Gary Busey barely survived a devastating motorcycle crash in 1988. The life-changing accident left the actor, then 44, with a brain injury that required months of rehabilitation to relearn how to walk and speak.
Busey, now 75, opened up about his memories of the accident and its aftermath in a new interview with The Guardian.
"About 25 years ago, I had an accident on a Harley-Davidson," he recalled.
"I went off the bike without a helmet, hit my head into a kerb, split my skull, passed away after brain surgery and went to the other side – the spiritual realm where I got information. And I came back, and these messages, these definitions, came to me first-class. I'll think of a word and write the word down without thinking."
Gary Busey recalls motorcycle accident and "the other side"
Busey revealed that the accident changed how he looks at words, and led to his odd phrasings, exclamations, and mannerisms that came to be known as "Buseyisms."
He continued: "I was surrounded by angels. Balls of light floating all around me. And I felt trust, love, protection and happiness like you cannot feel on earth. It's the feeling the angels live in.
"Three angels came up to me... I was a quarter of an inch wide and 1ft long. That is your soul, and your soul is housed in the column of your spine. And three balls of light came up to me and talked to me. The one on the left talked to me in an androgynous voice and said the direction I was going in was good, but because of my responsibility to mankind I had to look for helping spirits around.
"Then a light said: 'You may come to us now or return to your body and continue your destiny.' And every time he spoke, I felt so loved, like a little baby in the arms of his brother, so when you hear the truth over there you do it. And the word truth stands for Taking Real Understanding to Heart. That is the truth of your essence and your soul. The truth told me I wasn’t finished over here on Earth. When you feel the truth, BOOM! You go for it. The truth is the strongest ordnance you have in your body, your mind, your soul and your being. Yeeeeeeee!"
Gary Busey movies and his new Amazon TV series
The actor now looks back on the accident as one that awoke him to new possibilities.
"I don't have brain damage; I have a brain disordered in a better direction because of how it happened and how it recovered. Oh, boy!"
"It was part of my journey, my growing up, my understanding," he added. But he acknowledged that the experience "was a hard time" for his son, actor Jake Busey.
Following the accident, the Oscar-nominated star went on to relaunch his career and appeared in countless TV and film roles. His work has included everything from titles such as Point Break and David Lynch's Lost Highway, to Entourage and The Celebrity Apprentice.
Busey was in conversation with The Guardian to promote his new show, Pet Judge, which is a reality TV parody that is streaming now on Amazon Prime.