'Dead' Pastor: I Saw Heaven

Minister reports magnificent gates, spectacular music, old loved ones
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2011 4:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Baptist minister who was declared dead says he "saw heaven" during that time and details meeting dead loved ones, smelling aromas he had never experienced before and hearing music "beyond spectacular." It was the "most real thing that ever happened to me," Pastor Don Piper tells ABC News. Piper was declared dead after suffering horrific injuries in a car accident in Texas in 1989. He says he was without a pulse for a nearly unbelievable 90 minutes. He recounts what happened then in his bestselling book 90 Minutes in Heaven, which has sold 4 million copies.

"I took my last breath in the car and I took my first breath there at the gates," he said, describing "magnificent" gates presumably at the entrance to heaven. Piper survived and had to undergo several surgeries to repair some of the damage to his broken body. He believes he was "sent back" to spread a message that heaven "is real." But he says he "can't wait to go back." For a radically different theory about what happens during a near-death experience, check out these scientists' findings. (Read more religion stories.)

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