By PMH Atwater
February 25, 2015 Newsletter
Yes, I said FRAUD, and this isn’t the first time such a thing happened, although we’re hearing more about this one than others. Remember the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven written by the father, Kevin Malarkey, about this son Alex who at six years of age nearly died from a car accident? Alex lay in a coma for two months, his injuries left him paralyzed. Yet in his “spiritual memoir” he speaks of miracles and angels and life beyond this world, a book that has sold in the millions — thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign from Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher. Alex recounted everything a few weeks ago in Time Magazine: “I said I went to Heaven because I thought it would get me attention.”
None of his story was true. . . but, but, but. . . there’s more.
There is considerable disagreement about when Alex first recanted his story and objected to the book. Last April, Alex’s mom posted a statement on her blog decrying the memoir and the Tyndale promotion: “It is both puzzling and painful to watch the book, ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,’ not only continue to sell, but to continue, for the most part, to not be questioned.” She claims the book is not “Biblically sound” and that her son’s objections to it were ignored and repressed. “Alex has not received monies from the book nor have a majority of his needs been funded by it,”she continued. The father signed the contract; all royalties went to him.
A fellow by the name of Phil Johnson investigated the situation. “The idea that Alex suddenly recanted is just not true,” he emphasized. “He’s been trying to make his voice heard as well as a teenage paraplegic boy can. There was proof everywhere that he did not stand behind the content of this book. But it was a bestselling book. Nobody in the industry wanted to kill it.” (What does this say about Tyndale House?)
OKAY EVERYONE. . . take a deep breath
This kind of thing has been happening ever since Raymond Moody’s Life After Life took the world by surprise. I suppose each researcher has a story to tell about this. I know I can certainly spin some tales about near-death experiencers who grossly exaggerated what happened to them and threatened to sue me if I said otherwise, of a “starved-for-attention” mother who stole her daughter’s near-death story then claimed it was her own, of experiencers who “in all humbleness” grabbed every mike they could find to regale whoever listened even though they never had such an experience they just wanted the attention (perhaps like Alex’s father Kevin).
Let’s consider a few “different” facts:
. . . not that many people experience a “tunnel.” Never did. You can trace the increase in tunnel reports back to the time when the media sensationalized Raymond Moody’s first book, Life After Life.
. . . people with non-linear beliefs seldom report a life-review. People with linear beliefs usually do. The non-linear see life as a mobius strip, an unending wrap-around. The “I” referring to “individual” is a foreign concept. They think more in terms of “we” (tribal).
. . . one out of seven in my research base had a hellish or frightening experience. Depressing NDEs are fairly common in some European countries, throughout Asia and the Orient, and in some African American communities in the U.S. Even children have them (much to my surprise). Based on current reports, a truer figure would be between 20 to 30%. Not at all rare, yet such experiencers still prefer not to talk about them.
. . . experiencer descriptions cannot be separated from the language used to describe them. The person’s culture provides crucial components, as well as their previous life conditions and beliefs. Thus, there is a “before.” A way I found to get around this was to have the experiencer draw what happened to them and what they saw, or act it out.
. . . some face judgment scenarios: happens more often with children than adults. It is not uncommon for a child to be met by a “critical or caring” parent-type and have to account for deeds done – or be lectured about the life to come. Although you run into more of these cases throughout Asia, Africa, and the Arabic countries, you can also find them in Europe and the U.S.
. . . a new investigator by the name of David James claims there is a “massive difference” between NDEs of the West and East. I’ve already noted such differences – variations in language constraints/societal acceptance – in all my books. Please refer to pages 174-175 in my book, Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story. You will find a chart there that shows how you can take any imagery from any near-death experience anywhere in the world and consider it four ways: PERSONAL (images from one’s own life); MASS MIND IMAGERY (images of a collective nature that reflect the human condition); MEMORY FIELDS (sometimes called “false images,” these are as much archetypal and evolutionary as they are primordial); TRUTH (that consistent, stable reality that undergirds and transcends creation and all created things).
Yes, near-death experiences are real — realler than real — but they also reflect and ofttimes challenge both what we regard as the human condition and the beliefs we cherish, versus larger, more powerful truths that stretch us beyond anything known. Lifelong aftereffects validate how incredibly unique the experience is!