Howard Storm was not a pleasant man. He admits that. He had rage, he was cruel to others. He was an atheist and was hostile to every form of religion there is. He believed that this was all there is and there was no afterlife. A Professor of Art, he looked to scientific explanation for things. If it could not proven by seeing it, touching it or feeling it, he didn’t believe in it. He grew up in what he called a chaotic upbringing. There was some abuse. He ran away from home at age 15 and began his search for his truth. At age 17 he went to college and he found the writings of Nietzsche and Jean Paul Seurat. In the atmosphere of the 1960’s he found support for his views on life and what lies beyond. Nothing. He believed religion was the opiate of the masses.
To Howard, near death experiences were explained as a chemical reactions of the brain in times of extreme trauma. Little did he realize that a trip to Paris in 1985 would change everything he had come to believe. It was a trip with students and his wife. Howard suffered a perforation of his stomach and was rushed to a hospital. There was no surgeon available. He would have to wait. Minutes became hours and no doctor ever arrived to see him. He was given no medication. He was in pain and he knew that his life was going to end.
What happened next is the subject of a book written by Howard who is now Pastor of the Covington United Church of Christ in Covington, Ohio. The book is called “My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life”. In his book Howard describes what he calls “an invitation to hell from strange beings”. He had found himself outside of his own body and knew something was not right. He heard voices calling to him from the hallway outside his hospital room. He did not “go to the light”. He did not see the light. He went to the voices.
His experience is not quite the same as other near death experiences. He speaks of a terrifying experience that brought him to “a state of hopelessness, blackness and despair.” What changed this event for him? What changed an atheist to a believer? He called out for help. He called on Jesus and everything changed.
What Pastor Storm describes has been called a different and compelling account of a near death experience. After going through a life review, Howard was given information regarding the future and the United States. He was told what happens when we die. When he returned to his body, a doctor miraculously showed up at the hospital and the treatment needed to save his life was obtained.
Whatever this non believer went through was profound enough to make a change in his beliefs. He believes his near death experience was a vision of hell. Does hell exist? If you ask Howard Storm, he will tell you “Yes”.