I was up near the ceiling looking down at my sister with whom I shared my room, and I could see this girl with her mouth open on the other bed and it took me a minute to realize it was me.
There have been cases where the NDE'er has been extremely frightened by
the experience, or has seen and felt hellish images.
"Those are very, very rare," Sutherland said.
"Of the hundreds of people I have spoken to over the years only two found the NDE a negative experience.
"I don't believe there is a hell at all, actually, but those people who find the NDE frightening are usually just very scared and bewildered about what is happening to them.
"It's the unknown that seems to frighten them - where am I going, what if I crash, am I falling into hell?
"But often these feelings are resolved within the experience and, overwhelmingly, the NDE has proved to be a very positive one."
It certainly was for Helen, a 39-year-old social worker who at 15 suffered a major asthma attack one night in her suburban Brisbane home.
"I was trying to breathe, really fighting to breathe, but I couldn't," Helen says.
"And then I was very calm all of a sudden and I thought: 'Oh, I really don't need to breathe any more.'
"I was up near the ceiling looking down at my sister with whom I shared my room, and I could see this girl with her mouth open on the other bed and it took me a minute to realize it was me.
"Then it was 'whoosh' - and I was gone, in a tunnel, just like when you go through a tunnel in a fast train.
"Then I was in this lovely misty place and a man, a shape really, who was filled with light, said: 'Come with me I'll take you to the light,' and I remember being scared like I was going to the headmaster.
"I remember thinking about how I never went to church and that I might get into trouble but when the light came and I knew, I just knew it was God, or whatever you want to call it, and I knew it was love.
"He said: 'It's how you live your life that matters,' and I was so relieved.
"After that I was fine, just so happy. You can't really describe the light but it's like the most complete love you have ever known.
"I said: 'I'd like to stay,' but the light said, no, I couldn't and didn't I realize that my parents were waiting for me?
"And I said - and I still can't believe this - 'Well, then, can I go back tomorrow after my math's exam is over?', which the light seemed to find very funny.
"Overall, the feeling I got, seeing the light and the other beings of light there, was that this was like the best holiday you ever had but it was not a holiday without purpose.
"It was a boundless place but wherever you were, you were at the center of it.
"Eventually, everyone drifted away and I found myself back in my bed, extremely cold but otherwise okay.
"The next day, because I remembered everything so clearly, I took a ladder into my room and climbed up it to see if I had been dreaming.
"But everything, down to the last detail, was exactly as I had seen it the night before from the ceiling.
"What I learnt from it was not just not to be afraid of death but to appreciate the life we have here as well.
"It is beautiful there, but there are aspects of this life that are equally so.
"I call this Life, Part One."