You must have heard about Maria and the worn-out tennis shoe. No? The story took place in April of 1977. Take any book about near-death experiences or out-of-body experiences and you'll find the story, in it's many forms. It goes something like this...
... Maria was a migrant worker from Washington State. As she was working the fields she had a heart attack. She was rushed into Harbourview Medical Centre in King County, a nearby hospital where she lay for three days then went into cardiac arrest. She was quickly resuscitated.
Later that day, her social worker Kimberly Clark came to visit her in her room. This is what Maria explained had happened to her, during the second heart attack.
Maria had what we basically call, a classic out-of-body experience. As she was laying on the operating table and the doctors were scrambling to resuscitate her, she felt herself beginning to float. There was her body beneath her, surrounded by all the doctors, a machine was spewing out a medical chart monitoring her vital signs. She could read it. She was dead!
Within minutes she found herself floating outside the hospital. She saw the street, the traffic, the parking lot, the complete hospital with all the people coming and going. Things she described could not have been noticed before, due to her being unconscious at the time when she arrived by ambulance.
Kimberly of course was skeptical until Maria mentioned that she saw a tennis-shoe on a window ledge, high up on the third floor, on the north side of the building. After Maria honed in on the shoe she noticed it was a well worn tennis shoe. The laces were tied together in a loosely bound knot and pulled under the sole of the shoe. Maria asked Kimberly to go find it.
Kim walked around the building but could see nothing, so decided to go up to the third floor and check each window from the inside. After checking most of the third floor windows she came across it. It could not have been seen looking out the window because it was placed more out-of-sight, to the left side of the window, close to the building so you wouldn't be able to see it from the ground. With a little inspection, yes, it was a well worn sneaker and yes, the laces were tied in a big bow and yes, the laces were pulled under the sole. The only possible way Maria could have noticed the bow and being tied under the sole was if she were floating outside the window.
Kimberly published the story back in 1985 and since, the story has become a classic, told and retold a countless number of times. So, I'm surprised if you never heard of it.
There are many explanations; a team of scientists from Simon Fraser University from Vancouver went down to Washington State and investigated and found the story not at all what it was cracked up to be.
They believe Maria had overheard people talking about a shoe while she was sedated or half asleep while she lay in bed for three days, which she then incorporated into her own out-of-body experience. The details and the description of the shoe and the laces were questionable since the story was published seven years after the event took place. Plenty of time to fabricate and embellish the story, wouldn't you think?
So, for those of us who believe in the existence of a soul, we're going to have to come up with a more compelling story, with better evidence, not just a tennis-shoe sitting on a window ledge.
You still have to admit, the story is a little intriguing, if not factual. Then again, who am I to judge and say what's true or not?
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