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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Neurosurgeon Claims ‘Proof Of Heaven’

Dr. Eben Alexander is author of “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.” (Deborah Feingold)

Dr. Eben Alexander is prompting much discussion over his claim that near-death experiences are real, and that human consciousness exists outside of the body.

A photo of Dr. Alexander’s birth sister Betsy, who died before he found out his birth family existed. After his near-death experience he received this photo and realized Betsy was the guardian angel who guided him through heaven.

In his best-selling memoir, “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife,” he wrote about a near-death experience he had a few years back after contracting a rare form of bacterial meningitis that left him in a week-long coma.

Even though medically his brain wasn’t capable of generating thoughts, he claimed that while in his coma he met a guardian angel and traveled through many realms of existence to meet a divine being he calls Om.

Prominent atheist and author Sam Harris has disputed Dr. Alexander’s reasoning, saying the experience does not prove there is an afterlife.

Harris wrote in his blog, “Alexander’s account is so bad—his reasoning so lazy and tendentious—that it would be beneath notice if not for the fact that it currently disgraces the cover of a major newsmagazine.”

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Book Excerpt: ‘Proof of Heaven’

By: Eben Alexander, M.D.


A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

When I was a kid, I would often dream of flying.

Most of the time I’d be standing out in my yard at night, looking up at the stars, when out of the blue I’d start floating upward. The first few inches happened automatically. But soon I’d notice that the higher I got, the more my progress depended on me – on what I did. If I got too excited, too swept away by the experience, I would plummet back to the ground… hard. But if I played it cool, took it all in stride, then off I would go, faster and faster, up into the starry sky.

Maybe those dreams were part of the reason why, as I got older, I fell in love with airplanes and rockets – with anything that might get me back up there in the world above this one. When our family flew, my face was pressed flat to the window from takeoff to landing. In the summer of 1968 when I was fourteen, I spent all the money I’d earned mowing lawns on a set of sailplane lessons with a guy named Gus Street at Strawberry Hill, a little grass strip “airport” just west of Winston-Salem, the town where I grew up. I still remember the feeling of my heart pounding as I pulled the big cherry red knob that unhooked the rope connecting me to the tow-plane and banked my sailplane toward the field. It was the first time I had ever felt truly alone and free. Most of my friends got that feeling in cars, but for my money being a thousand feet up in a sailplane beat that thrill a thousand times over.

In college in the 1970’s I joined the University of North Carolina Sport Parachuting (or Skydiving) Team. It felt like a secret brotherhood – a group of people who knew about something special and magical. My first jump was terrifying, and the second even more so. But by my twelfth jump, when I stepped out the door and had to fall for more than a thousand feet before opening my parachute (my first “10 second delay”), I knew I was home. I made 365 parachute jumps in college and logged over three and a half hours in freefall, mainly in formations with up to 25 fellow jumpers. Although I stopped jumping in 1976, I continued to enjoy vivid dreams about skydiving, which were always pleasant.

The best jumps were often late in the afternoon, when the sun was starting to sink beneath the horizon. It’s hard to describe the feeling I would get on those jumps: a feeling of getting close to something that I could never quite name but that I knew I had to have more of. It wasn’t solitude exactly, because the way we dived there actually wasn’t all that much of that. We’d jump five, six, sometimes ten or twelve people at a time, building freefall formations. The bigger and the more challenging, the better.

One beautiful autumn Saturday in 1975, the rest of the UNC jumpers and I teamed up with some of our friends at a paracenter in eastern North Carolina for some really great formations. On our penultimate jump of the day, out of a D18 Beechcraft at 10,500 feet, we made a ten-man snowflake. We managed to get ourselves into complete formation before we hit the 7,000 foot mark and thus were able to enjoy a full eighteen seconds of flying the formation down a clear chasm between two towering cumulus clouds before breaking apart at 3,500 feet and tracking away from each other to open our chutes.

By the time we hit the ground the sun was down. But by hustling into another plane and taking off again quickly, we managed to get back up into the last of the sun’s rays and do a second sunset jump. For this one, two junior members were going to get their first shot at flying into formation – that is, joining it from the outside rather than being the base or pin man (which is easier because your job is essentially to fall straight down while everyone else maneuvers toward you). It was exciting for the two junior members, but also for us more seasoned ones because we were building the team, adding more experienced jumpers who would be able to join us for even bigger formations.

I was to be the last man out of the Cessna-195 in a six-man star attempt above the runways of the small airport outside the bustling town of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. The guy right in front of me, from the Roanoke Rapids team, was named Chuck. Chuck was also fairly experienced at “Relative Work” – that is, building freefall formations. We were still in sunshine at 7,500 feet, but two and a half miles below us the streetlights were blinking on. Twilight jumps were always sublime and this was clearly going to be a beautiful one.

Even though I’d be exiting the plane a mere second or so behind Chuck, I’d have to move fast to catch up with everyone. I’d rocket straight down headfirst for the first seven seconds or so. This would make me drop almost 100 MPH faster than my friends so that I could be right there with them after they had built the initial formation.

Normal procedure for RW jumps was for all jumpers to break apart at 3,500 feet and track away from the formation for maximum separation. Each would then “wave –off” with his arms (signaling imminent deployment of his parachute), turn to look above to make sure no others were above him, then pull the ripcord.

“Three, two, one…Go!”

The first four jumpers exited, then Chuck and I followed close behind. Upside down in a full head dive and approaching terminal velocity, I smiled as I saw the sun setting for the second time that day. After streaking down to the others, my plan was to slam on the air brakes by throwing out my arms (we had fabric wings from wrists to hips that gave tremendous resistance when fully inflated at high speed) and aiming my sleeves and pants legs straight at the oncoming air.

But I never had the chance.

Plummeting toward the formation, I saw that one of the new guys had come in too fast. Maybe falling rapidly between nearby clouds had him a little spooked – it reminded him that he was moving about 200 feet per second towards that giant planet below, partially shrouded in the gathering darkness. Rather than slowly joining the edge of the formation, he’d barreled in and knocked everybody loose. Now all five other jumpers were tumbling out of control.

They were also much too close together. A skydiver leaves a super-turbulent stream of low-pressure air behind him. If a jumper gets into that trail, he instantly speeds up and can crash into the person below him. That, in turn, can make both jumpers speed up and crash into anyone who might be below them. In short, it’s a recipe for disaster.

I angled my body and tracked away from the group in order to keep from adding to the tumbling mess. I maneuvered until I was falling right over “the spot,” a magical point on the ground above which we were to open our parachutes for the leisurely two minute descent down to the target on the drop zone.

I looked over and was relieved to see that the disoriented jumpers were now also tracking away from each other, dispersing the deadly clump.

Chuck was there among them. To my surprise, he was coming straight in my direction. He stopped directly beneath me. With all of the group’s tumbling, we were passing through 2,000 feet more quickly than Chuck had anticipated. Maybe he thought he was lucky and didn’t have to follow the rules – exactly. He must not see me. The thought barely had time to go through my head before Chuck’s colorful pilot chute blossomed out of his backpack. His pilot chute caught the 120-mph breeze coming around him and shot straight towards me, pulling his main parachute in its sleeve right behind it.

From the instant I saw Chuck’s pilot chute emerge, I had a fraction of a second to react. For it would take less than a second to tumble through his deploying main parachute, and – quite likely – right into Chuck himself. At that speed, if I hit his arm or his leg I would take it right off, dealing myself a fatal blow in the process. If I hit him directly, both our bodies would essentially explode.

People say things slow down in situations like this, and they’re right. My mind watched the action in the microseconds that followed as if it were watching a movie in slow motion.

The instant I saw the pilot chute, my arms flew to my sides and I straightened my body into a head dive, bending ever so slightly at the hips. The verticality gave me increased speed, and the bend allowed my body to add first a little, then a blast of horizontal motion as my body became an efficient wing, sending me zipping past Chuck just in front of his colorful blossoming Paracommander parachute.

As I passed him I was moving at over 150 MPH, or 220 feet every second. Given that speed I doubt he saw the expression on my face. But if he had, he would have seen a look of sheer astonishment. Somehow I had reacted in microseconds to a situation that, had I actually had time to think about it, would have been much too complex for me to deal with.

And yet… I had dealt with it. It was as if, presented with a situation that required more than its usual ability to respond, my brain had become, for a moment, super-powered.

How had I done it? Over the course of my twenty-plus year career in academic neurosurgery – of studying the brain, observing how it works, and operating on it – I had plenty of opportunities to ponder the question. I finally chalked it up to the fact that the brain is simply a truly extraordinary device: more extraordinary than we can even guess.

I now realize that the real answer to that question is much more profound. But I had to go through a complete metamorphosis of my life and worldview to glimpse that answer. This book is about the events that changed my mind on the matter. They convinced me that, marvelous a mechanism as the brain is, it was not my brain that saved my life that day at all. What sprang into action the second Chuck’s chute started to open was another, much deeper part of me. A part that could move so fast because it was not stuck in time at all, the way the brain and body are.

This was the same part of me, in fact, that had made me so homesick for the skies as a kid. It’s not only the smartest part of us, but the deepest part as well, yet for most of my adult life I was unable to believe in it.

But I do believe now, and the pages that follow will tell you why.

Excerpted from the book PROOF OF HEAVEN by Eben Alexander, M.D. Copyright © 2012 by Eben Alexander. Reprinted with permission of Simon & Schuster.


  • Dr. Eben Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.” He also runs a science and spirituality nonprofit called Eternea.

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  • skeptic4321

    So, I dreamt about unicorns, therefore they exist.
    Anyone really interested in this should read Sam Harris’ blog regarding this.

    • Deku City

      Harris, quoting UCLA’s Mark Cohen: “This poetic interpretation of [Alexander's] experience is not supported by evidence of any kind.” Here’s the link: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/this-must-be-heaven

    • P-brennan

      ” Such compounds are universally understood to do the job” – from Harris’ comments – what a vague statement, you’d have to find those who’ve had both NDEs and drug trips, and trust their comparison. Look at Pam Reynold’s case – body temp 60 degrees, general anesthesia, brain metabolism slowed so that several minutes of no blood flow did not result in damage, and yet she recounts Dr.’s conversations, and instruments used. And they interview the surgeon.
      In the end, if you listen to enough NDEs, and read enough about it, you may find them difficult to dismiss so easily.

      • skeptic4321

        I don’t necessarily dismiss them. In fact, I am convinced they exist, similar to dreams. But these “experiences” are not evidence for anything that may exist outside people’s minds. These events are easily explainable as memories generated by one’s mind as they slip out or into consciousness or similar to a dream.

        • P-brennan

           Not true – there are many veridical experiences, well-documented cases in which people learn new information that they could not have had access to otherwise. Of course one can choose to disbelieve all of the accounts of veridical experiences. so that is what I challenge people to do – remain open, watch two or three NDEs on YouTube every day, read the studies, and see what effect the CUMULATIVE data has. There is no way that all these people are lying, imagining,dreaming. But do spend the time and decide for yourself. I really think most of us have a pretty good B.S.meter, we have to develop and trust it in our daily lives.

        • Penny Parkin

          Except that NDErs report events and circumstances which have been verified by medical staff, etc. as actual occurrences, not dreams.  Have you read the literature?  Pam Reynolds is a great example, but there are many more very convincing accounts.  See Kenneth Ring’s work, for example.

          • skeptic4321

            I have looked at some of these. Not very compelling evidence when all of it is reviewed and all the accounts from all the parties involves are considered (and some of the ones I recall that were on television left out relevant details essentially “debunking” these claims, making them much less entertaining).

        • Eduggan

          Where did our magnificent brains come from? Evolution, not so much. That has been disproven time and time again. However, scientist keep stating it.

        • Carmelleclare

          “..these experiences are not evidence for anything that may exist outside people’s minds.” Hmm. Actually, everything exists only in our minds. We Agree that this is a table, that is a chair. But as the horizons of science expand we learn that they are both made up of particles in motion, we just couldn’t tell with our limited faculties. You can’t study dreams and alternate realities with a microscope though. The most important tool is an open mind. 
          P-brennan is valiantly trying to help people open their minds here, to accept that science is not asking the right questions, the old “looking for your keys under the street lamp because that’s where the light is” . Whenever someone talks about needing evidence and how it’s “all in your mind” I know that they are hell bent on hanging out under a street lamp and afraid of the dark. Step away from the street lamp and your eyes will adjust and you will see things you couldn’t before. People used to think the Earth was flat and absolutely nothing existed beyond the horizon. Maybe the mind, when it is dreaming, is accessing a reality beyond the horizon of science. 

      • redscream5

        Why the hell are we considering anectodal experience as evidence in the first place? Have we no scientific cahones anymore?

        • P-brennan

           Well for what it’s worth,  I think it’s just beyond science to grasp, and to prove. Where does consciousness come from? The brain understanding itself? Good luck with that. To me, the central question is, after hearing many people describe their NDE, do I believe them? Does it ring true, and fit into whatever else I know/believe? it’s a personal question and a personal journey, and I’m a physician/researcher – I was very skeptical at one point also. But after hearing 100 or so stories, I simply believe them to be true. In fact I’m absolutely sure they are, but I have no business trying to impose that on others – however I do urge people to listen to MANY of them since each offers different insights. And to read the literature, because long-term psychological studies of NDEers ARE science (prone to error and bias like any science). Someone asked Hitchens why he kept debating, and he said, “Well you’re immediately going to have one of the most interesting conversations you can have – it is the biggest question.”

          • redscream5

            Well I think you are wise to assume truth from those you have interacted with, and I wouldn’t dare to call into question their experiences. I doubt that most people would lie about something like this, or at least I would hope not. I’m more interested in the interpretation of those experiences by those that are well-versed in neuroscience.

      • redscream5

        Correlation doesn’t simply equate to causation. Similarity in experience does not equate to insight into the implications thereof. It’s just as likely that the experience is misinterpreted.

    • Penny Parkin

      What makes Sam Harris an authority on NDEs?  Has he himself ever experienced one?  If he has,  I’d pay more attention.  As almost all NDErs report, it’s a life-changing experience, and words can’t be found to describe it.  

      • skeptic4321

        Did you read Sam Harris’ blog about this? I think the issues he raises are absolutely relevant, regardless of who wrote them.
        Is someone who’s depressed an “authority” on depression?  I had surgery, am I an “authority” on surgery?

        • Carmelle

          Dr. Alexander is definitely an authority on how the brain works and what cutting-edge scientific information is out there on the subject. That’s his whole point. He’s from the “scientific community side” and he just got some new information. One might say he’s an authority on both sides . Did you read the book?  I agree, I think the title is misleading because it is undeniable proof for HIM but not for the scientific community. He talks a lot about how he wouldn’t believe this from anyone else but then he himself had the experience. Most importantly he says his experience challenges what we think we know about the brain and consciousness and he should know, he is a brain surgeon who just had an experience that conflicts with what he learned and he documented it as seeds for further study and learning.

  • J__o__h__n

    If Dr. Alexander’s near-death experience took place while his cortex “was simply off,” how could he have remembered the experience?  His brain most likely filled in the memory for the missing time with comforting images that come from popular conceptions of such experiences. 

    • aknman49

      If Dr. Alexander’s near-death experience took place while his cortex “was simply off,” how could he have remembered the experience? —————————–
      My question exactly…  and at the time that question flashed through my cortex, it  was fully alive and engaged.

  • janeconsumer


    • Aquamarine

      I absoultely do believe him, having had supernatural experiences when my son died.  There are millions of people the world over who have experienced NDE’s.  Our world is sadly saturated in a materialistic viewpoint which allows for nothing else.  Consciousness does not die once the body dies.  This is the new frontier as the doctor was talking about, prepare for a new vision of existence.

  • J__o__h__n

    Lack of brain activity is proof of heaven.  I always thought so but not in the way Dr Alexander is claiming.

  • MickO

    I’m skeptical as well.

    But, what was the ambient music track that played at the end of that segment? it sounded very familiar.  

    • Kevin, H&N

      Myopia by Moby

  • Enlowm

    What about the pineal gland releasing massive amounts of DMT into your brain as you die?

    • Rhys

      Good answer. Read Df. Rick Strassman’s book “The Spirt Molecule”.

  • Elizabeth_in_RI

    As a neurosurgeon he should at least be aware of how inaccurate our memory is. The “realization”  that the woman on the butterfly was his sister just proves how much his own desire for a loving biological family and faith helped to create these memories.

    • redscream5

      If he were a neuro-scientist he would be more aware of this, but he’s not… at all in any capacity. Surgeons are not scientists most of the time.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/L4V7PA3TDZMBGA3YE5CVRYD3U4 Tom

    Thank you. I’m just heading into my yearly depression, but a good laugh always is welcome.

    • Rhys

      Get a light box. Amazon sells 100 actual watt full spectrum CFs two of the at 3the feet for $50 will do you a world of good. Also look into hot yoga it will help a lot. Corpse pose is your friend. Google ketamine and depression.

  • Norton_molly

    I had cerebral malaria several years ago and had a very real and similar experience involving my already-deceased mother. If he would not have believed this story of mine, why is his story more plausible and why should we all take his story more seriously ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/diana.potter Diana Potter

    I believe in life after death ever since my sister Debby died of breast cancer in my presence. About a year before, she had been in the hospital and I had gone to visit her. I mentioned the “tunnel and light, with deceased loved ones there to greet you” near-death experience reported by so many. To my surprise, she hadn’t heard of it,  and we discussed it extensively.  A yearor so later, as she lay in bed in a coma, dying, suddenly she opened her eyes and looked at me, completely alert, and nodded her head vigorously, as if to say, “Yes! It’s true!” Then she fell back into her coma, eyes closed, and died. I KNOW she saw what we’d talked about, and wanted me to know.

  • J__o__h__n

    What numbers should I play for Powerball?

  • Heteromeles

    I’d say neuroscience has a couple of unpalatable issues it needs to deal with.

    As I understand it, they assume that all mental activity happens in the brain (hence “neuroscience,” not “consciousness studies”).  Until they replace this assumption with demonstrated proof, they can’t talk about near death experiences.  I’m not saying they’re wrong, but it’s possible that the brain is the “interface,” between the soul and the body not the “computer” that runs everything.  Damaging a complex interface is the same as damaging a controller.  Until they disprove this type of alternative hypothesis, Near Death Experiences are something they (unfortunately) have no authority to discuss.

    The alternative is even scarier: neuroscientists are right, and it’s all in the brain.  The scary part is that this means that EKGs totally miss a huge amount of brain activity in “flatline” comatose patients.  If this is the case, who knows how much cruelty arrogant doctors and neuroscientists have inadvertently inflicted, assuming they can know that people are vegetables, when in fact they are blind to the workings of people’s minds due to limited equipment?

  • Katie

    His experience reminds me of my experience in Peru this summer while participating in an ayahuasca ceremony.  Is there really a difference in these powerful visualizations?

  • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

    I think this is just brain chemistry and my personal belief is that each of us will experience at death whatever our belief system happens to be and it’s pretty arrogant for Dr. Alexander to assume that his personal experience is the last word and is the answer.

  • Dclarkedesign

    It’s a very intriguing story, however, I think Dr. Alexander should at least admit that the entire story might be a complete fabrication of his sub-conscience. Just because the imagery is detailed, profound, and vivid doesn’t give his story vindication of the afterlife—even though he is a doctor and not some nut off the street. Of course, he certainly has a lot of incentive not to be skeptical. 

    • James

      Herman Melville devoted entire chapters of ‘Moby Dick’ to his sailing experiences and scientific information about whales and whaling to increase his authorial authority in relation to his fictional story. Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft did the same thing, by framing their fantastic stories from the viewpoint of a credible member of society (scientist, doctor, etc.) to increase the creep factor.
      It’s a long established literary trope and it’s no surprise Dr. Alexander is banking on his education to frame this story with a sense of believe-ability. But here’s the honest truth: education and a degree do not inherently make you more intelligent. It’s not like the KKK ever lacked members from Harvard or Yale.

    • A.N

       Actually– this reasoning doesn’t fully work because his cortex was completely shut down and the cortex is responsible for conscious awareness. Unless you’re willing to believe that a person can have conscious or subconscious awareness outside the brain which is his point I believe.

      • Dclarkedesign

         Your also willing to fully believe an author who has millions to gain (not to mention fame) from people’s hope in a “traditional afterlife”. Look, I’m saying the story is completely fabricated—either before,  after or during this “brain dead” period. I’m just trying to be nice, and give the doctor the benefit of the doubt and not assume that he intentionally made up the story. Hopefully, for his sake, the story was fabricated by his subconscious. We’ve all have fits of vivid dreams that seem very real. He just happened to be on medication, in a comma, and is a doctor to lend his tale credibility. Let’s not mistake mental dilution for proof of the afterlife. Its an interesting subject to discuss because nobody knows the answer to—especially no this “doctor”—of whom I wouldn’t even except a cough drop.

  • Govinda

    With all the interesting things going on in science today is it necessary to put crackpots on your show?  Just wondering

  • Info

    I get so tired of hearing the idea of skepticism being conflated with ‘cynicism’ and ‘scoffing’.

     A skeptic is someone who seeks evidence and asks questions, rather than just accepting something as true, just because someone in authority says it is true, or because it would be nice if it was.

    I acknowledge that Dr. Alexander’s experience is certainly real to him, but I take issue with his assertion that it is somehow proof of consciousness apart from the brain. I didn’t hear anything here which offered any evidence of that.

     Even the claim that his cortex was completely inactive during the period of his coma seems a bit iffy. Perhaps there was merely a very much reduced level of activity, or perhaps there was intermittent activity over the period of time he was in a coma. Or maybe there are other factors at work. There’s still a lot about the function of the brain that we do not fully understand. But that is not proof of a supernatural element in consciousness.

     Maybe psi and life after death are actual phenomena, but that is only one possible interpretation of his experience, and definitely not the most likely one.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Even conceding this was a for real near-death experience,  given how many of them relate to the cultures, religions and philosophies of those experiencing them, while the experience might actually be for real how it perceived is probably not.

  • Dmm4286

    I’ve had this happen many times .

  • J__o__h__n

    He was speaking from Lynchberg ,VA.  Does he have any connection to so called Liberty University?

  • Blktrout

    It is irresponsible to allow this baffoon air time.

    • Jconrad

      Just as it is to give someone of your limited capacity a space to spew your hate filled description of Dr. Alexander. Who are you to judge this man and what he went through. 

  • Cdannison

    I understand and even feel some of the skepticism, but to each of you who’ve replied with such feelings . . . is there not some small part of you that wonders or even HOPES that this is true? Something beyond the current capabilities of scientific explanation?

    Faith, I guess, is all believers truly have. I believe that’s what makes it all the more important and special.

    • J__o__h__n

      No, I’d want a less clichéd afterlife. 

      • Maggie

        With all due respect Sir; Are you allowed to speak at home?

    • Info

       Sure, part of me thinks it’d be pretty neat if this were somehow real proof of psi abilities or such. Though I don’t know if I’d really want the afterlife to really be such a rehash of “What Dreams May Come”. I’m a big sci fi fan. But wanting something to be true is not a good enough reason to believe that it is. That’s not “faith”, that’s self-deception.

    • thanatosmin

      Unfortunately, reality does not care what you hope is true.

      • Christopher

        Yes!! You summed it up perfectly. 

        • James

          More evidence that religion impairs ones ability to apply critical thinking skills to their life.

      • P-brennan

         Really? How do you know that? We don’t know what this “reality” is, why we are here,who made us, whether we’re evolutionary coincidence starting pre-monkey. Show the topic some respect and learn all you can – these people’s lives before and after their NDEs are studied, and when they result in deep, lifelong changes, then there’s something there. Uninformed blathering is boring.

    • bartles

      Exactly. Faith is all believer truly have. And nothing in Dr. Alexander’s book adds to or changes that one iota.

  • Rancher_buck

    When I was in the middle east, I had to part take in some hand to hand combat.  While doing so the odds quickly went in there favor and I was beaten down and stabbed three times.  I blacked out for a second (I think) and then someone spoke to me and told me to get up and if I didn’t get up I would never get up.  Was it an angel I don’t know.  I do know I jumped up and got away.  I have never been able to explain the voice, could have been my own…

    • Lauraleethiel

      Spot on Buck, until you experience that kind of event, it defies a logical explanation, thanks for sharing

  • Md

    Yes, I have had a similar experience which was very painful to return from . I have had dead people in my dreams return to give me messages to loved ones. I don’t interpret any of this as proof of heaven…afterlife maybe. Life would be so simple if we just died: the end. That’s what I prefer to believe but then…

  • Gankum

    I am appalled at this story as it was reported.  This story is interesting but not for purposes it was presented.  It is a highly personal account that obviously has no scientific merit in the sense that it proofs nothing, and sheds no light on how the brain works or even on an alleged experience of transcendent spirituality.   The host was clearly completely unqualified to tackle this issue and seemed to swoon at the thought of a lovely young woman leading the narrator through a glorious valley, comforting his concerns.  Come on NPR: this is not why we make our contributions  – please maintain our standards.  

    • Gary

      “The host was clearly completely unqualified..” What would the CV of someone who were qualified look like?

      • Pdmwrx

        Agreed.  I would also ask the person making that statement:  if you have an experience, you are unqualified to talk about it and raise some questions about its meaning?  Really?!

      • Joe

        I enjoyed the book; however, when someone keeps reminding me that he is a doctor as in “Trust me, I’m a doctor” credibility is strained. Some other observations tested me; e.g., butterflies are needed to transport someone in heaven. Also, why would people in heaven be wearing garments? On one hand the proposition is made that it is impossible to describe heaven and to understand it with our limited capacities. On the other hand description of heaven includes attributes that in my opinion are only terrestrial. The story doesn’t jibe.

    • Gitti

      the man was in a coma……his brain did not function……this was his journey…..that is what he is portraying “his journey”…….I am not religious……but I believe there is more than just this life…….I believe him…….I have read so many NDE’s.  He himself said he did not believe in NDE’s prior to his own…..because he knows how the brain works, being a man of science. There are a lot of things that science has not proven, and we believe it to be so.  I believe his consciousness (soul) left his body.

    • Renibob

       I haven’t read the story, but assume hat the lovely young woman was not black…


    ‘Top Neurosurgeon Claims ‘Proof Of Heaven’

    Interesting! In 1962 I had the same near death/rebirth experience. It was on a surf trip with a pre surf visit to Mike’s Long Bar in Tijauna before continuing to my favorite surf spot just north of Ensenada, Mexico after I finished or tried to finish off my tenth shot of tequila. There is no more powerful omwn then surviving a tequila hangover! I knew then and there, there is a God because he or she let me survive a tequila hangover. God works in strange ways! The photo of this neurosurgeon is more frighting than a tequila hangover.

  • David

    Just listened to “Here And Now”. All sounds lovely to finally have ‘proof’ of a “loving creator”. But if that ‘creator’ is so loving, maybe he/she/it should get a personal consciousness going about the REAL ‘here and now’ on planet earth. To allow hideous pain, suffering and cruel injustice to be an ongoing part of the human condition shows that creator to be either (a) inept and weak or (b) not quite so loving as portrayed. No earthly parent would ever allow or permit their children to experience such agony and expect a trip to Disneyland to make it all better.

  • Wayne Foster, PhD

    After a cardiac procedure my father-in-law sat in his room insisting that there was a Rhesus monkey hanging on the ceiling light.  He also had a half-naked women visit his room.  Long after he was home he was still was not completely convinced that what he saw was not actually present.  These “visions” are very powerful but that does not make them real.

    • P-brennan

       I took care of a gentleman in a hospital once who had a very similar experience. His daughter asked our team of docs why her father was talking to a friend who died years ago, and seeing things that were not there. Anyone talking to him at that time would immediately recognize that he was in a very confused state. His cognition cleared completely once his infection (urinary tract) was treated, and he had some memory of the events. Elderly people have diminished “cognitive reserve”, and may have early dementia that’s only apparent when they’re ill.

      Another time, we were examining a patient with cancer, and while he was completely lucid, he kept looking past us, and smiling. We left the room, and the head physician said “Call his family, he’ll die today.” We trainees were shocked – vital signs stable, no change on his Mini-mental status exam, etc. – “I’ve seen that look before, and other patients have told me that they’re being welcomed into Heaven, or greeted by a loved one who’s already died,etc.”

