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NDE Radio With Lee Witting
Lee Witting

LEE WITTING is the producer and host of NDE Radio, which he founded through the help of Talk Zone in 2013.  Lee experienced an NDE himself when he drowned at age seven, and it helped determine his life’s direction. He received a Doctor of Ministry degree in NDE Studies in 2010, and has since retired after 15 years as the “NDE chaplain” at Eastern Maine Medical Center.  He continues to pastor a congregation at the Union Street Brick Church in Bangor, Maine. Before starting NDE Radio, he also served as the Publications Director for the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS).  

Lee’s interest in NDEs began as a child, when he drowned in a lake near Branchville, NJ. In his Fall 2010 editorial in the IANDS’ quarterly, Vital Signs, Lee wrote, “My body was under water, but I opted out of the tunnel and the light for a perch high in a tree, watching as my mother, who’d heard me scream, ran from the cottage, plunged into the lake, and dragged my body from the water.  Remarkably, she threw me face down over a log and pumped on my back (as she told me later, to get the water out of my lungs).   In the process, the log did an upside-down CPR, compressing my heart, and got me going again.  And then I was back in my body.”  During the experience, Lee recognized his mother as a channel for God’s love in a way that brought him back to this life.  Growing up, his recurring dreams about the experience served to influence his life decisions.

Lee went through Presbyterian Sunday School before being raised Catholic, when his mother converted to that religion.  At Columbia University he minored in Eastern Studies, and developed a deep interest in the Tao and Buddhism.  After college he worked for New York City’s Dept. of Welfare as a caseworker in Harlem.       

With money they saved, Lee, his first wife, Alisoun, and three-year-old son Matthew boarded a coal freighter bound for Germany, and spent nine months living in a VW camper, touring churches and pagan sites in Europe, and following crusader routes through the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon – winding up within Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock before returning to Europe and the US.

Back in the states, Lee worked as an editor of one academic and three business publications in Philadelphia.  As members of the Society of Friends, the family marched in Washington DC and New York, protesting the Vietnam War and supporting Civil Rights.  In 1973, the family moved to an 1860’s abandoned farmhouse in mid-coast Maine.  While restoring the farm, they raised goats, pigs, bees, and chickens, and sold their home-grown vegetables at a roadside stand.  Lee helped start and edit an organic gardening magazine for Maine called Farmstead, and later, to supplement their income, opened a real estate office and published/edited a weekly newspaper, The Castine Patriot.  During that time, he also served as a volunteer EMT on the local ambulance.

Lee earned an MA degree in theater and creative writing, at the University of Maine, before earning a Master of Divinity degree at Bangor Theological Seminary.  In 1998, Lee and wife Charlene were able to reopen an historic Bangor church and convert it to a working church-theater, staging open mic nights and several plays, including annual Passion Plays, which were written and produced by Charlene. While working as hospital chaplain, Lee returned to the seminary part-time to earn a doctorate in near-death studies in 2010.  

Lee’s radio experience began at Columbia University’s WKCR-FM in New York, and later continued in a six-year run of “Earthtones,” a WERU-FM community radio program he hosted, which was devoted to Native American and Eastern religious chant – along with weekly NDE stories from the files of IANDS. Today, Lee’s podcast is dedicated primarily to interviews with near-death experiencers, and offers over 400 archived shows for those interested in first-hand accounts of NDEs.