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episode 51into the story podcast. Erica Tait

Episode 51: 18 meter fall with Erica Tait

Level: Intermediate
Accent: United States (New Jersey)

In this episode, Erica shares a story of falling off of an 18-meter cliff. Find out what she saw in those moments between life and death, and learn about the amazing power of our minds. 

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[00:00:16] Bree: Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome back to enter the story, the podcast where you learn English with true stories. Now today we’re going to the United States. To the east coast. I want you to imagine that you’re in New Jersey. Near the New York state line and you’re driving. You take exit three, which leads you into a large parking lot.

[00:00:47] There’s an incredible view of the Hudson river. It’s busy. There are people having picnics and others enjoying lunch at a small restaurant called the state line lookout cafe. You see a group of birdwatchers looking through their binoculars. It’s a beautiful place. Especially now in the fall. With the leaves changing colors. Orange to red, to brown. This place is well-known to anyone who lives here.

[00:01:19] And it’s a popular hiking spot called peanut leap falls.

[00:01:24] If you walk straight out of the parking lot, you can see a path that goes through the forest and then right out to some cliffs, which give you an incredible view. High above the Hudson river. But don’t get too close to the edge of the cliff. It’s very dangerous.

[00:01:43] There’s no guardrail or fence. And this is where today’s story takes place. Erika Tate would come here often. And today she’ll tell us a story of one day in the autumn. When she came to peanut leap alone.

[00:02:00] And just one more thing. If you haven’t already then subscribe now to Into the Story, wherever you listen to podcasts so that you never miss a new episode. It also helps other listeners find us. So thanks for supporting the show.

[00:02:18] And now it’s time to look at five words and expressions that Erica uses in today’s story.

[00:02:26] The first is the phrasal verb to take in. So if you take in something, it can mean appreciating. Or looking at and enjoying the nice appearance of something. For example. I stood by the window taking in the beauty of the sunrise, or as we walked through the park, we took in the beauty of the forest to take in something.

[00:02:58] Next to slip. Or to be slippery. So to slip means that you slide unexpectedly. That a surface is smooth and hard to grip onto, like a wet floor. For example, be careful not to slip on the wet floor after it rains. Or the soap made the bathroom tiles slippery, so I had to walk carefully. To slip or to be slippery.

[00:03:34] Next. A concussion or to be concussed when you get hit on the head, you can hurt your brain temporarily. And this is called a concussion. After the car crash, she suffered a concussion and needed medical attention. Or the football player was concussed during the game and had to sit out for a while. A concussion. Or to be concussed.

[00:04:04] Next vague memories. V A G U E so vague refers to not clear memories of things that happened in the past. For example, as I grow older, my childhood becomes a collection of vague memories of unclear memories. Or after the long trip, he only had vague memories, of the places he’d visited. Vague memories.

[00:04:41] And lastly, a cast. So a cast is a hard covering. That doctors put on a broken bone to help it heal. After breaking his arm, Mark had to wear a cast for several weeks, or the doctor recommended a cast to help the fractured bone mend. A cast.

[00:05:08] If you had like an extended vocabulary list, and the transcript, then you can visit our website. I will leave you a link in the show notes.

[00:05:17] Okay. It’s that time let’s get into the story.

[00:05:23] Erica: It was September, 2014, an evening of a celebration for my baby shower, and I was speaking to my sister and we started to get into a bit of a fight. I would say like a conflict almost around the existence of God. And I, at the time, was really an atheist. Um, I only believed in what I could see, feel, taste with my senses. Um, and so I actually ended up making her cry, um, yeah, when I was explaining to her, um, about how there’s no such thing as God.

