Interested to stumble across this article on ‘Celebrity Near-Death Experiences’, which includes – among others – the account given by comic legend Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther, Dr Strangelove) of his own NDE:
In 1964, during the first of a rapid series of eight heart attacks, when his heart stopped and he was clinically dead, he had an out-of-body experience and saw the bright, loving light. Sellers stated, “Well, I felt myself leave my body. I just floated out of my physical form and I saw them cart my body away to the hospital. I went with it … I wasn’t frightened or anything like that because I was fine; and it was my body that was in trouble.” Meanwhile, the doctor saw that Sellers was dead and began to massage his heart vigorously. Sellers stated, “I looked around myself and I saw an incredibly beautiful bright loving white light above me. I wanted to go to that white light more than anything. I’ve never wanted anything more. I know there was love, real love, on the other side of the light which was attracting me so much. It was kind and loving and I remember thinking That’s God.” Sellers’ out-of-body soul tried to elevate itself toward the light, but fell short. Sellers stated, “Then I saw a hand reach through the light. I tried to touch it, to grab onto it, to clasp it so it could sweep me up and pull me through it.” But just then his heart began beating again, and at that instant the hand’s voice said, “It’s not time. Go back and finish. It’s not time.” As the hand receded Sellers felt himself floating back down to his body, waking up bitterly disappointed.
What effect did his NDE have on Sellers? His biographer stated that “The repeated act of dying became for Peter Sellers the most important experience of his life.” (Walker, 158) Sellers himself said of death, ”I’ll never fear it again.” Family and friends found him more spiritual and reflective than before. His biographer stated, “The experience of resurrection intensified Sellers’ spiritual concern and friends discerned the start of a new introspectiveness, a sense of his not “being there” in spirit, though present in body.” According to his biographer, Sellers’ wife, Britt Ekland, found it unnerving that her previously restless husband had now become so quiet. He was now “sitting still over lengthy periods, saying nothing, but staring at her with his thoughts turned inward.”
Sellers’ NDE was just one manifestation of an extended fascination with the occult and paranormal – check out this article at Dangerous Minds for more on the topic.