Founding Father John Hancock died on this day in 1793. His last words were:
“I shall look forward to a pleasant time.”
He undoubtedly enjoyed one, too, if Dr. Eben Alexander (M. D.) is to be believed. Alexander is the author of “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Alexander claims that, while in a coma, he visited Heaven and met, and even spoke to, God His own self. After he miraculously came to, he made it his mission to tell the story of the greater miracle he had experienced.
Alexander is not a nut—probably just a charlatan. His account of the extremely rare illness that failed him is a detailed but lively one. In alternating chapters he dispassionately describes, one the one hand, his life in science and the particulars of the meningitis that should have killed him, and on the other, his sojourn in Heaven.
Regarding the latter, he hears music, he sees a pure white light tinged with gold, and he finds himself flying. “I was passing over trees and fields, streams and waterfalls, and here and there, people,” he writes. “There were children, too (aren’t children people?), laughing and playing. The people sang and danced around in circles, and sometimes I’d see a dog, running and jumping among them, as full of joy as the people were. They wore simple yet beautiful clothes.” (The dogs wore clothes? Now I know he's making this up.)
Maybe he didn't enter Heaven, but a time machine instead. The people sound like the Eloi.
In any event, he realizes he is not alone, that beside him is a beautiful tour guide, one “with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes…wearing the same kind of peasant-like clothes that the people in the village down below wore.” He and the girl are floating along on a butterfly's wing.
It was like a dream, he admits, but it was completely real, he assures us. Except that he can’t really convey what it was like. It was “hopelessly difficult to describe…I’m struggling to give you the vaguest, most unsatisfactory picture of (it)…words don’t do justice…any descriptive words fall short.”
We just have to take his word for it, in other words, because he knows it was real. He didn’t just see people and dogs gamboling, he saw serious things, too. “I saw the abundance of life through the countless universes,” he writes, “including some whose intelligence was advanced far beyond that of humanity.” (Not hard to imagine, given that this book became a “#1 New York Times Bestseller.”)
“I saw that there are countless higher dimensions, but that the only way to know these dimensions is to enter and experience them directly. They cannot be known, or understood, from lower dimensional space.”
So, if you want to know and understand what the good doctor does, either try becoming comatose (like any swallower of this piffle) or wait until your time comes. Just remember to wear colorful—but simple—clothes.
You can find out about Dr. Alexander’s adventures in paradise without having to buy the book. He started a website, modestly called Eternea, “to help make the world a better place for all.” Visit www.eternea.org.