Patricia Pearson discusses “Opening Heaven’s Door” – April 26 2014

Last spring award-winning journalist Patricia Pearson sat down with us to discuss the widespread and underreported phenomenon of receiving consoling messages and visions from people who have recently died—before the news of death has even been sent. She talks with host Neil Wilson about why discussing these topics in important, why we are afraid of"woo woo" topics and we should interpret these experience.

Science may be unable to “prove” that there is life (or something else) after death, but countless people continue to experience these unexplained coincidences when a loved one dies, while others experience such visions while they are dying themselves. Prompted by her family’s surprising, profound experiences around the deaths of her father and her sister, the hyper-rational Pearson sets out on an open-minded inquiry and discovers that roughly half of bereaved persons—as well as nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, and others who constantly observe the dying—have had uncanny, transcendent experiences. These intimations of enduring bonds can radically help people process their grief and their fear. Her new book, Opening Heaven’s Door recounts deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them.

Patricia Pearson is an award-winning journalist and novelist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Huffington Post and Businessweek, among other publications. She is the author of 5 books, and was a long-time member of USA Today’s Op-Ed Board of Contributors. She also directed the research for the 2009 History Channel documentary, The Science of the Soul. Known for upending conventional wisdom, Pearson’s first book, When She Was Bad, questioning our simplistic understanding of violent women, won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime Book of 1997. Her most recent book, A Brief History of Anxiety (Yours and Mine), challenged the notion that mood disorders are purely brain-based, with no relationship to culture and personal circumstance.

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