      Schizophrenics see and hear nonexistent things also, and it’s very real to them – some research suggests that they may be “dreaming” while awake – fascinating, and I’m sure, frightening.

      NDEers describe things in very different terms, that where they were is MUCH more real than here, that this is the dream. They’re not confused, they don’t have difficulty recalling events, usually, and there are many well-documented cases of “veridical” experiences. Try Pam Reynolds NDE on youtube, or Ian McCormack’s. I find it very difficult to doubt these people’s accounts, and I’ve seen one hundred or so – very similar events, yet uniquely tailored to that person.  It isn’t proof, but I’m convinced by the cumulative evidence of many accounts. 600/day in the U.S. is a lot of information, both the account itself and the life-changes they produce. It’s really been extensively studied.

  • Ddsantella

    Im 49. I am a hospice nurse for many years. Because of my personal experience, i knlw, for me, it doesn’t matter if God is “real”, i felt he/she is the Divine unique, individual in every human being. age 8, I had a very strong , similar experience while very ill with sever asthma. I looked down upon myself, thru my canopy bed, and felt a warm, respite from the horrific efforts of breathing,. A safe, warm, encircling womens arms lifted me up, with gestures and pure cOmpassion
    and love conveyed I needed a break, to know safety and comfort, I wanted to stay, I did see a tunnel of warmth and cool air, and it dawned on me that I could stay, and keep journeying and meet loving people. At the same time, however, the kind woman shared it was a lovely recess, yet I needed to return, grow, and she’d be with me, always.
    I now feel woman was ME, a future woman comforting a past scared, exhausted girl, alone and dagile (of course my parents were attentive and loving, also non-religious), that is my keenest memory, I was revisited and comforted, by that same woman, (me?!) Whem I had a very fast and potentially life-threatening labor, unmedicated, and I was scared and felt extremely alone- that “woman/ presence., “she” Provided a chorus of women encircling me with a deep rocking arms and hums, a mothering presence, a temporary solace to, again, help me feel safe, and feel safe with my own inner strength. Ultimately, my view is no -religious, yet aware of an inner coremof divinity in all
    Of us, and I see that occasionally in my work in hospice.

  • DanC

    Pellleeaaase! All that is established here, and for the umpteenth time, is that we human beings will believe anything we want to believe, as long as our grammar allows us to formulate it.

    • P-brennan

       Interesting comment – I’ve heard around 100 people on youTube recount their NDEs, and a common comment is: we don’t have the words to describe (the colors, the light, the ecstasy). So no, our grammar doesn’t allow us to formulate it. We become much more than we are now. WATCH them, THEN decide. Not one, but many.

      • DanC

        You just confirmed my point: watch a hundred of anything and you will walk away with something from the experience. This is called spontaneous self-hypnosis, which we do all the time. Not that there is anything wrong with it, because it is part of the human condition and human nature, insofar as we can even speak of human nature, which is another mythic construct. Just don’t mistake what you end up believing for a fact. To quote Nietzsche here, who is undoubtedly not one of your favorites: “There are no facts. There are only interpretations.” Or slightly differently: “Facts are precisely what there are not.” In the end, and still citing Nietzsche here: “We can only think in terms of the structures provided by language.” That is what I meant by “grammar,” but I assumed that was clear enough and I put it that way because I thought it served the need for economy of words. But I guess I was wrong on that.

        • redscream5

          This comment is so spot-on I wouldn’t be able to clean it with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

        • P-brennan

           I believed them from the first one I saw, and there is no “gradual” fooling me. Sorry. Each experience stands alone, yet the insights from them all are cumulative, and deeply compelling.  You can only find out for yourself by listening to people’s accounts, and it would take less energy than all the baseless criticism you’re constructing.

      • Christopher

        READ about people’s DMT trips. When they take the drug they have no words to describe the colors, the light, or the ecstasy. THEN read about how the brain produces DMT naturally and about how it is strongly associated with dreams. Once you do that research, look at your youtube videos and tell me the two aren’t correlated. 

        • P-brennan

           Many people have done both, drugs and NDEs, and they claim that they are COMPLETELY different. One is artificial, and one is the most real experience they’ve ever had. Dive into the field instead of making these silly conclusions based on no study or energy at all.

  • J__o__h__n

    I think it is professional misconduct for people with scientific credentials to spout nonsense based on alleged personal experiences.  They are giving false respectability to things that they cannot prove empirically. 

    • dodo bird

      and what is emperical evidence but someone’s experience.  the questions is whether the experiement can repeated by another party with the same results….  you do more harm than good with your attempted “logic”.

      • James

        I doubt these experiences would be recreated in someone who has existed outside of the realm of Judeo-Christian influence, or even from someone who wasn’t privy to Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ as a child.

        • J__o__h__n

          While sometimes I’ve believed six impossible things before breakfast, I refuse to do so at lunchtime. 

        • P-brennan

           It’s a good question, and has been rather extensively researched – children without known formal religious exposure, people of different faiths, atheists, have all been studied. The conclusion of those who study NDEs is that they are not the product of prior life experiences (although prior life experiences are certainly addressed as part of the NDE, in the form of a life review.) The literature on NDEs is quite deep, there are several good reviews available. For me, nothing matches actually listening to someone (YouTube has hundreds) – if they’re crackpots, you’ll be able to tell – I’d encourage you to watch many of them,though – they’re all unique.

          • James

            Please provide me with some sources. I’d be quite interested to read them. Note, however, that I’m not discrediting the existence of a NDE (insofar as it relates to ones mental state, as opposed to an indeterminate spiritual experience). I am, however, stating that I think it’s unlikely that a person who has never come in contact with, say, the Christian religion, would use a Christian framework and vocabulary to describe (market and profit) their experience.

            If God exists, and if God is a Christian God, it follows that the experience should exist within that framework regardless of ones background or exposure to the Christian religion. I find that logic laughable.

      • redscream5

        The guy is offering only anecdotal experience, which is not evidence in any way. In addition he doesn’t HAVE any scientific credentials.

        Your attempt to equate anecdotal experience and empirical evidence is… juvenile… even for someone living a thousand years ago.

        • dodo bird

          wow, ignorant.  if you think being an MD mean he has no scientific credentials….  definition of empirical evidence : originating in or based on observation or experience.  you can hate the method or the design, but to reply in such a way is not furthering any discussion.  you need to use another forum to relieve you feelings of unimportance.

          • redscream5

            You don’t know the difference between a neuro-surgeon and a neuroscientist and you dare to throw the “ignorant” tag around?

            Please… the guy has no real scientific credentials to speak of, period. If so, please produce them.

          • Peer Reviewed

            Peer Reviewed Publications:
            1. Soules, MR, Hughes, CL Jr., Garcia JR, Livengood, CH, Prystowsky, MR, Alexander, E III. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: Role of human chorionic gonadotropin and 17- hydroxyprogesterone. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1980: 55(6): 696-700.
            2. Alexander, E., Jr., Alexander E., III. German influence on the work of Harvey Cushing, the pioneer of neurosurgery in America. Neurosurgery. 1981: 9 (5) 501-505.
            3. Alexander, E., III, Friedman, AH. Characteristics of adrenergic receptors in human pial arterioles. Surgical Forum. 1983: 43: 508.
            4. Alexander, E, III, Black, P McL, Liszczak, TM, Zervas, NT. Delayed CSF lavage for arteriographic and morphological vasospasm after experimental SAH. J Neurosurg. 1985: 63: 949-958.
            5. Rossitch, E, Jr, Alexander, E, III, Schiff, SJ, Bullard, DE. Computer tomography guided stereotactic aspiration of a brainstem abscess. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. 1988: 90:365-368.
            6. Rossitch E, Jr., Carrazana, EJ, Ellenbogen, RG, Alexander, E, III. Kluver-Bucy syndrome following recovery from transtentorial herniation. British Journal of Neurosurgery. 1989: 3: 503-506. Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS – CV
            7. Alexander E, III, Siddon, RL, Loeffler, JS. The acute onset of nausea and vomiting following stereotactic radiosurgery: Correlation with total dose to area postrema. Surgical Neurology. 1989:32: 40-44.
            8. Loeffler, JS, Alexander E, III, Siddon RL, Saunders, WM, Coleman, CN, Winston, KR. Stereotactic radiosurgery for intracranial arteriovenous malformations using a standard linear accelerator. International J Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics. 1989: 17: 673-677.
            9. Alexander, E, III, Rossitch, E, Jr., Small, K, Rossenwasser, GO, Abson, P. Merkel cell carcinoma: long term survival in a patient with proven brain metastasis and presumed choroid metastasis. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. 1989: 91 (4):317-320.
            10. Small, KW, Rosenwasser, GO, Alexander, E III, Rossitch, E Jr, Dutton JJ. Presumed choroidal metastasis of Merkel cell carcinoma. Annals of Ophthalmology. 1990: 22:187-190.
            11. Loeffler, JS, Alexander, E, III. The role of stereotactic radiosurgery in the management of intracranial tumors. Oncology. 1990: 4(3): 21-31.
            12. Loeffler, JS, Kooy, HM, Wen, PY, Fine, HA, Cheng, C-W, Mannarino, EG, Tsai, JS, Alexander, E, III. The treatment of recurrent brain metastases with stereotactic radiosurgery. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 1990: 8(4): 576-582.
            13. Rossitch, E Jr, Moore, MR, Alexander, E, III, Black, PMcL. The neurosurgeon’s neurosurgeon. Cushing operates on a Penfield. Surgical Neurology. 1990: 33:150-153.
            14. Crawford, JM, Rossitch, E, Jr., Oakes, WJ, Alexander, E, III. Arteriovenous malformation of the great vein of Galen associated with patent ductus arteriosus: Report of three cases and review of the literature. Child’s Nervous System. 1990: 6:18-22.
            15. Loeffler, JS, Rossitch E, Jr., Siddon, RL, Moore, MR, Rockoff, MA, Alexander, E, III. The role of stereotactic radiosurgery with a linear accelerator in the treatment of intracranial arteriovenous malformations and tumors in children. Pediatrics. 1990: 85(5): 774-782.
            16. Alexander E III, Moore, MR, Siddon, RL, Rossitch E, Jr., Loeffler, JS. Successful management of intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM) with stereotactic external beam using a standard linear accelerator. Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. 1990: 54 + 55: 548-549.
            17. Alexander E III, Rossitch E, Jr., Siddon, RL, Moore, MR, Loeffler, JS. The role of stereotactic radiosurgery with a linear accelerator in the treatment of pediatric intracranial tumors. Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. 1990: 54 + 55: 549-550.
            18. Loeffler JS, Siddon RL, Wen PY, Nedzi LA, Alexander E III. Stereotactic radiosurgery of the brain using a standard linear accelerator: study of early and late effects. Radiotherapy and Oncology. 1990: 17:311-321.
            19. Nashold, BS, Jr., Rossitch, E, Jr., Alexander, E, III. Dorsal root entry zone surgery for pain management: An update. Pain Management. 1991: 4(1): 15-23.
            20. Alexander E III, Friedman, AH. Radioligand binding to adrenergic receptors in human pial membranes. Neurosurgery. 1990: 27(1):52-59.
            21. Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Hochberg FH, Wen PY, Morris J, Siddon RL, Schoene W, Morse RH, Black PMcL. Clinical patterns of failure following stereotactic interstitial irradiation in malignant gliomas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1990:19:1455-1462.
            22. Carvalho PA, Schwartz RB, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS, Zimmermann RE, Nagel JS, Holman BL. Extracranial metastatic glioblastoma: appearance on T1-201 chloride/Tc- 99m-hmpao SPECT. J Nucl Med 1991: 32:322-324.
            23. Rossitch E Jr, Alexander, E III, Black, PM, Cooke JP. L-arginine normalizes endothelial function in cerebral vessels from hypercholesterolemic rabbits. J Clin Invest. 1991: 87: 1295-1299.
            24. Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Wen PY, Shea WM, Coleman CN, Kooy HM, Fine HA, Nedzi LA, Silver B, Riese NE, Black PM. Results of stereotactic brachytherapy used in the initial management of patients with glioblastoma. J Nat Cancer Inst. 1990: 82:1918- 1921.
            25. Tsai J-S, Buck BA, Svensson GK, Alexander E III, Cheng C-W, Mannarino EG, Loeffler JS. Quality assurance in stereotactic radiosurgery using a standard linear accelerator. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 21: 737-748, 1991. Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS – CV
            26. Kooy HM, Nedzi LA, Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Cheng CW, Mannarino E, Holupka E, Siddon RL. Treatment planning for stereotactic radiosurgery of intracranial lesions. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 21: 683-693, 1991.
            27. Nedzi LA, Kooy H, Alexander E III, Gelman RS, Loeffler JS. Variables associated with the development of complications from radiosurgery of intracranial tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 21: 591-599, 1991.
            28. Holman BL, Zimmerman RE, Johnson KA, Carvalho PA, Schwartz RB, Loeffler JS, Alexander E, Pelizzari CA, Chen GTY. Computer-assisted superimposition of magnetic
            resonance and high resolution Technetium-99m-HMPAO and Thallium-201 SPECT images of the brain. J Nucl Med 32(8):1478-1484, 1991.
            29. Loeffler JS, Macklis RM, Wen PY, Fine HA, Alexander E III, Coleman CN. Alternative and future strategies in the treatment of malignant gliomas. Semin Rad Oncol,1: 69-78, 1991.
            30. Alexander, E III, Loeffler, JS: Introduction, to Radiosurgery: Enhancement of Clinical Excellence, Alexander, E III, Loeffler, JS, Gildenberg, PL, Franklin, PO (Eds). Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, 1992: 57(1): 5-6.
            31. Coleman CN, Noll L, Riese N, Buswell L, Howes AE, Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Wen P, Harris JR, Kramer RA, Hurwitz SJ, Neben TY, Grigsby P. Final report of the Phase I trial of continuous infusion etanidazole (SR2508): A radiation therapy oncology group study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 22: 577-580, 1992.
            32. Hurwitz SJ, Coleman CN, Riese N, Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Buswell L, Neben TY, Shargel L, Kramer RA. Distribution of etanidazole into human brain tumors: Implications for treating high grade gliomas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 22:573-576, 1992.
            33a. Schwartz RB, Carvalho PA, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS, Folkerth R, Holman BL. Dual isotope SPECT using T1-201 and Tc-99m hmpao in the differentiation of radiation necrosis from recurrent glioma. AJNR 12: 1187-1192, 1991.
            33b. Schwartz RB, Carvalho PA, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS, Folkerth R, Holman, BL: Radiation necrosis versus high – grade recurrent glioma: differentiation by using dual isotope SPECT using T1-201 and Tc-99m HMPAO. AJR 158: 399-404, 1992
            34. Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Shea WM, Wen PY, Fine HA, Kooy HM, Black P McL: Radiosurgery as part of the initial management of patients with malignant gliomas. J Clinical Oncology, 10:1379-1385,1992.
            35. Carvalho PA, Schwartz RB, Alexander E III, Garada BM, Zimmerman RE, Loeffler JS, Holman BL. Detection of recurrent gliomas with quantitative Thallium-201/ Technetium-99m hmpao single-photon emission computed tomography. J Neurosurg 77 (4): 565-570, 1992.
            36. Alexander E III, Loeffler JS. Radiosurgery for intracranial vascular malformations: techniques, results and complications. Clin Neurosurg 39: 273-291, 1992.
            37. Nedzi LA, Kooy HM, Alexander E III, Svensson GK, Loeffler JS: Dynamic field shaping for stereotactic radiosurgery: A modeling study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 25:859-869, 1993.
            38. Alexander E III, Loeffler JS, Schwartz RB, Johnson KA, Carvalho PA, Garada BM, Zimmerman RE, Holman BL. Thallium-201 Technetium-99m HMPAO stereotactic craniotomies in heavily irradiated malignant glioma patients. Acta Neurochirurgica 122: 215-217, 1993.
            39. Tishler RB, Loeffler JS, Lunsford LD, Duma C, Alexander E III, Kooy HM, Flickinger JC: Tolerance of cranial nerves of the cavernous sinus to radiosurgery. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, 27: 215-221, 1993.
            40. Kooy HM, Nedzi LA, Ledoux RL, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS: Dose-volume histogram computations for small intracranial volumes. Med Phys 20: 755-760, 1993.
            41. Black P McL, Tarbell N, Alexander E III, Rockoff M, Zhan, M, Loeffler JS: Stereotactic techniques in managing pediatric brain tumors. Child’s Nerv Syst: 9:343- 347, 1993.
            42. Alexander E III: Glioblastoma Revisited: Do clinical observations match basic science theory? Radiosurgery: Clinical observations. J Neuro-oncology 17: 167-173, 1993.
            43. Haregewoin A, Alexander E III, Black P McL, Loeffler JS: Autocrine regulation of the production of the gaseous messenger nitric oxide in a glioblastoma cell line. Experimental Cell Research 210:137-1139, 1994. Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS – CV
            44a. Larson DA, Bova F, Eisert D, Kline R, Loeffler J, Lutz W, Mehta M, Palta J, Schewe K, Schultz C, Shaw E, Wilson JF, Lunsford LD, Alexander E, Chapman P,
            Coffey R, Friedman W, Harsh G IV, Maciunas R, Olivier A, Steinberg G, Walsh J: Consensus statement on stereotactic radiosurgery quality improvement. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 28:527-530, 1994.
            44b. Lunsford LD, Alexander E, Chapman P, Coffey R, Friedman W, Harsh G IV, Maciunas R, Olivier A, Steinberg G, Walsh J, Larson DA, Bova F, Eisert D, Kline R, Loeffler J, Lutz W, Mehta M, Palta J, Schewe K, Schultz C, Shaw E, Wilson JF: Consensus statement on stereotactic radiosurgery quality improvement. Neurosurgery 34:193-195, 1994.
            45. Gleason PL, Kikinis R, Altobelli D, Wells W, Alexander E III, Black PM, Jolesz F: Video registration virtual reality for nonlinkage stereotactic surgery. Stereotact Functional Neurosurgery 63 (1-4): 139-143, 1994.
            46. Kooy HM, Van Herk M, Barnes PD, Alexander E III, Dunbar SF, Tarbell NJ, Mulkern RV, Holupka EJ, Loeffler JS: Image fusion for stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery treatment planning. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 28:1229-1234, 1994.
            47. Wen PY, Alexander E III, Black PM, Fine HA, Riese N, Levin JM, Coleman CN, Loeffler JS: Long term results of stereotactic brachytherapy used in the initial treatment of patients with glioblastomas. Cancer 73:3029-2036, 1994.
            48. Riese NE, Loeffler JS, Wen PY, Alexander E III, Black P McL, Coleman CN: A phase I study of etanidazole and radiotherapy in malignant glioma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 29:617-620, 1994.
            49. Hughes-Davies L, Mannarino E, Alexander E III, Kooy H, Loeffler JS: Technical modifications required to treat cervical chemodectomas with stereotactic radiosurgery. Surg Neurol 41:418-420, 1994.
            50. Dunbar SF, Tarbell NJ, Kooy HM, Alexander E III, Black P McL, Barnes PD, Goumnerova L, Scott RM, Pomeroy S, LaVally B, Sallan SE, Loeffler JS: Stereotactic radiotherapy for pediatric and adult brain tumors: preliminary report. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, 30:531-539, 1994.
            51. Loeffler JS, Shrieve DC, Alexander E III: Radiosurgery for glioblastoma multiforme: the importance of selection criteria. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 30:731-733, 1994.
            52. Bodis S, Alexander E III, Kooy H, Loeffler JS: The prevention of radiosurgeryinduced nausea and vomiting by ondansetron: evidence of a direct effect on the central nervous system chemoreceptor trigger zone. Surg Neurol 42(3):249-252, 1994.
            53. Shrieve DC, Tarbell NJ, Alexander E III, Kooy HM, Black PMcL, Dunbar S, Loeffler JS: Stereotactic radiotherapy: a technique for dose optimization and escalation for intracranial tumors. Acta Neurochir 62:55-60, 1994.
            54. Alexander E III, Moriarty TM, Davis RB, Wen PY, Fine HA, Black PM, Kooy HM, Loeffler JS: Stereotactic radiosurgery for the definitive, noninvasive treatment of brain metastases. J National Cancer Institute 87 (1):34-40, 1995.
            55. Alexander E III, Kooy HM, van Herk M, Schwartz M, Barnes PD, Tarbell N, Mulkern RV, Holupka EJ, Loeffler JS: MRI-Directed stereotactic neurosurgery: Use of image fusion with CT to enhance spatial accuracy. J Neurosurg 83:271-276, 1995.
            56. Stokes MA, Soriano SG, Tarbell NJ, Loeffler JS, Alexander E III, Black PMcL, Rockoff MA: Anesthesia for stereotactic radiosurgery in children. J Neurosurg Anesth, 7:100-108, 1995.
            57. Shrieve DC, Alexander E III, Wen PY, Fine HA, Kooy HM, Black PM, Loeffler JS: Comparison of stereotactic radiosurgery and brachytherapy in the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. Neurosurg 36(2): 275-284, 1995.
            58. Sarkaria JN, Mehta MP, Loeffler JS, Buatti JM, Chappell RJ, Levin AB, Alexander E III, Friedman WA, Kinsella TJ: Radiosurgery in the initial management of malignant gliomas: survival comparison with the RTOG recursive partitioning analysis. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 32:931-941, 1995.
            59. Schwartz MS, Loeffler JS, Black P McL, Shrieve DC, Wen PY, Fine HA, Alexander E III. Reoperation following radiosurgery of glioblastoma: impact on survival and neurologic status. Radiosurgery 1:141-157, 1996. Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS – CV
            60. Moriarty TM, Loeffler JS, Black P McL, Shrieve DC, Wen PY, Fine HA, Kooy HM, Alexander E III. Long-term follow-up of patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery
            for single or multiple brain metastases. In: Alexander E III, Kondziolka D, Lindquist C, Loeffler JS, (eds), Radiosurgery 1995, Karger, Basel, pp 83-91, 1996.
            61. Kooy HM, Cosman ER, Harlan RB, Ledoux RJ, Bellerive MR, Hacker FL, Killoran JH, Mannarino EG, Tarbell NJ, Alexander E III, Shrieve DC, Loeffler JS: A dynamic collimator system for conformal stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy. In: Alexander E III, Kondziolka D, Lindquist C, Loeffler JS, (eds), Radiosurgery 1995, Karger, Basel, pp 276-287, 1996.
            62. Loeffler JS, Shrieve DC, Alexander E III, Kooy HM, Tarbell NJ, Stieg PE, Wen PY, Black P McL: Stereotactic radiotherapy for meningiomas. In: Alexander E III, Kondziolka D, Lindquist C, Loeffler JS, (eds), Radiosurgery 1995, Karger, Basel, pp 47- 54, 1996.
            63. Schulder M, Loeffler JS, Howes AE, Alexander E III, Black P McL: The radium bomb: Harvey Cushing and the interstitial irradiation of gliomas. J Neurosurg 84:530- 532, 1996.
            64. Kikinis R, Gleason PL, Moriarty TM, Moore MR, Alexander E III, Stieg PE, Matsumae M, Lorenson WE, Cline HE, Black PM, Jolesz FA: Computer-assisted interactive three-dimensional planning for neurosurgical procedures. Neurosurgery 38 (4): 640-651, 1996.
            65. Auchter RM, Lamond JP, Alexander E III, Buatti JM, Chappell R, Friedman WA, Kinsella TJ, Levin AB, Noyes WR, Schultz CJ, Loeffler JS, Mehta MP: A multiinstitutional outcome and prognostic factor analysis of radiosurgery for resectable single brain metastasis. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 35:27-35, 1996.
            66. Alexander E III, Moriarty TM, Loeffler JS: Radiosurgery for Metastases. J Neuro Oncol 27:279-285, 1996.
            67. Ettinger GJ, Grimson WEl, Leventon ME, Kikinis R, Gugino V, Cote W, Karapelou M, Aglio L, Shenton M, Potts G, Alexander E: Non-invasive functional brain mapping using registered transcranial magnetic stimulation. Proceedings of IEEE Workshop on Mathematical Methods in Biomedical Image Analysis, San Francisco, CA, June 21-22, pp. 32-41, 1996.
            68. Patrice SJ, Sneed PK, Flickinger JC, Shrieve DC, Pollack BE, Alexander E III, Larson DA, Kondziolka DS, Gutin PH, Wara WM, McDermott MW, Lunsford LD, Loeffler JS: Radiosurgery for hemangioblastoma: results of a multiinstitutional experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 35:493-499, 1996.
            69. Schwartz RB, Holman BL, Garada BM, Carvalho PA, Folkerth R, Schwartz MS, Loeffler JS, Shrieve DC, Polak JF, Black PM, Alexander E III: Dual isotope singlephoton emission computerized tomography used for prediction of histology and survival in patients after high-dose radiotherapy for malignant astrocytoma. Neurosurgical Focus 1(3), Article 1, 1996.
            70. Varlotto JM, Shrieve DS, Alexander E III, Kooy HM, Black PMcL, Loeffler JS: Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy for the treatment of acoustic neuromas: preliminary results. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 36:141-145, 1996.
            71. Black PMcL, Alexander E III, Tarbell NJ, Shrieve DS, Goumnerova LC, Loeffler JS: Linear accelerator-based radiosurgery for malignant tumors of the central nervous system. Critical Rev in Neurosurg 6:225-231, 1996.
            72. Schulder M, Black PMcL, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS: The influence of Harvey Cushing on neuroradiologic therapy. Therapeutic Radiology 201:671-674, 1996.
            73. Alexander E III, Moriarty TM, Kikinis R, Jolesz FA: Innovations in minimalism: Intraoperative MRI. Clinical Neurosurgery 43: 338-352, 1996.
            74. Schulder M, Black PMcL, Shrieve DC, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS: Permanent lowactivity iodine-125 implants for cerebral metastases. J Neuro-Oncology 33:213-221, 1997.
            75. Black PM, Moriarty T, Alexander E III, Stieg P, Woodard EJ, Gleason PL, Martin CH, Kikinis R, Schwartz RB, Jolesz FA: Development and implementation of intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging and its neurosurgical applications. Neurosurgery 41(4): 831- 842, 1997.
            76. Nakajima S, Kikinis R, Black PM, Atsumi H, Leventon ME, Hata N, Metcalf DC, Moriarty TM, Alexander E III, Jolesz FA: Image-guided neurosurgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. In: Computer-Assisted Surgery, Tamaka N, Ehara K, eds. Springer- Verlag, Tokyo, 144-162, 1997.
            77. Alexander E III, Moriarty TM, Kikinis R, Black P, Jolesz FM. The present and future role of intraoperative MRI in neurosurgical procedures. Stereotact Functional Neurosurgery 68:10-17, 1997. Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS – CV
            78. Alexander E III, Loeffler JS: Radiosurgery for primary malignant brain tumors. Semin Surg Oncol 14:43-52, 1998.
            79. Hakim R, Loeffler JS, Wen PY, Fallon MP, Black PM, Stieg PE, Alexander E III. Linac radiosurgery for meningiomas. In: Alexander E III, Kondziolka D, Lindquist C, Loeffler JS, (eds), Radiosurgery 2, Karger, Basel, pp 16-24, 1998.
            80. Chang EL, Loeffler JS, Riese NE, Wen PY, Alexander E III, Black PM, Coleman CN: Survival results from a phase I study of etanidazole (SR2508) and radiotherapy in patients with malignant glioma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 40(1): 65-70, 1998.
            81. Hakim R, Alexander E III, Loeffler JS, Shrieve DC, Wen PY, Fallon MP, Stieg PE, Black PM. Results of linar accelerator-based radiosurgery for intracranial meningiomas. Neurosurgery 42(3): 446-454, 1998.
            82. Schwartz RB, Holman BL, Polak JF, Garada BM, Schwartz MS, Folkerth R, Carvalho PA, Loeffler JS, Shrieve DC, Black PM, Alexander E III. Dual-isotope singlephoton emission computerized tomography scanning in patients with glioblastoma multiforme: association with patient survival and histopathological characteristics of tumor after high- dose radiotherapy. J Neurosurg 89:60-68, 1998.
            83. Schwartz RB, Hsu L, Black PM, Alexander E III, Wong TZ, Klufas RA, Moriarty T, Martin C, Isbister HG, Cahill CD, Spaulding SA, Kanan AR, Jolesz FA. Evaluation of intracranial cysts by intraoperative MR. JMRI 8:807-813, 1998.
            84. Potts GF, Gugino LD, Leventon ME, Grimson, EL, Kikinis R, Cote W, Alexander E, et al. Visual hemifield mapping using transcranial magnetic stimulation coregistered with cortical surfaces derivwed from magnetic resonance images. J Clin Neurophysiol 15(4):344-350, 1998.
            85. Schwartz RB, Hsu L, Kacher DF, Wong TZ, Alexander E III, Okon S, Guttmann CRG, Black PM, Kelley RA, Moriarty T, Martin C, Isbister HG, Cahill CD, Spaulding SA, Jolesz FA. Intraoperative dynamic MRI: Localization of sites of brain tumor recurrence after high-dose radiotherapy. JMRI 8:1085-1089, 1998.
            86. Mitsumori M, Shrieve DC, Alexander E III, Kaiser UB, Richardson GE, Black PM, Loeffler JS. Initial clinical results of Linac-based stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic radiotherapy for pituitary adenomas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 42(3):573-580, 1998.
            87. Potts GF, Gugino LD, Leventon ME, Grimson WE, Kikinis R, Cote W, Alexander E III, Anderson JE, Ettinger GJ, Aglio LS, Shenton ME. Visual Hemifield Mapping Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Coregistered With Cortical Surfaces Derived From Magnetic Resonance Images. J Clinical Neurophysiology 15(4): 344-350, 1998.
            88. Shrieve DC, Alexander E III, Black PM, Wen PY, Fine HA, Kooy HM, Loeffler JS. Treatment of patients with primary glioblastoma multiforme with standard postoperative radiotherapy and radiosurgical boost: prognostic factors and long-term outcome. J Neurosurg 90:72-77, 1999.
            89. Schwartz RB, Hsu L, Wong TZ, Kacher DF, Zamani AA, Black PM, Alexander E III, Stieg PE, Moriarty TM, Martin CA, Kikinis R, Jolesz FA. Intraoperative MR imaging guidance for intracranial neurosurgery: experience with the first 200 cases. Radiology 211(2):477-88, 1999.
            90. Alexander E III, Loeffler JS: The case for radiosurgery. Clin Neurosurg 45:32-40, 1999.
            91. Black PM, Alexander E III, Martin C, Moriarty T, Nabavi A, Wong TZ, Schwartz RB, Jolesz F. Craniotomy for tumor treatment in an intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging unit. Neurosurgery 45(3): 423-431, 1999.
            92. Stieg PE, Friedlander RM, Loeffler JS, Alexander E III: Arteriovenous malformations: Indications for stereotactic radiosurgery. Clin Neurosurg 47:242-248, 2000.
            93. Moriarty TM, Quinones-Hinojosa A, Larson PS, Alexander E III, Gleason PL, Schwartz RB, Jolesz FA, Black PM. Frameless stereotactic neurosurgery using intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging: stereotactic brain biopsy. Neurosurgery 47(5): 1138-1146, 2000. (Professional Student Author Larson PS)
            94. Rauzzino MJ, Tubbs RS, Alexander E III, Grabb PA, Oakes WJ: Spinal neurenteric cysts and their relation to more common aspects of occult spinal dysraphism. Neurosurg Focus 10 (1): Article 2, 2001.
            95. Gugino LD, Aglio LS, Potts G, Grimson WEL, Shenton ME, Kikinis R, Alexander E, Gonzalez AA, Romero R, Ettinger GJ, Cote WA, Leventon ME, Black PM. Perioperative Use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Techniques in Neurosurgery 7(1): 33-51, 2001. Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS – CV
            96. Hodgson DC, Goumnerova LC, Loeffler JS, Dutton S, Black P, Alexander E, Xu R, Silver B, Tarbell NJ. Radiosurgery in the Management of Pediatric Brain Tumors. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, 50: 929-935, 2001.
            97. Villavicencio AT, Black PM, Shrieve DC, Fallon MP, Alexander E, Loeffler JS. Linac Radiosurgery for Skull Base Meningiomas. Acta Neurochirurgica: 143(11);1141- 52, 2001.

