After a horrific crash, he was somewhere between heaven and hell


By Mark Ellis —

Michael Fogarty
Michael Fogarty

After midnight, he was driving home from work on a dimly lit country road outside Cumberland, Rhode Island when he came around a blind curve and saw a driver’s worst nightmare, a car careening toward him on the wrong side of the road.

“There was nothing I could do,” says Michael Fogarty, who was 18 at the time of the accident. He veered to the right to avoid colliding head on and lost control of the car on the dirt shoulder.

His brand new Chevy Celebrity hit a tree head-on, then the tail swung around and he hit a boulder, which vaulted the car up in the air.

“I landed upside down, bounced up and I flipped around again, spun around and hit a telephone pole.”

When he hit the tree the engine went through the front seat. “My skull broke the steering wheel in half. It bent the steering wheel to the column,” he recounts.

The collision with the steering wheel bowed his forehead backward, cracked his skull and punctured his frontal lobe. Springs from the seat went through Fogarty. His jawbone sliced through his optic nerve and blinded his right eye. The top of his skull was also caved in.

He didn’t have a seat belt on, so he was pinned between the engine and the driver’s door. A fire station happened to be at the bottom of the street and paramedics were there within minutes after hearing the loud crash.

“I was dead at the scene, so they didn’t worry about me losing blood or hurting me,” he recounts. “They cut off the back door and my seat to get to me because I was so pinned.”

Despite the fact that his heart stopped, paramedics revived Fogarty at the scene, stabilized him, and transported him to the hospital.

“My spine was detached from my skull,” he says. “They had to reconnect it.” His right foot was broken in 17 places and he had many broken ribs.

“Normally, you don’t survive that,” he explains.

After he entered the hospital, Fogarty went into a coma for the next two-and-a-half days. During the coma he had a remarkable encounter with God. Whether in the body or out of the body, his amazing vision altered his life.

“I was sitting on a bench looking at grayness as far as you can see. There were no mountains or clouds. I was seeing miles, but everywhere I looked there was nothing.”

He had very little church experience in his youth. Fogarty’s parents divorced when he was a one-year-old. His father took him to church until he was about seven, but he only saw his father once in the next decade and never attended church.

Despite his sparse Christian background, as he sat on the bench staring at a broad expanse of nothingness, he sensed something or someone was missing.

When is he going to get here? Fogarty kept thinking. He sensed the absence of God and it left him feeling empty. I’m waiting God…he blurted out, somewhat petulantly. He was miffed that God was not showing up.

Then he witnessed a startling sight. “I saw an old fashioned chariot being pulled by horses. It was so bright you couldn’t tell what was pulling it. It was glowing from the inside of the cart.”

Even with his limited understanding, he knew God had arrived.

The gray expanse was suddenly transformed. “The next thing I know everything was bright and golden and yellowish as could be. Then I was whisked away by God. I felt his comfort and warmth.”

A hand held Fogarty from the back as they flew through the air.

This is what you’ll be leaving behind, a voice said.

Then he saw his job and his interactions with his customer base. He saw his girlfriend’s house and their friends. “I was traveling at the height of telephone poles in the air, zipping by,” he recounts.

Then he saw his parents’ two-story house. He saw the three parking spots in front of the garage where they parked. In his empty parking spot, there was 18 inches of fresh snow.

“When I saw that I felt broken in my body. The next thing I knew I was in my body… I chose to stay.”

“I didn’t see heaven. I wasn’t going to heaven. God knew that. He wasn’t bringing me to heaven. I was in a transitional period,” he notes.

When he re-entered his body, he heard the doctors telling his parents that if their son survived he would probably be paralyzed from the neck down, definitely from the waist down. Because Fogarty punctured his frontal lobe, the chances were high he would not talk again. They said he would most likely live in a vegetative state.

“You’ll have to close his mouth for him, wipe away the drool, you might get a few words from him. This will be a lifelong event if he survives the next 24-48 hours,” they said.

Fogarty shocked everyone when he left the hospital two weeks later. “It is not possible in this world. But 13 days later by the grace of God I walked out of that hospital.”

His mother picked him up and drove him home. With his head in a metal halo for support, she held his arm as they proceeded slowly across the driveway to his front door. He noticed four inches of snow in his empty parking spot.

“Mom, when did it snow?” he asked.

“It snowed the night of your accident…It snowed 18 inches the night of your accident.”

Forgarty believes that small detail was God’s confirmation of what he saw in his vision.

While his survival is miraculous in itself, his recovery has not been easy. “I’ve had seizures and nerve damage from that time on,” he notes. “I’m on disability now. I am blind in my right eye, have no depth perception, I suffer from PTSD; I have anxiety riding in cars; my bones have degenerative arthritis. My back has three bulging discs and my neck has two.”

