'Suddenly, I flatlined' - The Irish hat designer who claims she had three near-death experiences but came back
Tahnee Morgan, a bubbly mother-of-three and talented milliner, is convinced that she died, and yet came back to life. Here she tells Mary O'Sullivan of her extraordinary experience of meeting an angel.
There has long been anecdotal evidence that people have died and gone to a different ethereal plane, before coming back and continuing life.
It seems unbelievable, yet their accounts are often extremely detailed and credible, including that of film star Jane Seymour, who can remember leaving her body and looking down on herself lying in a hospital bed; and Larry Hagman, who said he saw over the edge and got a little glimpse of the next step.
Lethal Weapon star Gary Busey said he saw angels, who didn't resemble how they appear on Christmas cards, but manifested as balls of floating light, carrying warmth and love. With testimonies like those of Jane, Larry and Gary, as well as those of many ordinary people, these stories can't be easily dismissed.
Tahnee Morgan, a charming, bubbly mother of three, is convinced that she did die, and yet came back to life; it's an experience that so marked her life that it made her rethink her way of living and working; her very way of being. It has led her to the exploration of mindfulness and meditation in order to connect with her inner self. And, coupled with this, she has developed a strong desire to spread the message of the seven archangels whom she believes saved her life.
Tahnee is doing this in a very practical way, by designing a range of exquisite cashmere and silk scarves, which are made up in the colours associated with the seven angels, and etched with angel-type motifs, such as feathers and wings. She's also created a range of bracelets made of beads in the same uplifting colours, with pretty charms depicting wings and other symbols.
To Tahnee, it's imperative that she spreads the message of the angels, and this is the best way she knows - through design and creativity. She is, after all, a designer of some renown, having been a milliner for many years, with her elegant headpieces featuring regularly in Ireland's top fashion magazines.
Tahnee - one of a family of six girls, Michelle; Elaine; Petrina; Karen; Tahnee, and her twin, Lisa; and one boy, Ricky - would be the first to admit that angels were the last things she was interested in when she was a young girl growing up in Drogheda. "I was a divil, always up to mischief," Tahnee notes, adding, with a laugh, "I never liked school, and I often mitched.One day my sister dropped me to the bus, and instead of going on to school, I went swimming in the sea. I liked to swim. Unfortunately, the principal did, too. I saw this familiar face swimming towards me and I suddenly realised it was her. She suspended me."
Tahnee may have had no appetite for academia, but she loved to create, and even in her early teens, she was up to all sorts of schemes, including one that made her money. "I remember when I was 14, I took a feather duster apart and I made earrings - about 80 out of one feather duster - and sold them to the other kids for 25 pence a pair. Even the teachers ordered them from me," she says.
After completing - reluctantly - her Leaving Cert, she was drawn to fashion design. The fashion business was in the family; her dad had a factory, Morco Manufacturing in Drogheda, making ladies' fashions for the likes of C&A, BHS, Marks & Spencer and Dunnes Stores. "Unfortunately, there was a shipping strike in the early 1990s; it affected his business, and he had to close," Tahnee recalls.
Given her creativity, the design side of the business was an obvious choice, and she studied at both the Grafton Academy and the Burke College of Fashion while working part-time in fashion shops. Then, after a stint as an air hostess, she got a job in the jewellery department in Brown Thomas, where she worked for 18 months, before moving to a fashion boutique, where she specialised in designing millinery, mainly for brides.
A horrible accident abroad prompted her to start her own millinery business. "I was going out with a guy living in Portugal, and I went out to see him. While there, I bumped my head off a glass door, the glass came out of the frame and shot out onto my leg," Tahnee explains, adding, "I nearly lost my leg. I had to have 190 stitches. I came home to recuperate, to my parents' house. That gave me the time to think, to get into nature, to sit down and draw, and develop designs, so that's when I started Tahnee Morgan Millinery."