          • redscream5

            Those are surgical methodology papers, not scientific credentials… you know that right?

            You should have maybe read the list before blindly copy/pasting surgical methodology reports, which every surgeon writes…

            In fact there aren’t any non-surgical papers in there at all!

          • Anne

            so what would you consider a credential then?

          • redscream5

            Perhaps co-authoring an actually published scientific paper in a neuroscience journal, I would think. That’s usually the go-to for most non-awarded scientific credentials. The guy wrote a lot of surgical papers, but those reference methodology and success rates, not participation in studies…

            I’m not trying to discredit the guy for what he does, because what he does is down-right amazing. It’s just that most people have this idea that most doctors are also scientists, and while this can sometimes be true (for internists mostly), most doctors are not scientists. This is doubly true for a surgeon. In most cases it simply takes too much time to develop the skills necessary to be a successful surgeon AND be actively involved in research.

          • James

            Funny how he chose to bypass the scientific community with his NDE. I wonder if it was because they can’t offer him as much money, or because he realized that his claims  couldn’t stand to any real scrutiny.

          • Ted

            Have you read all these publications?
            If so, tell us in a few sentences what you learned from them.

          • James

            Documented observation or experience that others can also   observe and experience. What happened, if he’s not making the story up wholesale, happened entirely within the vacuum of his own mind.

    • P-brennan

       I think it’s lazy to scoff at something this important, that you give no evidence of having studied. Watch two or three on youTube every night, it doesn’t take long – then decide. Or read analyses of thousands of NDEs done by psychologists – or both.

      • J__o__h__n

        Studying youtube videos will prove that kittens are cute not that there is an afterlife. 

        • P-brennan

           Perhaps I misspoke – I didn’t mean to offer the videos as “proof”, I think the existence of an afterlife is well beyond science’s grasp. It’s been my experience that the toughest skeptics have the best “B.S.meters”, and that they trust it. When I’ve shown these videos to friends who are deeply skeptical, they come away changed, because they believe these people are telling the truth. That’s all. And the cumulative effect of listening to 30 or 40 of these accounts is really interesting. Why not try it? It’s a fascinating topic.

      • redscream5

        NDEs have been replicated in the emergency room at will on multiple, well documented studies. All it takes is a Google search…

        • P-brennan

           At will? Really? By this do you mean that someone can “provide” an NDE to another? That would be interesting, but I doubt it’s possible. Only 14% of people who “code”, cardiac arrest, report an NDE.

    • Gitti

      It’s HIS personal experience…you either believe it or  you don’t….YOUR choice.
      you think it’s nonsense…I don’t…..

  • Info

    There are so many questions, here. Did the instruments he was hooked up to really provide an accurate picture of his brain activity? What about the malleability of memory and recall? Were there periods of time between full awareness and coma, during which he could have had these visions? Did he come back with any specific, testable knowledge that did not already exist, which could be used as evidence that he actually did commune with higher beings?

    People sometimes insist they KNOW something to be true because of the profoundity of their experience. I’ve seen that in the comments to this article. Sadly, though, they are misusing the word KNOW. They may strongly believe (that their loved one saw the afterlife, or whatever), but that’s not knowing. None of us KNOWS about these things, as such subjective experiences and anecdotes exist outside the realm of proof.

    • Info

       While my father was dying, he was plagued by terrible, nightmarish images and visitations. Am I to interpret this as his visions of Hell? Perhaps, despite him being a very good and gentle man, “God” considered him a bad person and was shoving him toward a very different form of afterlife.

      We don’t spend much time gushing over the negative, disturbingj variety of hallucinatory experience, though these are just as real to the tripping and/or dying who endure them. More evidence to me that this subject is all about what people want to believe.

    • P-brennan

       We have to rely on our sense of truthfulness in others all the time, in hiring, dating, etc. – this topic is too important to dismiss out of hand, because there’s no “proof” – actually, though, there are so many well-documented veridical experiences within NDEs (meaning people learned things they could NOT have known unless their NDE really occurred) that it does constitute proof. 600 people every day in the U.S., and they’re ALL saying similar things, and every one of them is uniquely tailored to that person’s life? And people make lifelong positive changes afterwards? Come on. WATCH 50 on YouTube, THEN decide. They are extremely compelling, and set aside your need for proof for a while. It’ll be there waiting for you anyway, doing pushups in the next room.

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

        No .  (. ) Period.  Had NDE, the experience was all in my head.  NDE’s spoke the the formation of (invalid) religious beliefs in an after life and supernatural realm.  It is all in your head, that is my direct actual experience.

        • P-brennan

           I’ve listened to 10o or so, children with no religious exposure, atheists, devoutly religious – and I’ve never heard anyone say that they were asked how many times they went to church, or what religion they joined. Don’t you think they would, if it’s a product of religious influence?? And so many of the NDEs have NOTHING to do with a “religious” experience as we would define it. The only test question is “what have you done for your fellow man?”, and the only judgement I’ve heard is self-imposed.

          WATCH THEM and gain an INFORMED opinion. STUDY the literature if you’re interested enough to debate. Otherwise your opinion is just all in your head.

          • Info

            Good lord. Watching You Tube videos will only prove that a lot of people have had deeply moving experiences of altered consciousness. Big deal. It happens with drugs, meditation, and yes, during times of extreme physical duress. 

            That people have such experiences is not in doubt. The question is, do they require a supernatural, “astral projection”- style explanation. No YouTube video is going to answer that question. The accounts may be emotionally compelling, and the people giving them may be perfectly sincere, but that doesn’t address the real question which is being raised by this surgeon’s assertions.

          • P-brennan

             I again challenge you to watch many of them, trust your own gut, and see where it takes you. But also study the very real SCIENCE of the lifelong effects that result. No sweet experience, or happy memory, or dream, or drug trip DOES THAT. Some claim to get there by meditation, but that’s effortful. NDEs happen TO people and are the MOST REAL thing that’s ever happened to them. This place is put in its correct perspective – a place we visit for training, and not our true home.

  • Lukehilton

    I had an experience of Heaven while I was living with madness a year and a half ago.  I saw a girl who looked beautiful to me & when she disappeared I became immersed in a 3 dimensional hallucination that spun very slowly.  I called for help.  A golden vision of a celestial hermit came & told me he was not God but I was to find him.  As I wept I told him I would & somehow knew then that the girl was the woman I love & I would find her on Earth.  At times she seems to be my guardian angel.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BXRQWBWRRZK3GKZ32JKSGMMXWI Joanne

    It is his term Heaven that I have problems with.  Someone else might have a similar experience without concluding a “Heaven” interpretation to that experience.  Dr. Alexander grew up in a rather – outwardly anyway – religious state of NC.  It is difficult to grow up surrounded by religious beliefs without having them color your subconscious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    I had a dream once that I lived an entire day. Woke up, went to school, ate my lunch, went home, watched some TV, did my homework, and then went to bed. I woke up thinking it was Thursday instead of Wednesday. If my mind can create a simulated full day in less than 8 hours of sleep, couldn’t it be possible that time is relative inside ones own mind and that Dr Eben mere experienced this in the seconds before he woke up or slipped into his coma?

    Also, the brain is perfectly capable of fabricating memories as well. A small example, studies have shown that when you cut out the middle of written words and someone reads it, their brain can fabricate what the words are supposed to be by association, logic and their own imagination. I’m also pretty sure that there have been cases of amnesia patients that not only lose their memories but also fabricate a new reality. It stands to reason that even if the brain didn’t have time during the seconds before and after his coma, as he was recalling the experience his mind could have fabricated this experience.
    His sister whom he never met: Its possible he remembers a girl. But 4 weeks goes by the memory degrades and then when he thinks “it could be my sister I never met” as he looks at the picture above his desk, his mind rewires to think “that’s her!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    I had a dream once that I lived an entire day. Woke up, went to school, ate my lunch, went home, watched some TV, did my homework, and then went to bed. I woke up thinking it was Thursday instead of Wednesday. If my mind can create a simulated full day in less than 8 hours of sleep, couldn’t it be possible that time is relative inside ones own mind and that Dr Eben mere experienced this in the seconds before he woke up or slipped into his coma?
    Also, the brain is perfectly capable of fabricating memories as well. A small example, studies have shown that when you cut out the middle of written words and someone reads it, their brain can fabricate what the words are supposed to be by association, logic and their own imagination. I’m also pretty sure that there have been cases of amnesia patients that not only lose their memories but also fabricate a new reality. It stands to reason that even if the brain didn’t have time during the seconds before and after his coma, as he was recalling the experience his mind could have fabricated this experience.His sister whom he never met: Its possible he remembers a girl. But 4 weeks goes by the memory degrades and then when he thinks “it could be my sister I never met” as he looks at the picture above his desk, his mind rewires to think “that’s her!”

    • P-brennan

       There are hundreds of accounts on YouTube. Deconstruct each, and explain away all of them, including Pam Reynolds’ case. Not.

  • P-brennan

    You can all listen to hundreds of people recounting their NDE on You Tube, and it’s too important and interesting a question not to, and to just rely on gut level suspicion. Too many veridical experiences, Pam Reynolds under anesthesia, a party boy (Ian McCormack), an atheist (Howard Storm), a venture capitalist (Gordon Allen),a child (Colton Burpo). Common features of NDEs: awareness of the emotional impact you’ve had on everyone you’ve interacted with, a life review, unconditional love and mercy, the knowledge that there’s great humor in the cosmos, and the awareness of having lived an eternal life before this, CHOOSING this mortal life for training in empathy and agreeing to have the memory of our eternal life erased. Deeply thought-provoking. Common life-long changes: altruistic, less materialistic, changing careers, and a complete lack of a fear of death. (Let’s bottle and sell that one! Do I hear “Fix HealthCare!”when most dollars are spent in the last year of life – what are we all hanging on to?) NDEs  happen to 600 people every day in the U.S. – that’s a lot of lives to study. So study the material that psychologists and researchers have gathered before scoffing, because if you haven’t studied it, your opinion isn’t worth much (including you Hitchens). If you feel you’re good at detecting falsehood, then put your skill to the test, and listen to 50 NDEs on YouTube.Not one or two. Easy to scoff at one, but the cumulative impression is one of deep sincerity, authenticity, and wonder. These experiences are too consistent, and too individually tailored, to be false. First known description of the light is in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, so this isn’t something new.

    • James

      No doubt those of undergo these experiences are sincere in their stories–they probably feel ‘real’ and authentic to them. But, again, their anecdotes are not demonstrative of anything.

      Carl Sagan had many thoughtful things to say on this subject in his book ‘The Demon Haunted World’. Alien abduction scenarios are incredibly similar to ‘near death’ experiences in terms of how they are interpreted and disseminated.

      • skeptic4321

        The Believing Brain is also a good read.

      • P-brennan

         Carl Sagan smoked marijuana and had “great insights” which looked like rubbish to his “sober morning self” so he would write notes to his morning self while stoned, saying “this is real you sober morning SOB”! He submitted his stoned meanderings to a journal anonymously, and his wife could not reveal the truth until after he’d died.
        THC is known to stimulate creativity, but I’ll take his thoughtful meanderings with a grain of salt in my sober morning cup of coffee.

        • James

          Which relates to his book ‘The Demon Haunted World’ or ‘Cosmos’ how? We’re not talking about Mr. X marijuana essays–I could see how you could get confused, however, because Dr. Alexander’s NDE vision of the afterlife reads like a bad Terry Gilliam movie.

          • P-brennan

             Knowing someone’s background and behaviors can influence the value we place on their comments. If Carl was standing in front of you, stoned, and saying his thoughtful things, would you interpret them differently? Perhaps.

            There is objective SCIENCE in the study of the lifelong effects that NDEs produce. No one seems interested in that, least of all everyone who criticizes Dr. A. for his lack of science.

  • Monellie

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  I have never died, but 3 years ago I found myself in a state of awe and total gratitude while gazing out the window of a little plane flying over the Serengeti.  I began to thank God for this incredibly beautiful and wonderful Creation when suddenly I “heard” the distinct words, 

    “You are not an observer here.  You are part of this, like a molecule in an entity”.  

    My understanding of God and the cosmos, and my place in it was changed forever.  I was humbled to know that I was as loved and as necessary as every other part of Nature and that nature is not simply a backdrop for humans!  It was the most profound experience of my 64 years on earth.  In that instant I knew that we are all connected…and that if all people could know this, then we would understand, at a visceral level, that we are to love and care for each other and the Earth.  The Golden Rule made perfect sense.

    When I share my experience with others they usually smile and say, “that’s nice”.  They don’t get it, and yet the message is so simple.  I think you’re right when you say that we are on the verge of a shift in thought and understanding.  I hope that lots of people will read your book and believe.  It was fascinating to hear your story and I can’t wait to get my hands on your book.  Thank you again for sharing what you know to be true.

    • redscream5

      This guy didn’t die either… death is a process that takes time, not an instant switch. The fact is that the man never really died. If he had his brain would have necrotized and he would have been unable to give account of anything.

      • Lmajor

        Near Death Experience…

        • redscream5

          Yet people continue to claim to have died and returned from death….

          If more of them only had your sharp mind ;)

  • Believer

    Thank you Dr. Alexander for sharing your profound experience…those that are touched by your story are more likely to humbly and quietly support you rather than post such personal feelings amongst such comments from hardened individuals.

    • James

      I’d like to think I’m a rational individual rather than a hardened individual. While it might feel good to believe in Santa Claus as a child, we all have to grow up sometime. For me, it was far better to realize and appreciate the real sacrifices my parents made to make childhood pleasant for my sister and I.

      I’ve lost family and friends to breast cancer, car accidents, heart failure, pneumonia, and worse. The impact of those experiences and losses weigh on me, as do yours. I have no desire to belittle or demean any one loss of human life. I do, however, feel that it is extremely disrespectful, harmful, and ignorant to encourage falsehoods and dishonesty in order to make a quick buck off suffering people or those struggling to deal with the emotional loss of a loved one.

  • Yogasong

    Robin – thank you so much for running this story. I have both strong belief in science and spirituality and have studied about the phenomenon of near death experience for over 20 years and practiced both standard physical therapy and holistic mind-body therapies for 17 years. Now that my own mother is dying from a terminal illness I am holding hope that she too will be greeted on the other side by loved ones. This is a very difficult time for me and my family and having Dr Alexander as your guest today gave me a few minutes of greatly appreciated respite.

  • Whitecloud8

    I just had to write in, because moments before I turned the radio on, I was contemplating the life of my mother who went into a coma, then was bedridden for 14 years with serious brain damage.  My father started drinking heavily after it happened and could not cope with the situation.    That was 12 years ago.   For so long I have viewed this as a tragedy, and I don’t discount that aspect.  But I was sitting on my couch trying to open my mind to the fact that she may not have had a totally negative experience, given that her consciousness had been so altered.  Because, of course her story still haunts me and affects my ability to function as a mother.   I walked to the kitchen, turned the radio on and boom – this incredible story!  The timing was so bizarre and also reassuring.

    I have never written in a comments section before, but this was so amazing, I had to let Dr. Alexander know.

  • Echo

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    — Shakespere

    I am a skeptic as well, and don’t think that we should acknowledge Dr. A’s experience as scientific fact without some proof. But the anecdotal experience is certainly worthy of a hypothesis. Those who dismiss even that much discussion are as much guilty of hubris as they claim Dr. A is guilty of wishful thinking.

    “Just ’cause you experienced it don’t make it true;
    Just ’cause you can’t prove it don’t make it false”

  • Anne

    I was an atheist for 35 years. But now I have a deep faith–not a faith in god who lives on a cloud like a judging wizard–but in a divine creative intelligent consciousness that permeates all that is. Why the mere possibility of such a consciousness–or ‘oversoul’ as Emerson would call it–is so threatening to people is interesting to me. (If it weren’t threatening I think comments would be simply dismissive rather than hostile.)  I believe science and consciousness/spirituality are wholly compatible. (In fact, I think Buddhism and quantum physics hold many commonalities about the ‘nature’ of things.) The problem isn’t science–the problem is arrogant scientists who think if they can’t yet understand something, then it cannot possibly exist. Surely we’re aware of various scientific revolutions over-turning long-held ‘scientific’ beliefs. Science can become it’s own religion with it’s own unwavering fundamentalists.

    • Mac

      Well put Anne! I have so appreciated this wonderful program.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DPKS3HUGQBPILPIU7IVZSHGXLI Robert_N
      • Anne

        I think, in part, it comes down to a matter of whether people want certainty (which they assume science gives us) or whether people are comfortable with mysterious ambiguities. Science is great, but I find the mysterious just as interesting.

        When I hear people wanting empirical proof that something exists, I always wonder whether they believe in (and have experienced) love. The personal experience of love would be merely anecdotal, yes? Yet, I believe most scientists would agree that love does indeed exist. But where’s the empirical proof of love? We can only point to correlated behaviors as secondary markers. We can’t measure love by any scientific method. There is no empirical proof of love, yet most of us have a deep belief in its existance. And, so it is for some of us that believe in divinity or an over-soul of consciousness. It’s a deep knowingness from personal experience which cannot admittedly be proven.

        • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

          Love is a combination of neuroreceptors and hormones inside the body. The feeling of love arises from the combination of these molecules resulting in a sense of happiness and attachment to the subject of your affection. Love does exist as much as hate, fear and sadness. It is merely an emotional state.

          • Eduggan

            That is true Alexander but when our bodies are stressed so deeply as his was and so many other NDE why is it they 9 times out of ten experience love? Also, how do you explain people who have seen their own future and it comes to pass? We can not be so ignorant as to believe we are the grandest of all things including consciousness. Scientist can not explain sleep. They can tell what happens when we do not sleep but as far as scientis are concerned that to is a mystery.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DPKS3HUGQBPILPIU7IVZSHGXLI Robert_N

          Anne, that doesn’t stop brain science from probing the electrochemistry of love and other emotion. We just can’t yet say to what extent it will succeed. Just a couple of centuries ago, many things in the world that are now pretty well understood were very much matters of mysticism.

          • Anne

            I understand the biological components of emotion (Candace Pert wrote an excellent book called Molecules of Emotion).

            I also worked as a researcher for several years. I understand theory-testing, the peer review process, the need for replicability, etc.  One of the reasons I left research was that I saw data being manipulated for personal or political reasons (sometimes intentionally, sometimes I think it was unconsciously). I’ve seen researchers do things like throw out ‘bad data’ simply because it didn’t match their pre-conceived notions of what they ‘should’ be finding. Thus, their conclusions were skewed. Science is wonderful, but it’s not a pure not wholly objective process.

          • redscream5

            Yes, that’s what peer review is for.

          • Anne

            Agreed. My point was that science is a messy, ongoing evolving process. We don’t yet know what we don’t yet know. Science should ideally be about curiousity, but it can be dogmatic and problematic when it refuses to even consider the possibility of consciousness beyond the individual brain.

            I have enjoyed these exchanges though! Thanks to all who have posted.

            Signing off, Anne  :)

          • A.N

             I agree with you Anne. I find it very ironic that scientists happen to be some of the most skeptical people among us when there’s a world of unanswered questions and phenomenon. I would think more scientists would be open minded to these sort of things because until there is a concrete answer as to why these things happen (and there isn’t)– all possibilities should be considered.

          • redscream5


            Yeah… there sort of is, and it has been well-documented. This is why the scientific community often throws its hands in the air regarding these types of claims.

          • skeptic4321

            “all possibilities should be considered”
            Good luck finding the teapot orbiting Saturn.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DPKS3HUGQBPILPIU7IVZSHGXLI Robert_N

            Science is a pretty diversified endeavor, so not sure how it can “refuse”. I suspect there are some religiously-minded scientists or medical doctors who would be willing to make the case, if there were currently much of a case to make that could stand up to scrutiny. Until there is, it remains a matter of faith/belief.

          • Anne

            Robert–Is it at all posssible that there may be phenomenon that go beyond our current scientific understanding? Or that may go beyond scientific understanding *altogether* based on our brains’ limited capacity? (For instance, we can’t hear certain frequencies that do indeed exist based on the limited receptive capacity of our ‘empirical’ brains.) And, if so, is that prospect frightening? And, if so, why? Can’t the unknown be curious, mysterious and beautiful?

          • P-brennan

             Interesting – one NDEer whose account was written up by Oliver Sacks in “Musicophilia” described hearing every church hymn he knew, all at once, and there was no confusion. Others have described maintaining several tracks of discussion simultaneously. They usually say “we don’t have the words to describe”… Joe, this very serious Italian guy, said “You could I say I was love, that I became peace” – others: “you become all-knowing about the universe and how everything works” – “I knew every blade of grass, and every blade of grass knew me, as Kim” – that we are all connected and part of one greater whole. “It’s everything, all at once, and no sensation of time passing.”

            The comments are so fascinating, and so compelling. I’d urge everyone to listen to as many accounts as you can on YouTube – there are insights into some pretty deep mysteries, that no drug trip or dream could provide, and these people are absolutely sincere. Everyone can recognize that. I’m not looking for proof, but I think I know the truth when I hear it from so many varied sources.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

            Time stopped, it was eternity, in the end there was no anything except just being, and I was… in the end.  It is the gift at the end not to be feared but it is that, the end. 

          • P-brennan

             Thanks, I assume you’re describing your NDE? Certainly a profound personal event, and no one but you can come anywhere close to experiencing/understanding it – Although I wonder if you attended a conference like IANDS (I think Intl. Assoc of Near Death Studies), you might hear a similar account from someone. I recall one person whose NDE, they felt, was cut short (“damn doctors!”) and years later they attended a conference, and heard someone else “complete” or, better, “further” their story. Both started the same, but the 2nd person’s just went farther, and helped the 1st person understand theirs better. I have found that to be very true, in watching the ones on YouTube, you hear hints about a possibility that another NDE confirms. It’s VERY interesting to me, that no NDE I’ve listened to directly contradicts another. Some are much longer – for brevity’s sake, try Gordon Allen’s – great example of how to live (and how not to).

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DPKS3HUGQBPILPIU7IVZSHGXLI Robert_N

            Almost anything is “possible”, Anne, and that’s intriguing, not scary. But these experiences (whether they’re truly spiritual or figments of that fascinating brain) are among those beyond our (full?) understanding. And therefore Dr. Alexander can’t say his experience is “proof” of heaven.

          • Robyn McCluskey

            He can say it is personal proof for him though. What you are saying is that he can’t say he has scientific proof. When I look outside I have personal proof that there is chicken poo in my back yard. I keep chickens and ducks and I’m sure many people could not distinguish between chicken and duck poo and might say that they only see duck poo, but it doesn’t stop me from being confident in my own judgement. Even as a non-scientist (although I do have a science degree), I can make a claim that those who are interested in can investigate in a scientific way if the topic of poo interests them. I am postulating something that I have a tremendous degree of certainty in. I believe Dr Alexander, in his book, is postulating something that he believes to be a true picture of what happened to him. While his personal experience may not be repeated, other people surviving similar illnesses could be investigated in manner similar to the research being undertaken by Dr Parnia.

          • redscream5

            See this is where I disagree. I think science, real science (not media-hype) is VERY forthcoming about what it has the capacity to know, and what it can only speculate on.

            I see science as antagonistic NOT to the idea of consciousness from outside of the brain, but towards any theories that ask to be scrutinized under the lens of science yet offer no empirical data, or are deliberately formed so as to not be ABLE to offer empirical data.

            This is where the real problem lies: You cannot claim the mantle of “science” while deliberately eschewing the basic scientific process. Heck, look at this very case where a surgeon is asking to be taken seriously in the realm of science while presenting ANECDOTAL “evidence”! 

            It’s preposterous! You cannot ask for an officiating body’s endorsement if you are unwilling to follow the most basic of rules pertaining to it.

          • Anne

            I’m only saying what’s true for me.  I’m not trying to prove (scientifically or otherwise) what you or anyone else should think or believe. I haven’t formed any opinions to deliberately thwart a scientific process. The scientific process (while valuable for many things) is not relevant to my personal lived experience. I understand that might irritate you, but I’m not doing it in order to irritate you…and I’m not asking for anyone’s ‘endorsement’ of my faith or beliefs. There is science and there is poetry. I like both. But if I had to pick one, I’ll take poetry.  :)

          • redscream5

            Right, of course, and I assure you that you aren’t irritating me.