Despite his dramatic encounter with God, it took years for Fogarty to understand and personalize his own faith. “I didn’t know God at all. My life was hell. He told me that because I lived I would talk about this and I will need to share this story. I didn’t know if I wanted to.”

Internally, he questioned the reality of faith. I’m not sure who you are, God. You saved me but what are you about? he wondered.

He was ashamed of his attitude toward God when he first waited for Him to come. “He is the Almighty and I am just the clay that He made. Who am I to talk to Him like that?” Fogarty begged forgiveness regularly and hid himself from God in shame, he says.

A few years later he started reading the Bible every day. One morning he got up early and read the Bible on his outdoor porch from 3 am to 6 am.

As he read the book of John, something unusual caught his eye at sunrise. “A white cloud – two really – were coming from each side of a tree.” The clouds seemed to be moving very fast, like a jet. Then the two clouds merged to become one.

Fogarty with his wife
Fogarty with his wife

The cloud became a face, a bearded face with a mouth, and hair white as snow. The eyes looked like wisps of fire. The energy that came from the cloud walloped Fogarty and he fell to his knees.

A deep, deep feeling of love began to burst from inside his body, flowing out through his skin. Tears started streaming from his eyes.

“I knew Jesus was showing himself to me,” he recounts. “He was there for me still. When he saved me (from death) he was still there for me. When I was dead he stood with me. When I ignored him, he stayed with me.”

Chastened by the encounter, Fogarty decided it was time to change his ways.

He recognized that even when he didn’t know Jesus, when he asked for him to come, he came. “He didn’t shun

"The family God gave me AFTER that accident. None of those young men would be on this earth if I died that day. From left to right in the back is youngest to oldest. James Fogarty, 6'6" at 17, Justin Fogarty, 6'2" at 18, and Joshua Fogarty, 5'9" at 25, In the front it is Tracie and myself."
“The family God gave me AFTER that accident. None of those young men would be on this earth if I died that day. From left to right in the back is youngest to oldest. James Fogarty, 6’6″ at 17, Justin Fogarty, 6’2″ at 18, and Joshua Fogarty, 5’9″ at 25, In the front it is Tracie and myself.”

me,” he realized. Fogarty decided it was time to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.

“God gave me the strength. God is great,” he says.

There is only one way he can view his survival – “It is a miracle!”


If you want to know God personally, go here


  1. This story is 100% true except that when I came home from the hospital I already had taken the halo off of my neck. God is GOOD and healed me enough to be able to hold my head up and walk out of the hospital WITHOUT any supporting aids.

    • Hi Michael. How wonderful our Saviour Jesus Christ is. How merciful and loving so quick to forgive and draw near at a whisper. Wonderful testimony your a trophy of His great power. Share and preach His love you have the power and anointing to perform His wonders in others lives for Him. Saved for such a time as this. Heaps of blessings my brother from a nana, Ruth

    • Such a touching and amazing testimony, Michael…To the Glory of God the Father; May you have the energy and opportunities to help others to know the Power of our Lord Jesus Christ…That many lost souls may be saved through your work for the Kingdom and by the Power of the Holy Spirit!!! “I AM the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me!!!” Jeremiah 32:27 KJV…You are such a walking example of His Almighty Power and Love!!!

    • I, too, have seen God in a cloud. I’m a Jewish believer in Christ and two years ago as I was lying in a sukkot for Succoth (a fall Jewish festival in remembrance of the Israelites living in booths in the wilderness) and I witnessed a cloud pass overhead and it took the shape of God the Father’s face and I watched Him wink His eye at me. FYI: a sukkot has only three sides to make it a booth and it has no roof or ceiling per se but loosely fitting branches with a window to look up into the heavens at the top of it.

    • Mike, why do you suppose Jesus revealed himself to you, but not any of us? I’ve asked, as my faith is like a candle about to go out in the wind. And all my life, being under a curse of loneliness, failure, stagnation, I look back and see a sea of broken dreams and unanswered prayers. I find it hard to believe in the Bible and God these days and I’ve asked him to reveal himself if he is real, and more-so his love, as I find it hard to love him. I’m desperate. In fact, my soul is in jeopardy as I am losing my faith. Why wouldn’t he show himself to me but you? Any ideas?

      • Keep seeking, keep knocking, keep asking. Jesus loves you so much and He will reveal Himself to you. I’d also encourage you to attend a good Bible believing Church and study the Bible. Start telling Jesus, “I believe in you even if I don’t see you”. As you practice trusting Him, He will reveal Himself to you more. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please Good. And faith really is trusting.

