Howard Storm (author)

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For the film, television director and actor, see Howard Storm (director).
Howard Storm
Born Howard Storm
(1946-10-26) October 26, 1946 (age 70)
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
Church United Church of Christ
Congregations served
Covington United Church of Christ, Covington, Ohio
Title Senior Pastor, Covington United Church of Christ

Howard Storm (born October 26, 1946) is an American Christian minister, writer, and painter. He is a former professor and chairman of the art department at Northern Kentucky University.[1] In 2000, he authored My Descent Into Death, which chronicles his alleged near-death experience. Storm's near-death experience has been cited in literature on near-death studies,[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] and his book has garnered endorsement by gothic fiction writer Anne Rice before it was acquired by Doubleday and republished in 2005. Storm has retold his story on NBC's Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show,[9][10] 48 Hours,[9] Discovery Channel[9] and Coast to Coast AM.[10]


Early life[edit]

Howard Storm was born in Newton, Massachusetts.[11] He graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a master's degree, and he later became an art professor at Northern Kentucky University, a position he held for 20 years. During an interview with Unsolved Mysteries in 1997, he reported of his life prior to his near-death experience that he was an atheist and an aggressive person, feared by his wife and children.

Near-death experience[edit]

In June 1985, Storm took a group of his students on a field trip to Europe. After returning to his Paris hotel room with his wife around 11:00 a.m. from a morning excursion, he had a sudden onset of severe abdominal pain. He was evaluated at a Paris hospital and diagnosed with a duodenal perforation, which required surgery. The soonest a surgeon could perform this procedure was around 9:00 p.m. that day. As he lay waiting for surgery, he believed he was going to die due to the severity of his pain and so mentally prepared himself for death. After saying goodbye to his wife, he eventually passed out.

Storm reports the following subconscious experience: He opened his eyes and found himself standing outside of his body, looking down at the hospital bed with his wife crying beside him. He was without pain and hypersensitive. His wife could not see or hear him. He was then drawn by voices calling his name outside the hospital room, and he followed them, believing they were taking him to a doctor. He describes pale humanoid creatures that urged him down the hallway, saying that they had been waiting for him. The creatures became increasingly hostile, and, upon refusing to continue following, they began to strike at and bite him. He then heard a voice saying, "pray to God," and so he recited fragment Bible verses and the Pledge of Allegiance. With mention of the word "God," the creatures would retract, and eventually he was alone again. After a period of time, he called out for Jesus to save him, and suddenly was rescued by "spiritual beings of light."

Thereafter, he had a recollection of his entire life, a life review, which highlighted some negative aspects of his life, before the "beings of light" answered his questions. They told him that the United States was a "blessed nation" but one which required a change lest lose its prosperity. He describes visions of a future plagued by war, natural disasters and despair, but which could be avoided should there be a major spiritual "shift" in the consciousness of the world. These beings told him that the "correct religion" is that religion which "brings you closest to God."

Storm states he then came to in the hospital room, with a nurse walking in and saying that the surgeon is ready for him. Of note, Storm concedes that there is no medical evidence to suggest that he ever actually died. He did go on to have a completely successful surgery that evening and healed rapidly. In his book, Storm does recount "a Voice" that told him to ignore the advice of doctors and buy return tickets to the U.S. a week after his procedure.


Storm stated that over time he "became more tempered" about his experience. He became involved with a church, entered the seminary, and was ordained. He served as pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Norwood, Ohio from 1992 to 2005,[12] and he was also a pastor of the Covington United Church of Christ in Covington, Ohio.


  1. ^ "About the Artist". 
  2. ^ Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser Valarino, Lessons from the light, 1998, pp. 291-292, 293.
  3. ^ Judith Cressy, The near-death experience: Mysticism or madness, 1994, pp. 19-34.
  4. ^ Arvin S. Gibson, Echoes from Eternity: New near-death experiences examined, 1993, pp. 258, 270, 305.
  5. ^ Arvin S. Gibson, Journeys beyond life: True accounts of next-world experiences, 1994, pp. 210-229, 258.
  6. ^ Arvin S. Gibson, Fingerprints of God: Evidences from near-death studies, scientific research on creation, and Mormon theology, 1999, pp. 101-102, 188-189, 209.
  7. ^ P. M. H. Atwater, The big book of near-death experiences, 2007, p. 245.
  8. ^ R. G. Mays and S. B. Mays (2008). The phenomenology of the self-conscious mind. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 27(1), 5-45. p. 33.
  9. ^ a b c Howard Storm, My descent into death: and the message of love which brought me back, London: Claireview, 2000, front end leaf.
  10. ^ a b Former atheist to tell how near-death changed life: Author, missionary says he was delivered from hell, Dayton Daily News, January 28, 2006.
  11. ^ Storm, Howard (2000). My Descent Into Death: And the Message of Love Which Brought Me Back. Clairview. ISBN 978 1 905570 17 1. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  12. ^ History of Zion Church. Accessed 2015-03-22.

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