            All my diatribe applies to is situations, like this specific one, where someone is calling for scientific credence for a theory where the scientific method isn’t applicable, and then complaining that the scientific community isn’t taking them seriously. It happens all the time.Our conversation was enjoyable. You’re an enjoyable person to have a back-and-forth with. Cheers to you!

          • Anne

            And cheers to you, Red!

          • A.N

            “Under the lens of science”– I find this sentence very fascinating– but perhaps scientists are the ones who must also broaden their minds and their lenses. If we only use one mind set for scientific investigation, then we’ll only get one kind of answer and everything that doesn’t fit into that spectrum will be considered B.S.

          • redscream5

            You just said: “If we only use one mind set (the basic scientific method) for scientific investigation…”

            Of course, I don’t know why people want a “stamp of approval” from science if they aren’t going to bother doing science is all…

          • A.N

             I don’t want a stamp of approval from science seeing how I’m not one. I think  narrowness can only give you so many answers. I don’t know if this author really wanted a stamp of approval either– it sounds more like he had this experience and  as a scientist himself he wanted to share it to those who are willing to listen and perhaps even further investigate. Seeing  that he is a doctor, I’m certain he knew before publishing this book that many would be skeptical but I don’t think it was possible for him to ignore his own findings. One day– who knows how we’ll view his material– maybe the proof people like you need will one day come and this book will be used as “early” documentation– of course there’s much older material that support this doctor’s findings.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/2FMDO2HG4GX7EGKCG7AIVTQOAM donald s

             He’s Christian, what else is there to say?

          • redscream5

            Well, to be fair he’s a surgeon, not necessarily a scientist. Someone posted his body of work, and there are no research studies to be found, just surgical methodology papers and surgical history commentaries.

            In addition, peer-reviewed science IS making steps toward what you talk about… check it out!


          • Sharoncampbell

            Is he asking for endorsement, or is he merely telling his experience? 

          • Hobieseasalt

            There seems to be two basic themes to the discussion; one is that there is an afterlife, the other is there is not an afterlife. I can understand the arguments on both sides. However I offer the following and would appreciate some feedback.I started doing Transcendental Meditation as a young man of 22. After about 6 months of devoted practice, I reached a state of “cosmic consciousness”. Anyway, it was the most amazing experience I ever had. If it was heaven I would be happy with that. It happened during one meditation session where I was in deep relaxation and peace. I went in the cosmic consciousness state for about 20 seconds, I came out and went back in again for maybe 10 seconds or so. It is hard to tell how long you are in that state as there is no time, and you don’t know you are there until you come out. It is hard to explain that state, but if you do a google search on cosmic consciousness you will find much better descriptions than I can give. So my point is that there is an altered state that is not NDE, and therefore not impacted by reduced blood flow to the brain etc.Does that move the discussion in any direction?


          • Carmelle

               Some people are more comfortable with scientific validation of phenomena and  some people just keep asking questions. For instance, these words  from a few posts ago, “…truly spiritual or figments of that fascinating brain..” . if you have had the experience of altered consciousness that Hobieseasalt has had (and I would bet that Anne has had it as well) you stop looking for validation of spiritual experiences from science and you are more open to the existence of things you hear of but maybe still can’t even conceive of. . This is because you have just had the most profound experience of your life and science seems to lean towards the explanation that it was” a figment of your fascinating brain.” 
                Well, even if you are  seeking this experience of  “oneness/ultimate peace/God “-whatever label you give it- and you are expecting it to be profound, when you actually have it you realize you had no idea how profound it would be and  how limiting words are to describe it.  However, among the few words that can describe it , “real” is one of them.  Nobody who experienced it wonders if it “was just a hallucination” or something. You know that you have just experienced something that is MORE real than anything else. But science has no way (yet…?) to validate it so therefore it is labelled “not real” which is frustrating because it is so wonderful you want everyone to know about it and experience it. 
                 I think we are moving towards a tipping point, so many people have meditated or had NDE’s  for centuries and Dr. Alexander’s book is another big push. The title is a little weird for sure, the word “heaven” has very religious connotations and I agree it does not constitute proof of the existence of ” heaven” as far as science is concerned but it is concrete proof for Dr. Alexander and many others. For those who have also experienced similar things or even things along that path it is very valuable food for thought. More wonderful food for thought:      I don’t know if he ever made Newsweek or Oprah (Dr. Alexander did both) but  ROBERT MONROE has a fascinating 1 hour YouTube video about altered states of consciousness. He has studied them somewhat scientifically in that he achieved OBE results  (out of body experiences, which are also altered states but from what I read, not necessarily the “ultimate peace,oneness and all-knowing” variety) repeatedly and each time using the same methods to get there. I can’t say I’ve ever had an interest in floating above my body but he also discusses altered states where he learned things about the universe. ****Hobieseasalt, I think you would be very interested in The Monroe Institute and their information to help further your exploration and understanding.****

        • skeptic4321

          1) Define “love”
          2) We can use imaging of the brain to look at brain activity when someone is shown images of someone they claim to “love” compared with other people and inanimate objects.
          3) All emotional states can evoked then observed with brain imaging, demonstrating selective areas of activity.

          I am not sure why you assume the concept of “love” cannot be investigated by scientific methods.

          • Jeff

            Every time the wind blows, the trees outside my window move. Does my observation of their movement explain the nature and origin of the wind?

        • Eduggan

          You are a very wise and open minded woman Anne

    • günter hiller

      I recommend Thomas Nagel’s “Mind & Cosmos: Why The Materialist Neo-Darwininian
      Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” (Oxford, 2012)
      Thomas Nagel is a prominent philosopher who has written “The View From Nowhere”
      and other works in the philosophy of science.

      The problem of consciousness, about which there is a rich contemporary literature,
      predominantly deals consciousness per se.  How does it arise and how is it accounted
      for by the brain?  This is about consciousness in the body.
      There may indeed be more between heaven and earth than what we have dreamed of
      in our philosophy–to date.  I think we can expect physics to evolve, perhaps to explain
      subjectivity and our place in the totality of things.  “Natural selection” doubtless
      accounts for a great deal, but perhaps not everything.

      About Alexander’s account:  How can an independent consciousness see and hear,
      but not talk?  Why do we need a body then, why do we need to be born and die?
      I don’t doubt the richness of Alexander’s experience, only his conclusions.

      • P-brennan

         People who have NDEs are often told they must return “to finish your work, there are many on earth who need you, your training (in empathy) is not complete.” One woman was taken to a stone chapel, with two beings of light, and shown a marble table in which was etched her life. She saw future events that have come to pass. She told one of the beings:”I have had a very difficult life, heartbreak and tragedies.” He said, “Don’t you remember? We told you that that would be a difficult life to take on, but you wanted to do it.”
        Many other NDEs support the possibility that we have been eternal beings, chose to come here for others’ sake, and our own training in empathy, and agreed to have the memory of our eternal life erased. Isn’t that thought-provoking? If true, I have no right to complain about my situation, if I chose it (with advice from others) as beneficial to myself and others here on earth.
         NDEers say they don’t have a body, they become the light, and everyone is connected by thought, instantaneously. None of them want to return, including children, including a woman who died giving birth. She says she fully knew she was giving birth, yet wanted to stay. It’s that good. I can’t wait.

    • Chris Z

      Our goal as a human is to overcome fear.  Go rent the movie “Defending Your Life” with Albert Brooks.  This is a pretty good understanding of how fear holds all of us back from seeing the truth.  Not to mention the constant and unnecessary stream of adrenalin that keeps us all stupid and unenlightened.

      • P-brennan

         The book “Denial of Death” posits that our fear is largely based on the fear of death, hence our collections of antiques, trying to preserve youth, spending all that helathcare money in a futile attempt to live forever. It’s very interesting that a universal feature of NDEs is a complete lack of the fear of death (since they’re convinced we do NOT die), and they look forward to the afterlife. Some NDEers come back with the sense that we all take this life MUCH too seriously, and that we should be experiencing it, enjoying it, helping each other.

        • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

          We spend our lives avoiding risks so that in the end we can proceed safely to death

          • P-brennan

             Geez, I hope not – if what I’ve gleaned from NDEs is true, we should take a lot more chances in life, and not be afraid of anything (to a reasonable extent) – during their life reviews, many laugh at themselves, at how unnecessary all the seriousness is – and the only “test” question I’ve heard is “what did you do for your fellow man?” (try Chris Markey’s NDE on YouTube, it’s great – he’s a tough Chicago attorney), so that’s important, and it’s no surprise that every survey shows that the happiest people are employed in jobs that help others (teachers, physical therapists, clergy). And sorry to correct you, but “death is a really nasty lie” – try Pam Reynolds’ NDE. What most experience immediately upon crossing over is “unconditional love and mercy”, and most DON”T want to come back.

    • Pdmwrx

      Well said!  Just because we can’t explain it, prove it, or measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!  And it’s a mystery as to whether it does exist  - although I sense that this consciousness you describe is very ‘real’.  The kind of closed thinking seen in some comments is the flip side of religious fanatics and their dogma.  People are threatened when their belief systems or dogmas are put in question, and they seem to get very grouchy when that happens!

    • Guest

      So what’s your proof (that others can duplicate and be recorded)??

      • Carmelle

        Many people, for centuries, have had experiences of altered states, near-death-experiences, etc., and many have similar though not necessarily duplicate “reports”. Lots of people meditate and/or almost die but then live-and don’t have any profound experience. You may meditate for the rest of your life, chasing that elusive experience and come up doughnuts.  I think it’s possible that the frame of mind that one is in when trying to conduct a scientific experiment with a prescribed goal is not the easiest path to this kind of experience. I’m not certain it can’t be done, but I don’t think an infallible way has been discovered-if it even exists.
              Too bad it’s not as common as falling in love. No one doubts the existence of love, just turn on the radio. Is there a scientifically documented way for people to fall in love, that can be duplicated by others? Something that works all the time or at least most of the time? Something that will produce the same, recordable results in a controlled environment? Also, we can record the physiological changes to the body when someone claims to be in love, but are they truly in love or is it “all in their head”, are they just hallucinating, is the brain filing it as “real love” when really there is no concrete proof? My guesss is that 99% of the evidence that we have on love is anecdotal. Yes, there are reams of scientific records but they are such a small percent compared to the anecdotal data. 

    • Hobieseasalt

      There seems to be two basic themes to the discussion; one is that there is an afterlife, the other is there is not an afterlife. I can understand the arguments on both sides. However I offer the following and would appreciate some feedback.I started doing Transcendental Meditation as a young man of 22. After about 6 months of devoted practice, I reached a state of “cosmic consciousness”. Anyway, it was the most amazing experience I ever had. If it was heaven I would be happy with that. It happened during one meditation session where I was in deep relaxation and peace. I went in the cosmic consciousness state for about 20 seconds, I came out and went back in again for maybe 10 seconds or so. It is hard to tell how long you are in that state as there is no time, and you don’t know you are there until you come out. It is hard to explain that state, but if you do a google search on cosmic consciousness you will find much better descriptions than I can give. So my point is that there is an altered state that is not NDE, and therefore not impacted by reduced blood flow to the brain etc.Does that move the discussion in any direction?


    • joe

       Build a protein by unguided natural processes. Select
      out all the LEFT handed amino acids and see if they self assemble into a
      protein molecule. To your surprise chemicals and bases and amino acids
      do not self assemble! Never does information arise from non life!

      Trained chemists are able to manipulate and DESIGN experiments
      with lots of INTELLIGENCE to do cellular engineering, but never does it
      happen all by itself!

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.m.cogswell John M Cogswell Jr

    What I find interesting about all of this, is not so much what Dr. Alexander has written about, but the intense negative reaction of so many posters to what he has written about.  Feels rooted in insecurity.  Perhaps of being judged, eh?

    I have throughout my life, questioned the possibility of an afterlife, and gone back and forth between agnosticism and spirituality.  I am now firm in my belief and have been for about the last 15 years.

    To me, the intense negative reactions which I see are somewhat amusing.  What if Eban is right? And the trolls are wrong?  Boy, what an interesting surprise that might be.

    Very amusing.  One should never stop asking, “What if…?”  Imagine what our ancestors would think of the world we live in today if they could only see us now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

      Skepticism is not “trolling” or rooted in insecurity.  In an extraordinary claim you must have extraordinary, or heck ordinary proof.  What next for H&N? Elvis Sightings?

      Much of our “spirituality” may be genetic tendencies, some people are and some people are not.  Most religions do seem to be serving social functions, not always in an altruistic benign manner.

      Had NDE, and am very “skeptical” of any claims to an afterlife, it did seem like an opiate experience.

      • P-brennan

        Sincerely, I’ve heard about one hundred accounts on youtube from those who claim to have had NDEs – you’re the first to say it was opiate-like, everyone else says “this is the dream, and where I was is infinitely more real. ” Many who’ve tried hallucinogenics say it’s completely different. People often cry when they recount it, they lose their fear of death and look forward to the afterlife. They choose different careers. It may be that you did not have an NDE, perhaps you might look into it further. I’m not trying to be critical, it’s just that NDEs have certain common features.
        Many feel it’s an extraordinary claim that our existence is limited to our time here on earth, where’s the extraordinary proof for that?  

        • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

          Are you kidding?  “…did not have an NDE…”  It is a defining landmark in my life, and it steered me away from supernatural explanations for anything.  It was a very vivid experience with time distortion and that was replicated later in life by an opiate anesthetic.  Familiar with hallucinogenics, and no not at all like a hallucinogenic in my particular case, and that my friend is quite important… the individual experience.  People’s recall of an NDE is the recall of an event where the brain, the repository and re-creator of memories, is under stress.  Nothing reported by an NDE should be assumed as even anecdotal, it is the experience of a failing consciousness.

          Watching you tube will also reinforce alien abductions, time travel, vampires, anything you want to believe is there with a large cohort of believers.  Magical thinking is the most prevalent condition of humanity as our experience is subjective.  Some more so than others.

          • P-brennan

             It is objectively true that your comments are very unlike those made by 100 others who claim to have had an NDE. The fact that you claim one, and are UNinterested in hearing others’ is EXTREMELY inconsistent with every other NDEer. You might examine this more closely.

  • Brahmi

    So many negative comments. In my 37 years of practicing yoga and meditation i have had MANY experiences of expanded consciousness. You do not need to have a near death experience to experience consciousness outside the body. These experiences open pathways to higher knowledge. Many ways to get there. Those who mock simply have never experienced expanded consciousness. I choose not to engage with “doubters”. Those who refuse to open their eyes will not see. So sorry for you all.  You’re missing a lot!

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

      Hmmm “Brahmi”  not your real name.  I am Here and Now telling you from the perspective as a survivor of an NDE that I have a right to counterclaim that my similar experience to Dr. Alexander’s  was entirely subjective and explained more readily by neuroendocrinology than an other-worldly realm.

    • James

      I took some acid once. Does that make me a prophet? I’ll start passing around the collection tin.

  • Flowersalem22

    I can’t wait to read your book. Through many varied experiences I have come to believe that life is a lot more then science, religion, money and what we see in front of us. Also that the brain is more like a filter that allows our soul to function on Earth. the brain with drugs/ mental illness see’s life differently because their “filter” is off. Who knows….maybe they see things that are there that folks with “normal” brains just can’t see :)

  • Arz

    He vision sounds like an outtake from Avatar – hot blue-eyed chick on a giant flying butterfly… If his experience is true, at what point in our evolutionary development did the switch get flicked from “No Heaven for you!” to “OK, you’re cool.” Are there Neanderthals in Heaven? What about Cro-Magnons? Or is God a segregationist and has separate but equal Heavens for them? What if I don’t like my family? Who will greet me? My ex-wife (I hope she finally got over my divorcing her)? One of those former girlfriends of mine that dumped me? A Playboy centerfold I was a fan of? Help me out here.

    • James

      It’s a shame that only the last 2,000 years of humanity have been able to escape purgatory or hell because the God decided to wait until the two minute warning in the 4th quarter to throw the hail marry pass into the endzone and save his children.

      And even then, it took decades (or centuries) after Jesus’ death before anybody thought to write things down. Word of God everybody–he’s the kid in Spanish class scribbling on his homework before the period starts.

  • Marysnow Tealover

    as with all such encounters, the burden of proof remains with the doctor.

  • Kevin Holst

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2FMDO2HG4GX7EGKCG7AIVTQOAM donald s

    And I have proof that atheists exist.

  • Lookit507

    Whenever anyone claims to have seen “Heaven” as a result of a near-death experience, I tell them to contact me when they have an actual death experience.

    • Conniefre

      Don’t knock it if you haven’t experienced it.  You just don’t know.

    • P-brennan

       They can’t. We do not die. Study the field of NDEs.

  • Mark Miller

    It’s a beautiful story and perhaps it doesn’t need to be true in the sense that we’re trying to judge it.  Perhaps there is a truth there that is in all of us.  And maybe the incorrect part is in the interpretation.  Since words were not used, this may not be “heaven” but some other state of being, such as nirvana.

  • Margaret

    Dear Dr. Alexander,
    I applaud your bravery in telling your story. My grandmother had a near death experience when she was in her thirties, and raised her family to be open to the idea of the continuation of the soul beyond death. I am very grateful to her and to you for your stories. I have read and heard many such accounts of the next world, and found your book to be quite special.
    You wouldn’t know it from these comments, but there are many who believe, as you now do, in the eternal soul and the great power of love and wisdom behind the workings of the world.
    Keep writing for us, please. I would like to know more of what you learned from your experience.
    I wish you courage and perseverance to spread this message.

  • James

    Proof and evidence are not built on punditry and anecdotes. There’s no falsifiability inherent in Dr. Alexander’s claims. It’s equally as likely that Dr. Alexander created the fabric of his story wholesale after recuperating and while out of the hospital–which is why any monitoring done under hospital supervision wouldn’t correlate with increased brain activity. Of course, that’s entirely speculation–but that just happens to be the realm in which this story operates.

  • Zaks_kid_jack

    Why are you giving this flake airtime?

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.m.cogswell John M Cogswell Jr

    With no belief in anything larger than ourselves, why should we remain bound by any moral constraints whatsoever? 

    It seems to me that this question is what I’d like to ask those who find the possibility of a greater intelligent creator repellent.  And it’s no more rhetorical than their questions.

    • James

      It’s nice that you feel the only reason we should be civil and kind to one another is because of the threat of punishment from our invisible sky dad. Please, at even a base level, browse the Wikipedia entry on ‘Secular morality’.

      I wasn’t born in a religious household, and I consider myself an agnostic atheist. I treat people the way I would like to be treated. I consider life to hold value simply because it is, under our current understanding of reality, so very rare.

    • Vanessa D

      New research on babies to toddler age is showing that we are actually born with a wired-in moral sense. Apparently, it aids in the survival and evolution of the human species when individuals can join together to overcome challenges facing them, and that requires trust and other ethical behavior. And even if we we weren’t born with an innate moral sense, as a non-theist I can tell you that ethics and morality come not from any outside authority but rather from the desire to want to be right with others just because we want to live as a person of integrity, plus being kind to others feels really good.  And being unkind feels really lousy. I’ve been both, and believe me, being kind (or generous, honest, helpful, etc) feels so much better.

      And by the way, it’s not that I “find the possibility of a greater intelligent creator repellent,” as you put it,  it’s simply that I it has no relevance to me. I find no evidence to support the idea of a supernatural being.

  • Jerry_middel

    I usually enjoy your show. Where did you come up with this guy?  Who cares? Please get this prophet off. Thanks.

  • Tgvander

    Am I really hearing this suite. OMG

  • Connie Freiermuth

    Yes, yes!  Dr Alexander is correct.  At eleven years of age I was smashed between a car and a telephone pole.  My Girl Scout troop was going on a camping trip and I watched above as they pulled the car forward and gently lifted my body to the ground.  I saw each girl scout standing around watching this.  There was a Being with me and we were surrounded by bright, bright light.  I turned to go with this being but received the information, not by words but just a knowing, that I had to go back.  I remember the sensation of slipping back into my body.
    I can’t wait to read this book.
    Thank you for having Dr. Alexander on the program.
    Connie Freiermuth

    • Frank in Bunnell

      Why don’t you try researching this in Psychology Today, your experience is neither unigue or uncommon.  Respectfully!

  • Tgvander

    That shite not suite

  • Zaks_kid_jack

    I would have expected this on “Coast to Coast”… Not “Here and Now”…

  • Skeptical

    What an unscientific approach for a scientist to take.  His explanation was completely lacking of any proof, and was consistent with all of the testing that has been done on the brain simulating near death experiences.  It is unfortunate that Here and Now give so much time an author and subject so obviously lacking merit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/violetsdad David Gross

    This interview is really weak.  Why use your valuable time and resources with nutty fantasy?

    • P-brennan

      Because they’re too common and consistent to be false. Study the field. It’s quite fascinating.

  • Dan

    I can’t wait for his next book after he is abducted and probed by aliens.

  • Meinert

    I have had similar experiences during dental nitrous oxide. Procedures typically take 45 to 90 minutes with all too frequent interruptions from surgeon/assistants which snap me out of the nitrous experience and back into this  reality. Accordingly, in my case, the lengthy and detailed showings do not occur just during the final minutes of the experience. In addition, I was ‘shown’ concepts and information [far too detailed to describe in a comment] which were not a pre-existing part of my repertoire of thought patterns, indeed, contravened my cynical default positions, such that I too  believe I was the vehicle rather than the producer of these concepts. Admittedly, it is difficult to do the requisite control experiments. 

  • Liz

    I had a similar experience when I was 17(I am now 60.)  I had been struggling with prolonged illness, but I was not in a coma (at least I wasn’t aware of being “out.”) I moved through places that were unearthly, a beautiful desert like space surrounded by light, where I was “met” by 3 light beings.  They had no “bodies” as we would recognize them. I felt what I describe as the “breath of God” blowing through me, and there was the most beautiful celestial music, which transported me by dissolving the “self” into particles that became one with this celestial bliss, love and divine oneness.  When I returned to my body, which I saw lying below me, I felt that bliss, as though I was floating, for some time.  I had not had any drugs. It was the most profound experience of my life.

  • Zaks_kid_jack

    Am I wrong in thinking that “Here & Now” has jumped the shark with this one? Do I have to tune into Right Wing radio? Turn on Pandora between 1pm and 2pm? Just go out to lunch?

    Is this episode drawing major comments or what? :)

  • thanatosmin

    An article entitled “Science of Heaven” usually would include something scientific, rather than unverifiable personal claims.

    Everyone, I had a near death experience in which I spoke with aliens that live in the very center of Jupiter. You can’t disprove it so it must be real!

    • redscream5

      You know what really gets to me? These people have every right to believe whatever they want, yet they CONTINUE to demand approval from a scientific body on it, without bothering to concern themselves with the scientific method.

  • Nyakairu

    The good doctor is engaging in subjective consciousness, not scientific objectivity. He is patently wrong.

  • Lmajor

    When I was 16, my father was in the hospital but was supposed to be ok and was coming home the next day. The night before he was to come home, I was awakened by a small white light at the end of my bed and I didn’t hear anything but I knew my father was there and was telling me that everything was going to be ok. I knew that he had died at that moment. I ran to my mother crying and telling her that my father was dead and she told me to go back to bed that I had been dreaming. Within a few minutes the hospital called to tell my mother that my father had died.

    • P-brennan

       Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? These experiences are COMMON but many won’t talk about them, for fear of ridicule. Dr. Alexander wasn’t afraid, he knew his experience was real, and so was yours. Your mother would confirm this, making this a “veridical” experience. There are others within the field of NDEs.

  • Apollonios

    I read the Newsweek article and listened to the Here and Now interview. I wish the author had talked more about an issue in the article, the weird effects of observation on physical results at the subatomic level. If you’ve ever tried to get your head around quantum physics, you’ll know that a lot of things happen between mind and matter that I at least just can’t get my head around. I don’t know what happened to Dr. Alexander, but I am sure that our common sense perception of the world around us in just as much a constructed object as the Alexandrian Heaven.

  • Evrit

    Memory occurs independent of the brain. A “person” can observe consciously without brain function. A “Person” is NOT a body, a brain. Our definitions and understanding of who we are and how we function is incomplete at best, false most obviously.
    This HAS been researched exhaustively. it has simply been invalidated by the fixed ideas (and lies) about humanity by those who can’t engage in the scientific method of inquiry they claim to be expert at.

    Do your homework. Stop letting others do it for you! Dr. Alexander is a clear example of LOOKING to find out and use of reasoning to confirm and gain certainty.
    Some of us simply no longer consider we are CAPABLE of benefitting from our own observations. Fortunately the human mind (not BRAIN) is capable of solving the problem of the human mind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

    Disliked tremendously despite being a H&N fan and had a near death experience. My NDE was complete with “visions” and time distortion but in NO WAY was or is “real”. This is almost exploitative of the Author in a way.  I truly hope that H&N does not pursue these types of stories in the future.  Reality is interesting enough for me.

  • GodsAntiparticle

    As an eye physician and autodidactic in the neurosciences and physics, this is a subject that has commanded a disproportionate amount of my discretionary time since graduating in 1984.  The fruits of my studies and research may be summarized as follows:
    The illusional sense of self is an emergent property of the brain.  The Self is an identity of necessity; a persona the mind creates to explain the conscious experience and an intimate awareness of the external world.
    Subjective experience tells us that decisions are made by a decider; a decider, director, and commander you know as your Self.  But the observing and commanding self – the thinker and decider you perceive yourself to be – is an illusional identity.  The sense of self is a narrative the mind creates to make sense of the conscious experience, in which an observer is required to explain the observed.  What you and I experience as a decider deciding is, in fact, an emergent property of subconscious brain activity; activity over which we have no direct control.  What emerges to a level of consciousness is the conviction that a decision was made – that the decider decided.  But however forceful is the emotion; however strong is the conviction; however compelling is the argument and the belief, the experience is the result of brain mechanics and neurological engineering that facilitates what is experienced phenomenologically.  Illusional identities are not free to decide, if for no other reason than such identities were never present when the decision happened.  Illusional identities are nonlocal, and nonlocal identities cannot affect what is local.  It is uniquely subconscious brain activity that initiates a thought and makes possible a thinking, with the attendant perception that there’s a thinker – an illusional commander commanding. 
    To the point: what subconscious neurological activities produce is a decision, a decision ultimately paraded as proof for a decider!  No brain, never mind; no mind, never Self.

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

      We process emotions 800 times faster than conscious reasoning.  Our Conscious reasoning invents logical fallacious justifications and explanations of our emotional intellect.  

    • Daniel J. Rose

       The problem with this entire line of reasoning is that it assumes what it is trying to disprove.  You have given a name, Self, to something that you claim is illusory, while ignoring the unspoken assumption that is the very experience of Self, itself.  The deepest mystery remains to explain consciousness in any demonstrably scientific fashion.  If anything, the very latest knowledge of science, from quantum physics and its unprovable step children (e.g., strings) to the complexities of human psychology totally undermine the fantasy that science, as we know it, can prove anything at all about the nature of consciousness.  For a fascinating and original review, and proposal, about all of this, I recommend “Godhead: The Brain’s Big Bang” by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell.

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

        Pashaw.  There are many pathological examples of what consciousness is and is not and the anatomical dependence on the experience.  Seriously, the “Self” is, but it is subjective, again to the pathological… be it injury or anatomical difference or chemical induced the point of affect is the brain, not some collective mystic entity.  I did have an NDE, I see it for what it was and it was strikingly similar to an opiate-receptor gone wild experience.  String theory is not unproofable, you need to understand math to proof quantum physics,  Math is as real as subjective natures can be.  States like quantum entanglement might be complex and not fully explained, but a supernatural miracle they are NOT.  Unexplained is not equal to supernatural.

        • Daniel J. Rose

           I never said anything was supernatural.  However, nature may well be beyond anything close to a complete human explanation.  We still have no clue how life has come to be, much less how it has evolved (which it no doubt has) into the vastly complex forms we know today.  And the fact remains that we know absolutely nothing that is not contained entirely in our minds.  The simplest facts of our existence have no independent existence outside of our perceptions.  For all we know, as complex as it is, there is nothing else. 

        • P-brennan

          You really should stop claiming to be an expert on NDEs because you think you had one. I’ve heard at least one hundred people describe their experience, be interviewed about them, etc. NONE of them compare it to an opiate-like experience and NONE claim time distortion. Your comments are very inconsistent with the comments made by every other experience I’ve heard. Really, go listen to many of them. One or two clicks away.

