“Getting blown up was not a solo event, but the experience and interpretations set forth in this book are mine alone. To my knowledge, no one else present during the incident recalls any similar experiences. My guess is that if any of them become aware of this book, they will shake their heads, roll their eyes, and attribute my memories to hallucinations of stress or the unfortunate side effects of severe concussion.”
Natalie Sudman was a female civilian employee of the Army Corps of Engineers in Basrah and Nasiriyah, Iraq. In November 2007, she was riding in a truck when a roadside bomb blew up the vehicle and left her body so severely damaged that there was no possible way she could had survived
In one of the most technical and descriptive accounts of a near death experience, Application of Impossible Things: A Near Death Experience In Iraq vividly details what happened when Sudman left her body and entered the world of spirit.
BJB: What is the significance of the title, Application of Impossible Things?
NS: The significance for me is that as a culture we think metaphysical subjects are impossible, are miracles or unusual once in a life time happenings that we can’t really control.
But I don’t think that’s true.
In fact, from my experience, I know that’s not true.
BJB: Would you consider yourself a spiritual or religious person who believed in the afterlife prior to the accident?
NS: When I was a child I would dream about things before they happened, and I would see or sense spirits or other beings around. I grew up in a religious environment, a liberal Presbyterian church, but I was always very interested in the non-physical and metaphysical.
The way I describe this near death experience is that it wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary; as just one more thing in my exploration of where and how the non-physical and physical worlds meet.
BJB: What is an out-of-body experience (OBE) as opposed to a near death experiences (NDE)?
NS: A near death experience is an out-of-body experience, but all out-of-body experiences aren’t necessarily classified as near death experiences.
I’ve always been a little uncomfortable to use NDE to describe my experience. I don’t think it really matters which term I use because that’s not the message. The message is within that experience as, what did I experience? And what does what I experienced have to say to our lives now?
BJB: What was your professional role in Iraq?
NS: I was an employee of the United States Army. I was administering construction projects for the reconstruction effort. I was in charge of making sure that the construction projects were completed by a good standard and to ensure that money for construction was properly allocated to projects.
BJB: You were blown up in a roadside bomb attack and experienced what is known as an OBE?
NS: I was traveling in a four vehicle convoy. I was in one of the two center vehicles with a colleague, driver and a guard. Our vehicle was an up armored vehicle that hit a roadside bomb that went off under the front right-side of the vehicle.
BJB: Once the explosion occurred did you know your soul had left your body?
NS: Before the explosion, it had been a long day. My head leaned on my hand and my elbow was propped up on the car door handle because I was tired. It’s very boring being chauffeured around and I nodded off.
All of a sudden I was not in my body and I had the experience that I describe in Application of Impossible Things. Then I heard a pop and I became conscious within my body again.
At the moment of becoming conscious within my body, I didn’t really have time to think about what happened as far as being out of my body. I knew that something had just happened, but I also knew that we had been blown up. I thought, ‘Okay, we’ve been blown up and now have to deal with this.’ I didn’t try to figure out where I had been in the last few seconds.
BJB: It was within that short period, a matter of seconds, between the explosion and when you became conscious again that your soul left your body?
NS: Yes, but even though it was only seconds it felt like it was very long. The aspect of time was very different. As I describe in the book, a lot of things happened that could not have fit into a few seconds.
BJB: I find it interesting that we’re constantly told to have faith, but when spiritual or mystical experiences occur they are often met with doubt.
NS: It’s very much what we’re taught and what we’re told. If science doesn’t say something is true people say, “Oh, it can’t be.” Science describe things and can prove something, but it can’t disprove something. In the end are you going to trust your own experience, or will you trust what the culture says you can trust?
For me, because I’ve had these kinds of experiences since I was a child, I had to trust my own experience. If people don’t trust themselves in these type of experiences, then I can understand why someone would say these things don’t exist.
In my experience, it has nothing to do with belief.
We are intrinsically part of something larger than ourselves even if you don’t acknowledge it. We cannot not participate in that because we create it and we are it; we are created by it and through it.