[00:06:12] So the next morning I woke up early to go on a solo hike, at a local cliff by my house and I got in my car and you know, there is the leaves were all different colors. It was autumn, it was a fall day and you know, they were just starting to fall, but it was so, it was, it’s really beautiful at that time of year in New Jersey. And so I drove there and when I got there I was really excited, uh, to, take in all the beauty of the leaves around me. And the hike was pretty short. It’s only about like a mile and a half. But it was interesting because I did have a feeling of nervousness in my stomach that morning and I couldn’t quite place why,

[00:07:06] So it was around 11:00 AM and it’s usually a. A very popular hike, but that day I was the only one there and that was odd as well. Um, I started to walk, it’s a pretty flat hike, but then there’s just at the end, then it kind of goes downward. You’re kind of walking down and then the cliff, there’s like a cliff at the edge and you walk down the cliff and there’s a staircase usually that Um, allows you to walk to the base of the cliff and usually on the cliff there’s a, um, a waterfall, like a stream of water, but that day there was a drought, so there was no water. I was really excited to kind of explore. So, Um, that’s what I did and, um, I was excited to take a picture at the edge of the cliff and so I was quite careful at the beginning. And, um, as I approached the edge, I, I, I took a picture and then as I was coming… I was kind of exploring a little bit more, which was really dangerous of me to kind of get myself as close to the edge as possible.

[00:08:34] I, my, I slipped, my foot, slipped on one of the slippery rocks, and I remember feeling just absolute fear all throughout my body and at the same time a part of my mind speaking to myself to like surrender. Like it was like just let go. I fell off the cliff and it was about 60 feet And I don’t remember the actual, from the top to the bottom fall that I completely blacked out.

[00:09:13] Bree: Erica had fallen off of the 60 foot cliff. That’s 18 meters or the equivalent of a six story building. As soon as she hit the bottom. She was able to find her phone and call 911.

[00:09:31] Erica: I remember beIng on the phone with the police and being and saying that I don’t remember who I am or where I am or anything about the situation, ,but I know that I’m dying. I know that ’cause I was suffocating, my ribs punctured my lungs and um, I broke my spinal cord, my pelvis. My arms and I was severely concussed, so I had, yeah. So my mind was just, I had no memory. Um, and then I went unconscious. And they tried to, the police tried to cha uh, trace

[00:10:23] my phone, but the signals of my phone were co…, were showing that I was on the opposite side of the Hudson River. So this cliff was located right on the edge of the Hudson River, and so it’s New Jersey, the river, and then New York on the other side. And my phone was pointing to a place in New York. Pretty much Yonkers it’s called. And so they sent all the search team to New York and Yonkers. Um, and it’s so interesting that that day at this popular hiking spot, not one person came to hike that day, which is yeah, unheard of. And so I was down there for seven hours

[00:11:18] When I woke up from being unconscious, I remember looking up and just seeing this beautiful tree like, and still had green leaves, although all of the trees around it were orange and reds and browns, like this one tree still was green and there was almost a sense of safety. Even though my body was completely broken into pieces, I felt no pain, or at least I don’t remember feeling pain. There was almost a sense of peace, and I was only awake for just a few minutes, and then I went back unconscious. But when I went back unconscious, that was when, What I would call a near death experience happened where I left my body first and realized how did the realization that, whoa, like I am not my body. Like there’s something inside of me that is separate than my physical body. and then I had this life review, so in a matter of seconds, my entire life flashed before my eyes. All the good things and all of the, what you would call maybe bad things that I’ve ever done. All of my actions that were with good intentions or bad intentions, flash before my eyes and I was able to see that At that time, I was causing more suffering in the world than good,

[00:13:15] then I remember after that there was like a just flash of white light and the most peace and serenity and like joy all in like one emotional experience. And I realized that, oh, this is what they call God, right? Oh, this is God. And I realized that actually this is everything. This, this light makes up the whole world and is within all of us.

[00:13:54] So that was, it was an extremely profound experience. Especially, as you compare it to the night before where I was, you know, made my sister cry around how there’s no such thing as God.

[00:14:09] Bree: After that Erica talks about being given a choice. Well, more like being forced to come back and to fulfill her purpose. So her eyes suddenly open.

[00:14:23] Erica: Wake up and I remember taking a deep breath, like, and my eyes just flash open. In that moment that I decided to come back, and then I look up at the very top of the cliff and I see a little head popping out of the top of the cliff screaming down, Erica, we’re coming to get you. And I was able to let go again and I just surrendered and went back unconscious.