      • GodsAntiparticle

        And I recommend “The Self Illusion” (Bruce Hood), “Consciousness” (Christof Koch), “Self Comes to Mind” (Antonio Damasio), “Incognito” (David Eagleman). “Who’s in Charge?” (Michael Gazzaniga).

        I agree that no-one (to include Same Harris and David Chalmers) understand either the Hard or Easy Problem of Consciousness.  But I hold to the claim that the autobiographical sense of the Self is illusional; an identity the material brain needed to create to make sense of serial observations.

    • P-brennan

       “What you and I experience as a decider deciding is, in fact, an emergent
      property of subconscious brain activity; activity over which we have no
      direct control”

      Prove it. What a bunch of intellectual masturbation this is.

  • Susan Edwards

    Random neural activity that the mind tries to make sense of. It was a dream, a vivid dream, born of memory, desire, fear, whatever. It proves nothing beyond the human desire for a transcendent experience and how you receive that experience is invested with meaning, hence the rise of religion. The good doctor is sincere in his beliefs, but they are beliefs not facts or science or proof, and are solely a product of his mind.

    • P-brennan

       Well that’s a very dramatic and absolute conviction you have there. Care to substantiate any of it? Care to explain away veridical experiences in NDEs, or Pam Reynolds’ case? Have you bothered to study the field?

  • Jean Pace

    When I was a child and in bed with a fever, I had a recurring dream [or semi-conscious experience] of a bright light, in the middle of which was a presence that awed me. From this presence came a thick rope [or something twisted and knotted] that extended to me. That is the best way I can describe it. I had the same experience every few years, when very sick or just extremely tired, into adulthood. But, once when my mother was visiting and told me the complete story of my birth, I seemed to understand it all. After that the dream never came again.

    I was born in a car – my grandfather, a doctor,  was driving my mother and father to the hospital for my delivery, but I arrived early that December night, onto the floor of the Lincoln Continental, and conveniently right at the corner near my other grandparent’s house, under a bright streetlamp. My grandfather cut the cord, I was put into a blanket-lined dresser drawer, and stayed at my grandmother’s house for my first week.  

    I can still recall this, what I must feel was my birth, in non-verbal terms mostly. A taste like vinegar in my mouth, the awe at the light, the rope of the umbilical cord, but especially the awe, the awe of life. It sounds so much like what other people call heaven, or a near-death experience.

  • Kaige333

    I can’t help but clinch whenever I hear the phrase “completely shut off” as used by him. I hope such an imprecise phrase is used because he’s trying to dumb it down for laypeople but not because he’s so eager to believe his sweeping narrative that he’s trying to gross over the fact that there isn’t a definitive test for the functioning of the neocortex. 

    • redscream5

      The guy’s not a neuroscientist and wasn’t trained in neuroscience.

      Admittedly he is a very skilled neurosurgeon, deserving of respect in that regard, but a scientist he is not.

      • P-brennan

         You actually know how many hours of neuroscience is included in a 7 year residency training? How many hours of neuroscience are included in 4 years of medical school, and 4 years obtaining a B.A. in biology? Really? And you’re assuming he’s done no neuroscience review as part of the continuing medical education that doctors are required to take?

        You also have no basis for deciding he’s a “very skilled” neurosurgeon, and probably have no idea what clinical trials he’s published. Not all neurosurgeons are “very skilled”.

        You’re just making it all up, which is exactly what most everyone here is accusing him of doing. That’s really very funny.

  • Jacque2

    I was just driving home and I was listening to your story (proof of heaven) I actually picked up this book a couple of weeks ago in the store to buy to read and then I put it back down because I didnt think I should spend money on my self since these days its so hard to keep up with bills..I now know that it was ment for me to READ and Im going back out to buy the book. I totally relate to his story in other ways …things that have happened to me…Its hard cause no one ever believes you…so you just keep it to your self…I believe there is more then our every day lives… With everything happening in the world , wars, drugs, kidnaps I KNOW THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THEN THIS…Thank you for sharing this brilliant part of your life experience…I believe…I DO  I DO I DO….You bring tears to my eyes…Your a beautiful man and your parents should be very happy to have you back in there lives….Your sister is beautiful just like you…

  • Sally

    I have a question about remembering a near death experience. Thirty years ago I was hit by a car, thrown 15 feet in there air witnesses say- my heart and breathing stopped.  A  nurse – a respiratory therapist – performed CPR and brought me “back”.
    I have hoped for years to remember any of  the time I was “away”.  I remember waking up in the hospital with no idea why I was there. I don’t even remember the accident itself.

    I hope that if Dr Alexander has any idea how I might remember, he will off them here.

    • P-brennan

       Skeptics say that a dying brain produces these experiences, yet only 14% of revived patients recount them. I would think it’d be more, if that were the reason. I’m a rehab doctor, and have worked with hundreds after accidents – I’ve only heard one NDE directly, so it’s common to not remember – or to not have had the experience. There are accounts of people remembering years later, but they’re rare.

  • Billmarilyngreen

    Dr Alexander

    I questioned God and Heaven fore some time until I heard the voice of God as clear as someone standing in front of me saying I known that Iam because you are. I have never questioned him again. this was real Iam not crazy and will never question heaven again

    • Frank in Bunnell

      Please share your drugs with me!

      • P-brennan

         Please stop wasting our time Frank. Study the field of NDEs instead.

  • Denzduke

    Does anyone remember their moment of birth? And what would be sufficient proof that you’re actually alive right now…?

  • P-brennan

    Does the fact that he was just as skeptical as any of you prior to his NDE, and is now completely convinced, to the point of going on NPR and Newsweek and risking ridicule, impress anyone? Riding on a butterfly’s wings? At least let it impress you to the point that you’re willing to listen to others’ experiences. YouTube contains hundreds, and 600/day in the U.S. are added to the total. Many of these people have been studied for years afterwards, so take the time to learn, and trust your own “lie-detector”. Gordon Allen, Howard Storm, Pam Reynolds, Colton Burpo, Kimberly Clark Sharp, Hamish Miller – and it’s all GOOD news. It’s lazy not to, and they’re very compelling.

    • James

      Claims about Dr. Alexander’s skepticism are as believable as his claims of his supposed afterlife. So long as people buy his books, what’s a little ridicule in the face of easy earnings? It’s worked out quite well for the Vatican and L. Ron Hubbard.

  • Nyakairu

    I think his motive for book is to profit from the gullible religious believers.

    • P-brennan

       Neurosurgeons do just fine, financially. Faith is a gift, which he states he’d lost prior to his NDE.  He’s taking the risk of opening himself up to considerable ridicule, which lends credence to the story in my opinion. Would he really throw in riding on butterfly wings? Maybe his editor added that, thinking it’d increase sales. Riiiight.

      • James

        It’s easier to write a book and profit off gullible people than to continually be held to ever increasingly higher standards in the neurosurgeon community. I couldn’t imagine getting old and still being able to retain the kind of motor control necessary to operate on the brain (machine assisted or no). Lawsuits and insurance are a harsh reality for surgeons.

        • P-brennan

           Right, you can’t imagine it. Motor control improves with practice no matter how old we get, that’s been proven even after stroke (assuming no dementia or movement disorders of course).  People imagine it takes all kinds of magical dexterity to operate on the brain. It doesn’t. The best surgeons know when to operate, and how to manage some of the most complicated medical situations in healthcare. You have no idea what personal sacrifice it requires to be a neurosurgeon. Shame on you for assuming he’s interested only in profit, he’s risking his reputation by relating his experience.

  • Christopher

    Please please please please read Sam Harris’ response to this guys nonsense.  

  • Inkc

    Really interesting, thought provoking interview.  While I get bored during the political segments, there are so many other interesting stories covered during Here and Now that it’s one of my favorite programs to listen too, and well worth sitting through the politics for me.  Thanks for your great show! 

  • Mick

    There are undoubtedly things that we don’t understand. I have had situations of precognition. I have seen future events and described many things that happened in real life. I don’t know what it is, but it happens far too often to be simply coincidents. For instance, I had a dream of being out to dinner with my wife. In the dream a woman sits down at our table and introduced herself. I told my wife about it and even the first and last name of the woman. My wife just blew it off as me having weird dreams. Later that day, a woman who I didn’t know and had never met, sat down at our table. She introduced herself and stated the same first and last name as I said to my wife when describing the dream.. My wife looks atme and asks, How? I have no idea, but it freaks the hell out of me when things like this happen.

    • Jane

      I’ve also had clairvoyant dreams all of my life. Sometimes the events happen a few weeks or months later, sometimes years. When they occur, it’s a feeling of deja vu, but I know the source. Around 1990, I had such a strange dream that I told my husband about it when I woke up. In the dream, no matter where I went, people were talking about OJ Simpson — the supermarket, the office, the bank, etc.   A few years later … you know the rest.

      • James

        Something happened to me. Then something else happened to me. My brain attempted to connect and rationalize two random events and bridge my experiences. Too bad none of that makes it true.

    • Carmelle

      Then please get on your computer and research other’s accounts of this happening to them. It only freaks you out because you don’t know enough other people that this happens to. Research it, learn about it, talk to other people who experience this and you will feel less freaked.

  • Jacque2

    IM shocked at how negative some people are…
    Maybe if we all had a open heart and open mind..with a touch of love mixed in
    maybe we wouldnt have some much war and hate in this world…
    Im all for the light…and love…

    IGNORE THE NEGATIVE COMENTS…Im just wondering what road those people would
    travel if they too were in the same situation…

    I choose the road of light….and love….

    And bless you for your wonderful recovery!!!

  • 8anvils


    When radio was first discovered many
    people were convinced it was a hoax. Sceptics were expecting to find
    a tiny record player hidden inside when they dissembled the first
    radio they acquired. The belief that everything involved in the
    manifestation of a life form is entirely a localized phenomena and
    that no part is being transmitted from a remote location is similar
    to mindset of the early 19th century radio sceptics.

  • Eiselerich

    Dr. Alexander’s experience, while truly exceptional and unique, is only one of hundreds of validated NDEs that I have examined personally and through the extensive NDE literature available.  I teach a course called The Near-Death Experience and have had students who have had equally profound experiences while clinically brain dead.  For those people who are not familiar with this phenomenon, I strongly urge you to look up (it’s on youtube) Pam Reynold’s NDE which occurred during experimental brain surgery where the surgical team had to drain the blood from her head so that the surgeon could cut deep into her brain.  She was able while in deep coma (her eyes were also covered and she had pinging plugs in both ears) to observe, from a place above and in back of the surgeon, much of the operation to the degree that she was later able to accurately describe the details of the operation and the surgical implements used in the performance of this amazing hour-long operation. 

  • Chris Zbodula

    My story is quite different in that I had a living conscious experience.  It only lasted for about a minute or so but the only words I can use to describe the experience was I entered into another dimension.  I experienced infinite love an infinite possibilities so profound that there are no words to describe it.  It was life changing and things have not been the same since.  Prior to this I had other smaller, less profound experiences and epiphanies that ended up coming to fruition.  I even had a choking experience that was so bad that my wife had to give me the heimlich maneuver to dislodge the obstruction to my air way.  In this experience it was as if I was outside the experience (not like leaving the body) and had no fear whatsoever.  It was not until the obstruction cleared that the fear came back.  On a weekly basis now I have these senses that there is more to my existence and an overall feeling that I will keep going deeper into this.  Interestingly, all of these experiences have made me immune to what others think about me.  I love everyone equally but could care less what they think about me.  I understand they are just speaking from, or judging from fear and under the constraints of their unconscious, hence the saying “forgive them for they know not what they do”.  When the unconscious mind is in control, you literally are unaware of the many things you do and how your behavior effects your life.  The saving grace is that every problem in your life can be resolved but not by looking at the outside but by looking within.  I have come to learn this is a universal truth so if you want the outside world to change, look within.

    • Frank in Bunnell

      I guess it is pretty much pointless to reply since “you could care what they think about me, which is a attitude that extends throughout your culture.  You American civilians contiune to hope and pray for something more.  We in the military resign ourselves to “but one life philosophy” and hope it is ture since wasting one life for your government is more than enough.

  • Lauraleethiel

    I too have had 2 near death experiences. I have always been a very skeptical , pragmatic person.
    I would not have believed  in that kind of experience if I had not experienced it.
    One of the events was about 15yrs. back, driving with my niece,and her spouse to airport, we were hit head on by another vehicle, I experienced the sensation of a giant hand enveloping the front of our vehicle and protecting us, I know sounds nuts.  
    Both cars were completely totaled, we climbed out of our vehicle completely uninjured , I kept on looking at my torso looking for injuries.
    I did not mention to my niece at that time what I had experienced at that time at all, I think we were all in a state of shock.
    Several months later at another family event when discussing with this same niece the accident, she confided that she had experienced the same exact large protective hand , I had not confided in anyone about my experience at all since the accident, as I said, I am a very skeptical kind of person, I just dismissed it at the time. I have probably only told one other person about it, knowing that until you experience something like this it cant be real for you.
    I was skeptical myself until my niece confirmed the experience for me.
       Laura from oregon

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

      T h a t   i s  n o t   a n  N D E . . . An NDE is when you die and are revived.  I had an NDE, it was more like Alexander’s, time distortions, hallucinations… It was also like an opiate, not a coincidence, not supernatural.

      • redscream5

        Slightly incorrect on a small point, my friend:

        NDE’s are not where someone has died… this is empirically verifiable by the unsurprising lack of a necrotized brain, which marks true death. It is, as it’s name suggests, merely when the death processes have begun.Cheers!

  • Kangerlussuaq

    This is not news to those of us who have had extraordinary experiences; instead it reinforces the belief that there is a power greater than us at work in the universe.  My comments are not meant to disparage those who choose to call his assertions rubbish, but you either have faith or you have unbelief.  As a scientist (which I am) it would be a difficult (if not impossible) assertion to “prove”.  But since when does science have a corner on truth?  If one thinks (or believes) that science can explain everything then you have my sympathies.  However, Bravo to Dr. Alexander for (apparently)  putting it into the scientific forum.  I look forward to reading his book! Thanks

    • James

      Dr. Alexander has put this into the scientific forum in the same sense that lawmakers have put Intelligent Design into schools. I didn’t realize the scientific community had fallen on such hard times that having a book published and appearing on a talk show were the only barriers to validity.

      The burden of proof is upon those who make the claim. I can’t prove a negative. Science isn’t some static absolute–it grows and accommodates new ideas, regardless of our hopes, dreams, or popularity, based upon their own merits.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

         It isn’t impossible to prove a negative, just extremely difficult.

  • http://www.ascientistsgod.com/ Jerzy

    NDEs have been studied for many years and it is a pity that some people still find it likely or even convincing that these are hallucinations.
    The god of some scientists is evolution, but I have seen no serious argument which could possibly explain this phenomenon as having evolved for some purpose.
    I am a Physicist and I believe I can show, using the methods of science, that our consciousness cannot be a property of matter. I do this in my Kindle Book “A Scientist’s God.”

    • James

      So much proof you had to publish it yourself. I love when physicists and engineers talk about evolutionary biology as if they were required to take more than two introductory classes on biology to get their degrees.

      Evolution makes no claims towards the creation of the universe, god, or anything beyond the gradual change in populations over time.

    • repete66211

      So you too have put your beliefs into written form…and are now peddling it for monetary gain.

      • Jerzy

        It is a pity that none of these replies attempt to address the real issue and instead just find ways to deride me and my intentions.
        Regarding the comment by James on evolutions claims, indeed Richard Dawkins does find it explains everything. He even had the audacity during a PBS interview about his book some years ago to claim “If God exists, he must have come out of evolution.”Regarding Redscream5′s comment, indeed I should publish it in a peer review journal, however the book is much more than showing that we do not consist of only matter.I will be happy to respond to any criticism of my views, but first find out what they are by at least reading some of my blogs at http://www.ascientistsgod.com.Jerzy

        • James

          If God and religion were made up by humans to cope with the harsh and oft unforgiving realities of life, it would be fair to say that God, then, is a product of evolution.

          On the other hand, there are many Christians who believe, and this is with backing from the Vatican (protestants pay no mind) that it’s possible that God, being omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. could have created the world and used evolution to set things into motion.

          This is a possible viewpoint to hold, as the theory of evolution itself makes no inherent statement regarding God, god, gods, religion, the origin of life, or the creation of the universe.

           However, I would be quick to say that evolution also makes to claims towards a steady advancement towards perfection. Make no mistake, humanity is not the ‘end point’ or goal of evolution. Don’t even think that we’re a stepping stone to some more ‘highly evolved’ future product. We are, like every other organism on this rock, simply ‘good enough’ to get by, until, of course, we aren’t.

    • redscream5

      So instead of you know… getting published in a peer-reviewed journal, you opted for the method that would get you the least criticism…

      That’s the first sign that someone doesn’t have any compelling evidence. Period.Thankfully there ARE peer-reviewed studies and experiments performed where NDE’s were successfully reproduced by manipulating the structure of the brain.Perhapse:     http://research.obe4u.com/nde-simulating-experiment/ would pique your interest…

  • Billmarilyngreen

    I know some of you are skeptic but tell me dear scientific friends why do you think death is inevitable
    can you find a cure for this. heaven is real.

  • Pdmwrx

    So many of us are afraid of mystery.  Why can’t we look at this story and say, “wow, the possibilities here are exciting”?  Instead we feel compelled to prove or disprove it.   The information that the author describes matches other near-death experiences and what spiritual traditions have pointed to for centuries.  I sense that eventually science will get comfortable with these very mystical experiences.  Quantum mechanics theories already support the idea of being beyond time and space.  Experiments in Japan have shown human consciousness actually changing the forms of water molecules.  These and many other emerging areas point to a greater harmony between true spiritualism and science.  In the meantime, rather than taking positions and arguing that it’s ‘true’ or false, why not enjoy the mystery, the possibilities, and ask the big questions:  what are we doing here?  What is my purpose?  How can I bring more love here and help reduce fear, ignorance, violence?  These questions and so many others, raised by the story, seem more important than ‘winning’ an argument about whether his experience was “real”.

    • redscream5


      I don’t see anyone “afraid” of any mystery here…

      • Luke

        dude, you’ve made like 100 posts, are you employed?

        • redscream5

          Yeah but I just got off and am tooling around my office… 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520954494 John Sefner

      The main “possibility” here is that this charlatan is going to sell a lot of books to a lot of suckers.  It’s disgraceful that a show like H and N is helping him swindle people.

      • Emotional?

         I don’t understand why a whole bunch of you guys are making a big deal about this. This guy had an experience and he wrote about it using his own knowledge and understanding of the brain.  Just because everyone doesn’t think like you does not make him or her a sucker.  He’s going to sell his books to people who are interested in this subject, who have different ideas about the universe and would like to know what this guys has to say.  Those who are not interested and who don’t believe in this sort of thing will not buy it. Most scientists won’t look at it, but scientists who study phenomenons of this sort, might. The man isn’t doing anything wrong— I believe he had an experience and however way you want to cut it, whether or not you believe his interpretation of events, he felt like he had something to share with the world. Good for him.

        • Joe

          You are right. Most people enjoy reading “Alice in Wonderland”.

  • J Frog

    I am reminded of Edwin Abbott’s “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions”

    “The Square then has a dream in which the Sphere visits him again, this time to introduce him to Pointland. The point (sole inhabitant, monarch, and universe in one) perceives any attempt at communicating with him as simply being a thought originating in his own mind…

    Once returned to Flatland, the Square finds it difficult to convince anyone of Spaceland’s existence, especially after official decrees are announced – anyone preaching the lies of three dimensions will be imprisoned (or executed, depending on caste). Eventually the Square himself is imprisoned for just this reason, where he spends the rest of his days attempting to explain the third dimension to his brother.”


  • Mcpatty1


    Dr. Alexander’s words: “You are loved
    and cherished dearly, forever. You have nothing to fear. You can do nothing
    wrong.”, ring out with familiarity to anyone who has read the “Course in
    Miracles” .   


    Also, anyone who has ever worked with a
    stroke victim or a brain trauma victim who is having trouble speaking, would not
    dispute Dr. Alexander’s idea that the mind or consciousness is a non-physical
    reality that sits lightly on the chemical-energy mechanism of the physical
    brain.  The mind is always whole.  Just because the stroke victim
    cannot access the “word” to say, does not mean that they are not
    thinking it with their mind.  If a compassionate person will ask them,
    they will often confirm that truth.  The
    mind/consciousness/personality uses the brain to interact with physical

    There are many people who quietly believe that reality exists as Spiritual/
    Mind / Physical – and in that order, too. However, I do not like the title of
    the book, “Proof of Heaven”, as proof of non-physical reality cannot really be
    “proven” in the scientific sense.  To
    those who refuse to believe, there is no proof of the existence of God, let
    alone an individual personality’s existence after the death of the physical body. 


    Many in this country still do not
    believe that evolution is part of God’s plan for the physical world and our
    human bodies.  Maybe this best selling
    book will help open conversation between entrenched believers on both sides of
    the nature of reality debate. 

  • Molly

    How wonderful to have someone who has a scientific/medical background and the ability to write, put his experience forth for all of us to consider and comment on.  Thank you for your story, Dr. Alexander.  It obviously is generating a great deal of cerebral activity in others and that is wonderful

    • J__o__h__n

      I wouldn’t let him operate on my brain. 

      • James

        It’s a wonder he hasn’t taken this life changing experience and submitted it to a peer reviewed publication, for the benefit of humanity everywhere.

        Oh, wait, it’s because Dr. Alexander didn’t perform any rigorous research or perform any methodology beyond buying up all the copies of CS Lewis’ ‘The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe’ from his local bookstore and open MS Word.

  • Arefolov

    In spite of all the negative, skeptical and even critical comments, I want to thank Here and Now for running this story and keeping an open mind.  The truth is – nobody knows what happened to Dr. Alexander and what happens to us when we die.  The only honest approach is to keep an OPEN MIND, humbly admit that we don’t know nearly as much as we think we do and not shy away from any possibilities.  And to be able to consider various possibilities, we need to hear about stories like this, even if it assaults someone’s picture of the universe.  Thank you Here and Now! 

    • J__o__h__n

      Science is critical and skeptical.  Being objective doesn’t mean believing unproven supernatural claims. 

      • Arefolov

         Science is critical and skeptical, true, but it only goes so far.  Science does not and possibly can not say anything about so many things that matter in human life (love, spiritual experiences, various attributes and phenomena of consciousness etc.).  Not to mention science keep changing its opinions on major issues as it moves on.  Perhaps we should throw out “some unproven supernatural claims” just because science has nothing to say about it :-)

        • Arefolov

          we shouldn’t, I meant

    • James

      What’s that saying? Keep your mind open but not open enough that your brain falls out?

      • Arefolov

        I highly doubt that you (or anybody else) have enough wisdom to know exactly where that line is…

        • James

          That’s just sad.

    • Frank in Bunnell

      I respectfully disagree, the open mind that you refer to is the reason why the door remains open for this argument to continue.  When you die nothing happens.  Are you so bold as to think you are above ever other example nature provides us?

  • Robert

    Earthquakes, disease epidemics, wars, famines… millions upon millions of human lives destroyed in agony. But wait! There are butterflies waiting for them… all is well.

    Imagine human parents standing by idle as their children endure hideous pain and suffering and thinking, “We’ll just take them to Disneyland afterwards.” Those parents would be thrown in prison for criminal neglect. 

    Peddle your “loving creator” delusion elsewhere. Life is life. Be thankful you were even born, do what you can to alleviate suffering, and stop counting on a eternity in a 5-star heaven with only the right kind of people. 

    • P-brennan

       You have a child’s understanding of theology. read C.S. Lewis, or Ravi Zacharias. God does not interfere directly in the messes we’ve made – if he did, where would it stop? Take out Hitler, then why not mussolini, then Castro, then Nixon? Fix my child’s brain tumor and not everyone’s?

      We are ALL the right kind of people, made by God in His image. You’ll find out – you’re on the right track with alleviating suffering. The test question is: What did you do for your fellow man?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    Eventually, everyone now living on Earth will have a chance to find out if Dr. Alexander was correct.  Until it is your turn, you really have no idea what will happen. 

    I don’t believe Dr. Alexander truly experienced what he thinks he experienced, but I really have no idea of whether it is a fact or not. 

    I am in no hurry to find out the truth.

    • James

      Stay away from gas stations and oil cans, Navin. :)

  • Elle

    I had an NDE at 14. There are no words to capture the
    infinite euphoria. I did not want to come back; but alas, here I am. I live the
    normal life of a middle-aged professional with a mortgage and a 401(k).

    That I had this experience does not make me some
    free-wheeling acid dropping hippie who is seeking extraterrestrials in Roswell.
    It was just something that happened. I consider the experience to be a profound
    blessing, but I rarely speak about it  because I cannot explain why it happened or
    prove that it happened. Often, non-believers make it their mission to
    debunk something that can be neither proven nor disproved. So I just keep it to myself and go on
    about my business.



  • Frank in Bunnell

    I respect the Doctor’s claim, however; after having read Psychology Today for many years (where this is a reoccurring theme) and studying philosophy as a novice, i believe this to be a disservice to the unknowing public. 

    • James

      I’ll entertain the notion that Dr. Alexander believes he experienced this event, though I’m more likely to think that he’s a self-delusional charlatan. However, respect is out of the question. He’s doing nothing but a disservice to the scientific narrative of our country, and putting us even further behind other post-industrial nations.

      • Frank in Bunnell

        Thank You James for your view and support James!

  • jon_in_TX

     Colin Wilson, in The Outsider, says that a new leap in understanding must sometimes rely on those outside the academic or scientific mainstream because insiders have a vested interest in the status quo.  To protect turf and tenure, they ridicule the outsider until a resulting paradigm shift forces them to acknowledge the new understanding.  Carl Jung said that his own theories, such as synchronicity, were based on the empirical evidence of thousands of reports from hundreds of patients.  Because so many impossibilities have eventually been proven as fact, it seems prudent to give serious consideration to the inexplicable reports from sane and intelligent people even though what they report cannot be recreated in the lab.  A science that excludes what cannot be repeated and measured excludes much of human experience.

    • repete66211

      Your line of argument means every claim ever made deserve equal consideration. Plausibility enters the equation.  Even if something seems less than plausible it’s still possible to test it.  A hypothesis is formed, a phenomenon is studied and, if data are gathered, something can be published.  Unfortunately NDEs have never really made it past the “studied” phase.  Rather than its proponents being open-minded to the possibility that this might mean NDEs are not indeed out of body experiences they must instead redefine science, logic, human perception, etc.

  • J__o__h__n

    Please interview an alchemist soon. 

    • James

      I personally know several phrenologists desperately looking for work. Think we can get them on the show?

      • J__o__h__n

        If the stars are properly aligned.

        • James

          Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

  • A Ack

    I have dreams lasting months in one night of sleep. Extreme detail. Doesn’t prove anything except people aRe so gullible and want to believe something.

  • Jlfessler

    Thanks, Doc… one more name to add to my list of physicians I want no closer than 100 yards of me.

    “oops… I snipped the wrong neuron.  No worries… the patient will be in heaven anyway.”

  • Kay

    Dr. Alexander is most definitely not the only one claiming evidence of a higher level of consciousness from personal experience.  For thousands of years across the world, people have believed in a higher power.  How can a rational person, simply respond to such a phenomena by stating that it didn’t exist because they can’t explain it themselves? How can a person deny someone else’s reality?   Instead, it should be looked at as something that can open the door to further understanding the spirit and the body.  Just because it can’t be ‘measured’ for objective analysis currently, does not mean it should be disregarded.  Science progresses by seeking the truth, no matter if an explanation is readily available.

    If you read Sam Harris’ blog you will notice the argument disputes NDE as something that cannot be verified.  Harris bases this on the fact that they did not actually die, and others did not completely lose all brain activity when they experienced a NDE.  Just a question-How does such statements merit a narrow definition of when one can and cannot experience a NDE and further support skepticism of a phenomena that is not even limited to a NDE?  

    For instance, individuals also experience an “encounter with a higher intelligence” when altering their brain chemistry.  (Check out the documentary- DMT: The Spirit Molecule).  Dr. Alexander is a neurosurgeon who is seeking to make a connection between science and consciousness.  His cortex did “shut down” and that is when he experienced another reality outside himself.

