In August 1963, David Fellin, 58, and Henry Throne, 28, two coal miners in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, emerged from a caved-in mine shaft, after fourteen days of being trapped hundreds of feet below the surface.
In successive interviews granted with television and newspaper reporters, both men claimed to have started experiencing some amazing visions on the fourth or fifth day, although they were in total darkness. They saw a door enveloped in a bright blue light. At the door were marble stairs, and people walking up and down the steps. Beyond the door, was a garden that stretched as far as the eye could see with colorful, bright flowers and green grass. Looking down on the two miners was Pope John XXIII, although he had passed away ten weeks previously. The miners also asserted that they shared an out-of-body experience.
At that time, it was accepted by most that the miners had experienced hallucinations because of their fear, and from the sulphur water they were forced to drink. Rather than be ridiculed, the men eventually stopped talking about their experiences during the cave-in.
A couple of weeks after David Fellin’s death at the age of 85 in 1990, an article was published by Ed Conrad in the Hazleton Standard-Speaker that provided some remarkable information about the 1963 event. Fellin conducted an interview with the late Dr. Kubler-Ross, author of numerous books on death. He stated that after their rescue, Fellin and Throne were interviewed individually, and together, by several psychiatrists from the University of Pennsylvania, and by a medical doctor and psychiatrist from the U.S. Navy, Dr. Richard Anderson.
The authorities from the University published an article in the American Journal of Psychiatry concluding that although “neither man exhibited evidence of psychosis” and even though both men had independently corroborated the other’s story, their similar experiences were discounted as delusions.
But, Fellin stated that Dr. Anderson of the U.S. Navy was convinced that their story was true because the details, collected individually, matched so perfectly.
Mr. Conrad, in his 1990 article, expresses that Dr. Kubler-Ross believed their accounts to be evidence that life after death does exist. Dr. Greyson, at the time a psychiatrist at the University of Connecticut Health Center and an editor for The Journal of Near-Death Studies, agreed that their simultaneous experiences “could provide evidence for the realty of ‘The Other Side’ beyond anything yet available.”
Conrad, Ed. “Proof of Life After Death.” 1996.
Holzer, Hans. Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond. NY: Black Dog & Leventhal
Publishers, Inc., 1997. 622-624.
“Start of a Legend?” TIME in partnership with CNN. Friday, Sep. 06, 1963.