Baron Pearson of Rannoch is an old Etonian who had a career in finance, as Malcolm Pearson, before being made a life peer by the Tories. He later defected to UKIP and became its leader for a while, 2009-2010. He is anti-EU and hostile to Islam.
In 2005, aged 63, he told a Telegraph reporter, Roya Nikkhah, about a formative experience under anaesthetic during an operation for varicose veins in 1977. The Shed was interested enough to keep it and passes it on here.
Lord Pearson said …
It was as I entered a vast cave, too huge to describe, that I saw and felt something which is difficult to put into words. I was enveloped by an incredibly strong white and gold light.
Although I did not see a figure – there was no old man with a long beard sitting on a throne – I felt instinctively that I was standing in the presence of God, and that this place was heaven.
At that moment I was released from the pain I had been experiencing ever since I had awoken, unable to move, halfway through an operation to remove some painful varicose veins.
Beforehand, as the anaesthetist at the Princess Grace Hospital in London injected me, I had felt apprehensive but told myself that the next thing I knew I would be coming to in that same room – with any luck, the next morning.
But it wasn’t. At first I thought I must be dreaming, but then I heard my surgeon’s voice.
He was talking about his syndicate shoot and how yellow labradors were better than black ones – and I realised that I was awake, even as he was cutting into me.
The pain was excruciating but I was completely paralysed. I couldn’t even move a finger or blink to let them know that I was awake. I began to panic and desperately wanted to scream, but I couldn’t even twitch a muscle. I remember thinking, “Oh my God, nobody is going to believe this has happened.” Then I heard a voice reply: “But they don’t believe in God either, do they?”
I wasn’t sure who or what this voice was but, as a middle-of-the-road Church of England boy who had attended chapel at school, I replied: “Well, maybe not, but I do. I always have, more or less – more than most people, anyway. But so what?”
Again I heard the voice say, “But they don’t believe in God, do they?” and another wave of deeper pain came.
The conversation went on – the same question repeated, to which I gave the same answer. I wanted to end this dialogue, hoping that it might also end the pain, so I shouted at the voice: “Stop it! How do I escape? What do you want me to do?”
At this point I had an impression that there was a man with me, a ghost-like vision: I didn’t see his face, but he was wearing a greeny-brown tweed suit.
It became apparent that he was some kind of messenger. He reached out, took my arm and led me towards huge granite steps that descended into the earth.
Each step was like a wave of deeper pain but I took them, half dream-like, half-conscious, following my companion.
He then pointed to the huge doorway of a cave and beckoned me to go through, which I did. He did not follow as I found myself in the presence of God.
It was definitely a masculine presence that felt warm, strong and compassionate. However, I soon became aware of a pervading sadness. There were no words but I could feel this presence giving me a strong message.
The message was that God was sad because He was losing the fight of good against evil, and sad because people have lost faith.
I realised that this was the message I had to bring back and tell people: that it is possible God will indeed lose, and that people must fight harder for good against evil, for right against wrong, if He is to win.
I don’t know how I came back but the next thing I knew I was being wheeled out of the operating theatre. I was exhausted but also exhilarated.
I don’t talk much about my experience but I think about it every morning and draw great comfort from it. I no longer fear death, because I know there is a life beyond.
It has given me a greater awareness of issues of right and wrong, and has also made me pretty fearless. I don’t mind taking on the House of Lords on an issue about Europe, even if it means I will be ridiculed and despised, because it is part of the crusade of right against wrong.
I suppose I am still a Christian, but a rebellious one. To me the Church’s message is weak: it believes that God will ultimately win, whether people fight for good or not. That is not the message that I was given when I met God.