Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

A Mystical Experience?

I call myself a person of reason. Mysticism escapes me, yet I admit that during one's lifetime one has experiences which cannot be explained rationally. Who would have believed a hundred years ago that by pressing a button you could hear the most beautiful music or  terrible noises that pass as music a hundred years later. Or by turning a dial see what is happening on the other side of the globe. One has become quite blasé about it and accepts willingly the explanation that certain waves in the atmosphere can be caught in little boxes in our living room. We accept hypnotism, but have as yet no idea how it works. And how about E.S.P.? The other day a friend called me with whom I had a dinner appointment. "Where would you like to meet?" she asked and I thought for a moment and then suggested the Little Stone House in Guillford, Connecticut. She answered "You would not believe it, but I am looking through the Yellow Pages and my finger just stopped on their advertisement." Coincidence or E.S.P.?

This brings me to an experience I had when I was very sick in a hospital about twenty-five years ago. I had developed a form of viral pneumonia that resisted all treatment. I was taken to the
Doctor's Hospital in Manhattan, a private hospital that was almost like a first class hotel. You were expected to have a
private nurse twenty-four hours, even though there were highly trained nurses on the floor. The rooms were large and the furniture made them look like a private bedroom; no two rooms were alike. My windows overlooked the East River, with Queens in the background and the Mayor's mansion and gardens were below my window. A beautiful place to be sick in. Privileged physicians put their very privileged patients in this surrounding. I personally did not feel privileged. I felt desperately sick. I had a young, private nurse from eight in the morning until six in the afternoon and an old nurse who slept peacefully and snored from ten in the evening to eight in the morning. Nurses at that time still worked a ten-- hour shift, and my husband would be with me from 6-10 pm.

My physician, who was an old friend of ours, visited me several times a day. The latest antibiotics were tried out. To no avail. My back was looked like a pin cushion, I was told. Most of the time I dozed. One evening I suddenly woke up and found myself alone. My husband must have gone home and the night nurse had not yet arrived. I looked at my intravenous and saw that it was empty. Fearing that air bubbles would enter my bloodstream, I rang for the I nurse. Nobody came. In desperation I reached for the telephone, but had forgotten my home telephone number. Then the telephone fell to the floor. That is the last thing I remember. I woke up when the door opened and my husband and physician entered the room. They asked me what happened and I answered or at least the woman in the bed answered, for I was suspended in the air above her body and her voice sounded strange to me. I looked dispassionately on the scene below me. This whole experience must have lasted a few seconds but to me it seemed a long time. The next morning my temperature was normal and I was on the long road to recovery.

Since then I have read several accounts of the same phenomenon by people near death. I personally do not believe that is a mystical experience.

As we do not  know yet what causes a “happening” that we live through every day or more correctly nightly, that is sleep, we do not as yet know the experience of death. I strongly believe that our conscious existence or whatever we wish to call it,  separates from our body at the point of possible death and can return into it again, just as it happens every time we go to sleep and sink into a state of unconsciousness.

And just suppose at the time of death when the consciousness or soul leaves us and enters the atmosphere a little black box can, can . . can . . . can . . . .


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