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The other day we linked to an article about the famed author Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol) and how once he reportedly had a dream that  involved the Blessed Mother. In 1844, reports the Catholic Herald in the UK, Dickens "underwent a religious experience (rarely written about), which he described vividly in a letter. 'Let me tell you,' he wrote from Venice, 'of a curious dream I had, last Monday night; and of the fragments of reality I can collect; which helped to make it up … In an indistinct place, which was quite sublime in its indistinctness, I was visited by a Spirit. I could not make out the face, nor do I recollect that I desired to do so. It wore a blue drapery, as the Madonna might in a picture by Raphael; and bore no resemblance to anyone I have known except in stature… It was so full of compassion and sorrow for me… that it cut me to the heart."


Dickens seemed to indicate so.

After that article ran, a viewer made the interesting observation that it may not have been Dickens' only mystical experience.

Indeed, there are elements of A Christmas Carol that parallel near-death experiences: Scrooge first encountering a vision of his deceased business partner (as those in near-death experiences often first see a departed loved one or friend), then the visit by the three spirits who review his life with him, as so many of those experiencing clinical death and a glimpse of the afterworld say they were taken -- by angels, or Christ -- on a review of their lives (past, present, and future) and shown how they affected everyone.

The accounts of near-death episodes -- much more recent, of course -- continue to roll in.

Like Scrooge, those who return are transformed and now want to dedicate themselves not to making money or anything selfish but helping (and serving) others, making them feel good (recall how Scrooge was shown how miserable or happy he could make others?).

"People need to know that there is life after trauma," says Heather Ellis of New Zealand, who was "dead" from an aneurism for four minutes (clinically) back in 1999 in the city of Christchurch. "There is life after death and you will never ever be given anything you cannot handle. I could have gone if I so chose," she adds. "I chose to come back to help others." Always in life, learned Heather: "if a door is shut on you, there will be another one that will open up for you."

It is interesting that near-deathers often also come back with comments on all of mankind.

Our society is not living, they often say, according to God's Plan.

And as a result, there are coming events. There is a coming transformation.

That too mimics Marian visions. Says Milo Heerkens of the Netherlands: "I had a near-death experience at the age of eight but I didn’t realize its significance until many years later. The experience occurred while I was in a coma as a long-time sufferer of kidney disease, in the year 1984. My physical and spiritual growth was slow until at age 29 I finally realized that what I had experienced as a young child so many years before was in fact a near-death experience. Since then, I have found myself on a quest for knowledge on both the physical and spiritual planes.

"I have learned that human life is of immense value, in no way measurable by money. Material possessions don’t interest me. They’re fun to have, but after we die, the only things we can take with us are knowledge and memories.

"In my experience, I literally went out of my body on a trip through time. I saw and encountered things from my past as well as the future. Some of the things that were in the future at the time of my near-death experience haven’t yet come to pass, while others happened years ago. The journey through time was so unreal that it was mind blowing. I was guided by my deceased grandfather, who told me everything about life now and what the future will bring.

"I saw that society will experience an enormous downward spiral, and many will suffer. Those who don’t want to listen will be removed from the earth. I sailed through time, saw the earth from above, and received knowledge that is still hard to understand."

[Note: During his vision of the heavenly woman, Dickens added: "I said, sobbing, ‘Oh! give me some token that you have really visited me!… Answer me one… question!’ I said, in an agony of entreaty lest it should leave me. ‘What is the True religion?’ As it paused a moment without replying, I said – Good God in such an agony of haste, lest it should go away! – ’You think, as I do, that the Form of religion does not so greatly matter, if we try to do good? or,’ I said, observing that it still hesitated, and was moved with the greatest compassion for me, ‘perhaps the Roman Catholic is the best? perhaps it makes one think of God oftener, and believe in Him more steadily?’ 'For you,’ said the Spirit, full of such heavenly tenderness for me, that I felt as if my heart would break; ‘for you it is the best!’ Then I awoke, with the tears running down my face, and myself in exactly the condition of the dream. It was just dawn.”]

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