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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. Moody’s first book, Life After Life, was dedicated to Ritchie: “To George Ritchie, M.D. and, through him, to the One whom he suggested.” In 2019, Raymond Moody also described Ritchie as “the finest human being I have ever known.”
Websites & Background Information
• Wikipedia on George Ritchie
• Near-Death.com on George Ritchie
• Excerpts from Return From Tomorrow and My Life After Dying
• George Ritchie Videos (includes ability to download)
Return From Tomorrow (1995, 2007)
“At the age of twenty, George Ritchie died in an Army hospital. Nine minutes later, he returned to life. What happened to him during those minutes was so compelling that it changed his life forever. In Return from Tomorrow, Ritchie tells of his transforming encounter with the Son of God, who led him to encounters with other nonphysical beings at the very doorway of eternity. Ritchie’s extraordinary experience not only altered his view of eternity, but it has also altered the lives of hundreds of thousands of readers. One of the most startling and hopeful descriptions of the realm beyond, this classic will inspire readers from all walks of life. It includes a brand-new preface from Elizabeth Sherrill.”
“In December 1943, 20-year-old Army private George Ritchie died of pneumonia. Nine minutes later, he came back profoundly changed. What happened to him while his dead body lay under a sheet would change his life, and that of his family, friends, and patients. His bestselling book about his experiences, Return from Tomorrow, has sold more than 250,000 copies.
“In this book George Ritchie briefly retells 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. Included here are powerful stories of physical and emotional healing that were informed by those nine minutes on ‘the other side.’ “
Ordered to Return (1998)
“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.
“What’s more, using plain, every-day examples from life, he offers penetrating insights into what is wrong with American life today and how it can be set right.”
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.
[Jesus taught me] three things that changed my life and I think were the major reasons He told me I had to come back:
1. Can you imagine being in the room with somebody who knows every single minute detail of your life and totally accepts you and totally loves you? We have a God of love Who always [wants the best for us].
2. There are many different realms in life after death, not just two [heaven or hell]. The type of life we live here determines where we are going when we leave here. God doesn’t send us to heaven or hell or purgatory or anything else. But you don’t leave kindergarten here and go to the university. You’ve got to go through grade school, intermediate school, high school, and the type of grades you make determine which university you are going to . . . You go to whatever realm you are best suited to go to.
3. Life really is forever. We don’t die. Death is nothing more than a gateway through which we go.
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.
A Description Of Jesus
I was standing in front of this majestic Being, of whom I had been told: “Stand up. You are in the presence of the Son of God.” I had never seen such a being. He was powerfully built even in His spiritual transfigured body, which radiated a brilliant white light. I thought, “No wonder He could walk through a mob and no one would attack Him, if His physical body was anything like His magnificent spiritual body.” In fact, He did not look like any of the paintings I had seen of Him in the stained glass windows of the churches where I had been. This was no sweet, gentle Jesus, meek, weak, or mild. Here stood a robust male who radiated strength.
Due to the brilliant light emitting from this Being it was difficult to make out the color of His hair or eyes but I sensed, more than saw, that He had blue eyes with chestnut-brown hair parted in the middle. He was slightly taller than I, which would place His height at over six feet, two inches. Though He was dressed in a magnificent white robe, his powerful muscular frame shone through. He was ageless and yet appeared about 35 years of age.
All of the above description is not sufficient to describe the most outstanding thing about Him. Here stood a Being that knew everything I had ever done in my life, for the panorama of my life surrounded us, and yet He totally accepted and loved me. I have never felt such love or compassion. Before He entered the room, I was desperately alone and frightened and could only think about how I could return to my body so I might be able to continue my life on Earth. After being in His presence and feeling His love, I never wanted to leave Him again for any reason. Nothing I had, no one I had ever known on Earth, could make me want to leave Someone who loved and accepted me like this One.
This description appears in George Ritchie’s book, My Life After Dying (pages 20-21).
He [Jesus] opened a corridor through time which showed me increasing natural disasters coming upon the earth. There were more and more hurricanes and floods occurring over different areas of our planet. The earthquakes and volcanoes were increasing. We were becoming more and more selfish and self-righteous. Families were splitting, governments were breaking apart because people were thinking only of themselves. I saw armies marching on the United States from the south and explosions occurring over the entire world that were of a magnitude beyond my capacity to imagine. I realized if they continued, human life as we have known it could not continue to exist.
Suddenly this corridor was closed off and a second corridor started to open through time. At the beginning they appeared very similar but the farther the second one unfolded, the more different it became. The planet grew more peaceful. Man and nature both were better. Man was not as critical of himself or others. He was not as destructive of nature and he was beginning to understand what love is. Then we stood at a place in time where we were more like the beings in the fourth and fifth realm. The Lord sent the mental message to me: “It is left to man which direction he shall choose. I came to this planet to show you through the life I led how to love. Without our Father you can do nothing, neither could I. I showed you this. You have forty-five years.”
He then gave me orders to return to the human plane and mentally said, “You have forty-five years.”
This prediction appears in George Ritchie’s book, Ordered to Return: My Life After Dying (pages 45-46). Ritchie received this command over 76 years old, in 1943. He died in October of 2007.