Ray Kinman


Ray Kinman: Near-Death Experiencer, Former Disney

Artist, Woodcarving Teacher- A Short Biography


Ray Kinman

Ray Kinman


A dangerous and unsuccessful judo throw landed 4th grader Ray Kinman right on the top of his head – on concrete. The resulting edema of his brain was of secondary concern because his tongue retracted, suffocating Ray. “I became pain,” he recalls. “It was an explosion.”

The boy found himself in a place with “No gravity, no color, no darkness, and no light.”  Says Ray, “I didn’t know where I was or how I had gotten there.  I was absolutely terrified.” But when he let go of the fear, he felt better.  And then he saw a pinpoint of light “10 million times brighter than the sun.”  He traveled through a tunnel and met a kindly being who knew him… and who introduced him to God. “Beautiful, blissful pure love” is how he describes the encounter.  But against his desires, he was told he must return.

When he recovered, he told his mother what had happened.  A devout Catholic, she took him to a priest, who told him that since he didn’t see Jesus in the experience, it was probably a trick of Satan.  “I was crushed,” says Ray.

He would try to bury his experience, but it wouldn’t go away.  It wasn’t until years later – when the term “near-death experience” was coined – that he realized he wasn’t alone as an experiencer.

He did not speak publicly about his experience for 45 years. Since, he has spoken at many IANDS chapters and at the IANDS national conference.  And now, a half-century after his NDE, he can say, ”When I die I’ll have a big smile on my face… because I know what’s coming!”

Ray lives in the Gold Country and is a retired Imagineer for Disney. He was and still is a master signmaker and conducts workshops in his home shop for beginners. Check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/raykinman