In 1975 while speaking on the telephone, Dannion was struck by lightning in the neck. During the period of his clinical death, Dannion underwent all aspects of the classic near-death experience. Dannion found himself floating above his physical body as the paramedics tried to resuscitate him. The paramedics and doctors tried all they could but they were not able to resuscitate him.
While floating above his body, Dannion noticed that a tunnel was forming. Dannion moved into the tunnel. As the tunnel spiralled around him there he heard the sound of seven chimes ringing in rhythmic succession. As he quickly moved through the darkness he noticed that he was approaching a light.