Crystal McVea, an Oklahoma native, said she spent time in heaven when she went into full respiratory arrest after a medical procedure on Dec. 10, 2009. She said the experience renewed her faith in Christianity.
Speaking with Fox's Gretchen Carlson, McVea said the moment she closed her eyes in the hospital, she opened them in heaven.
"I had angels, I had God, and I fell to my knees in front of him," she said.
After Carlson asked her to describe God, McVea answered that while "human words" failed to describe what heaven looked like, she could describe God as “an immense brightness –- a brightness I could feel, taste, touch, hear, smell –- that infused me. Not like I had five senses, but maybe like I had 500 senses.”
Twice, McVea said God asked her if she wanted to return back to Earth, and twice McVea said she chose to stay.
"All my life, I was a doubter," McVea said. She had heard the stories and gone to church, but wasn't completely convinced. "And so, to close my eyes and open them and be standing in front of the creator of not only the universe, but of me, i never wanted to leave that."
Despite her objections, McVea said God sent her back to her body after "freeing" her from her shame and guilt.
McVea has written about her experience in a book titled Waking Up In Heaven.
According to Scientific American, 3 percent of the U.S. population reported having a near-death experience. For some, these events may be accompanied by an out-of-body experience, a light at the end of the tunnel or something similar.
However, "many of the phenomena associated with near-death experiences can be biologically explained," neuroscientist Dean Mobbs, from the University of Cambridge's Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, told the outlet. Some say neurotransmitter problems or side effects of medicinal and recreational drugs can explain the occurrences.
Still, Eben Alexander, a respected Harvard neurosurgeon, changed his mind about the phenomenon after experiencing his own brush with the otherworldly. Thoroughly convinced, Alexander wrote a book about the experience titled, Proof of Heaven.
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