Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, has published a book “Proof of Heaven” that purports to show his personal view of the afterlife. Alexander says that he was a skeptic until he fell into a coma in 2008 with meningitis. He then claims to have experienced consciousness after death. He describes how he found himself greeted by a beautiful blue-eyed woman in a “place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones” and “shimmering beings.” He then came out of the coma . . . and eventually wrote a book.
Alexander insists that it was only later that he considered the beings that he saw might be angels but such “words do justice to the beings themselves, which were quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms.” He also describes a “huge and booming like a glorious chant, came down from above, and I wondered if the winged beings were producing it. the sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but doesn’t get you wet.”
What is most striking about this account is the acceptance of the memory as real as opposed to his own generated images during his coma. The fact that the images are so stereotypical would seem to raise this possibility. Experts like Dr. Bruce Greyson have found that electrical stimulation of angular gyrus in the brain creates the same (though not necessary all) of the visions described in out of body or near death experiences including a light in the distance and even out of body visions. The suggestion is that these images are the result of the brain misfiring under stress.
Likewise, Swiss researchers were able to trigger (through electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe) a patient seeing herself lying in bed from from above and experience a sense of floating near the ceiling. Of course, the ability to reproduce such sensations does not conclusively disprove accounts like Alexander’s book.
Alexander gave his account on this PBS “Wormhole” segment where he describes the realization that he was a spot on a butterfly wing in his out of body experience:
What do you think about these accounts?