True Story: My Sister Was Dead For 18 Minutes

Do you believe in life after death? Have you ever had a near-death experience? Click through for a super interesting interview with a woman whose sister died for 18 minutes >>
What’s it like to have a near-death experience? Or a ‘died and then came back’ experience? Today, Amanda is sharing the story of what happened when her sister died for 18 minutes … and then returned to the land of the living.

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m Amanda and I’m a 25 year old librarian-in-training. I’m from the mountains of North Carolina but now live away from home so I can complete my degree. Last year, I was hired to build and maintain websites for my department which is a job I unexpectedly fell in love with.

Tell us about your sister.
My brother and I are nearly Irish twins with myself being the oldest. Therefore, when I was 4 and found out that another baby was on the way, I was determined to have a sister.

I’m still convinced that it was only all my whining that made her a girl! (She wore blue for the 1st year of her life since the ultrasound images had insisted she was a boy)

My sister was the center of attention in our family. And it was for good reason because she would stop breathing. I’m guessing she probably stopped breathing around 20 or so times in the first 10 years of her life.

After awhile, the doctors realized that she has mild cystic fibrosis. So, my childhood was spent being on constant vigilance that her little chest continued to rise and fall. As such, I often slept with my hand on her back. Even now, I can feel her thin shoulders and warm skin pressed against my palm as she slept.

Can you tell us about the day that she died?
One summer night, my family was traveling through some back roads headed to a drive-in theater. Due to my siblings being prone to hitting each other, I always sat in the middle between them.
There was some general chatter in the car, but nothing major as we drove. It was too dark to see anything in the car as the dashboard illumination did not reach into the backseat.
After a while, I noticed that my sister wasn’t chattering with the rest of us. So, I turn to her and place my hand on her chest. No movement. I move my hand to her face and wait for her warm breath. Nothing.
I scream. The car jerks as my stepfather yanks the wheel. I shriek out that she’s stopped breathing again. Thanks to the tv show, Rescue 911, I had a good idea about how to perform CPR.
So, I push her back against the seat and began compressing her chest. I then breathe into her mouth while holding her nose. I repeat this over and over. She doesn’t respond.

When we finally found a gas station, my stepfather carries her in and we rush in behind. We yell at the clerk to clear the counter. My sister is laid down and CPR is resumed. The ambulance arrived sometime later and they quickly carry her out, put her in the back, and then speed down the road.

We run back to our car and follow behind. I’m clutching the seat, barely able to breathe myself, muttering prayers, when the ambulance suddenly loses its lights and slows down. Things proceed as normal to the hospital where my sister was just fine.

Mom said that when my sister was not responding to treatment, the emergency personnel decided to inject a needle into her heart. Just as they were uncapping the needle, my sister suddenly sat up.

So from the time the phone call was made to the time my sister woke up was 18 minutes. However, she had stopped breathing at some unknown point prior to then plus the hunt for a phone. So, my 8-year-old sister survived being dead for over 18 minutes with no side effects.
What does she say about what happened?
My sister doesn’t like to talk about what happened. She only told me what happened once and will not repeat it: She was looking out the window into that dark night when she saw a black horse running alongside the car on the other side of the fence. She turned her head in order to keep sight of it.
Things faded to black. Next, there was a yellow taxi with wings. There were some people in it and they told her that she had to get in. So, she got in and the taxi began to rise.
It went up and up and up into the sky. When it landed, she was told to get out. She then heard the talk about the needle that was about to be pushed into her heart. She woke up shrieking to not do that to her.
Why do you think she’s so reluctant to talk about it?
Honestly, I think that what she saw terrified her. Or maybe she was told she could never tell anyone? She paused several times while telling me the story and would shake her head. She was 8 years old and a talkative child.
I have never known her to not be eager to talk your ear off. However, I cannot tell you that what she saw was hopeful or dreaded other than she still will not discuss it.
Are you and your family religious at all? Did this affect your views about the afterlife?
My siblings and I went to summer Bible camps which were mostly an excuse to have a free babysitter. Other than that, our family’s views on the afterlife are very warm-fuzzy “we’ll see them again someday” that are not based on anything specific.
However, we identify as Christian since that’s “just what you do” in our area.
I honestly don’t know if what she saw affected my view on the afterlife. She was deeply reserved about discussing it which is what made the most impact on me. The happy news is that she’s now grown up and a mother. At some point in her later childhood, she finally stopped having her breathing issues.

Thanks for sharing your story, Amanda!  Do you guys have any questions?  Any similar experiences?

P.S. Interviews with a woman who lives in a haunted house + a woman who has seen ghosts!

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

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  1. jillian m.

    What an amazing story. I was especially touched by Amanda's constant vigilance with her sisterm, particularly the holding of her hand on her sister's back while they slept. Wow.

    Sarah, I'm loving your blog here. It has quickly become one of my favorites! I've been digging through your archives and every post I come across, I am captivated. The mini travel guides are fascinating.

  2. Camels & Chocolate

    That totally gave me chills. Wow, I don't even know what to say.

  3. nova

    Wow. Thanks so much for sharing.


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