Remember the ``Coal Mine Rescue'' episode on the documentary TV series
``Spirit of Survival"?
It was broadcast on the Discovery Channel a dozen times over the past
three years -- and it'll probably be aired again.
The following article, which appeared in the Hazleton (Pa.)
Standard-Speaker on May 30, 1990, shortly after David Fellin's death
two weeks before his 85th birthday, sheds much more light on the
Please understand that the article is very long because there was so
much to write about, What appears here is only a portion, perhaps only
If there's a positive reaction by folks who desire to read the entire
article, I will gladly will post it in its entirety.
>Copyright (c) 1990
>All Rights Reserved
By ED CONRAD
Conclusive evidence of life after death actually has been available
for more than a quarter-century.
This opinion is shared by two of the world's foremost authorities on
death and dying, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Dr. Bruce Greyson.
They agree that the proof had been provided by a pair of Pennsylvania
coal miners who, back in 1963, revealed that Pope John XXIII had
appeared to both of them at the same time during their 14-day
entombment following an underground cave-in near Hazleton, Pa.
Pope John had died in a hospital in Rome, Italy, on June 3, 1963, some
10 weeks before the cave-in.
David Fellin, one of the miners, personally had told Dr. Kubler-Ross
about the appearance of the deceased pontiff and provided details of
other mysterious, supernatural experiences which he, then 58, and
Henry ``Hank" Throne, then 28, had shared while cut off from the rest
of the world during the first five days of their grueling ordeal.
Among the remarkable things Fellin had told Dr. Kubler-Ross during a
day-long conversation in her home in Headwaters, Va., were the two
separate occasions that he insisted he and Throne had been out of
their physical bodies at the same time, during which they actually had
engaged in conversation.
Dr. Kubler-Ross, the internationally acclaimed author of numerous
books on death and dying, said she believed Fellin and stated that the
miners' miraculous rescue, the appearance of the deceased pope and the
out-of-body experiences shared by two persons at the same time --
never before documented -- is ``the evidence . . . that life does not
end when our physical body dies."
Dr. Greyson, a psychiatrist at the University of
Connecticut Health Center and an official of The International
Association for Near-death Studies, had become acquainted with the
incredible details of the supernatural events connected with the
cave-in only in the last year of Fellin's life but had found them
``I am most intrigued by the simultaneous experiences of David Fellin
and Hank Throne, who apparently conversed while out of their bodies,"
he stated. ``If they can coorborate each other's accounts, they could
provide evidence for the reality of `The Other Side' beyond anything
When making that statement, Dr. Greyson, then the editor of The
Journal of Near-Death Studies, hadn't been aware that such
corroboration actually had taken place soon after Fellin and Throne
had been dramatically rescued.
After being pulled to the surface through a 17 1/2-inch bore hole on
Aug. 27, 1963, the two miners had been interviewed individually, then
together, by a pair of psychiatrists and a third staff member from the
Institute of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
These intriguing interviews, the subject of an article in the American
Journal of Psychiatry, offered the evidence that both men undoubtedly
had been mutual participants in a series of mysterious, supernatural
events, including the appearance of the late pontiff, and their joint
The Journal article stated that ``neither man exhibited evidence of
psychosis or marked mental abnormality when examined,'' yet dismissed
their similiar experiences as ``fantasies" and ``hallucinations." The
authors felt they had been caused by the miners' life-threatening
situation when entombed.
This was their conclusion even through both men independently had
described a variety of similiar unexplained occurences underground.
They had mentioned, among other things, that their darkened chamber
suddenly was illuminated with a bluish light; the deceased pontiff
appearing to them; and seeing a large number of men who were neither
miners nor members of the rescue party.
Fellin also revealed that, shortly after being rescued, he had been
interviewed for more than seven hours by the U.S. Navy Survival Team
headed by Lt. Richard Anderson, a medical doctor and psychiatrist.
Fellin said the day after his interview, Lt. Anderson visited his
hospital room and told him he was absolutely certain his experiences
were factual because Throne also had been interviewed for several
hours -- something Fellin hadn't even been aware of -- and their two
stories had meshed perfecltly.
``Dr. Anderson told me that our story MUST be true because it would be
impossible for two people to concoct a story that would stand up so
well during such lengthy interviews," said Fellin.
"In fact, he told me if the President (Kennedy) or the pope (Pope Paul
VI, who succeeded Pope John XXIII) would say our story wasn't true, I
shouldn't argue with them but simply walk away because he KNOWS it's
It should be noted that all attempts to obtain a copy of Fellin's
taped interview or a transcript from the U.S. Navy in recent years has
been unsuccessful. In fact, Navy officials first denied knowledge of
Lt. Anderson but later -- in response to a request for information by
a U.S. congressman -- admitted that he had resigned from the Navy in
1964, the year following the cave-in and rescue..
Dr. Kubler-Ross said Fellin's revelations are ``obviously true'' and
emphasized that she is convinced that Pope John XXIII had much to do
with their survival.
``From the moment of the late pope's appearance until they were moved
out of the drillholes, he illuminated their cave with a bluish light
radiating from him," she stated.
Dr. Kubler-Ross also was greatly impressed by the manner in which the
two miners had survived the first five days following the cave-in,
calling it ``a guideline for our miners, soliders, mountain climbers
and all those at risk to face a similiar ordeal one day."
She referred to their battle to stay alive as ``a story of faith,
courage, and mutual care and respect..."
Concerning Fellin's claims of having shared two out-of-body trips with
Throne at his side, Dr. Kubler-Ross said she is certain they indeed
had taken place, calling them ``very real, as I am happy to witness
form my own life experiences."
Throne actually was the first to reveal the supernatural experiences
after being rescued, even though Fellin emphatically had warned him
not to do so. He said, just before Throne had been hauled to the
surface, he had grabbed him by the shirt and told him he'd better not
say a word about them because ``If you do, right away they'll say
Throne failed to heed the advice and, in fact, had told several nurses
and attendants at Hazleton State General Hospital about a few of the
mysterious occurences soon after being flown there in a U.S. Navy
Throne also mentioned some of these mysterious events during an
exclusive interview he had granted to The Associated Press which had
appeared in newspapers worldwide. Fellin also had been interviewed by
the AP, during which he corroborated some of the things his companion
Commented Throne while being interviewed by AP:
``There were times we saw people who weren't there and lights that
weren't there and doors that weren't there. Imagine seeing a regular
house door down in the bottom of a mine.
``I'd sleep! I'd wake up. I'd see all kinds of lights and the actual
figures of people. They now tell me these were hallucinations but the
crazy thing is that Davey would see the things the same as I did."
Commented Fellin during his interview:
``Now they're trying to tell me those things were hallucinations, that
we imagined it all. We didn't! Our minds weren't playing tricks on us.
I've been a practical hard-headed miner all my life. My mind was clear
down there isn the mine. These things happened! I can't explain them.
I'm almost afraid to think what might be the explanation."