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'Top Gear' Richard Hammond explains how a surreal dream saved his life while he was in a coma

While he was unconscious, he received something that everyone is curious about: insight into what the end feels like.

'Top Gear' Richard Hammond explains how a surreal dream saved his life while he was in a coma
Cover Image Source: YouTube/What Next?

Richard Hammond lost a lot of things in the 2006 jet-powered vehicle accident. He suffered brain damage, lost his sense of invincibility, spent two weeks in a coma, and lost the ability to perform simple tasks. Hammond strapped himself into the Vampire dragster in September 2006, but at 310 mph, a tire blew out, causing the vehicle to violently spin. Hammond was extricated from the vehicle and taken to the hospital, but he spent two weeks there with only a small chance of surviving, according to the doctors. He would eventually get them back, but while he was unconscious, he also received something that everyone wants: insight into how the end will feel.


The former "Top Gear" and current "Grand Tour" broadcaster reveals where his thoughts went during his slumber in a brand-new video from "What Next?" on YouTube. At the beginning of the video, Hammond says, "This is a story about places, about going places in your mind and I suppose about the power of daydreams."



He started by sharing the dream he had while he was in a coma. He found himself walking in the Lake District overlooking Buttermere. In the video, he is sitting by a tree that he said was in his dream. He visits the same tree in the film as he did in his dream and describes what it was like to be so close to passing away. He felt like horrible things were about to happen, like a teen about to be caught staying out late. "That feeling grew and grew," said Hammond, but he continued to struggle up the mountain knowing where he was going. He believes the dreams were so vivid due to the morphine intake.

Back in reality, after hearing that things weren't looking well for him, his wife requested if she could scold him in the real world. "Don't you dare die," she yelled at his unconscious body. He may have somehow been affected by that since, at that point, the sense of impending doom became too much to handle. He turned around on the mountain, headed back home, and awoke. That's when he woke up. He eventually made a full recovery. "I mean I didn't really walk up to this tree; I was in a coma in Leeds," he said, adding, "But my mind did and my mind is who I am, having damaged it and spent a long time recovering."



"I have taken huge solace from that ever since because that was my last thought," he said, adding, "My last thought took me somewhere I love, somewhere I'm happy and that last thought, if I had shut down would have echoed for all of eternity." He is now very consoled by these very memories. He can put his hands on the tree he was walking toward and be sure he is going there. He can stand on the shakiest ground and predict how it will feel to have his number called. And if you've ever had a deep, spiritual connection to a specific location, you may be able to predict where your mind will wander when the light starts to fade. "One day I will walk round this tree, nice to know where it is," Hammond says, talking about the place where he might go should the light ever permanently fade.



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