She was only 27, but she soon began to make a name, and was in demand for weddings. "It was stressful, because weddings are stressful, but I loved it. My work was in many magazines. I did the headpiece for Georgina Ahern for her wedding, and that was on the cover of Hello magazine," Tahnee recalls. "A hairdresser I worked with, Gary Kavanagh, said he'd take some of my headpieces to try on Georgina. There was a heatwave in France where they got married, my pieces were very lightweight, and she loved them, and wore them. I didn't even know she wore them until I saw the magazine in the shop."
Tahnee was a bit distracted at the time - she was, after all, organising her own wedding, which happened a week later. She's married to Shane, a businessman from Meath. "We knew each other as children, and I always fancied him, put it that way. He apparently always fancied me, but there was never a right time," Tahnee explains. "It was my mother, a real matchmaker, who put us together on New Year's Eve at Baltray golf club. She had a table booked for 12. I'm sitting there with my family, and I see Shane coming in the door and sitting down at our table. I was the only single one at the table; my mum had invited him for me," the engaging blonde recalls.
Tahnee and Shane got on well, and he asked her to go to the cinema the next day, then rang to change the arrangement to something a bit more adventurous - a trip to Dubai. That worked out well, and they were engaged within months, and married within the year. That was 14 years ago and, says Tahnee, they love the bones of each other. They live with their three children in an elegant house in south Co Dublin, which they bought around the time of their marriage
Seven years ago, after the children were born, Tahnee had her near-death experience. It was triggered by an operation to have her tonsils out, as she had been having sore throats. She went into hospital, had the procedure, and two days later, she was home. She was sitting chatting to one of her sisters when, suddenly, she was aware of blood in her mouth. She was brought to A&E, kept in for 10 days, and then was home again. "That night, at about a quarter to three, I woke up and could feel blood in my mouth again," she says. Tahnee's inexplicable experiences started then. "At that stage, spiritually, Archangel Michael came, told me I had 17 minutes, that I was to keep calm. The clot was huge, the size of a hard-boiled egg, and I kept my hand on it to stop the bleed."
An ambulance came, Tahnee was put into it, and then things really began to happen differently to the norm. "I collapsed on the floor of the ambulance, and because I couldn't stay still, they strapped me down," she says. "I'm lying there and suddenly, I flatlined.
"I remember my soul was walking around above, and I was looking at my body lying down. My body was lying there, and I was going to different dimensions; it was like being in a lift and moving to higher levels. I went to an area the colour of honeydew melon, with dense cloud. I asked, 'Where's my dad?', who was dead. They said, 'If your dad appears, you can no longer go back'. It was beautiful; a place of amazingness, no worries. Then I realised, 'I can't leave, I have three children'. I tried my hardest to go back, and suddenly I was back."
The ambulance man couldn't believe it, and called his colleague to witness the miracle. Then Tahnee flatlined again, and drifted to a beautiful place, full of angels. She felt she was being held by the angel, being cradled.
After three near-death experiences, she did recover completely, but she realised she now had the ability to understand more about life and spirituality. "In the hospital, I didn't want to talk to anybody about it," Tahnee says. "Nuns and priests were coming in to talk to me at the time, but I wouldn't. Gradually I began to realise I was always very spiritually gifted as a child, but I didn't want to admit it; I didn't want to be different." On reflection, Tahnee has changed her mind "I used to be sick a lot as a child, and I think it was because I didn't accept what I was. I've decided to be brave, and talk about it and I'm no longer sick," she says. She's no longer afraid to say that she can see angels, and that they talk to her. She's also very keen on helping others.
Tahnee believes in the seven archangels' abilites as healers and spiritual guides; she believes, too, that each one has its own colour, and so, under the company name 7th Heaven, she has created a range in these colours. Depending on which colour a person opts for, according to Tahnee, when the person wraps herself in the scarf she will be enveloped by the qualities of that particular angel. "I'm hoping the energy of the angels will come into the lives of those who wear the scarves and bracelets," she says.
Tahnee's own energy exudes warmth, charm and enthusiasm; if that's down to the angels, it's certainly worth trying.
Edited by Mary O'Sullivan
Photography by Tony Gavin
Sunday Indo Life Magazine