    I personally had an experience that was “outside myself”.  Without going into much detail, I was removed from my consciousness could see all the brain activity that was occurring internally on a subconscious level.  I was “shown” many things that I never saw before and troubled me greatly. I ended up praying that night for help with serious, insurmountable challenges that I was confronted with during this experience.   The next day, I visited my mother and she handed me a book. She told me a friend of hers was told by God to give me this book.  The contents of which, addressed a lot of issues I was struggling with.  My mom and her friend were completely unaware of what happened the night before.  How do things like this happen or exist?  Even though consciousness, not being limited to the brain remains ‘unproven’, it should not be easily discarded as a possibility.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

      religion arose as a way of explaining the world around them. If religion is a phenomena, then it is man made. Back in Biblical times, those who spoke to God were held with high respect and labeled prophets, however today if someone told you they spoke to God, I know every person who would require any sort of proof, would treat them as sketzophrenics. Isn’t it possible that prophets back then understood that their conscience  “spoke” to them and told them “this is how I should live my life” and then tried to teach this to others but when asked why the others should follow that belief the could not convience them until the said it came from God.

    • jefe68

      That’s called a hallucination. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HID7IGD2Q4FSCFXN6RYQ25U6L4 Marv

    Thanks Robin for another fascinating program. As with many things that challenge my intellect, especially regarding the existence  of God or religion as such,I have a little quote on my refrigerator  from the bible: Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. 
    I was told as a young boy; I’m now 76 that my twin died shortly after birth. About 10 years ago I was able to locate where she was buried through the records archive at NYC Board of Health. When I located the cemetery on Long Island, I found that her grave marker was virtually gone with the exception of a small piece of stone emerging above ground. This was the first physical evidence that my twin sister actually existed. She was unnamed and I had erected a stone with a name I had always felt drawn to, Emily and have always felt a deep connection and sadness that we never shared our lives together, When I recall some of my near misses though the years and after hearing Dr Alexander speak, I do (want to) believe that Emily has looked after me as my special guardian angel. I’ve survived a near heart attack, had been held up numerous times as a store owner in Manhattan, have a blood condition that may be a precursor to Mutiple Myeloma. I was heading back from an appointment at Dana-Farber this afternoon as I was listening to your program. The doctor said the latest results still don’t indicate that this condition has progressed to a level of concern. A blood test seven years ago indicated this abnormality, yet I ignored seeing an oncologist until 6 months ago. What the future may hold is not known, but perhaps Emily is by my side as she may have been through the many scary moments during my life.
    I do want to believe that when my time comes to leave this life behind, I may experience the peaceful awareness and the vastness of eternal love, be it from God or what ever we may choose to call it. I have no particular religious affiliation, identify as being of Jewish background, yet searched for truth elsewhere in Christina Science, Unitarianism, some meditation, but I will read Dr Alexander’s book if only to offer some hope that as I travel closer to the roads ending with each passing year, that what is beyond the “vail” is truly a peaceful safe place.
    I understand the need to scientifically explain the experience that Dr Alexander had, but as I quoted in the beginning of this comment, we each look for some straw to grasp, some hopeful sign that our time here is not just temporal without any future of an afterlife.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    I just have to say how frustrating it is that scientific minds are labeled cynics or atheist faith-bashers just for merely pointing out from a scientific view that Dr Alexander’s hypothesis needs a lot more explaination and a lot more data outside of his own experience. I personally am agnostic, and envy true believers for thier acceptance in things that, I believe, none of us will ever understand, but when the believers attack non-believers and say such things “are you afraid you’ll be judged” or “just more hate against God”, it really makes me wonder why they are all so sure. Allow me to turn it on them: Why are you so sure? Are you afraid that your life will just amount to nothing afterward? Are you just desperate to see those you’ve lost? Why does heaven have to be a place where you are standing next to God (perhaps on fluffy clouds)? Isn’t it entirely possible that our existance is just that, an existance, that affects everything around us? With every action this is an equal reaction. Maybe that is God. Just the laws of the universe around us, and instead of concentrating on loving your fellow man, a value I hold to the highest esteem and believe it should be the biggest, if not the only, belief we should take from organized religion, we spend our lives bickering on how to worship or how to believe in some omnipotent, omnipresent being. It’s pointless and only leads to conflict.

    • P-brennan

       So many of your comments, including loving your fellow man, are confirmed within people’s accounts of their NDEs. After having an NDE, they are not the least bit interested in proving one religious view correct over another, or in attacking anyone. The effects are measurable, and lifelong. Check them out – many YouTube accounts, and many OBJECTIVE reviews of data that studying these people yields, reviews done by psychologists. 600 per day in the U.S. generates a lot of data.

  • Goodness

    I’ll purchase the book if the doctor gives his proceeds of the book to charity. I think all you negative posters should too …. and then you too will believe in something other than yourselves.

    • J__o__h__n

      Calling nonsense nonsense isn’t negative.  It is a service to humanity. 

    • jefe68

      Oh please, you have to be kidding.

  • James

    One final thought: if God were to prove his existence, what impact does that have on the concept of Free Will?

  • asl

    This interview went on waaaaaayyyyyy too long. I would have turned it off if I weren’t waiting to hear Alexander McCall Smith.  Eben’s cortex may have shut down during his coma but his ego never did–it’s going very strong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    Iris Dement said it best:

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.

    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.

    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.

    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Some say once you’re gone you’re gone forever, and some say you’re gonna come back.

    Some say you rest in the arms of the Saviour if in sinful ways you lack.

    Some say that they’re comin’ back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.

    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Some say they’re goin’ to a place called Glory and I ain’t saying it ain’t a fact.

    But I’ve heard that I’m on the road to purgatory and I don’t like the sound of that.

    Well, I believe in love and I live my life accordingly.

    But I choose to let the mystery be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

    “After his near-death experience he received this photo and realized Betsy was the guardian angel who guided him through heaven.”

    That doesn’t prove anything at all.

  • Tyler

    I now completely question Robin’s integrity. This feature was absurd, and offered nothing new to neuroscience as it was attempting to claim. Please don’t give these stories a stage, let alone reinforce his completely baseless and claims; this is very disappointing. Don’t masquerade religion (in this case Christianity) as a science, and don’t legitimize one guy’s supposed memories as actually have any objective weight.

    • P-brennan

       I agree – not one guy – but are you going to dismiss the possibility of an afterlife based on rejecting one experience? Thousands of people have these, and the events are too similar, and too uniquely tailored to that person, to be untrue, in my opinion. Listen to many of them – YouTube has hundreds – and decide for yourself.

      • J__o__h__n

        I got 1,310,000 search results when I googled alien abduction youtube.  The stories are similar.  It must be true!

        • Fred Rogers

          Just ask Eric Cartman… isn’t that proof enough?

        • P-brennan

          Sure they’re similar, although I doubt you watched very many. Are you really going to dismiss people’s accounts of the afterlife because of a google search on alien abduction? 

          • J__o__h__n

            It dismisses claiming a quantity of youtube postings as proof of anything.

      • James

        Which is it? Are they too similar or are they too unique? Can’t have it both ways.

        • P-brennan

           Watch them and decide for yourself.

          • James

            You made the claim–defend it.

          • P-brennan

             I claim to be convinced by the hundred or so accounts I’ve watched. I encourage others to watch them, and study the field, before deciding. It’s too important and interesting a question to deal with in a superficial way.

      • jefe68

        I don’t care it you have documented millions of people in this regard.
        It’s still proves only one thing, that the brain is an interesting organ capable of some amazing things. In the case of this, it’s not proof of an afterlife nor anything else.

        Yeah, youtube videos, your kidding. That’s part of your argument to validate this nonsense?

  • J__o__h__n

    To all of the people claiming that criticizing Dr Alexander is negative and that we need to be more open minded, consider that Alexander didn’t call his book, My Personal Experience while Near Death, he called it Proof of Heaven.  It is not proof.

    • Arefolov

       This is true and he shouldn’t have.  Of course it is not proof, not even close.  But that doesn’t mean that DR. Alexander is fake and his story is bullshit.

      • J__o__h__n

        He is probably sincere but that doesn’t make his story factual. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    The brain is maliable. Subliminal messages are stored in our subconscious every second. When some goes to sleep they prosess all this information. In this society I do not think it is too unrealistic to assume that the majority of the population, including the 600 people a day (which sounds like an impossible figure unless the same individuals are having recuring NDE), have a subconscious or conscious idea of heaven as a warm light at the end tunnel and loved ones around you and happiness. Throw in some personal memories and feelings being processed as your brain drifts off and you get personalized NDEs. When someone is dying I garentee their thoughts are always what will happen next. That kind of obsession will no doubt affect their dying thoughts. When they say to themselves, “where is the light and God and my loved ones” POOF your mind fabricates them into your conscious.

  • Lou Carlozo

    When I first moved to Chicago in 1993, I was homesick. I began crying, sobbing, and then minutes later, the phone rang. My mother, who was in New Jersey, was on the other end. “Are you OK?” she asked. She had sensed something was wrong and called me. How did she know? She was 800 miles away. Thinking about that moment, I still shiver. 

    The high minds of both science and theology are interested in getting at the Truth. Is love the connective tissue? It seems to be a remarkable component of Dr. Alexander’s story. Critics may fairly assert that Dr. Alexander had a subjective experience. But that is no reason for dismissing it outright. Why? Because all of us have had subjective experiences of love–or the lack of it–that have framed and changed everything in our lives, and defy explanation.

    Yet we remain suspicious of love because we can’t see it under a microscope. And when you think about it, how could you ever prove that you love someone by way of a laboratory experiment? You can’t, because love belongs to an elusive “other reality.” 

    Atheists and nay-sayers should be wary of criticizing too quickly, because they did not have the experience Dr. Alexander had. Nor can they disprove anything so subjective and unique to him. Should they really wish to do so, they might wish to start by offering absolute scientific proof that they love their children. Judged by their own standard, they are full of hooey because they cannot prove it. And if they can, then they should be dismissed as irrational, because love is: “Why would I lay down my life for my child when I really should protect my own interests first?” Now that’s clear, rational thinking at work.

    I don’t know exactly what to make of Dr. Alexander’s story, and as a journalist, I’ve seen plenty of very smart folks figure out ways to get rich quick by making up fantastic tales about things they know people want to hear. We want to believe in Heaven. I know I do. 

    But in the end, his story only asks that we believe it, or not–just as we believe in the power of love, or don’t. Judged by what I’ve experienced in my own life–that beyond-the-realm-of-reason phone call from Mom, and hundreds of other “coincidences” I’d be ashamed to admit to at the water cooler–I believe his story has merit. Call me foolish for believing, but all of life is composed of leaps of faith. If I need to risk looking stupid to spy a wider glimpse of Heaven, so be it. Besides, Dr. Alexander has much more to lose than you or I do.

    Lou Carlozo
    freelance journalist

    • J__o__h__n

      It isn’t improbable that a mother would think that a child who moved to a new city would be homesick.  The time of the call was a coincidence. 

  • D.Satco

    Over 6 billion people believe in some existence after death.

    • Dr. Caligari

      Then over 6 billion people are delusional.

      • D.Satco

        What does that say for the future of the world?

  • redscream5

    I’m unsure as to why this surgeon is considering anecdotal experience as evidence!

    Oh, maybe because he’s not a neuro-scientist in any capacity whatsoever.

    Surgeons are highly-skilled men who are owed much appreciation, but they are NOT scientists at all.

  • redscream5

    The fact that he’s not a trained scientist in any capacity yet is speaking as if he is…

    Also, you presume that your post is somehow justified, yet it offers less in the way of content than Blk’s does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    I repeat what I said before: the mind does not have perfect memory. It remembers select things and often reinvents the story to adapt to missing or lost information (try telling the same story for 10 years, eventually the story will become warped and not necessarily in 10 years). When someone remembers in a NDE they saw a woman/man they didn’t recognize they mostly remeber a figure of a man or woman without specific features. Later as they are trying to figure out who it could have been, they might be told about some family member they never met (a long lost sister, grandmother, great-great-greatgrand mother) and then shown a picture and their mind adapts the memory to show her as the woman/man they saw. If you want proof, since you enjoy watching thousands of hours of NDE videos online, search for memory studies specifically with facial recognition of someone they meet breifly. I think you’ll be surprised.

  • Lmajor

    For all of the non believers that are saying that the doctor gave no scientific proof of his experience… Can any of you come up with scientific proof that what he experienced is not true?

    • Roger Daltry

      I can come up with proof that yours is the dumbest post all day. The proof is in the reading of your comment implying non provability somehow … something.

      • Lmajor

        So you can prove that my post was dumb. That is quite scientific.

    • J__o__h__n

      Yes, if his brain wasn’t functioning, how can he remember it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

       Q: Can any of you come up with scientific proof that what he experienced is not true?

      A: We don’t have to do that, it doesn’t work that way.  The burden of proof is upon Dr. Alexander. 

      Now, if they title of the book was “Near Death Experiences are False” — then we would have to prove  your statement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    we are not saying it isn’t true just that he can’t say it is (the title is Heaven is Real)

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    his response was there is a high consciousness, whatever that means

  • r_fortner

    I had an out of body experience (not a near death experience) when I was 7.  I was molested by a babysitter and the entire time it was occuring, my consciousness left my body and hovered on the ceiling.  This experience has given me a deep belief that there is something beyond this life in this body and that my soul exists separately from my body.  Thanks for sharing Dr. Alexander’s work.  It has been wonderful to hear about.

    • P-brennan

       It’s a merciful thing, that during traumatic events, we are removed – one man described being mauled by a lion, he was completely detached and observing it, even admiring the “majesty of the great beast”, and Dr. Mary Neal describes her NDE in a similar way (search Mary Neal NDE on YouTube) while canoeing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    so you worked at a corupt lab and you reason all scientists are corupt. Science in my eyes is perfectly pure merely because science does not hate you if you doubt it, it does not love you if you belive it, it is ever in the persuit of perfection even if it is out of our reach, and does not have an alternative motives because it is an intangible idea and concept.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    I can only speak for myself but I never thought he was a fake and full of bullshit. He is merely a bad scientist and as far as the scienctists are out for money or influence as Anne suggests, if Dr Alexander was as great and scientific as some believe why is he writing a book which will give him money from anyone who wishes to read it instead of writing a scientific paper putting it up for peer review and then spreading it to the world for free. Because instead of going through proper study and investigation to truely prove his title is accurate he’d rather make a quick buck.

  • D.Satco

    Hold a grain of sand at arm’s length pointing toward the night sky. In the area occluded by the grain of sand are 10,000 galaxies. And nothing created everything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

       Yeah, because thinking it was created by some “being” is so much more rational…

      • D.Satco

        Because of the “Big Bang”, something outside of space, time, matter and energy brought the universe into existence. Many call that “something” God. It is–in the parlance of the courts–a legal decision.

    • GodsAntiparticle

      Then you’ve never heard of “vacuum energy.”  Something (virtual particles and their anti-particle pairs) out of nothing. … it happens all the time. 

      Moreover, M-theory allows for 10^500 other universes, each with its own set of laws and conditions.  With the inflationary cosmology model, D.Satco, there likely never was a beginning and nor will there ever be an end.  Counterintuitive?  Yes, but probable all the same.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.difranco.9 David DiFranco

        @GodsAntiparticle:disqus  - So these “virtual particles” and “anti-particles” come from nothing.  Great.  What made them come apart and turn into “something”?  No matter what force or law is discovered by science to explain behavioral patterns of mater/energy, science is then forced to find another force or law to explain the previous.  That unending chain was hashed out long ago by Thomas Aquinas.  Look into it.

        • GodsAntiparticle

          Your reasoning is incoherent, but I have neither the time or patience to invest it here. 

          I have studied Aquinas’ greatest work “Summa Theologica.”  But the majority of his claims are faith-based, metaphysical nonsense.  Moreover, his and St. Anselm’s “proofs” are both easily disproved.  You may recall Aquinas’ decision (nearing the end of his life) to surrender the pen, realizing that what he “knew” had the value of straw.  To his credit he realized that he, too, knew what Socrates confessed many centuries earlier:  “This much I know, I know nothing.”

          Science is in no rush to prove anything.  The scientific method also requires that we suspend judgment when understanding fails.  As Einstein lamented, “What’s incomprehensible is that the universe is comprehensible.”  There’s no shame in saying “I just don’t know.”  There are many things that we may never know; but that is no reason to invoke the divine or defer to supernatural explanations.  Intellectual honesty requires that we proportion our beliefs to the evidence.

      • D.Satco

        Doppler red-shift is provable and observable. It underlies Big Bang. If you want to dispute that…fine. There are all manner of theories. I will trust in the observable. You may trust in the religion of theories.

  • TJtruthandjustice

    We know a lot, lot less than we know. Atheism is no more rational or reasonable than a belief in God. Atheism is faith in the absence of God. There is no proof either way. The only completely rational response to the question of the existence of God is to say “I don’t know.” 

    • GodsAntiparticle

      Nonsense.  My atheism, for example, was a very deliberate and rational decision.  Following Hume’s advice, I “proportioned my beliefs to the evidence.”  Those familiar with inflationary cosmology and M-theory in particular are likely to understand what I mean when I say that when it comes to creation, God is supererogatory.  There is no rational basis for a belief in God.  God exists because people believe he exists, and for no other reason.

      There is much that we do not understand; but nonunderstandings do not affirm the existence of anything supernatural.  To say that “Atheism is faith in the absence of God” is absurd.  Atheism eschews any form of faith.  The closest I can come to agreeing with you is that I have “faith” in the scientific method; but that is not the kind of faith to which believers fondly refer.  As Carl Sagan noted, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”  Advance the evidence for God and I will suspend my disbelief … but only after I’ve carefully and deliberately examined the contents of your “proof.”

      “There is no proof either way.”  Again, nonsense.  You cannot prove a negative.  Recall Bertrand Russell’s discussion of the “orbiting teapot.”  My inability to disprove its existence is no proof for its existence. 

      Discussing all that is only possible is a penurious investment of time.  While I agree that God is a worthy hypothesis, I’m also certain that the evidence is clear that his existence is improbable.  Physicist Vic Stenger, for example, has made short shrift of the God-hypothesis.  (See his book “God: The Failed Hypothesis” for details.)

      • P-brennan

         What about the lifelong changes brought about by NDEs? No other human experience does that, and there is a large body of data, with thousands of people documenting their experiences. We can shoot holes in any one experience, but when they’re so common and consistent, it should give anyone pause. Anyone who trusts their own judgement, anyway. If you held up every decision you have to make in this world to “absolute proof and rationality”, you’d get nowhere. Faith is a daily part of our existence.

      • TJtruthandjustice

        You have “faith” in the scientific method. ‘Nough said. What’s absurd is the notion that everything can be known and explained in human terms. It’s akin to asserting that an ant could understand and program a supercomputer.

        • GodsAntiparticle

          What’s your point?  Where in my riposte exists any suggestion that “everything can be known and explained in human terms.”?  If theoretical physicists are correct and our universe is but one bubble in a multiverse (1o^500 other universes), then it’s also possible (probable?) that a different set of rules/laws applies to each universe.  In other words, a Theory of Everything (a Grand Unification Theory) may be a pipe dream.  Recall Einstein’s lament: “What’s incomprehensible is that the universe [multiverse] is comprehensible.”  However limited, the scientific method is the most powerful tool that we have.  

  • repete66211

    When I was a kid delirious with fever I saw matchstick men dancing at the foot of my bed.  LSD and mushrooms have made bushes wave like a flag and solid walls appear to slide into the floor.  I’ve had 24 hour dreams during a 10 minute nap.  Although these were all vivid experiences I am under no illusions about whether they took place as I perceived them.

    The story here is warm and fuzzy.  Besides the doctor using this experience to reinforce existing beliefs, there also seems to be a lot of post hoc reasoning.  I don’t think he’s a con man in that he’s deliberately duping people, but it’s never right to use your credentials to promote something as fact which isn’t.  He’s free to believe his story, but doing so is not good science or good medicine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    No they would have to prove that they were false. Have you every written a hypothesis? or posed a question? If your belief is that you don’t have to defend something once you say it then please don’t say anything cause it’s a conversation that can never be resolved due to the ignorance of “i’m right your wrong and its just true I don’t have to prove it”

  • Ejszekely

    During surgery in 1979 extended loss of oxygen left him with no brain ….both cortex and brainstorm were destroyed .He remained in a coma for weeks but I felt he was conscious of me and his doctors were kind enough to let a mother try .I believed his mind was fine even though he was technically brain dead and I talked to him on this basis . Neurologists were certain nothing would change but today he is living an independently and enjoying life .
    He has no story about after death .
    I know after 5 days of praying before the surgery when I heard the result I prayed differently and I felt a certainty that he would be all right ….no voice just a certainty ….I think of it as my Covenant …and I trusted that feeling and slowly he has removed the “nevers “

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    and how exactly does a scientist today prove that what someone sees as the die or have a NDE actually occurs? do they open the brain put on some ghost googles and watch what the spirit does as it leave the body? Maybe they get a few minutes for the ghost to answer some questions as to what they see. That is like saying the Crucibal was an actual trail. because some says that they see something doesn’t mean there is something when the brain is having a stress inducing experience.

  • D.Satco

    Antony Flew, renowned aetheist,  when confronted with the astronomical complexity of DNA renounced aetheism and said, “It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of  DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

      design; YES.
      Intelligent Design; NO.

      • D.Satco

        Design…yes? How could any design be unintelligent? The discoverersof DNA  Francis Crick said it was impossible to randomly arrive at DNA.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DPKS3HUGQBPILPIU7IVZSHGXLI Robert_N

      How could it not look like design from the perspective of a human brain, any less than our little spot in the universe ‘appears’ designed for the lifeforms on Earth?  There are structures in nature that look well-designed, but evolutionary science explains them well, according to physical principles. That doesn’t rule out any design or initial intervention, but renouncing atheism because of a complex structure seems to lend credence to the idea that most human brains have a wired propensity for belief. Some would say that too is by design, while others would say it’s a coping mechanism evolved as humanity’s sentience and awareness of mortality developed.

      • D.Satco

        The new generalized second law of thermodynamics precludes DNA from existing. It is more complex and contains more information than the entire universe as a system.

      • P-brennan

         Why don’t woodpeckers get traumatic brain injuries? At least one species inserts their tongue up into a sinus between the brain and bone, and the timing of the pulsing bloodflow to the tongue is synced to the pecking, maximizing the protection. Maybe it is my brain’s limitations, hard to know, but I just don’t see that evolving from a bunch of random mutations and evolution. It’s too elegant.

        • Vanessa D

          So what about all the species that didn’t make it over the billions of years? Why weren’t they equipped to survive, where was the elegance?

          • P-brennan

             There’s elegance in survival of the fittest, but factually, you’re asking why species didn’t survive to argue against intelligent design? Not sure I’m following you, and your question seems unanswerable for obvious reasons.

    • GodsAntiparticle

      Anthony Flew is neither a biologist or a geneticist; he’s a philosopher.  Acknowledging the complexity of the DNA molecule does not prove design.  His conclusion is logically absurd … it’s not even worthy of being considered bad science.  “I don’t understand how Nature did it, therefore God exists …” Oy vey!

      • D.Satco

        The discoverer of DNA Francis Crick said it was impossible to randomly arrive at DNA.

        • GodsAntiparticle

          Francis Crick was a devout atheist!  Evolutionary forces/changes are NOT random; they’re SELECTIVE. 

        • J__o__h__n

          Crick described himself as a skeptic and agnostic “with a strong inclination to atheism.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.brunelle Alexander Brunelle

    I will end my conversation with this: weither or not there is a higher being or a higher plane of existance (heaven) it should not distract from our lives here. In fact, looking back, I can’t believe I spent so much time reading and writing regarding a never ending argument when I could have done something better, greater. If all sides of this argument would merely acknowledge that they have their beliefs and everyone else has theirs and just leave it at that, then just maybe we could all make a better world through the simple idea, that religion has attempted to spread around the world to disasterous effects, of helping your fellow man. If we all just put aside our beliefs and not shove them done everyone else’s throats then we could, not to sound clique, have “heaven on Earth”. However, as long as everyone else refuses to do this, then we will always be no better than  the dark ages where religion and personal beliefs halted inovation, creativism and progress. In the end who cares if there is a God. If you follow your religion then you go to heaven, why do you insist on trying to convince others that they want to go there too? Wont it be miserable if you have to spend eternity with people who have opposing ideas as you? Just let everyone be and be a good person.

  • michael

    Buried alive in a mine cave in a half a mile under ; 20 tos came down and one huge rock crushed my leg and  another  head lopped  off an eye and its facial bone  in its downward passage ; while still  another knocked me into unconsciousness into  a severe concussion …
    Never knew what happend 
    ..one min i was working in this conscious world 
    the next min   being hurtled upward on a RNA-DNA double helix spiral vortex  of light
      that seemed to move as if threre were no space or time 

    i saw many things ; but first let me comment this was no sub conscious thought or even remotely a  REM dream state ;
    this was an experience of  energy ; my energy 
    but devoid of the personality or the  intellect ;
     devoid of even higher self lower self modalitys of identidy ;
     call it the soul if you will ;
    but it was a self i can’t readily  id in my consciousness or 
    go to even in prayer or meditation  …I was very much “Present ” …I had no thoughts of the intellect ..it was as if this awakened state was an  unperishable  codex  that was uniquely mine 
    not only in this lifetime ; but there was a universal fingerprint to it .
    I was going somewhere and I couldn’t change the subject      
    What  i was shown were vignettes ; flashes really ;
     of past instances in life in which i had some sort of choice ;  
     there were no events like happy birthdays or the death of my mother ;
     most were pretty  unremakable  except their  cosnequence ; for which I created .

    This was both supreme in love and depending on the event 
     terrifyingly real to my passage…
    allow  me to explain 
    ..In one example was i had three pieces of candy  and there were two other children  of which i only gave one a piece of candy to…..and not the other ….
    I was shown these vignettes in real time ; as if i was present and there  ;only now it was this unique present state of awakened awareness in a living moment  of which  i had no control 

    In my choice with the candy ; there was no blame or shame ; no godly judgement .
    I was “Present” and a  witness… i couldn’t for instance change the channel 
    the message was simple  my choice ; which I freely made ; had consequence 
    it created sadness …
     which like anger or love for that matter is energy ; and has resonance 

    My creation of this energy through my choice had direct consequences in my paasage through this double helix of vortex and light ;there was somehow  a direct resonance  to my upward spiral  of travel as if the beam of my transformation was shaken like a roller coaster out of control.
    Fear and terror are energies too; and all i can say is the eternity i felt connected to this resonance was of a terror ive never felt 

    Likewise in equall and opposite  flashes of light  where in the vignette  My choice created  say harmony and love I experienced a ride of  peace ; love and joy that was profound ;and a serenity of being connected to source that was endless ;and smooth as if  i was speeded on a gentle  wave beam of joyous love ……it was incedible and pure mutual attraction ; I wasn’t a witness ;I was part of it 

    again all this in real time happened very quickly ; as other miners were summoned and began to dig and unearth the section where I was entombed   .

    Suddenly within this transformation  I came to a fork in the road ; it was very distinct ; on one side there was a brilliant river  with a glittering brillaince I had never seen before ;
     and there was a dark green  english lawn  overlooking and going down to its banks 
    and sitting there in a group of long dead relatives were my mother and grandparents ; and all i felt was this profound sence of love and connection …they  recognized me and awaited me inanimate as if holding a  promise  …all i could feel was a deep desire   to join them;; all I could feel was their  profound  love ; and connection …. it was not to be ; in a second flash i took without choice  the other fork and I awoke in my body to hear the miners digging for me …

    Michael Davidson   

    • Frank in Bunnell

      Sounds like a good book, I will be looking for it in the fiction part of the library.
      I disagree I guess somewhat less than respectfully.

      • P-brennan

         And you’ll dismiss hundreds of others? Not even bother to study the field, and remain ignorant? 600 every day in the U.S., that cut across all ages/faiths/cultures? Good choice Frank. I do envy the fact that you’ll be very, very pleasantly surprised when you leave here.

  • Mister

    my very good friend is a profesional  pilot ; he shared with me some very good pics of  UFOS saucers he photographed while flying …..asked if he turned them in …he quipped “Are you kidding”?…and looked at me as if  I was nuts !!!

