Elisabeth Kübler-Ross … The Mysterious Case of Mrs. Schwarz

In her book, On Life After Death, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-born psychiatrist, and one of the world’s leading authorities on death and dying, and renowned pioneer in the study of the near-death experience (NDE), states that her first account of an NDE came from “a certain Mrs. Schwarz” who was declared dead following 45 minutes of resuscitation attempts. Miraculously, Mrs. Schwarz was resuscitated back to life.

Mrs. Schwarz lived for another year-and-a-half, during which time she met Dr. Ross and related her near-death experience to a crowd during a seminar on death and dying at the University of Chicago.

Less than a year after Mrs. Schwarz’s death, Dr. Ross had a difficult decision to make. Her seminar on death and dying had started to deteriorate. A minister she loved teaching with left the school to take over a church, and things weren’t the same anymore. So, with a broken heart, she decided to leave the University of Chicago. After class she was going to give notice immediately.

From her classroom to the elevator, she would meet up with the minister. There, she would tell him about her decision. One of the minister’s biggest problems was that he couldn’t listen. This was just another grievance she had. As she attempted to tell him about her important decision, he didn’t say anything. Then, according to her experience, and in her own words:

“At this moment a woman appeared in front of the elevator. I stared at this woman. I cannot tell you how this woman looked, but you can imagine what it’s like when you see somebody that you know terribly well, but you suddenly block out who it is. I said to him, “God, who is that? I know that woman, and she’s staring at me; she’s just waiting until you go into the elevator, and then she’ll come.” I was so preoccupied with who she was I forgot that I tried to grab him. She stopped that. She was very transparent, but not transparent enough that you could see very much behind her.”

“I asked him once more, but he didn’t tell me who she was, so I gave up on him. The last thing I said to him was kind of, “To heck, I’m going over and tell her I just cannot remember her name.” (That was my last thought before he left)”

“The moment he had entered the elevator, this woman walked straight towards me and said, “Dr. Ross, I had to come back. Do you mind if I walk you to your office? It will only take two minutes.” Something like this.”

“And because she knew where my office was, and she knew my name, I felt kind of safe, I didn’t have to admit that I didn’t know who she was.”

“This was the longest walk of my life. I am a psychiatrist. I work with schizophrenic patients all the time, and I love them. When they would have visual hallucinations I would tell them, “I know you see that Madonna on the wall, but I don’t see it.” Now, I said to myself, “Elisabeth, I know you see this woman, but that can’t be.”

“All the way from the elevator to my office, I did reality testing on myself. I said, “I’m tired, I need a vacation, I think I’ve seen too many schizophrenic patients. I’m beginning to see things.”

“I have to touch her, to know if she’s real. I even touched her skin to see if it was cold or warm, or if the skin would disappear when I touched it. It was the most incredible walk I have ever taken, not knowing why I was doing what I was doing.”

“I was both an observing psychiatrist and a patient. I was everything at one time. I didn’t know why I did what I did, or who I thought she was. I even repressed the thought that this could actually be Mrs. Schwarz who had died and was buried months ago.”

“When we reached my door she opened it with this incredible kindness and tenderness and love, and she said, “Dr. Ross, I had to come back for two reasons. One, to thank you and Reverend Gaines….” (He was a beautiful black minister with whom I had a super, ideal symbiosis), “to thank you and him for what you did for me. But the other reason I had to come back is that you cannot stop this work on death and dying, not yet.”

“I looked at her, and I don’t know if I thought by then, “It could be Mrs. Schwarz,” I mean, this woman had been buried for ten months, and I didn’t believe in all that stuff.”
“I finally got to my desk. I touched everything that was real. I touched my pen, my desk, my chair, and it’s real. I was hoping that she would disappear. But she didn’t. She just stood there and stubbornly, but lovingly, said, “Dr. Ross, do you hear me? Your work is not finished. We will help you, and you will know when the time is right, but do not stop now. Promise?”

