WASHINGTON (July 24, 2014)—What do you think happens when you die? In the late ’80s, young journalist Judy Bachrach began volunteering at a neighborhood hospice largely because, as she says, she was afraid of death and fearful of those who were facing death. The same anxieties returned years later when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Out of fear and curiosity, Bachrach began research on her upcoming book, GLIMPSING HEAVEN: The Stories and Science of Life After Death (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1370-0; on-sale date Sept. 2, 2014; $25), to find out what, if anything, happens to us when we die.
Over six years, Bachrach conducted numerous interviews in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands with cardiologists, emergency room physicians, brain surgeons, psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists, hospital nurses and neurologists, all of whom came to the same conclusion: For many, death does not signal the end of thought or the end of experience. We know this because of the miracle of CPR: These days, people are coming back to life in record numbers. But what many of us do not know, or believe, is that the returning dead are coming back with memories after death. These memories are, in many instances, verifiable and chillingly accurate.
Many of the returning dead, Bachrach discovered, refused to discuss their memories of what death and after death were like. It took decades before they would confide in friends or even spouses. In certain instances, they confided for the first time to Bachrach. She shares many of the incredible stories of people who have experienced life after death in this book:
- Anthony Cicoria, a back surgeon, was struck by lightning while speaking on a pay phone. He saw his body lying on the ground, then, transforming into a ball of light that he knew was pure energy, he moved to a nearby building where he watched his children having their faces painted. When Cicoria was brought back to life, his wife confirmed that the children were in fact having their faces painted while he lay dead on the ground outside the building.
- Tika Juneja, a student, felt no pain while being strangled by a fellow student. When she came back to life, she explained the overwhelming peace she had felt, the brilliant light she had seen and the certainty that she had been in heaven.
- Pam Reynolds Lowery, an Atlanta songwriter, underwent surgery to relieve a basilar artery aneurysm that threatened to burst and kill her. To prepare for the operation, her eyes were taped shut, earplugs were placed in her ears, her body was cooled to 60 degrees and blood was drained from her body. Her EEG flattened, and she was in a barbiturate-induced coma. After the surgery, Lowery told her doctor that once the operation started, she exited her body and watched the surgery from above. She was able to describe exactly the surgical saw used to open her skull, how her body had jumped when they restarted her heart, what medical issues her doctors had discussed while she was under and that they listened to “Hotel California” by the Eagles during the operation.
- David Bennett, a 26-year-old chief engineer of a research vessel, drowned off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Saying he found drowning “an interesting experience,” Bennett recalls finding himself in total darkness, no longer feeling the cold ocean, but being part of a rich void and feeling calm and supported. Bennett found himself heading toward a point of light that became an immense feeling of love. The light became a “soul family,” who told him he had to return because he had a purpose to fulfill.
In GLIMPSING HEAVEN, Bachrach redefines the meaning of life and death and reveals the surprising joys of life after death, or as Bachrach puts it, “our extraordinary impending itineraries.”
About the Author
JUDY BACHRACH is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine. She is a longtime journalist whose early career was spent at The Washington Post, after which she became an on-air television critic for Maryland Public Broadcasting, film critic for WRC-TV, TV critic for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a political columnist for The Washington Star. Bachrach has covered notable figures such as Amanda Knox, Lou Dobbs, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Stephen Hawking, Nigella Lawson, onetime Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Sheryl Crow, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie of Monaco and others. She is the author of “Tina and Harry Come to America” (the biography of Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown and her husband, Harry Evans). In 2008, Bachrach founded thecheckoutline.org, the first online advice column for the terminally ill and their friends and relatives based on her years of experience as a hospice volunteer in Washington, D.C., and Rome, Italy. She graduated from Chatham College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Washington, D.C.
About National Geographic Books
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