    Eienstien  dared to challange reality ; He wrote “Its all energy ;  Im sorry  its not religion or psychology ; its psysics ; How we fine tune the energy ; creates our reality ”
    meaning if we are angry or sad or seek love and happiness …then thats our reality 

    energy cannot be destroyed ;  the love you may have felt as a child is still there ; …..its real….
    the mind seeks debate and argument ; the heart seeks love and happiness; … its all about choice… …..which reality do you choose ? 

  • Vanessa D

    I get in my (almost) daily exercise by dancing to the music that makes exercise the most enjoyable and effective for me. Many times, the combination of the music and the strenuous movements puts me into a state that some would call religious. It is an ecstatic and overwhelmingly joyous feeling; it is a feeling of being greatly loved and one with the universe. I’m not kidding.

    I used to think it was some sort of spiritual connection until I realized that the most likely explanation is brain chemistry and is akin to what is known as the runner’s high. Maybe the persons known as “whirling dervishes”  get the same feeling when they spin and whirl.

    I am a non-theist in that I don’t believe in any external “deity,”  yet am open to the idea that the universe, and the source of all that is, exists within the brain/mind of each individual. Dr. Alexander’s “proof” of what he calls heaven is proof only of the power of the brain to create our individual experience. For him, heaven is real and he submits that it is therefore real for everyone. He provides no proof of that.

    Taking literary license with that well-known statement by Bill Clinton: “It’s the brain, Stupid!”

    From “Women on Fire” by Irene O’Garden (spoken by Jordie): 
                         “Movement is the first commandment. Dancin’ is the hymnal.”

    • Anne

      I liked your post. I also think that ‘spiritual connection’ and ‘brain chenistry’ are not mutually exclusive.I think eupohoria can be the result of both working in concert as opposed to either/or…

    • P-brennan

       “Alexander’s “proof” of what he calls heaven is proof only of the power of the brain to create our individual experience” – this has been proven wrong a number of times by the well-documented veridical experiences of NDEers – they learn factual information that they could not have accessed in any other way than their NDE. Why don’t people take the time to study a field before commenting on it?

      • Vanessa D

        I’ve been studying this field for decades , and nothing changes. The same for the folks who keep insisting they’ve been abducted by aliens; their tales are remarkably similar and consistent. They “gained knowledge they could not have obtained in any other way. ”

        ” “Alexander’s “proof” of what he calls heaven is proof only of the power
        of the brain to create our individual experience” – this has been
        proven wrong a number of times by the well-documented veridical
        experiences of NDEers”.     Actually, It’s never been proven wrong. And the more research that’s done into the power of the brain to create our individual experience, the more it is demonstrated to be true.  If anecdotal stories are what you call proof, perhaps you have a different notion of what proof is.  Direct observation of the workings of the brain via functional MRI (fMRI) by neuroscientists is what most people would consider proof.

        • P-brennan

           I think he made a big mistake putting proof in the title. I don’t think science will ever understand the brain well enough to “explain” NDEs. Who’s signing up for the fMRI study to look at a dying brain? I think I’d rather they focused on the resuscitation efforts.

          For me, the weight of the consistency of thousands of accounts are sufficient, along with the veridical experiences, and Pam reynolds’ case. Has your decades of research included a thorough review of the literature, and listening to people’s stories?

          Are you saying there are veridical experiences documented by multiple witnesses r.e. alien abduction?

  • Gary

    When in college I experimented with psychedelics. I found meaning and profundity there that I simply lack the linguistic tools to express. Though I am an atheist and believe that my future is likely to be service as worm food, these psychedelic experiences have always given me a formless sort of hope—hope that perhaps, just perhaps, my consciousness of self, here and now (reference purely incidental), is a temporary manifestation of something eternal. It’s just that, well, if someone just kindly show me the goods please…

    I am fascinated by reports by artists of almost full blown creative works feeling as though they have been received in dreams. I am also fascinated by the feeling i had as an athlete of being “in the zone” which for me was the exceedingly rare occasion when i played my game (tennis) with a perfection and feeling of joy that could not be summoned; it just happened once in a very great while and felt as though something had been bestowed, however temporarily. I have also had this happen as a musician. Being “in the zone:” What is that?

    Who are we to say about any of this stuff? This is not a realm where scientific rigor seems to lead to any satisfactory conclusion—ever. Or not. At some point our fear of death and our ruminations would seem to put us one one side or the other of the question of, simply, the plausibility of hope.

    • P-brennan

       The “goods” might be found in listening to as many experiences as you can find. Pam Reynolds, Kimberly Clark Sharp, Gordon Allen, Dr. Mary Neal, Jan holden’s talk, Chris Markey, Ian McCormack, Colton Burpo, Jeffrey Long’s collection of 3000. They are very, very compelling – you can decide based on your own assessment of their sincerity, instead of (or in addition to ) ruminations and fear. These people don’t fear death (which is a lie, since we don’t die) at all. They look forward to going home.

  • Vanessa D

    Listening to the way Dr. Alexander describes his experience tells me that his main intention is not to prove the existence of an afterlife but is to sell as many books as possible. He uses surefire ultra – romantic/sentimental terms like: riding on the wing of a butterfly. A beautiful girl who turned out to be his unknown sister. Heavenly melodies. Give me a break.The only real proof he provides is that of the gullibility of too many people. Shame on those magazines who are featuring his story as their main attraction. I hope this is not the portent of an anti-science, anti-intellectual trend happening HERE in the United States and NOW in the 21st century. Heaven knows (sorry, couldn’t resist) we are in desperate need of scientists as well as mathematicians and engineers in this country, now more than ever. 

    • Pdmwrx

      We ARE in desperate need for scientists in this country and in this century – and we need to listen to them – especially in such areas as climate change critical to the future of our progeny.  However, scientists hardly look objective or open or useful when, rather than exploring a new idea or situation, they attack when in fact we don’t yet have answers. Why can’t we leave these areas open and say, yes, they are unproved at the moment but the information we get from people who have come back from near death experiences is intriguing.  That attitude would give me more faith that the scientists are not dismissing these possibilities out of hand.  Instead, their attitude is, until proven, it doesn’t exist.  I think that’s narrow.

    • Pdmwrx

      From the radio show, it appears that his intention is to describe his experience and raise questions.  Not to provide proof positive.

    • Anne

      Having faith in the spiritual doesn’t inherently mean one is anti-science or anti-intellectual. These are false dichotomies.

      • Sean Keuch

        Merriam Webster Dictionary definition for both Fath and Science 
        b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust

        a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method

        Nuff said

    • P-brennan

       The language/terms/events you’re describing are very commonly used by NDEers – even more commonly, they say “we don’t have the words to describe the….colors, light, ecstasy.” It’s unfortunate that people take the time to criticize first, instead of educating themselves about a very interesting topic. 600 people a day in the U.S., and any of us can listen to hundreds of them on youTube. When thousands of people describe their NDEs in VERY similar terms, and the lifelong effects are profound, perhaps you should take the time to listen first. There is a large body of data resulting from the study of these experiences, and it’s sad that everyone looking for more science hasn’t bothered to look at the research done on NDEs.

      • Truth Seeker

        When thousands of NDE’ers make the same predictions, then we might get somewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520954494 John Sefner


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JDLIHH2FDBV6YPMVHCXCLETOEQ o

    Here’s the scenario: This guy’s story and others eventually get debunked — convincingly!  By neuroscience.  So, then, people look at St. Paul’s experience of the 3rd heaven as simply a dream while he was in a coma after being stoned.  The difference is that HIS WAS REAL and these modern ones are fakes of Satan, who would benefit enormously by having scripture even more distrusted.  Hey.  If it’s not in the Bible, it is not true.

    • P-brennan

       I’ve heard one hundred or so NDEs, and cannot find anything that contradicts the Bible. And Jesus said, “I have many more things to tell you, but you could not live them now.” So that leaves the door open just a bit. People are asked what they did for their fellow man, 15% have a negative (initial) experience and visit Hell, and most eventually experience unconditional, limitless, love and mercy. Fakes of Satan? Learn more before you make crazy claims.

      • Vanessa D

        Ok, now you have fully revealed yourself and your agenda. You take the bible as Authority, you believe in Jesus and Satan.  And you call the comments of others, “crazy claims.”  You are just another Christian proselytizer trying to change others. Sorry, your game is up.

        • P-brennan

           One of the editors of The Handbook of NDEs is a religious scholar who researches the texts of major religions for NDE accounts. They have been found as far back as the Tibetan book of the Dead. Guess I’m now a proselytizer for Tibetanism since I’ve mentioned it. Quoting these works does not change the objective science done in this field.
          Fully revealed? Really? I’m hoping that people will listen to others’ accounts of what happens when we die. AGAIN, I’ve watched over one hundred. A very striking feature is how often there is NO denomination-specific figure during the NDE. I’ve not seen one account where anyone was asked, much less judged on, whether they’re Buddhist or Catholic or atheist, how often they went to church, etc. – the only question I’ve seen asked is “What have you done for your fellow man?” After an NDE, most are more altruistic, less materialistic, more spiritual but LESS interested in “organized” religion. One woman asked, after being told she had to return, what religion she should join. The answer was, “Choose the religion that brings you closest to God.” Seems the Creator is above our petty “I’ve got the right answer and you don’t” B.S.

          It’s much more polite to ask than accuse, by the way, and in my experience, proselytizers have very pure motives. It is a form of trying to help their fellow man

  • Shelby4087

    Listening to Dr. Alexander’s experience and his belief that he has proof of heaven reminded me of Dr. Ramachandran’s theory that great religious experiences may come from a form of epilepsy. I haven’t read anything about it lately, but about ten years ago I wrote a paper on Tolstoy  in which I proposed that this theory explains much of Tolstoy’s chaotic life and work.

  • Truth Seeker

    Great, Robin, thanks for setting the science of brain and mind back to at least the Middle Ages, if not back to the age of the pharaohs!!!!

    It’s a shame that ‘Here And Now’ would dignify any of this NONSENSE (posing as science), as being more than just the same-old-same-old religious proselytizing by someone who, clearly, has always been very religious and is now just trying to use his position to try and negate what science has taught us over the centuries – without providing any kind of real evidence OF ANYTHING!  This Doctor clearly has an agenda – and it AIN’T science! Also, why are you somehow prejudiced in favor of doctors telling you their “near death experiences”, why can’t anyone tell you these? Is it because he wrote about his dreams? I have some dreams for you!  This is just more subjective “opinion” posing as some kind of scientific evidence. This is the old flim-flam – this is all the same snake oil that we have had peddled to us by religious zealots, since the dawn of time. “JUST BELIEVE ME” – “I HAVE BEEN TO THE MOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM” (but forgot to take my camera and audio recorder in order to be able to show you what I saw and heard).  Where’s the reproducible and measurable evidence???!! Where are the predictions of things to come, that can be tested? His “belief” that lots of time had passed, may only be that (we know that time perception during unconscious states can be greatly distorted). The ONLY reason we believe the Higgs field might exist, is because we spent billions building a machine that could detect it and measure it and we ALSO had mathematical models predicting its existence. The only reason we believe we have found a cancer cure is when we can prove it works and others can see it working (even those who don’t believe we have done it). You can’t just “imagine” scientific, or objective truths, otherwise anyone’s theory of the world is as good as anyone else’s and you can’t cure diseases, or predict the weather and climate change like that.What great new knowledge did the good physician come back with? Any new theories in physics? How about how to cure cancer (especially brain cancer)? They should have been able to tell him that if “the beyond” knew things he already didn’t know! They should have had knowledge we don’t already have.  Didn’t he get around to asking any questions? If they told him he would be “going back”, couldn’t he have at least asked for the Powerball numbers? Also, why didn’t he have an artist faithfully depict who he supposedly saw, right away, before claiming that that person looked like his sister. Why didn’t he let people who wouldn’t have known his sister decide whether his description really matched that of his sister (maybe it didn’t at all)? Maybe the artist rendering would have had black hair and a different nose. THAT’S called doing the science!!!!! 

    • P-brennan

       Longterm studies on the effects of NDEs are science. Go learn and suppress all this blathering.

      • Truth Seeker

        Were are the predictions that should be easily testable. Where are the deep new facts and knowledge that should be able to be brought back? Where is “the theory of everything”? How come no one comes back with the answer to when the world will end, or what causes gravity? At least some verifiable predictions could be put to the test (and you don’t need to be a scientist to make predictions). It’s all a cop-out because none of it is true!

  • The-truth-seeker

    Dr. Oliver Sachs (a real brain researcher, not just someone good with a knife) has just published a book on hallucinations, so I hope you also have him on your show to discuss these “claims” of a proof (of anything other than in a coma you can experience dreaming).

    He has had hallucinations too (that were sometimes pleasant) but he has never claimed it was proof of “other worlds”, or anything other than what really caused them (things going wrong in the brain). 

    • P-brennan

       Oliver Sachs is involved in academic research? Clinical trials? Didn’t know that, although he does write up some very interesting cases, including an orthopedic surgeon’s NDE in “Musicophilia.” Sachs’ recent New Yorker article about chemistry experiments includes his admission of raiding the medicine cabinet at the hospital, and experimenting every Sunday, once resulting in a very vivid hallucination. While I admire his desire to experience and understand, your choice of him over Dr. Alexander is suspect. Keep seeking.

      • Truth Seeker

        There are hundreds of “actual researchers” in the field of brain/mind science.  Just look them up (Sachs is just a very popular one).  A surgeon is not the same as a scientist (they are just practitioners of a learned skill and have good hands).

  • pk

    I don’t really care what can be proven, his story is beautiful, and if it gives him faith (of any kind) good for him.  Everyone else should just back off and let him enjoy it.

    • J__o__h__n

      He can believe whatever he wants but his claim that this is proof of heaven is not true.

  • The-truth-seeker

    Nice story he can tell his wife and kids, but PLEASE, don’t waste our time with this, Robin. It’s as far from real science (or just plain evidence of anything) as the Andromeda galaxy is (which I am sure this person may also have visited in his coma).


    • P-brennan

       You don’t know anything about this field at all, do you? How extensively these experiences, and their very real/lifelong consequences, are studied? You’re wasting our time by being uninformed, and making conclusions based on nothing. Seek the truth by staying open and willing to learn.

      • Truth Seeker

        That’s not science.  Not even the 17th century standard for science. By that standard I can believe in the Tooth Fairy too and write a book about it and then get on radio to try and convince others about “my beliefs”.

      • Sean the Grey

        We don’t know everything about the brain now but much more than we did in the dark ages, but we shouldn’t use dark age science/religion to explain phenomena we do not know.  Your argument is baloney. With your argument we should get all the people who dropped acid and DMT then and ask them about the real/lifelong consequences they experienced.  And all the people that flew through the galaxy while talking to god after a hit of DMT should be put into a maximum protected lab because if someone we really to talk to the head hauncho the implications would be gigantic beyond reason.  

        If you want more of these stories go to the christian tv channels and watch people speak in tongues and be caught in the loving arms of their savior priests who haven’t been caught molesting innocent little children yet.  Religion is obsolete.  The slow, but speeding up death (evolution kind of threw a wrench in things), of religion can be blamed for many of the terrible things going on in the world especially in poorer and less educated countries where they still have which hunts and slaughter people in genocides based off the love of god.  Its depressing that on what I take as the best news source, NPR, we had to listen to the same unopposed religious fervor that starts genocides and parents taking their kids off of chemo for prayer healing.  Its sick, wrong and shouldn’t be allowed on the air for kids to hear. 

  • Susie P

    This story truly moved me.  So very happy that I listened to the program today, very blessed and very happy for the angels.  Thank you Eban, I ordered the book today.  So very thankful.  

  • D David W

    I was genuinely intrigued when I heard this story on the show this morning. I was raised Catholic but have considered myself an Atheist. If nothing else, this mans experience has started me thinking about the possibility that there may be something  beyond this life. He mentioned on the show that this type of experience may be achieved through deep meditation. Perhaps I will give it a try…….. 

    • P-brennan

       600 people have NDEs in the U.S. every day, and many have reported their  experience on youTube. They are very compelling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1273328048 Tomasina Covell

    Wow, this show needs to go to hell along with the rest of the right wing chimps at n-p-r!

    • P-brennan

       Interested in hell? 14% of NDEers claim to have visited. Listen to their accounts and you might learn something.

      • Vanessa D

        You have GOT to be kidding. HELL? We can learn something? You just lost all credibility you might have had, except for those of like mind to yours.  You have been heard…again and again…and again…

        • P-brennan

           Well people keep asking questions, and I’ll answer the best I can – I’m no expert but I’ve read and heard a fair amount. Please don’t mistake my reporting of the negative NDEs for my personal opinion of their content – although I’m happy to provide that too if asked. I’m wrong about the statistic, 14% report a negative experience, and a small percent of those describe, indeed, a visit to hell. Out of 13 million total who claim to have had NDEs, it’s still a good number of people. There’s a chapter in The Handbook of NDEs that discusses distressing NDEs, and it includes a question: “What kinds of beings are we , that we can feel in such a profound way that the feeling alone makes for heaven and hell?”

          I’m making a point, mostly, to just report what NDEers say: Often hell is described as devoid of love, the complete absence of empathy for others, and the people there are completely self-absorbed. The polar opposite of a good answer to the test question sometimes asked in an NDE, “What have you done for your fellow man’?” Fits together rather nicely. Take from it what you will, but no, I’m not kidding, this is exactly what they say.  You really shouldn’t laugh at it if you haven’t heard the accounts. Try Ian McCormack NDE on youtube if you’re interested – it’s a ten-part account but very good. Also Howard Storm, a (former) avowed atheist and tenured professor of art at a major university.

          I am trying to point people to the actual experiences as reported by the NDErs, believe me it’s more interesting than reading what I have to say.

  • JT

    Sorry Robin, but if you are going to walk on eggshells doing an interview, why do it?

    What makes this interview newsworthy, I guess, was this man’s claim of PROOF of an afterlife. You do not have to question his religious beliefs but you DO have to question his proof and evidence! You failed to do this. Maybe you should stick to other topics.

  • Monicak6

    Hello, I too had an other worldly experience. I was 19 in 1978, I was 5’6″tall and weighed 78 pounds. Treatment for anorexia back then meant a short stay on a med surg unit in a local hospital. Didn’t do me much good. I describe anorexia as being in a self inflicted prison from which I was unable to escape. I was in bed, in my parents home, when I was awakened by a bright light and a firm voice which said “You will die if you do not eat.” I was frightened and was on my way to the kitchen as fast as my legs would carry me. I have never wanted to return to that awful eating disorder and have maintained healthy eating habits my whole life. I am a registered nurse, graduated from OSU in 1982. My life has been peppered with an uncanny ability to ‘know’ information through dreams and in waking moments which have steered my family from ‘trouble’. My husband is an orthopedic surgeon and we have four children. I too found skeptics when I relate my story. I was kept out of college winter quarter 1978 due to my illness and surprised my dormmates when I returned Spring Quarter 1979 with a healthier mind and body. Thank you, I do believe in God and sympathize with those who don’t have faith. Monica Kolovich

  • jefe68

    With all due respect, the man has no proof. Proof in science needs more than an experience that can just as easily be explained as a hallucination. The brain has functions that we are still finding out about. I’m sure there is an explanation for this mans so called experience.
    The idea of heaven is absurd.

    • P-brennan

       The idea that this is all there is, is absurd. Look for proof in the lifelong studies of NDEs that show changes that no other human experience can provide.

      • jefe68

        It’s absurd. You can post more absurdity if you like.
        You keep saying the same things over and over again and yet the bottom line is there is no proof. No science to back up any of this.

        It’s OK, you can go on believing what you want. I’m not convinced and never will be.
        Your volume of postings on this subject does make one wonder what your game is.

        • P-brennan

           My game: I’m a pediatric rehabilitation physician, I take care of children with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy. I’ve never met Dr. Alexander and have no financial interest in his book’s success, nor NPR’s success. I’ve never written a book or article in this area and have no plans to. I’ve had one patient, a 10 year old girl, recover from an injury and relate an NDE.

          Sorry about the repetition, it’s just maddening to hear comments from people with firm-sounding convictions that don’t bother to read the literature. And it is literature, about a very important and fascinating question.

          NDEs happen to thousands every year and their stories do not conflict, and their lives change. For the better. Less materialistic, more altruistic, more concerned with relationships and not success. If they were BS, that just wouldn’t happen.

          You will be convinced. We’ll laugh about it then.

          • jefe68

            This phenomenon could just as well be explained as a chemical imbalance in the brain do to lack of oxygen, trauma, or illness could it not?

          • P-brennan

            They often learn things that they couldn’t otherwise know. Only 14% of people resuscitated after a heart attack report an NDE; shouldn’t it be more if that were the reason?


            What do you think of Joe?

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

            NDE survivor against spiritual “proof”.

          • P-brennan

             Near Death Experience Stories – 1 of 2

            Sorry – Joe’s experience is here, plug title into youtube search

  • P-brennan

    Does anyone see a pattern here? EVERYONE who’s had an NDE understands what Dr. A. experienced, and claims their life was significantly changed. NO ONE who ridicules him claims to have had an NDE (except james, and his experience is very different than the typical NDE.)

    It would be interesting to hear again from the NDEers about their pre-experience level of  cynicism. I bet it would match very nicely with our current nay-sayers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

      Um right here still… Selective in your data much?  Why do you care more than i do?  This is odd.  It was not a spiritual experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cjohn.graham C John Graham

    I worked with scientists and engineers my entire career. I’ve also had experiences like this. Though science has become the religion of our age, it can only measure the physical world. The scope of reality is greater than the mind, and can be at least partially comprehended through involuntary near-death experiences and certain intentional spiritual practices. Use of the latter can be analogous to the scientific method, i.e. experimentation and repeatable results. In the end, the nature of the experience is individual and personal and can only be “proven” by one’s individual experience. One place to start: miraclesinyourlife.org.

  • hbenler

    Miraculous how these so-called  “near death experiences”  incorporate the imagery  of the persons’ culture and religious beliefs:  Eben Alexander’s are right out of Hollywood.   Aaah, yes, there’s  a book to be marketed—of course !

    • P-brennan

       His beliefs and culture are based on Hollywood?? Guess you know the Dr. very well. If you’d spend time actually STUDYING the field of NDEs, you would get the answer to your question, which is a good one (after subtracting out the cynicism) – do NDEs reflect a person’s culture and beliefs? 30 years of research is summarized in The Handbook of Near Death Experiences by Holden/Greyson/James.

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

        Why do you care?  You care more than anyone else on the planet apparently.  NDE’s should be viewed as personal experiences with personal meanings.  Are you also big on dream interpretations?

        • P-brennan

          Why do I care about what, specifically? If you mean the whole issue of NDEs, that’s a fair question. I agree with Christopher Hitchens, who was asked why he kept debating religion and the afterlife – “You’re going to have the most interesting conversation you could have.” I was in the front row at a Hitchens/Wolpe debate, and someone asked about NDEs. Hitchens dismissed it out of hand, and it’s the ONLY topic I’ve ever heard him do that with. He offered no evidence that he knew anything about them, and that’s uncharacteristic. Wolpe said they’re far too common, and are described as a life-changing event too often, to dismiss out of hand.

           I think there are clues, answers to why we’re here. Some fit with what makes us happy: When NDErs are told they have to go back (very few want to), it’s often “there are people on earth who need you, you have more work to do” – the only “test” question I’ve heard is, “What have you done for your fellow man?” And surveys consistently show that the happiest people in their work are helping others (teachers, clergy, physical therapists), and that winning the lottery often wrecks lives. Watch Gordon Allen’s experience – he had it all, on the cover of financial magazines, very successful venture capitalist – after his NDE, he cut all ties with finance. I find his sincerity very, very hard to doubt. He compares the “richness” of his life now “like the Sistine Chapel compared to a drab little room”.  Absolutely remarkable, a longlasting change like that. A similar thing happened to the Domino’s CEO after he read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, so surely NDEs aren’t the only thing that results in big changes.

          The consistency of the features of NDEs (13 million have had them) means they may be generalizable – again, I can’t find a single case where someone had one and claims to be unchanged. Isn’t that striking? So absolutely, they’re personal, with extremely personal meanings (they are tailored to that person, and far from generic. Yet NDErs are very interested in others’ NDEs, and they intensely want to share what they’ve learned (hence the books – I don’t think it’s profit-driven, since they become less materialistic). Many don’t share their experience for fear of ridicule, and are very relieved to know they’re actually common. So if what you’re saying is that they’re too personal to be shared, and it’s no one else’s business, that’s up to the NDEer – but the evidence points elsewhere.

          I’m intensely curious about why we’re here, and what level of seriousness to assign to this place. NDEers often say we’re taking it WAY too seriously, but also that what happens here is very important. Watch Chris Markey’s NDE, or Hamish Miller’s. Intriguing. Even if you approach them as purely hypothetical, they’re intriguing.

          I don’t know anything about dream interpretation, other than the theory that psychosis (including schizophrenia), which involves visual and auditory hallucinations, may be a result of the brain “dreaming” while the person is fully awake. That sounds very frightening, but it’s an interesting theory and may open up therapeutic possibilities.  Greyson did interview NDEers who continued to hear voices afterwards, and schizophrenics who hear voices. He wanted to compare the attitude/relationship of each group with the voices, and found that they were very different.

          That’s one example of what I mean by real science existing in this field, many questions one could think to ask have been researched, if possible, since it started in 1975 with Dr. Moody, a medical student at the time. The research from 1975-2005 is nicely summarized in “The Handbook of NDEs”, and I recommend it (again I have no connection, financial or otherwise, to the book or its authors. I’ve never published in this area and have no plans to.) To quote Moody and Greyson, 2nd pg of the Foreword: “Together we …decided to approach (it) not from the standpoint of religion, but scientifically. As scientists, we naturally had no concern as such with the religious implications of NDEs, people were free to think about that as they would. What we wished to do was to subject the NDE experience to critical scientific scrutiny. We were out neither to prove it nor debunk it; our aim instead was only to try to understand it and to encourage other scientists and scholars to do likewise.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

     True or not, Dr. Alexander is certainly brave (or foolish) to publish this book.  He is risking his career.

  • Harry

    All you have to do is study the subject of NDE’s and you’ll convince yourself that we have a seperate conciousness which leaves the body at death.  Start with Ray Moody’s 1975 book, “Life After Life”.  He interviewed 150 people who had Near Death Experiences and describes their stories in detail.  Logical, definite.  You’ll see that we really are immortal and that we journey to a truly wonderful realm in the next life. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

      No.  As an NDE survivor.  Just no.  But believe what makes you happy I guess.

  • P-brennan

    Compelling NDE Story (Includes Encounter With Jesus)

    Perhaps try this one under youTube search – Chris Markey is a Chicago attorney, and his account is interesting.

  • Anne

    I think so much of the seeming hostility from certain posters (which initially I was critical of as being overly-defensive) is possibly based primarily on the title of the book: Proof of Heaven. Clearly, one man’s experience–in and of itself–does not offer any type of scientific proof of anything. And the word ‘heaven’ in heavily associated with a relatively narrow (and primarily) Christain conception of the afterlife. So, I’m wondering whether if his book had been called something (admittedly long and awkward!) like ‘One’s man’s experience of expanded consciousness that felt like heaven” would it have calmed the discussion? Would it be more acceptable for him to simply talk about his experience if it hadn’t been framed as ‘proof’ of something?  (This is a sincere question, I’m not being facetious.)

    People are also suggesting he’s just trying to make a big profit by writing the book. That’s possibly true, but he seems sincere. (And my guess that he makes decent money as a neurosurgeon. ) So, it’s possible he picked an intentionally provocative title so that more people would read about his experience because he thinks it’s important to share. I’m not sure this is so different than Richard Dawkins writing a popular best-seller with the title The God Delusion. Dawkins probably didn’t mind picking a provocative title that would sell lots of books–dual purpose of making some money while spreading a message he deemed important.

    I’m not defending the title of the book. It is indeed somehwat problematic, but I enjoyed listening to the story and the questions it raised about possibilities beyond our current understanding of reality, life, consciousness, etc.

  • Phil MacHeath

    There is so much wrong here. Where to start? I read the article in Newsweek. My one question: where is his PROOF? There is none. Because someone is a neurosurgeon — in a coma! — doesn’t add add credence to what he says.

