A Virginia neurosurgeon was a staunch sceptic. He didn't believe in an afterlife - until a near-death experience in a coma changed his life forever.
Nobody can be certain of what happens when we pass away: perhaps we're reincarnated as an animal, or another human in the circle of life; maybe we ascend into heaven, or fall into hell; or, there's a chance it'll all just fade to black.
Everyone has their own inklings, but considerably less have seen an afterlife with their own eyes.
Enter Dr. Eben Alexander, an academic neurosurgeon whose beliefs were completely upended during the course of his coma.
"I basically used to have a very conventional, scientific and reductive materialist view that consciousness was created by the brain, and that only the physical world exists," he recently told The Sun.
"And what my coma journey showed me... is that consciousness is something that is fundamental in the universe and does not originate in the brain.
"What I experienced was the most extraordinary, memorable, detailed, and ultra-real experience of my entire life.
"In fact, the world we live in, this material world, is more kind of cloudy and dreamlike than what I saw on the other side. That world is sharp, crisp and alive - and very real."
It all started back in 2008, when Alexander woke up with the 'worst headache of his life' and agonising back pain. He tried to sleep it off, but he took a turn for the worst and his wife found him convulsing in his bed.
He was rushed to the same hospital he'd been working as a neurosurgeon, where he discovered he'd contracted meningoencephalitis, a rare and aggressive meningitis. Soon after, he was induced into a coma with a 10 percent chance of survival.
During this time, Alexander said he was experiencing a 're-birth' in another realm, surrounded by black roots inside a mucky, jelly substance. He couldn't speak, nor did he have any memories or sense of who he was.
"People think going through this experience, in this state of almost amnesia, must've been very horrific, and yet, I knew nothing else as a possibility, and therefore, to me, it all just seemed natural.
"This was existence. There was nothing foreboding about it, at least in that first passage. Then I went up through a gate, towards a great bright orb."
This orb, dubbed the 'Spinning Melody', transported him to a land where 'waterfalls flowed into crystal pools', where skies were comprised of pink and white clouds, with massive trees and people singing and dancing, which he explored on the wings of a butterfly.
He then met a woman, who told him telepathically: "You are loved. You are cherished. There is nothing you can do wrong."
However, in an instant, this heavenly place fell into a place of infinite darkness, with a bright light at the centre - Alexander believed this was the creator of everything.
He eventually woke up, but didn't fully come to for the best part of a week, suffering nightmares and hallucinations.
"As more than half of people who've had an NDE will tell you, it's a much more real existence than this existence in the material world," he said.
"Those first days and week or two were very frightening because my brain was still horribly affected by this illness, which makes it all the more remarkable that I ended up having such a complete recovery.
"But in truth, I would say this experience was the greatest blessing of my entire life."
Featured Image Credit: Dr. Eben Alexander/Facebook
- Woman Who Had Near-Death Experience Describes Voices Relaying 'What It Means To Be A Good Person'
- Life Support For Brain Damaged 12-Year-Old In Coma Should Stop, High Court Rules
- Singer Reveals TikTok Video He Made When He Had A Heart Attack
- Man Who Suffers From Pathological Laughter Like Joker Has Had Really Tough Life