CANDOR — Former Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dan McInnis, after years of fighting for his life against a series of medical mishaps and chronic conditions, said his most recent trip to the hospital gave him a glimpse of the afterlife.
“I’m not supposed to be sitting here talking to you after what’s happened,” he said. “I think God sent me back for a reason. Only God could do it.”
McInnis, whose eyes teared up, said he experienced something supernatural while lying unconscious in a medically-induced coma.
“Some people may not believe it,” he said. “But I know it was real. I know it was real, and the reason I know it was real, one, is because of my faith — but the other reason I know it was real is I was unconscious. And I told my mama, my wife and my cousin what they were wearing that day. I was unconscious, but I was right. The reason I knew what they were wearing is because I was over my room looking down. It happened.”
He said he remembers looking down into his room before experiencing a change of scenery.
“The next thing I know, I’m in this long, kinda like a tunnel,” McInnis said. “There’s the most beautiful lights you’ve ever seen at the end of the tunnel. It’s at a pretty good distance. It’s like looking at a city on the horizon. The most beautiful lights you’ve ever seen. And it’s like swimming upstream trying to get there, and something’s pulling me back. And I realized what I think was my will to live, pulling me back, fighting.”
He said along the sides of the tunnels, people he knows appeared to him.
“People that are there,” he explained. “Both of my granddaddies, my one grandma who is passed away. My best friend Jeremy, who died two years ago from cancer. My cousin, Todd. And one of my great uncles — I couldn’t tell which one. I wasn’t sure if it was my uncle Woodrow or uncle Lee, but they were (waving me off) and they were saying, ‘Go back. Go back.’”
He said he thought it was strange they would want him to return to the hospital.
“Because, I love my (living) family to death and I do have a strong will to live, but it was just so beautiful and so peaceful,” McInnis recalled. “And when you’re there you’re not thinkin’ about here, which is peaceful for me to know you’re not mourning here. So I wanted to stay, and Jeremy laid his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Go back. It’s not your time.’ And I quit fighting and I slipped back and I was looking over the room again and I felt myself go back into my body.”
A nurse in the room, McInnis said, was the first person he heard speaking after he returned to his body.
“I heard the nurse say, ‘We’re gonna test tomorrow to see if he has brain function. And as long as he has brain function then we’re gonna try to get him off the ventilator again,’” he said. “And that’s what they did.”
He said in the time he spent in the tunnel, speaking with his friends and relatives, he noticed they appeared as they had been “at their best” while living, and that their bodies possessed qualities different from our human bodies on Earth.
“When he touched my shoulder, it felt the same,” he said. “I’m curious to know if my grandparents will look the same to Tray as they looked to me. They talked and they called me by name. I have no doubt whatsoever they are who I knew them to be. But they had a glow about them, almost like a hologram.”
Speaking of the city in the distance, McInnis said he believes he saw Heaven.
“I think that blinding, one light that people see is Christ,” he said, speaking of other accounts of near-death experiences he has heard of. “I never got that far, because they were there to greet me and they were waving me to go back. But the city I saw, I’ve never seen it before, but I think it must look like Paris at night, only more grand. I don’t even know how to describe it, they were the most beautiful lights.”
McInnis said he plans to share his testimony with anyone who asks, including at churches or even in his home.
“I really believe God sent me back to share my testimony,” he said. “There are some people who might never believe, but others who might. That doesn’t matter. I know it happened. I know it was real, and I was sent here to tell it. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.