    People who want to believe will believe; skeptics who don’t won’t. I won’t be buying his book.  For me, his book and experience in a coma proves nothing. Just another Christian trying to tell us they they’re “right” about God and Heaven.

     To me, this is just contemptible rubbish. You know what? When we’re dead, we’ll find out.

  • P-brennan

    I just heard him interviewed on Skeptiko, it’s on YouTube, and his working title at that time had no “proof” in it – the publishers have a major say in titles, and I’d bet he resisted it and is perfectly aware that he can’t offer “proof”. Obviously it was proof enough for him. If this is such a dubious experience, where are all the people who have them who say “Well that was a nice experience but similar to a drug trip, and it wasn’t significant in my life?” I haven’t come across a single account like that.

    There are plenty of curious undecideds, and I have confidence in people’s BS meters – I became convinced by the number of accounts, their consistencies, and reviewing 30 years of research. THIS IS A REAL FIELD OF STUDY. Likening it to alien abduction betrays ignorance.

     Bruce Greyson, one editor of The Handbook of near Death Experiences, is a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the Univ. of Virginia Medical School, and has authored over 100 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals. Debbie james is senior instructor in the nursing education dept. at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.

    • Juniper_jade

      P-brennan: I suspect you are correct that his publishers chose the title, and possibly pressured him to use it. It was a good choice if the only objective was to create an instant mass-market best-seller. But it was a poor choice if the author wished to convey a modicum of scientific integrity. Heck, I wouldn’t even object to “EVIDENCE of Heaven” as a title. But the word “proof” is simply inaccurate in this context, and it immediately raises the hackles (and suspicions) of anyone with a scientific background–or at least, it should. 

      I concur that the scientific study of near-death experience phenomena is perfectly valid. But I would also note that Bruce Greyson, the researcher you cite, has authored papers which suggest that something similar to a near-death experience can be induced simply by electrical stimulation of the brain’s angular gyrus. ( http://near-death.com/experiences/triggers07.html ) This, to me, suggests that there may be a purely physiological explanation for such experiences. 

      The essay at the following url does a nice job of summarizing some of the recent findings regarding freaky psychological phenomena that are often interpreted as spiritual or paranormal, and includes some good suggestions for further reading:


      I don’t doubt that many people have near-death experiences. I don’t doubt that most of these people perceive them to be vividly real, profoundly spiritual and permanently life-changing. I can’t claim to know for sure if the experiences are caused by an actual journey to some spiritual realm, or by neurobiological phenomena that occur in the human brain under certain extreme circumstances. (I suspect the latter, but I can’t rule out the former.)

      What I don’t understand is the assertion that the undisputed existence of the NDE phenomenon somehow PROVES the existence of an afterlife–and more specifically of “heaven” as conceptualized in the Judeo-Christian tradition. 

      That said, I commend the work you do as a pediatric physician, and I can certainly understand why someone who deals with sick children on a daily basis would feel compelled to explore this question with a mind that was open to the possibility of a beautiful and comforting afterlife. 

      • P-brennan

         Thank you for that, very thoughtful. There are many well-researched veridical experiences by NDEers, they’ve met people who died DURING their NDE, and were the first to tell family of the death (Greyson’s Handbook) . They recount conversations that took place in other parts of the hospital (Mikayla’s experience on youTube) – of course, anyone can choose to disbelieve multiple witnesses, but if it’s a standard in a court of law, why not here?

        I continue to maintain that our own internal BSmeter, which skeptics have in spades, is our best guide. This is and will remain well beyond science’s ability to “prove”. I’ve yet to meet someone who took the time to listen to 30 or so NDEs whose opinion wasn’t changed, it would be interesting if SOMEONE took me up on it.

        I’ll stop posting, and hope that people are open and willing to learn. Every question I’ve been able to conjure about this topic has been researched, and it’s really interesting reading.

      • Meinert

        thanks for your kind and thoughtful reply.
        and/but replication/double blind issues here too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet

        Moreover, studies are needed which account for subjects who report access to information previously unknown to them and/or anyone else.

        Consciousness, not an easy thing to study.

  • J__o__h__n

    I bumped my head this afternoon and Jesus told me that my skepticism was wrong.  I recant all my prior posts.  I’m off to record a youtube video to add to the vast proof of heaven found there. 

    • Sean Keuch

      Haha! When your there you should say jesus told you where big foot was also.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

    NDE survivor 100% against “POH”, and against it being on H&N.  Alien Abductions on tomorrow’s show?

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.lindsley Roger Lindsley

    P-brennan, there are companies that specialize in Social Media branding and marketing.  Part of what they do is post fake reviews, promote discussion on blogs, and put a positive spin on their client’s products and services.  That is a really crass and dishonest thing to do don’t you think?  I mean, so “POH” is ONE   NDE, I had another that totally contradicts the fantastical story-telling and conjecture.  So both the book and the promotional activity, I consider unethical and exploitative unless done in a sincere manner.

    At the very least, you have had your say in this discussion.  Quantity of posting does not “trump” actual experience.  Your convictions, like Alexander’s convictions are proof of nothing.  The title of his book is a troll.  And it worked.

    Cannot believe this was on H&N. Mistake made, please learn from it.

    • P-brennan

       Bruce Greyson was asked to speak at the U.N. on this topic, parts of it are on YouTube -  but I suppose you’re much better informed about this than the people who asked him to speak, since having one makes you an expert, and much better informed than someone who’s studied it for 30 years. Ignoring data, and deciding without reading it, is ignorance.

      I’m completely missing your rant about promotional activity – I encourage people to LISTEN to people tell their story. I think you can judge their sincerity much better than in a written format, and it’s free. I’m a pediatric rehab doc, I take care of children with brain injury, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy. I’ve never met Dr. A., and have no connection with him, his or anyone else’s book, or NPR. I think very little of people who would “plant” fake reviews. It’s dishonest. One common feature of an NDE is that people are completely aware of the emotional effect they’ve had on everyone, and actually feel it – I want no part of feeling that I’ve manipulated anyone.

      Sorry about the repetition, I have no idea who’s read what so far.

  • hbenler

     P-brennan:  Spare me and others the time and expense of reading supposedly spiritual books by declaring what you think about “near death experience” florid descriptions’ origins are—Meanwhile Eben Alexanders’ sure do sound like they’ve been created by the man behind the (green) curtain…

    • P-brennan

       I’ve put in the time to read OBJECTIVE SCIENCE about the longterm effects of NDEs, and the comparisons done on hundreds of individuals between NDEs and drug trips, etc. – there are studies and texts devoted entirely to childrens’ experiences. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that those studies existed.  I’ve listened to at least 100 NDEs by the very people who claim to have had them. How much work do you base your opinion on? Why are you even bothering to post if you have no knowledge of the topic?

      Continue on in your uninformed, ignorant ways if you wish. Many of us will remain open and educable.

      • hbenler

        P-brennan: Open and educable versus childishly impressionable ?  Anecdotes and beliefs remain so no matter how many times they’re repeated— “Objective science” they most certainly ain’t…But how about your answer to my question about the origins of “NDE” imagery ? Pixar perhaps ?

        • P-brennan

           It’s been researched. Go look it up yourself. If you’d read any of the studies, you wouldn’t be making these statements. Ostrich.

          • hbenler

            Hey, didn’t the hoary “go look it up” actually mean “I don’t know” in medical school ?  Naaaah, I’ll go to a movie; no pretensions about being real there…Bye-bye !

          • Vanessa D

            Ostrich? That’s you, signing off, right?

          • P-brennan

             I’m not the one with my head in the sand.

            Here’s a piece of research about NDEs that’s interesting: Someone who attempts suicide for the first time, unsuccessfully, has an even higher risk of a repeat attempt. If they had an NDE during the first attempt, their risk of a second attempt drops BELOW the general population.

            The studies of the aftereffects of NDEs are science, done by smart, open people. Spend some time with it instead of floating around in this cesspool of negativity.

            What did I say to offend you?

  • Ashley Pratt

    amazing. i hope someday my guardian angel is my great grandfather william as i love him and miss him more than words can say.

  • Juniper_jade

    Here’s a link to a skeptical but well-reasoned and well-researched analysis of the NDE literature, with lots of citations: 


    Here’s what I don’t quite understand: People who insist that near-death experiences are good empirical evidence for an afterlife say, “If it’s caused by the normal neurophysiology of a dying brain, then why are these experiences reported by only 18% of people who were resuscitated after clinical death?”
    (And actually, the article above does a good job of addressing this question.)

    But I would equally ask: “If the near-death experiences occur because the people who report them are entering into the realm of an afterlife, then WHY are these experiences reported by only 18% of people who were resuscitated after clinical death???” 

    Is it because 100% of people visit the afterlife upon clinical death, but only 18% will recall their visit upon resuscitation? Or maybe the 82% are revived too quickly, before they have a chance to make the journey? Or is it because 82% of people just die, while a lucky 18% report to a pleasant spiritual realm after their body’s demise? 

    I’m not being snarky, I’m seriously interested in the response. 


    • P-brennan

       Beyond the Brain: The Experiential Implications of Neurotheology – United Nations 9/11/2008

    • P-brennan

       There are three studies I know of addressing the percent of resuscitated who report an NDE, and the numbers vary from 6% to 14%.
      Those are great questions, some unanswerable I think.

      The Handbook of NDEs summarizes and discusses 65 research studies, both retrospective and prospective, of 3500 NDEers, addressing the experience, its aftereffects, or both. One of Jan Holden’s lectures is on youTube. They acknowledge and engage “skeptical” viewpoints since they’re researchers, and Bruce Greyson’s talks are impressive in what he acknowledges as the limits of what we can/cannot answer.

    • P-brennan

       For what it’s worth, I read the article you referenced. My position is that we’ll never understand the brain, much less the dying brain, in enough detail to explain the NDE. It is beyond science’s grasp. Who is going to volunteer for a study in which we look for deep brain activity (given the known limits of EEG) during cardiac arrest – whether it’s a PET scan or insertion of intracerebral monitoring, most would prefer that efforts are focused at resuscitation. Animal models don’t sound helpful.

      Pam Reynolds’ case is, AFAIK, the closest we have to a monitored brain having an NDE. Her body temp was taken down to 60deg., it’s a well-documented case. If you’re skeptical enough, though, you can poke holes in anything. For me, the weight of the consistency of so many reports, and the marked differences between an NDE and any other human experience, is sufficient. No unreal experience can result in these profound lifelong changes.

      One woman was taken to a stone room, or chapel, and etched into the marble slab in front of her was her mortal life. Past and future events. She turned to one of the beings of light with her, and said “I’ve had a very difficult life, heartbreak and tragedies.” The response was “Don’t you remember? We told you that would be a lot to take on, but you wanted to do it.” The concept that we chose this life for training in empathy and development, and to help others, is deeply compelling to me. Many, many other comments by NDEers support this concept (“They taught me things there, but I wasn’t learning. I was remembering.” “I was greeted as a beloved brother and an old friend by beings that I know I’ve known for an eternity.” “I knew that I was home, that I’d always been there and will always be there.”) That’s why I say you have to listen to MANY experiences, each might open up insights into mysteries about this life. It feels true to a much deeper extent than our science could ever provide, and that’s what I wish people would be open to exploring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=739705324 Adam Brabant

    In college I took a class called “The Sociology of Alternative Religions”.  I the class we examined cults and sects, how they were structured, what their leadership was like, what they had in common, etc.  As I listened to this story I kept thinking back to that class and our chapter on charismatic leaders.  One thing that they all, or the majority of them had in common, was this life altering religious experience.  I wish I had more time to find some articles to back up my point, but that sort of thing is exactly what led to Marshall Applewhite founding the Heaven’s Gate cult as well as David Koresh founding the Branch Davidians.  There are multiple examples out there of this.  Now, I’m not saying your guest is going to become some cult leader.  I just think its an interesting phenomenon and one your guest should be aware of and cautious of. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/clintr Clint Robison

    Very interesting piece. Thank you for sharing. Many of the experiences Dr. Alexander described can be duplicated. The most profound experiences I’ve ever felt came from psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Many of my most acute visions were strikingly similar to Dr. Alexander’s descriptions…from relatives (even ancestors) to a heavenly, ineffable deity-like figure. I experimented quite a bit when I was younger, mostly with hallucinogenics. I’ve long since stopped, but the experiences are still with me. They most certainly changed me in POSITIVE ways. DMT is another spiritual hammer, but much too potent for beginners. I would like to challenge Dr. Alexander to research these substances. Both are easy to cultivate/create discretely (I did it as a high school sophomore in my parents’ house). I think there is a very good reason they are both scheduled and regulated by the FDA. Now that  I’m older and a little wiser, I’m thinking they should stay regulated but deserve serious, unbiased research because of their profound properties. Thanks for listening and thank you for sharing your stories!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/clintr Clint Robison

      Part of me wants everyone in the forum to try DMT/psilocybin just once. The hostility I’m seeing in this forum would turn to awe and respect. Alas, this will never happen.

      • Sean Keuch

        Maybe everyone could at least look DMT up.  Stuffs amazing. I heard that DMT was present while dreaming.  So I wonder if thats what this guy in the coma was thinking.

  • Sharoncampbell

    I know God is real and so is afterlife. Hard to explain, because we really know so little about anything on earth’s solid surface. We just think we know, but our reality changes as things are discovered, so to try and explain all of existence on earth is way beyond our comprehension and there are no words for it that we can use. It’s real. I know it is. I know God and to describe that in terms ones that don’t know Him can understand is very difficult, if not impossible. After all,  I’m a soul in a mere human body. 

    • J__o__h__n

      You are your body.  The “soul” is just brain activity.  We know a lot and will keep learning more.  Science isn’t perfect and admits and moves on when it is wrong, unlike religion.  There is no god. 

  • Ted

    I’ve been everywhere but the electric chair, I’ve seen everything but the wind.

    Can’t say there is either a heaven or hell.
    Deal with what is in front of you TODAY people. The here and now. 
    What happens after death is meaningless.
    I have been an atheist all my life and I see no reason to change that stance.
    The idea of religion is all bunk. Its a tool to control you. Its an opiate.

  • Ted

    What do neurosurgeons that aren’t at the top think of this issue?

    Another interview of someone marketing their book. An endless sea of paper.

    Prove to me there is a “god” or some entity in charge of this mess here on earth. 
    I have been waiting over 6 decades for some proof. Been waiting for someone to send over this “god” or so to my house so I can talk to “it”. touch it, smell it and see “it” in the raw.
    I gave up waiting for years as its all BS.

    • P-brennan

       Someone asked Christopher Hitchens what gave him the most pause, in considering the existence of an “intelligent designer”, or a God. He said(and I’m paraphrasing, please correct this if you know) “it is the fact that if the result of the big bang, and our distance from the sun, etc., and all the conditions resulting in life on this planet, had been off by an infinitesimal amount, then ..poof…nothing. You really have to spend time with that.” What is your response to that?

      He also said, at the end of the movie about atheists, that if he could wipe out religion, if it were down to that one last believer and he could do it, he wouldn’t. “It’s not just that there wouldn’t be anyone left to debate with….and the incredulity with which he (Dawkins, I think) looked at me, stays with me still, I have to say.” Hitchens claimed to be “not the least bit happy” about his conclusion that this is all there is. You?

      A nun was asked how atheists could be understood, and she said “Look for the trauma….there is often a terrible event in their lives that makes them unable to conceive of a loving God” – certainly Hitchens had that, lost his mother to an apparent suicide pact with a Catholic priest. Sorry if that’s too personal a question.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

        ‘ A nun was asked how atheists could be understood, and she said “Look for
        the trauma….there is often a terrible event in their lives that makes
        them unable to conceive of a loving God”‘

        The same is true for most people, believers and unbelievers alike.  For the believers, the trauma makes them unable to conceive of existence without a loving God.

        I would strongly caution any believer before they undertake the task to understand atheism.  They might just find themselves questioning their own beliefs and that can be very traumatic for anyone.

        In spite of the example of C.S. Lewis, very few people make the return to Christianity after they have found the truth of Atheism.

  • Sean Keuch

    Dear Robin

    I had a dream last night about riding a lizard through the jungle while talking to a bird perched on my shoulder Mother Nature.  I was wondering if you wanted to have me on the radio to talk about the implications this has on the relationship we have with Mother Nature. You seemed very smitten with Dr. Eben’s dream but I assure you that the dream I want to talk about far more outlandish thus has bigger implications.  If you don’t want to talk to me because I am just a college student and not a  neurosurgeon then I’m pretty sure I can find one of my professors to talk to you about their dreams.

    Sincerely Sean, a Skeptic

    P.S. I was looking on YouTube and there are a bunch of interesting videos with scientists proving the existence of Bigfoot, The Lockness Monster, UFO’s, Homeopathic Medicine, Prayer as a cure for cancer, and many more potential stories that I know you will find very convincing.  Its a shame that other news outlets haven’t been reporting on these stories because we need to spread the word that chemotherapy doesn’t save their lives but prayer can heal all these innocent cancer victims.  Thanks again for the interview, it made me wonder about how wondrous the connection between god and humans are.

    • Truth Seeker

      See, the problem is you are not a neurosurgeon! The news media only listens to people who either write (new) books, or are licensed to give their opinions on anything they like. It also helps to have a PhD in anything (just studying something is not enough).  So much for journalism in the 21st century!  To bad journalists are not required to also get PhD’s before being considered credible – maybe they would do better jobs fact checking things (like the global warming consensus).

      • Sean Keuch

        Has she done the follow up on this story?  I was so angry listening to Robin swoon over this guy I couldn’t stop pacing back and forth.  I listen to NPR because I don’t waste my time listening to latest bigfoot sighting.  You should check out skeptics guide to the Universe. I just found the podcast and its great for taking scientific/journalistic stories and showing the problems with their journalism.  I’d think you’d like it.

        Sincerely a fellow Skeptic

  • Sean Keuch

    Dear Robin

    I was looking on YouTube and there are a bunch of interesting videos with scientists proving the existence of Bigfoot, The Lockness Monster, UFO’s, Homeopathic Medicine, Prayer as a cure for cancer, vaccines causes autism, and many more potential stories that I know you will find very convincing.  Its a shame that other news outlets haven’t been reporting on these stories because we need to spread the word that chemotherapy doesn’t save the lives of cancer patients but prayer can heal these innocent cancer victims.  I think if you were to report on the epidemic of autism being caused by vaccinations your reporting would save thousands of innocent children from this terrible problem.  Your story about Dr. Eben is a breath of fresh air for a usually reluctant NPR listener.  Thanks again for the interview, it made me reflect on how wondrous the connection between god and humans are, I hope you keep them coming.
    Sincerely Sean, a skeptic 

  • Jim

    Pffftt… You want an experience like that?  Intravenous N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or just go buy some concentrated salvia divinorium and smoke it like crack.

    Trippers have been having these experiences basically at will.  Of course, you can’t always guarantee a good trip, but visiting hell has it’s perks as well, as long as you can integrate the experience.

    By the way, I don’t believe any of this is real, just artifacts of a brain receiving input it didn’t evolve to handle.

  • J__o__h__n

    This story needs a rebuttal.  Please schedule a medium to contact Christoher Hitchens. 

  • Truth Seeker

    Without the brain, there is no “mind” or thought. No one has ever been able to show this not to be true (otherwise we could have gotten testable new knowledge from people claiming to have “thought” without having to use their brain cells). What have they ever brought back in the form of new knowledge or predictions?

  • Truth Seeker

    I don’t care about your NDE “feelings”. Tell me something you learned about the “corporal world” that I don’t already know. That shouldn’t be hard if what you are claiming here is true. You didn’t bring us back ANY “proof” of anything. Useless information is just that – USELESS. Therefore your book is useless.

  • Silly1

    Hope my guardian angel is as hot as her.

  • Sean Keuch

    If you want more of these stories go to the christian TV channels and watch people speak in tongues and be caught in the loving arms of their savior priests who haven’t been caught molesting innocent little children.  Religion is obsolete.  The slow but ever faster death (evolution kind of threw a wrench in things) of religion can be blamed for many of the terrible things going on in the world. Especially in poorer and less educated countries where they still have which hunts and slaughter people in genocides based off their love of god.  Its depressing that on what I take as the best news source, NPR, we had to listen to the same unopposed religious fervor that starts genocides and parents taking their kids off of chemo for prayer healing.  Its sick, wrong and Robin every time I hear your voice I will remember, “it sounds so profound but there is a simpler message, you know, we’re not alone,” ringing in my ear with the same resonance that Galileo heard when the priests told him his fate in life in a prison cell for questioning the heavens and the many gays, in this country, being blasted by their congressman because they ask for the right to marry their loved ones.  Look at all the comments, its a topic that needs to be addressed, but not in this way Robin. 

  • Sean Keuch

     Robin every time I hear your voice I will remember, “it sounds so profound but there is a simpler message, you know, we’re not alone,” ringing in my ear with the same resonance that Galileo heard when the priests told him his fate in life in a prison cell for questioning the heavens and the many gays  being blasted by their congressman because they ask for the right to marry their loved ones.  Look at all the comments, its a topic that needs to be addressed, but not in this way Robin. 

  • MakinCents

    Why is there so little interest in someone stating that their experience confirms there is no afterlife? It seems that declaration is never going to make the six o’clock news, let alone a program like H&N. 

    And yet such an assertion is profound, to the point we have to look a bit to find parts of ordinary life that would not be touched by it. After all, how much of what we decide is important, how much of what we need to surrender ourselves to, how much of what promises something greater for us and those we love, comes from a point of view that recognizes or acknowledges we are but some sort of assemblage in the vast scatterings of matter, one that has developed self-awareness and enough cognitive functioning to consider abstractions like the future and what happens when we die?

    Further, there seems to be a nearly deliberate effort by those who swoon at ‘proofs’ of some item of faith to overlook the fact that we have inherited very old ideas from ancestors who long ago became dust, and on those old ideas we have insisted on building our contemporary world view and teach that world view to our children, the only people in our world with fresh eyes (and so able to see things a bit more clearly, perhaps).

    This culture-creating of course occurs without intention, in the sense such deliberate biasing of the foundation and the edifice built upon it gets no examination. To do so collides with deeply rooted vested interests so entrenched that even their obvious abuses are excused as signs we all simply need to have more faith. 

    Would it not be interesting to explore the world view that acknowledges we as conscious entities are miracles of creation by an almost certainly indifferent mechanism, creeatures that have the ability to know they exist and not just exist like some automaton walking through a dream.  More importantly, what sort of world would we live in if our children learned this from their earliest moments with none of the myths and fantasies we perpetuate clouding their fresh view of their own existence and the larger existence around them?

    Seems we’ll not know until we find some way to recover from the addictions of formal religions and their articles of faith.  Booze, crack and heroin aren’t the only substances of abuse.

  • the truth

    These near death experiences where one sees ”Heaven” can be explained by the release of DMT in your brain. This is a common occurance during a lucid dream or a near death experience, it has been well documented and is a scientific fact; ironic that a neurosurgeon would leave that out of his story. Guess he didn’t want to damper the sale an impact of his publication with believers.

  • ooook

    Interesting how eager people of faith are to embrace “scientific proof” while claiming the whole subject matter can’t be explained by science.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200735005 Connie Lee Mckanna

    This book was wonderful! Betsy is so beautiful i got goose bumps when i saw the picture of her! I truly believe in this book!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200735005 Connie Lee Mckanna

    This book is wonderful! Betsy is beautiful i got goose bumps when i saw the picture of her.Thank you Eben for putting the book together.May Om be with you!

  • Dr. D.R.

    We all want an answer to this age old guestion…and we will all recieve this answer… when we die.
    This is an experience we will ALL have…and when we die… we will all have an answer. It’s as simple as that.

    The bigger question may or may not be answered… who or what , or is there …GOD…

    We can all speculate… it might come down to a matter of one’s faith.

  • Rastus Jones

    Well, finally, proof! I’m so glad. Now I can ditch my faith. Why would I carry that baggage around, now that we have the facts?

  • Anonymous

    Give my regards to “Om”

  • Gail

    I am finding all of your explanations interesting.   In the past 30 plus years of my life I have always been searching for answers to a book that laid on my parents, families and friends table getting dusty but not knowing what was in it, its called, The Bible, Word of God.  Now, there was a time in my life I often wondered if it were true or God even existed myself.  I certainly didnot feel complete or whole, if you will, for a long time so I did my own research.  After finding a church to understand this whole book, I finally became alive and wondered why people I knew believed in God, but never knew him.  So, I proceeded to learn this book.  Trajedies have fallen upon me with a son and father, but through my faith, God does answer prayer, but the existence of him is this, if it is in his will to answer…………………………………………….   I have come to the final conclusion that if a car has a designer, why wouldn’t we have a greater human being to design this earth and all thats been put in it.  I.E. highly educated men who can do brilliant things through the brains God has given them.   This world is not magic or a bomb dropped and formed this earth, it was planned out, just like the human, methodically………………………….I might add.    That’s why I believe that we need not to claim there is NO God or CLAIM to be God and know there is a greater person than us.  Once man gets in the way and does this role playing is when we are in trouble.  God has many answers for the reasons why he spoke through his word and we need to know he is the stronger of the power, he gives us life, wisdom, knowledge, joy, everything we need, including our own Free Will. 

    So, what I am getting at is this.  There is another place.   Adults, children and people have all talked about this beautiful place called, Heaven.   I can’t understand why people such as atheist and agnostics can peacefully live with theirselves, or wait, maybe thats what THEY want to do.  Live within theirselves!  There is no atheist in a foxhole.

  • Avadar

    The fundamental crisis within traditional, materialistic, science in addressing the notion that consciousness can and does exist outside the physical body, stems from the fact that the energies of  The Light of God on the Other Side operate off of a completely different set of principles than archaic physics. Just as one cannot measure chi/ki/prana with physical instruments (an illustration of this: the John Change/Dynamo Jack video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aos0hnwiHt8), one cannot measure, much less physically prove and replicate in laboratories, an energy spectrum that transcends the material universe. 

    Because of this, we are left with an abundance of anecdotal and awareness evidence. In and of itself this is sufficient but only for those who are spiritually ready to embrace it. 

  • john bourke

    …I was with a buddy in Lexington Ky. Got a pain in my chest…. I sat down and felt worse. I asked my good friend if he would mind going home…he said I was nuts, home was an hour away … being the stubborn Irishman that I am, I did head north, and every exit we passed, I said “let’s get off here for a hospital”…. but said “no” lets continue on. My good friend broke the speed limit, and had me at University Hospital in less than an hour. I walked in, I thought I would be sick to my stomach, my arms hurt, had a severe headache, my chest felt like i had a weight on it ….. and I kind of figured, ” this was it”. I didn’t have to say much, before I was in the emergency room, surrounded by the nicest most caring, competent people…. I was kind of fading in and out…. and I looked up at a nurse, and asked “is it time for me to pray” , not being religious … I said this as a way to ask about my condition ? She said very ” it’s always a good time to pray”…and it was said nicely but in a way that SHE MEANT IT….and then for some reason …. I immediately thought, ” hey, if I die, I won’t have to bury my three dogs, whom I loved dearly, and then I felt that I hadn’t been that bad of person, bad, I was no angel; but there were many worse. I got this unbelievable feeling that ” God was loving and forgiving” I was ready to die. Not a religious guy, but then just “fell asleep”,with Doctors and attendants all around, yet I had absolutely no fear. I STAYED IN THE HOSPITAL FOR FOUR DAYS and NIGHTS, and had the best doctors; took every test that would show evidence of what was wrong, or what had caused such symptoms and reaction .All were content to release me after four days of solid testing and study; and since that day of release, I have thought about ” the thoughts I had about “my Dogs” and about God,and how such simple thought had made me become totally at ease. I can’t prove or tell you anything…BUT; I never have since or will ever again fear death … and will always remember the good feeling I had……my experience didn’t tell me “it was not time” or anything like that; it almost seemed like it was time to go …. I often wander why I didn’t die, because I felt my bags were packed.

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  • gseattle

    We said life seems to be more interesting than we’re being told and they called us crazy.
    I learned something from them though, an attitude, here it is:
    Those who deny overwhelming evidence of the extraordinary ought to have their head examined. “Turnabout is fair play”.
    :) Touché.

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