Surviving Death by Misadventure

Apparently, my last post alarmed some of you. Specifically the part about cracking open the garage door a few inches while running my car when it’s cold out.

Rightfully so, it turns out.

I’d been under the false notion that this was enough to disperse any dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. Even Tara, who used to do home inspections that involved testing for CO, didn’t think it was that big a deal. But a quick internet search dispelled that notion. Within a matter of minutes, carbon monoxide levels can build up so high, you are liable to collapse to the floor, immobile and/or unconscious, before you even know what’s happening. Yikes. How ironic would it have been if my very last blog post had talked about how death by CO poisoning wouldn’t be so bad.

I retract that. It would be terrible. BECAUSE YOU’D BE DEAD. The coroner would label it death by misadventure, I believe. Which is really just a politer way of saying death by stupidity.

Lesson learned. I’ll drive a cold car from now on.

Speaking of, I recently watched a fascinating Netflix documentary series called Surviving Death. Each episode focused on a different phenomenon: near-death experiences; mediums; signs from the dead; ghosts; and reincarnation.

Now, for a lot of people, the whole idea of an afterlife is hogwash, and many critics have been unkind in their reviews. I get it. Some of the topics, like mediumship, were borderline ridiculous. Others I found fascinating. Particularly the final one, on reincarnation. Because I’ve always had a weird feeling that I lived a past life. Specifically, as a soldier who was killed in the Vietnam War. And when I blogged about this seven years ago, I got some very interesting comments from others who shared my belief. No fewer than four people came forward with similar stories. I’m kind of in awe about that.

Here’s an excerpt from the post.

About ten years ago, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall came to my hometown. On a dark and dreary autumn evening plagued by a persistent light rain and bitter chill, I made a pilgrimage to the wall. I just felt drawn to it. My then-wife was not interested in going, but in truth, I did not want her there anyway. When I got there, I ran my fingers over many of the names chiseled in stone. It felt like I was searching for something, though I had no idea what. My sense of deja vu was very powerful that night.

It’s not something I can ever “prove,” nor do I feel the need to try. It’s just an inkling, an underlying suspicion, and to me, intensely personal. I don’t care if anybody else believes me or thinks I’m nuts. I don’t necessarily even believe myself. Maybe my obsession with war, particularly Vietnam, is simply a fascination, the same way somebody might be interested in unicorns or classic cars or ABBA. The familiarity I feel could be attributed to all the history books and combat autobiographies I have read. The deep sense of dread I feel when watching movies like Full Metal Jacket probably just means the director has done a great job at ratcheting up the dramatic tension. Sometimes a peace symbol is merely a fashion statement.

Or maybe there’s something more to this and my intuition is dead-on (ha). I don’t know. I’m open to the idea and have had far too many so-called paranormal experiences in my life to discount anything. I’m not about to ditch all my earthly possessions and join a Buddhist monastery or anything else so drastic. I’ll just ponder the unknowable, figuring that all will be revealed someday. Maybe in a few hundred years I’ll be writing a similar blog post and thinking, I swear I’ve done this before.

In any case, I felt that Surviving Death took a skeptical, balanced approach to the subject matter. There’s no hard science — just anecdotes from various people, some more believable than others. Those bashing the series have already made up their minds and will never be convinced without irrefutable evidence, but that’s impossible to obtain without dying.

I’m okay with keeping it a mystery awhile longer!

18 thoughts on “Surviving Death by Misadventure

  1. My mom has stories to tell, about me as a child in near death at a hospital, about my dad visiting her shortly after he died, twice…my own grandmother did something to me the night she died (I’m in Canada and she in Switzerland)…strange things.

    As far as the cold car is concerned…do you not have seat warmers? I know you do. You’ll be fine. 😎

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was going to write one or two of them in the memoir but I’m plateaued there so meh. I’ll see if I’m up for blogging about it one day, maybe. It’s interesting, the different experiences people have about these things…


  2. I’ve always thought there was something fascinating to the stories [some] people tell of having intuition about deaths in the family, angels who appeared, music heard, lights seen, whatever. I don’t know that there’s any way to prove them, as you said until you die, but in the meantime they’re food for thought. And TV shows, it’d seem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of an afterlife, or reincarnation, but I don’t believe in any of it. No afterlife theory fits into history or biology or chemistry or physics (at least as we currently understand physics).

    But I am envious of the amount of comfort other people can get from believing in religion and an afterlife. And damn! Some divine justice for being a horrible human would be nice, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read your post last night, Mark, and the message here, stayed with me. Excellent, important information. I was not aware how quickly carbon monoxide can affect people. I keep an open mind on the whole death thing. Yet, I do believe in old souls. You describe well, about no hard science and anecdotes. We all know we have more than six senses. Back to keeping an open mind and like you say a mystery. A great post, Mark!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for listening to me on the carbon monoxide. It’s also a good idea to have a CO detector near your furnace and gas fireplace, if you have one.

    Though I’ve never had a personal paranormal experience, I sure know plenty of people who have and they are not folks I would think of as ‘out there.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a wood-burning fireplace, so no need there. But we do have a combination smoke/CO detector near the furnace. And it’s loud enough to wake the dead, so that’s a good thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s