliever, these 2 links make interesting reading.

  • Dianne
    March 22, 2014 - 09:00

    I agree with Mary McKim. I have been at the bedside of several people who were dying and died. I felt their peace and calm. As a result, I am no longer afraid of death.

  • Medical Marijuana
    March 22, 2014 - 06:40

    Believe in whatever gives you comfort.

  • Lorraine Warren
    March 21, 2014 - 22:09

    We never know the time nor the place we will die. All of us have our own opinions on what happens at that time. Only those who beat the odds and return from death will try to share the experience, even if there are those who will have their own explanation. (They have never been there). I was one of the first people Ted told some of his experience with. As he began to tell me his eyes lit up and his face had an expression of pure delight. He speaks of nature in all it's beauty singing to the Creator, and then the Creator singing back to all of nature" Maybe we should take a little time to spend in nature, open our heart, soul and mind, and just see what we will experience without having to die first.

  • Joan
    March 21, 2014 - 14:55

    You would enjoy the book, "Dying to be Me" by Anita Moorjani.

  • McCadden
    March 21, 2014 - 14:47

    I agree with Mary McKim and have been reading up on advances in the science of physics such as the "God particle". (Google: Higgs boson) As for the man who commented: "horse manure", I have spent 40-years around horses, ponies, draft horses and, yes, horse manure. Wonderful stuff. Makes things grow. Doesn't smell bad because it comes from vegans. Ted, figure out your life's purpose so that the next time you cross over you'll know that our time on earth is very transitory. Life on earth is just a pit stop on the race track of the evolution of our souls and the growth of higher universal consciousness. Those whose feet are still planted in manure are destined to relive and relearn the same lessons over and over again.

  • Sutapas Bhattacharya
    March 21, 2014 - 12:16

    The underlying nature of consciousness has long been of central concern to Hinduism and, by exploring this, Hindu mystics gleaned insights into the vastness in space and time of the universe as consciousness transcended the perceptual limitations of normal Space/Time/Causality and the ego dissolved into an unlimited or infinite expanse of Cosmic Consciousness. Such insights have been confirmed by scientifically-educated modern Western mystics and LSD researchers. Modern scientific cosmology is only recently beginning to appreciate the seemingly startling prescience of ancient Indian concepts of the distinctionless plenum/void” transcending space and time (nirguna Brahman) from which the material universe (or Creation) manifests and of notions such as the holonomic interpenetration of all phenomena in the transcendental. To dismiss such insights as mere fantasies made up for the joy of exaggeration, because they are so remarkably different to the Judaeo-Christian-Greek geocentric cosmos, reveals more about how small-minded, arrogant and culturally-blinkered are the supposedly “visionary” thinkers of mainstream science.

  • Susan
    March 21, 2014 - 12:12

    It's funny how we all think we are experts. Knowledge and understanding is a wonderful thing but what is it really without the unknown? Keep an open mind as it is the framework to knowledge and understanding.

  • Steve
    March 21, 2014 - 11:18

    I haven't seen Ted in quire a spell, and our beliefs may be so far apart, but I will say that he is one of the nicest, most thoughtful people you will ever meet and extremely intelligent, modest and thought provoking. If you are ever lucky enough to speak with him, I suggest that you listen, you will not be disappointed. I hope I bump into you sometime soon Ted.

  • Observer
    March 21, 2014 - 10:49

    Absolute horse manure.

    • Justin
      March 21, 2014 - 11:22

      Right...because you have any idea of what happens after death.

  • be proud of yourself
    March 21, 2014 - 10:49

    I read the book, A Touch of Heaven, written by a dr. who died and came back, it took him a long time to believe what had happened to him. Since I read that book, I believe there is something on the other side, beautiful for those to deserve to be there. I witnessed the death of my father last year, about 3 minutes before he stopped breathing, he had the most beautiful smile on his face, we believe it was when someone reached out and welcomed him to that beautiful place. There will always be people who don't belive or are afraid to belive that there is something after death.

  • A Reader
    March 21, 2014 - 09:42

    Hi Ted , I think you were in the Now you had a spiritual enlightenment, I think you should Read the Book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and you will get the answers to why you were in the Light, Beautiful Book.

  • CD Prince
    March 21, 2014 - 07:55

    There have been countless studies done of near death experiences, and although many feel the same sorts of sensations, it is in fact the brain compensating for the trauma of dying. There is nothing supernatural, metaphysical or spiritual in nature that occurred to this man. Nothing miraculous, but science. The brain is an amazingly resilient yet fantastical protector of the psyche from trauma. The reason he still breathes and lives is because we have a medical profession that revived him using methods and tools that have come from centuries of research, trial, error, and commitment from thousands of scientific minds. The reason he isn't a mumbling, thumb sucking mess, is because his very complex synaptic systems protected him from being overwhelmed by the very terror of death he himself described. Lovely to see such incredible recovery, from someone who obviously will have lots more to offer the world we live in, but there is nothing about his experience that isn't explainable. The insinuation otherwise by either this man, or the author of this piece is negligent and potentially dangerous in my view.

    • Rick
      March 21, 2014 - 09:04

      For a different perspective, try reading "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" by Dr Eben Alexander. It certainly gave me cause to rethink how I feel about near death experiences.

    • Mary McKim
      March 21, 2014 - 10:30

      Actually, there is no inherent conflict between believing in rational science and believing in love (which some people express as believing in God/dess). It is also said that the beginning of wisdom is when one realizes how much one does not know.

    • Justin
      March 21, 2014 - 11:20

      There have also been studies that look at the way people dream, and the physiological responses that happen during dreams--something makes you nervous in the dream and you sweat... if you're fighting or running from someone in the dream, your body produces adrenaline. The studies have begged the question, just because it's a dream, does that mean it's not really happening? Because as far as the body and mind is concerned, it is. Therefore, why is this different?

    • wavy
      March 22, 2014 - 10:12

      Interesting comments. Negligent and potentially dangerous, how?

    • wavy
      March 22, 2014 - 10:13

      Interesting comments. Negligent and potentially dangerous, how?

    • wavy
      March 22, 2014 - 10:14

      Interesting comments. Negligent and potentially dangerous, how?

  • Mary McKim
    March 21, 2014 - 07:26

    Some people will tell you that your experiences were simply some kind of brain wave or electrical brain "event". Those who don't understand will always have some sort of physiological explanation to what you experienced. Our society is so "officially" dedicated to rationalism it is incapable of accepting the validity of a gnostic experience. Thank you for bravely sharing your experience out loud. It's interesting how the fields of physics and metaphysics are starting to meet in places like the Hadron collider and how scientists are beginning to admit that molecular particles can be in two places at the same time but they don't know how that can be. So let the sceptics believe in brain waves. It's so much nicer to believe in love.

  • Cashin Delaney
    March 21, 2014 - 04:41

    Bede Griffiths speaks of his reboot-stroke in a few You Tube videos, very similar experience as described here.