Newsweek slid head-first into controversy for its cover story this week. In "Heaven Is Real: A Doctor's Experience With the Afterlife," neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander writes about falling into a coma, then having an experience that convinces him Heaven exists. He describes being in "a place of clouds" and seeing "shimmering beings"; a woman traveling with him offers him a message of hope and love. It's one of the more public examples of a documented near-death experience, but it's not anywhere close to the first: a Gallup poll approximated that 3 percent of Americans have reported one.
Some of the most common elements of a near-death experience include a feeling of peace or euphoria; a strange, nebulous feeling that they were "floating around the room" or having an out-of-body experience; seeing a tunnel with light at the end; or seeing family members or otherworldly phenomenon.
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