Wednesday, October 14, 2015

About face

Today's blog harks back to some points I made in a previous post about the claim that Phyllis and Betty Alexander saw a "perfect rainbow" heralding the awakening of Eben. This was proven to be impossible by the famous Esquire expose of Alexander. I argued that they could've I either mixed up the timing of the rains and the rainbow, or the memory could've been implanted in their minds by the very suggestion that it had happened. My hypothesis was based on the groundbreaking research misinformation effect research of Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and many others.

This is a related phenomenon. Alexander claims that soon before his awakening, he saw six faces in the muck of the Realm of the Earthworm's-Eye View. All but one of them had been praying for him that day or the night before. He draws the conclusion this this is due to their prayers reaching him in Heaven. I would counter that he was simply hearing their voices, just as the voices of my loved ones leaked into my coma-dream. These were all people familiar to him, after all.The other face belonged to Susan Reintjes, a long-time friend of Eben's wife. She calls herself an intuitive and claims to be able to psychically reach people in comas. I intuitively think she's a flake. She says she contacted him remotely from her apartment, and Alexander believes he picked up the call in Heaven. Coincidentally, he learned about this after his awakening.

Proof of Heaven ends with what is supposed to be the big reveal. The girl on the butterfly was actually his long-lost dead sister Betsy, whom he never met because he was raised by adoptive parents. How does he know it was her? He was sent a photo of Betsy. So, he immediately recognized her when he saw the photo, right? Nope. He says that the next morning he was reading Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' book On Life After Death when he was struck by the story of a young girl recounting her near-death experience to her parents. She tells them about being comforted by her brother, only she didn't have a brother. Wait for it...yup, it turns out that she did have a brother who died a few years before she was born. (You think maybe she could've overheard something about the brother, or that it's a complete coincidence?) Then, suddenly, it dawns on Alexander that the woman in the photo--the sister he never met--was the very girl on the butterfly! Wooooooo! It was the clothes that threw him off. Yeah, that's it. It couldn't be that image the girl on the butterfly, after all those months, suddenly morphed in his mind into his dead sister? And perhaps the same thing happened after he was told the story of Susan reaching his spirit while he was in the coma?


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Coma Girl

Coma Girl

Not a miracle recovery, but a miracle of modern medicine

In 2013 I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died after I contracted legionella. The Legionnaire's disease was in turn triggered by immunosuppression caused by the prednisone I was taking for my rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.

I suffered a series of strokes on both sides of my brain when the sepsis caused my blood pressure to plummet. I fell into a deep coma. My kidneys and lungs began to fail, as my body was began dying one organ at a time. My doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. They expected me to die, and even if I somehow lived, I would remain a vegetable or at best left so hopelessly brain-damaged that I would never be same. But unbeknownst to them, while they were shining lights in my eyes and shaking their heads, I was telling them in my coma-dream--my secular version of a near-death experience--to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep. I was experiencing what is known as covert cognition, the subject of my Skeptical Inquirer article "Covert Cognition: My So-Called Near-Death Experience," which appeared in their July/August issue.

But it wasn't a miracle--despite what so many continue to believe--that I recovered so fully. I owe my life not to God, but the miracles of modern medicine, as well as the nature of the watershed-area brain damage I suffered, as I detailed in my article and in this blog.