[00:14:58] Bree: An off-duty firefighter, a firefighter who wasn’t working was listening to the radio that day. And he had an intuition.

[00:15:08] Even though the entire rescue team was looking on the other side of the river in New York. He thought that Erica. Was a New Jersey.

[00:15:17] And his intuition told him that she had come to peanut leap falls. And she was at the bottom of the cliff.

[00:15:24] Erica: He was able to, he came down. to just, I guess, hold me and like, like let me know that I’m okay. I have ve very vague memories of this. And then I have a flash of a boat. ’cause again, it was on the Hudson River And I was then brought into an ambulance and to a hospital.

[00:15:52] and I remember when I woke up in the hospital just being in so much pain it was like really sharp and constant.

[00:16:03] and there was a tube down my throat. I woke up with a tube down my throat, so I couldn’t even speak And at that point my mind still was not clear, like I was really still concussed and I was in all of these casts, like my back had a cast, my chest, my arms, like everything was just, I couldn’t move.

[00:16:25] And then I got transferred to a inpatient physical rehab where I was there for another month. But little by little I started to learn to walk again. And learn to move my body. And um, they said that I might have trouble walking for the rest of my life but when I was in the rehab doctors would always tell me like, don’t try to walk, don’t try to move.

[00:16:59] But I learned so much through my near-death experience about the mind and how our beliefs are really everything they actually determine. our entire lives and our, they have a lot of power over our physical health and wellbeing and I was trying to put that to practice. So every time the doctors would leave the room, I would try to like walk or crawl myself to the bathroom. And I kept doing that against their advice. But knowing, listening to this deeper, intuitive voice within me that said, I should do this and I need to do this, and. Doctors were amazed, like in shock by how quickly I healed. And I think such a huge part of that was because of my mind,

[00:17:50] Bree: so the day I got out of my wheelchair, I woke up with this determination to face my fears and, and to also really sit with the reality of this experience that happened to me.

[00:18:10] Erica decided that in order to face her fears, she had to go back to peanut leap falls. She had to go back to the very cliff. The head almost killed her.

[00:18:21] erica_1_11-22-2023_093525: And so I asked my dad and my sister to join me on the hike, Both because I needed physical assistance but also be for emotional support as well. It was springtime, but it was the, it was early spring, I remember. It was really cold. I was wearing jacket and hat and, um, the leaves weren’t on the trees yet, when I got down to the bottom of the cliff, like feeling just a rush of emotions through my body. Like, Like, sadness and fear, but also so much like gratitude and awe all at the same time. And I just remember like laughing, like. and being like, thank you. And you didn’t get me and then starting to even just cry by like, wow, I could have just like not been here and, It allowed me to wake up to the gift of life every day.

[00:19:24] Bree: After going on the hike that day with her dad and her sister, Erica decided that she wanted to take facing her fear, a step further, and she decided to work at that cafe that I mentioned in the introduction. The state line cafe that’s in the parking lot.

[00:19:42] And working there. She forced herself every single day to be close to the cliff that almost killed her.

[00:19:50] Erica Tate is now. A psychotherapist who combines her spiritual and body base approach in her work. Today she owns a practice. Quantum psychotherapy group. Where she works with 10 therapists, helping people use both Western psychology. And spirituality because she’s.

[00:20:21] After going on the hike that day with her dad and her sister. Erica decided that she wanted to take facing her fear a step further. And she decided to work at the cafe. The cafe that I mentioned in the introduction. The state line cafe that’s in the parking lot to the peanut leap falls hike.

[00:20:41] Nowadays, Erica is a psychotherapist Who combines spiritual and body-based approaches at her work. She owns a practice where she works with 10 other therapists, helping people use both Western psychology. And spirituality. Because she learned from her own experience that they’re both important for healing.

[00:21:05] If you would like to know more about Erika, you can visit quantum psychotherapy group.com Or you can find them on Instagram at quantum therapy, N J that’s, quantum therapy, New Jersey. I will leave you a link to both in the show notes.

