What happens when we die? We, the living, don't know, of course, but people have been guessing since humans first began to think. Spirituality and religion provided the answers in the past, but in the age of science we're thrown back into the dark. If science cannot 'prove' there is life - or something - after death, then it doesn't exist. And yet ordinary people continue to experience unexplained phenomena when a friend or family member dies. These are normal people, even sceptics like Patricia Pearson. Prompted by her family's surprising experiences around the deaths of her father and her sister, Pearson set out on an open-minded journey of inquiry as a journalist. She discovered that far more people were having uncanny and transcendent experiences than generally let on: roughly half the bereaved population, plus all those who observe the dying (nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, etc.). With many years of examination into current grief research under her belt, she concludes that we cannot simply deprive people the legitimacy of these experiences until there is more solid evidence that 'we inhabit a purely material and mechanistic universe'. Pearson points to new scientific explanations around how dying is experienced and how science is moving closer, giving these luminous moments credence and understanding. As she says, 'The dying may finally be able to convey to us what they are feeling, and where they glimpse themselves to be going.'
Opening Heaven's Doorrecounts deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them. This riveting and intelligent work will be welcomed by the thousands of readers of Proof of Heaven andHeaven Is for Real.
Patricia Pearson’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Business Week, among other publications. A former member of USATODAY’s Op-Ed Board of Contributors, she gave a recent TEDx talk, “Why Ghosts are Good for You,” which points to research showing the importance of NDAs in helping people cope with grief. She is based in Toronto, Canada.
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