“I thought, “My God, nobody would ever believe me if I told them this, not even my dearest friend.” Little did I know I would later tell this to several hundred people. (By now millions)”
“Then, the scientist in me won, and I said something very shrewd and a big fat lie!  I said to her, “You know Reverend Gaines is in Urbana now.” (This was true; he had taken over a church there.) I said, “He would just love to have a note from you. Would you mind?” And I gave her a piece of paper and a pencil. You understand, I had no intention of sending this note to my friend, but I needed scientific proof. I mean, somebody who’s buried can’t write little love letters.”
“And this woman, with the most human, no, not human, most loving smile, knowing every thought I had – and I knew, it was thought transference if I’ve ever experienced it – took the paper and wrote a note. Then she said, (but without words) “Are you satisfied now?”
“I looked at her and thought, I will never be able to share this with anybody, but I am going to really hold onto this.”

“Then she got up, ready to leave, repeating: “Dr. Ross, you promise?” implying not to give up this work yet. I said, “I promise.” And the moment I said, “I promise,” she disappeared.”
“We still have the note.”
Dr. Ross went on to say that she needed to stay, as there weren’t many in her field that could do what she was doing, and also, what she was about to do. She discovered her real job was to tell people that death does not exist; which she spent the rest of her life doing! Thank you, Dr. Ross!

Since then, many scientific people, like her have come forth, testifying of their own undeniable experiences of life after death. Because of them, and the many other brave people who have also experienced this amazing phenomenon, and have courageously told about it, there is hope, comfort and light brought into the a world laced with fear and darkness.

“Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon.”  –Dr. Ross



11 thoughts on “Elisabeth Kübler-Ross … The Mysterious Case of Mrs. Schwarz

  1. Dear Jade, certainly you know that Rob (Christian) wrote about NDE at Abitur in Germany?
    Certainly he told you about.
    Regards, Elizabeth

  2. Wow, I had never heard that story. I had heard from someone who worked with her that in her first book she withheld aspects of the near death experience that she felt were too much for the time but this shows how incredible this really was for her. It’s not easy to know that the reality you know and experience is beyond the capacity of so many in your profession to even conceive of.

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  4. I have heard this story before but not in Dr Kubler-Ross’ own words. I find it beautiful and brave. I wish I had known her but perhaps when I cross over, I can meet her. I often think of a certain friend who is waiting for me in spirit…doing his spiritual work but what joy when we meet again. I have several people and pets that have passed on that I can’t wait to see again.
    My main focus in this life has been as a recovering person and ending the cycle of addiction so that I can move on. I feel that I will be in the medical field in a future incarnation and then, after that I may be in government. For me it is like attending school! But I know I am really just starting out and I have to master the basics of life before I have more responsibility and civic life. I have much to atone for but I have also made progress. Dr. Kubler-Ross’ work has given me a different perspective on life, death and the process of learning to care for fellow human beings and the creatures of this earth. I think she did a wonderful job of being a caring doctor and fine person! God bless her for her courage and love!

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    • Yes. I think you are right. I think he was telling you that he is always with you and you know the answer you need to know without him telling you. Thanks for writing. Sorry for your loss. Hugs.

  6. Wow! really blew my mind away! The next person I would really want to talk to, other than my mum, when I get there would be Dr Ross, to thank her for this and for all her great work to bring realization to mankind that there is no death! I guess I have to wait a little longer but when the time comes, we will have all the time in the world, or rather, in Heaven!

  7. I was in Massachusetts General Hospital,visiting a dear friend who was dying. I had gone to the cafateria for lunch when a friend mentioned that Kubler Ross was going to be speaking in Watertown Ma that evening. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited to maybe have the opportunity to hear her speak and be in her presence, and it turned out that I was lucky enough to be able to attend at such short notice. That evening, she told the story of Mrs. Schwarz. That was 30 years ago, and I have never forgotten that story. It is wonderful to see it written here. Being in her presence was inspiring.. I love this woman and her groundbreaking hospice work.

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