A top neurosurgeon claims to have proof of heaven after making a full recovery from a seven-day coma that saw his neocortex inactivated.
Dr Eben Alexander, who teaches neuroscience at Harvard University among others, fell seriously ill after contracting a rare form of bacterial meningitis in 2008.
Within hours of developing a severe headache, Dr Alexander’s entire cortex — the section of the brain that controls thought and emotion — had shut down.
Though his chances of survival were low, he awoke from the coma seven days later and began describing an "other worldly experience".
"I was in a place of clouds. Big, puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black sky," he wrote in an article for Newsweek.
He also goes on to describe "flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamer-like lines behind them".
While Dr Alexander admits his scientific expertise has made him sceptical of afterlife experiences, he claims the loss of function to his cortex makes his experiences unique.
"I’m not the first person to have discovered evidence that consciousness exists beyond the body," he said.
"I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds."
"But as far as I know, no one before me has ever travelled to this dimension (a) while their cortex was completely shut down, and (b) while their body was under minute medical observation, as mine was for the full seven days of my coma."
Dr Alexander admits many still struggle to accept his story, particularly his medical colleagues.
His forthcoming book, Proof of Heaven, A Nuerosurgeon’s journey into the Afterlife, aims to dispel the scepticism.
"I’m still a doctor, and still a man of science every bit as much as I was before I had my experience,” he said. “But on a deep level I’m very different from the person I was before, because I’ve caught a glimpse of this emerging picture of reality."