Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Neurosurgeon's Afterlife Experience

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Nov 21, 2012 3:02 PM

Dr. Eben Alexander is a neurosurgeon who served on the faculty of the Harvard medical school for almost 15 years.  He has operated on thousands of brains. But in 2008 his own brain fell prey to an extremely rare form of bacterial meningitis which attacks the brain.

Within four hours, Alexander was deep in a coma, which lasted for seven days. During that time, he says, his brain was essentially shut down.  From the beginning his odds for survival in anything other than a vegetative state were considered by doctors to be close to nil.  Things only deteriorated as time went on. Yet unexpectedly, Alexander’s eyes suddenly popped open, and he regained consciousness with no brain damage, eventually making a full recovery.

During his time in the coma, Dr. Alexander reported that in spite of the fact that his neocortex was inactive, he went on a journey into an afterlife where he encountered angelic beings and the Divine source of the universe itself. Up until his experience he, like many scientists, believed that near-death experiences (or NDE’s) reported by thousands, were merely illusions generated by activity in the neocortex. But with his own higher brain functions inactive during his time in the coma, he now believes that such a theory cannot account for his experience. He believes that what happened to him was real.



He writes,

I know full well how extraordinary, how frankly unbelievable, all this sounds. Had someone—even a doctor—told me a story like this in the old days, I would have been quite certain that they were under the spell of some delusion. But what happened to me was, far from being delusional, as real or more real than any event in my life.

His book, Proof of Heaven, details his experience. Newsweek published a cover story on his account.




Below you can hear our interview with Dr. Eben Alexander.

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