a002046 (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 02:49:22 -0500

Ed Conrad wrote:
> > The Universe: No small potato
> ~~~
> So-called ``experts'' about the universe still have no idea -- none
> whatsover -- of how big it really is.
> Whenever they say they believe they have a pretty good concept
> of its size and toss out an astronomical number that seems to stretch
> the limits of our imagination, it isn't too long afterward that
> they're forced to eat those words.
> A continuation of new discoveries, especially because of the Hubble
> in recent years, continues to dwarf all previous estimates of the size
> of the universe.
> It would seem satisfactory enough, then, to agree with certain
> ``experts" whose ballpark figure is a minimum of 100 million million
> million stars.
> Or, if that number doesn't seem quite large enough, they can always
> accept Carl Sagan's mind-boggling claim that there are more stars out
> there than the number of grains of sand on all of earth's beaches and
> deserts.
> Sometimes, however, the best-kept secrets -- like that of the precise
> size of the universe -- pop up in the most unlikely places.
> David Fellin, who survived a grueling odeal I wouldn't wish on anyone,
> wasn't seeking fame or fortune when he was rescued after being
> entombed for 14 days following a coal mine cave-in in August 1963.
> And he had quite a story to tell and tried to do so but few, if any,
> would listen.
> Not until a quarter-century later did Dave reveal in vivid detail
> that, while waiting to die, he had left his physical body on numerous
> occasions and, for whatever the reason, learned the answer to many of
> the questions about both the earth and the universe.
> ``I saw ALL there is to see," he said.
> Immediately, many out there who couldn't have come up to his waist
> in bravery and courage, will dismiss Dave as a hallucinator, if not
> something worse..
> Yet, they should remember, he certainly wasn't considered a
> hallucinator by Lt. Richard Anderson, physician/psychiatrist, who
> headed the U.S. Navy Survival Team and conducted separate
> hours-long interviews with Fellin and his fellow miner, Hank Throne,
> the day they were rescued.
> In addition, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross spent an entire day listening
> to just part of Mr. Fellin's incredible story of what he learned while
> in the other dimension and, at the conclusion, stated emphatically:
> ``I believe every word."
> Meanwhile, Dave himself successfully passed two different polygraphs
> about his most-incredible experiences and also signed an affidavit --
> actually, many affidavits -- that everything he had revealed about
> what he had learned during his out-of-body experiences was true.
> With that in mind, we turn to a portion of a notarized letter signed
> by Dave on Oct. 19, 1987 in which he revealed, rather humbly,
> that he had learned something totally beyond comprehension
> about the size of our universe.
> ``The universe, as we know it, is in itself but a grain of sand on the
> ocean floor in comparison to the number of different universes which
> exist," he stated. `` In other words, there is no end.
> ``I repeat: Our known universe, in comparison to the actual size of
> all of the universes which reach out in all directions, is as
> insignificant as a grain of sand on the ocean floor.
> ``I hereby testify that this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing
> but the truth, so help me God."

I think the interesting part about this, anthropologically speaking, is
its applicability to religion. We have stories from the distant past
of people lost in the desert or on a mountain for 40 days and 40 nights,
pondering the stars and the noises of wild animals, who founded religions
upon their return. So, its possible that some of our sacred truths trace
directly to people who were temporarily demented due to sleep deprivation,
hypo- or hyperthermia, and lack of food and water. The dementia was
temporary but the vivid memories of "receiving wisdom" remained.