    • Michael, I too had a near-death experience at around age 22 when I had a tubal pregnancy that ruptured. The very first part of your story was nearly identical to mine. I did not see the things of this earth, I saw myself go from earth to a zillion miles into space in a second, and found myself in pure darkness completely and utterly alone. I knew I was out there and yet knew I was dead….and I thought the exact same thing you did: “Where is God?” I was waiting for Him impatiently but was entirely alone in an empty universe. Then I was suddenly thrust into a tunnel or hall of sorts forcing me forward in one direction; I could discern it but not see with my eyes. In that hall, there were other spirits moving with me toward an end and we could not prevent our movement toward that end. I looked intently to see what it was and realized I was moving toward a drop-off into hell. I could see the light from the flames but not the fire. I screamed for Jesus to save me and was instantaneously thrust back into my body. I felt powerful compressions in slow motion and then sharp pain in my abdomen. I realized I was in surgery and tried to move my eyes and fingers to let them know I was waking up.

      My mother told me I looked dead to her after that surgery…she thought I was dead on my bed. They told my husband I lost almost a gallon of blood. They were replacing it as fast as I was losing it. I know on hindsight I died during the surgery and they fought to bring me back with chest compressions of some sort, during which they probably lightened up on the anesthesia which would explain why I started to feel the pain. The slow-motion sensation of being compressed then pulled, then compressed, then pulled was probably the drug’s interpretation of the chest compressions that would have resuscitated me.

      God is good! He saved me from hell! That is where I would have gone if I had not just called his name: JESUS!

  2. Michael, Your story touched my heart. I too, love Jesus. Soooooo sorry you went through all that pain then and all the residual pains now. The best thing that can happen to anyone is to get to know Jesus as you did by reading His words in our Bible. I too have physical problems after several surgeries and am handicapped now. But I have Jesus in my heart and I know He is going to give us new bodies that will not be damaged. What a joyous day that will be !!
    When you tell your story, it helps others find a pathway to GOD. You are one of his children, and he showed how much he loves you.
    Thanks for the lift to spirit !!

  3. I am delighted for you Michael! But don’t feel that just because Jesus has already shown you great mercy that He doesn’t want to fully heal you..I believe He does!
    Healing was paid for in full by the beating that Jesus received for us, along with salvation at the Cross.
    It would be good if you asked the elders in your church, to anoint you with oil and pray for you in Jesus Name for your purchased healing ( as in James 5.)
    Please do!
    Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your testimony, what horrible injuries!
    I’m so glad you got saved. Blessings to you and your lovely family!

    • I am very glad n amazed by the way our creator connects with his children.If u really unaware of His love for u ,our God still comes to u He never shun away from u. He loves us so much n I wish we cud all know hw much He loves us like u do n I’m sorry by the way u encountered Him bt,stil I tink it was His plan.Just thank Him ever second of ur life n love Him more.I also love Him more everyday n others too will be inspired by this marvellous encounter.Thank keep telling more n more to the world .

    • L.W. I think if Jesus wanted to heal Michael fully, He would have already! But, you are quoting the Word, so I can’t argue with that.

      • JJ, healing is not up to God or Jesus any longer as THEY have provided it for Their Children, healing is the childrens bread, its up to each person to reach out to receive healing meaning they have to eat it, desire it and by their faith they will be healed. By your faith so be it unto you.

  4. Michael,
    Paul’s words “I rejoice in my suffering”… Why would Paul say this? He knows joys and sufferings are a win, win. We can offer in prayer our crosses, sufferings to Jesus, large and small. Our Lord can use them to our benefit us personally and to save souls. Give Jesus all your sufferings, maladies since your accident. Do it. Your witness to God saving you is beautiful. Proof, so true, He loves us more than He loves Himself.

  5. A point of correction,nt His plan that u be hurt bt to encounter Him him that moment wen u really needed His touch n love n yes, it happened as He planned,u love Him very much n many lives will be touched by ur story.God bless u .

  6. While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us. The mercy, love and long-suffering of God towards us is simply great. I thank God for the second chance to live that He has given to Mike, and believe that He will perfect the healing which which He has started in him as he earnestly seeks for this in faith.

  7. I read this to my family this morning! What an amazing testimony of the goodness of God! Thank you for being brave to share such an intimate experience with the Lord. I also admire you for the clarification on the fact that you left the hospital without the halo…truly a man of honor who has been transformed by the goodness of God!

  8. Rom 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel (the Church) is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge (when it comes to healing, prosperity, Gods truth). 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (truth). 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. KJV

  9. Your story is amazing. I very close friend of mine went through a similar NDE and when she told me her story I was amazed. I believe in God. It is a very personal thing for me.

    Thank you for sharing your story.


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