[00:21:22] Okay. I hope that you enjoy today’s story.

[00:21:25] And if you did, then why not share it with a friend? You can just click the share button. It’s usually at the top and send it on over.

[00:21:35] Okay everyone. And till next time, I hope that you have a good time or at least I get story to share.

Quote of the episode

I am not my body. Like there’s something inside of me that is separate than my physical body” 

– Erica Tait

Words & expressions of the episode

In order of appearence in the episode.

* Key vocabulary mentioned in the episode


Appreciating or looking at and enjoying the nice appearance of something.
Example: Samantha stood by the window, taking in the beauty of the sunrise.


To identify someone, something, or in today’s story, a feeling.
Example: I saw a girl at the market today and I couldn’t place her, but after I left I remembered that I know her from work. 


The outer or furthest point of a cliff or the boundary of a river.
Example: The couple sat on the edge of the cliff, enjoying the breathtaking view below.


Sliding unexpectedly or being smooth and hard to hold onto, like a wet floor or soap.
Example: Be careful not to slip on the wet floor after it rains. The road is slippery after it rains.


To lose consciousness or memory temporarily. Example: After the intense workout, Sarah pushed herself so hard that she blacked out momentarily.


In a way that suggests the occurrence of a miracle; extraordinarily. Example: Miraculously, the missing cat returned home after being lost for a week.


Experiencing a lack of air or discomfort due to restricted breathing.
Example: The tight scarf felt suffocating, making it hard for her to breathe.


When you get hit on the head, it can hurt your brain temporarily, and that’s called a concussion. Example: After the car crash, she suffered a concussion and needed medical attention.


Something that is not known or experienced before; unprecedented. Example: In our small town, such an act of kindness was unheard of until the stranger paid for everyone’s groceries.

A SENSE OF (SOMETHING): A feeling or perception of something.
Example: Walking through the old bookstore, there was a sense of nostalgia in the air.

In this story, Erica talks about a sense of peace, which means a feeling of tranquility or calmness. Example: Sitting by the ocean at sunset, he felt a profound sense of peace washing over him.


An intense personal experience, often of a spiritual nature, occurring close to the point of death. Example: Surviving the plane crash gave John a near-death experience that changed his outlook on life.

*VAGUE MEMORIES: Not clear memories of things that happened in the past. Example: As she grew older, her childhood became a collection of vague memories.

TO FLASH BEFORE MY EYES: A sudden and vivid recollection or memory, often occurring rapidly. Example: In the accident, moments of her life flashed before her eyes, reminding her of cherished memories. You may also hear someone speak about A memory flashes when talking about a quick recall of something from the past. Example: When asked about his childhood, he had a flash of remembering a favorite toy he used to play with.

*CASTS: Hard coverings, like a strong bandage, that doctors put on a broken arm or leg to help it heal. Example: After breaking his arm, Mark had to wear a cast for several weeks.

WHEELCHAIR: A chair with wheels used by people who cannot walk due to illness, injury, or disability. Example: After the accident, he relied on a wheelchair for mobility.

RUSH OF EMOTION: A sudden and intense surge of feelings. Example: Winning the championship brought a rush of emotion, including joy and pride.

GRATITUDE: The quality of being thankful or appreciative. Example: Expressing gratitude for the small acts of kindness can make a significant impact on someone’s day.

AWE: A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. Example: Standing beneath the towering waterfall, they were filled with awe at the sheer power of nature.


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Episode images

Erica Tait on the news. The luckiest person alive. Episode 51into the story podcast.

Erica Tait in the news. “The luckiest person alive!”

Erica Tait Therapy Center. Episode 51into the story podcast.

Erica Tait has now a therapy center and helps others to heal.

Erica Tait is a psychotherapist who combines spiritual and body-based approaches in her work. Today, she owns a practice with 10 therapists, helping people using both Western psychology and spirituality because she’s learned they’re both important for healing. Find out more at https://quantumpsychotherapygroup.com/ or follow her on Instagram @Quantumtherapynj