From the PREFACE:
ASHLAND—A five-year-old Ashland boy, riding a tricycle near his home
in the 2700 block of Monroe Street, was seriously injured at 4:53 PM
Thursday when he was stuck by a car. Billy Anderson, son of Mr. and
Mrs. James Anderson…was in critical condition today at
Cabell-Huntington Hospital where he underwent brain surgery following
the accident. His brother, Jimmy, 12, also struck by the vehicle…was
treated in King’s Daughters Hospital emergency room for a leg injury
So began a front-page story in the Ashland Daily Independent detailing
the events of Thursday, February 26, 1970, the day a horrifying traffic
accident briefly took the life of my five-year-old brother Billy. That
my brother departed this life, however briefly, is central to the story.
To quote Dickens, “This must be distinctly understood, or nothing
wonderful will come of the story I’m going to relate.” Unlike the
novels of Dickens, however, this is not a work of fiction. It is a true
Little Billy, whose head was literally crushed by the front bumper of a
speeding car, died three times prior to emergency surgery and was left
in a vegetative coma after large portions of his damaged brain were
removed. Although given no hope to live by his doctors, God had other
plans—healing Billy in a stunning display of miracle-working power,
turning family tragedy into unexpected triumph. Returning home just
thirteen days after his head-crushing brush with death, Billy stunned
our parents by telling them of his visits to Heaven…
“The doctors fixed my head, but God made me well. I saw God…and
Jesus is coming.”
Unfortunately, following his recovery, Billy lost all recollection of
his visits to Heaven, leaving him with a gnawing life-long hunger to
know what happened to him during his Near-Death Experience. Yet the
story doesn’t end here.
Forty years after the accident, in a dramatic session with a clinical
psychologist, the memories of his remarkable out-of-body encounters,
including his conversations with Jesus, were completely restored.
During an extraordinary 90-minute hypnotherapy session, Bill re-lived
the entire ordeal, describing exactly what happened to him in the hours
after the accident.
The last chapter of this book includes a gripping interview with Bill,
covering all aspects of his Near-Death Experience in startling detail.
Now, through Bill’s eyes, we have the blessed opportunity to learn
what it’s like to venture beyond the veil, to experience the majesty
of Heaven and the electrifying presence of the Son of God.
I’ve had the privilege of sharing this story with personal friends
many times through the years and I am again privileged to share it with
you. It is an incredible story of God’s mercy and grace, a
heartbreaking and heartwarming story you will long remember…a story
that begs to be told.
* * * * *
Excerpt from CHAPTER 2:
The high-pitched screeching sound that rubber tires make when skidding
across asphalt is quite unmistakable to the human ear, and at precisely
seven minutes to five o’clock on Thursday, February 26, 1970, that
unmistakable sound broke the neighborhood stillness with an unusually
long and disquieting roar. Startled from light dozing, my mother heard
it first and jumped to her feet. She knew her children were out there
where that awful noise came from and instinctively flew to the front
On my way to retrieve our football, I was halfway across the street when
I heard it—a loud, piercing scream in my left ear that broke my
relaxed concentration and reflexively jerked my head toward the sound.
What greeted my eyes when I turned my head was something straight from a
nightmare—my little brother Billy pedaling serenely into the path of
an oncoming yellow blur, then disappearing altogether at the sound of a
heavy ‘thud.’ As my mind struggled to comprehend what was
happening, that yellow blur continued on in its path directly toward me,
the whole scene bathed in the high-pitched roar of skidding tires.
What happened next remains somewhat of a mystery to me. In one instant,
I was standing directly in the path of an oncoming yellow missile,
frozen and immobile, and in the next instant, I was on the side of the
street trying to recover my balance after feeling an impact on my lower
left leg. I regained my feet quickly and, for a second or two, stood
motionless trying to understand what had just happened.
Then I saw Billy, and everything in my young world was shattered. He
lay motionless on his back on a bed of gravel in front of the
Rothwell’s house, about twenty feet from where I’d seen that yellow
blur swallow him up. His prized Big Wheel, now an ugly piece of mangled
plastic, lay just to his left.
I was the first to reach him and the memory of what I saw in that brief
moment haunts me to this day. He was lying on his back, his dark brown
eyes staring up at me, fixed and unseeing, his arms slightly raised, his
fingers curled around invisible handlebars. I’d never seen a dead
person before, but I learned in that horrifying instant exactly what one
His head was oddly misshapen, his face ashen. He wasn’t breathing.
Blood trickled from his left ear. I remember the horrible sinking
feeling that washed over me as I stood looking down at my little
brother. Without thinking, I bent down to pick him up but drew back
when frantic cries—Don’t touch him!—reached my ears. Looking up,
I saw several familiar faces running toward me as neighbors and friends
came pouring out of their homes into the street, drawn by the shrieks
Stepping backward, I stared in shock and horror at the unfolding scene.
Woody Reed and Sandy Thornbury, neighbors from across the street, were
the first to arrive. Sandy took one look at Billy and raced back to her
house to call an ambulance. Woody, in a T-shirt and bare feet, kneeled
down beside Billy and began massaging his chest in a desperate attempt
to get him breathing again. Bessie Johnson, in her late seventies,
approached within a few yards and turning hurriedly, rushed back to her
house. Certain that little Billy was dead, she thought it best that the
body be covered, and went to get a blanket.
The next few minutes were wholly unreal, a maelstrom of utter chaos, as
scores of people appeared, children screamed and women cried, traffic
became snarled, and in the distance, the plaintive wail of an ambulance
siren growing, thankfully, ever louder.
Despite a growing sense of hopelessness, Woody continued to massage
Billy’s chest. After several minutes of concentrated effort, Billy
suddenly gasped and began breathing again, much to the relief of those
crowded around my brother as he lay there clinging to life on that cool
One enduring memory of those terrible moments is that of my poor mother,
sobbing uncontrollably in the arms of Gene Salyers, a kindly neighbor
from across the alley who was doing his dead-level-best to calm her and
tell her that everything was going to be all right.
For a while, no one knew that I too had been hit by the car. I wasn’t
even really aware of it myself, as the raw energy and adrenaline that
great trauma produces was coursing through my veins, numbing me to my
own injury. At some point, I noticed that my left foot felt wet, as
though I’d stepped in a puddle. Looking down, I was startled to see
my left sneaker oozing blood. Only then did I realize that I had been
hurt, and that blood was running down my leg and into my shoe from a
large cut on my left shin. Even then, I hardly felt it, as my eyes and
thoughts were riveted on the pitiful little form still lying motionless
in the gravel…
Excerpted from "I Saw God: The True Story of a Young Boy's Miraculous Return from Death" by Jim Anderson. Copyright © 2012 by Jim Anderson. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.