Dr. George G. Ritchie, M.D. (born September 25, 1923; died October 29, 2007) held positions as president of the Richmond Academy of General Practice; chairman of the Department of Psychiatry of Towers Hospital; and founder and president of the Universal Youth Corps, Inc. for almost 20 years. In 1967, he entered private psychiatry practice in Richmond and in 1983, moved to Anniston, Alabama, to serve as head of the Department of Psychiatry at the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center. He returned to Richmond in 1986 to continue in private practice until retirement in 1992. At the age of twenty, George Ritchie died in an army hospital and was pronounced dead twice by the doctor on duty. Nine minutes later he returned to life. Dr. Ritchie wrote of his near-death experience (NDE) in Return from Tomorrow, co-written with Elizabeth Sherrill, in 1978. In Return from Tomorrow, he tells of his out-of-body experience, his meeting with Jesus Christ, and his travel with Christ through different dimensions of time and space. Return from Tomorrow has been translated into nine languages. Ritchie’s story was the first contact Dr. Raymond Moody, PhD had with NDEs, during his undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of Virginia. This led Moody to investigate over 150 cases of NDEs in his book Life After Life and two other books that followed.
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George Ritchie’s Near-Death Experience
In December, 1943, 20-year-old Army private George Ritchie died of pneumonia. Nine minutes later, he came back profoundly changed. What had happened to him while his dead body lay under a sheet would change his life, and that of his family, friends, and patients. His first book, Return From Tomorrow, has sold over 200,000 copies and has been translated into nine languages. Now, in Ordered to Return, George Ritchie briefly re-tells the story of that strange experience and then tells what happened later, including the real miracles that he has seen in his years of practice as a physician and psychiatrist.
Dr. George Ritchie’s Near-Death Experience
In December, 1943, George Ritchie died of pneumonia. Nine minutes later, miraculously and unaccountably, he returned to life to tell of his amazing near-death experience in the afterlife. His near-death experience was the one that profoundly moved Raymond Moody to begin seriously investigating the near-death experience. Since Dr. Moody is considered to be the “father of the near-death experience,” Dr. Ritchie’s near-death experience is in a class of its own. You will find his experience to be one of the most profound near-death experiences ever documented.
The following is a brief summary of Dr. George Ritchie’s near-death experience. You can read his NDE testimony in its entirety in his ground-breaking books Return From Tomorrow and his follow-up book Ordered to Return: My Life After Dying.
George leaves his body and sees it lying in his bed. He is not aware the dead body in his bed is his. Wanting eagerly to travel to Richmond, Virginia to start college, he finds himself flying in the air toward a city. He is not sure how he acquired these strange powers of flight and transparency. He arrives at a city and discovers he has lost his solidness. He flies back to the hospital and sees his lifeless body in the morgue and realizes he has died.
Suddenly, Jesus appears emitting a tremendous light and love. George’s entire life appears before him. Jesus asks, “What have you done with your life?” He realizes Jesus is not judging him, but he is judging himself.
Jesus gives him a tour of four different dimensions in the afterlife. They both fly toward a large city on Earth where they notice a group of assembly-line workers at work. He witnesses the spirit of a woman trying desperately to obtain a cigarette from the workers who are oblivious to her presence. This woman died severely addicted to cigarettes.
In a house, Jesus shows him the spirit of a boy following a living teenage girl and begging for forgiveness while the girl is completely unaware of the boy’s presence. Jesus tells George that the boy committed suicide and is “chained to every consequence of his act.”
Jesus shows George a bar filled with sailors who are heavily drinking. Spirits try desperately and in vain to get a drink or to control the sailors’ alcoholic behavior. These spirits are from humans who die severely alcoholic. He is horrified as he observes a drunken sailor pass out and an alcoholic spirit jump into the body of the sailor.
Jesus takes him to a new dimension away from Earth and shows him a kind of “receiving station” where spirits would arrive in a deep hypnotic sleep because of their beliefs. These are spirits who believe they must sleep after death until Jesus returns.
Jesus shows him a dimension where angry spirits are locked in hand-to-hand combat, trying in vain to hurt each other. He hears verbal abuse going on. He observes some trying in vain to get sexual gratification from each other. He also sees spirits arguing over some religious or political point and trying to kill the ones who did not agree with them. Here, he realizes he is seeing hell. These are spirits who are locked into some earthly desire that went beyond the physical and which cannot be satisfied in the spirit.
He is then taken to a different dimension appearing like an enormous university. Here he observes people dressed as monks engaged in some form of artistic behavior or research. He is taken into an enormous library where all the important books of the universe are assembled. He asks Jesus if this is heaven. He replies that these are the people who grew beyond selfish desires while on Earth. George realizes these people cannot see Jesus, just as the others could not see him in hell.
Jesus takes him into outer space toward a distant city made of brilliant light of a similar description to the city in the Book of Revelation. He speculates this is the place where people go who have become Christ-like while on Earth. Here, love was the dominant focus of life. He realizes he is seeing heaven, but he is not allowed to go in. Jesus then shows him the future of the Earth. He then returns to his physical body.