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Opening Heaven's Door: Investigating Stories of Life, Death, and What Comes After

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The first book by a respected journalist on Nearing Death Awareness—similar to Near-Death Experience—this groundbreaking, beautifully written exploration will forever alter your perceptions of the nature of death and life.

People everywhere carry with them extraordinary, deeply comforting experiences that arrived at the moment when they most needed relief: when they lost a
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Atria Books (first published April 8th 2014)
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Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wish I could say I found this book interesting, but I cannot. I have read a lot of books on death, OBEs, NDEs, and Heaven. This book had lots of technical and research talk, and quite a bit of scientific suppositions. The real people experiences were remotely dotted here and there and barely touched on the experiences of dying and death perception. The title is misleading. There was no real "investigating" what comes after. That subject was barely touched upon except for a few anecdotes the au ...more
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Author and journalist Patricia Pearson, prompted by some extraordinary experiences surrounding the deaths of her father and sister (nine weeks apart), trained her investigative eye on the research and anecdotal literature surrounding near-death and related phenomena, and after several years and dozens of sources, has compiled her findings in Opening Heaven's Door. In addition to fascinating first-hand accounts of what the dead and dying are trying to communicate to us, Pearson backs up each sect ...more
Rachel Vorobej
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be a fascinating read! Patricia Pearson takes us with her as she explores the world of signals, waves and experiences, both her own personal accounts, as well as many accounts from others, of the seemingly impossible. The personal accounts are set against scientific studies from the fields of psychology and neuro-science, and their findings add an extra dimension to Pearson’s discussion and exploration into the culture and knowledge surrounding near death experiences. Pearso ...more
Stephanie Thoresen
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Being agnostic, I'm always skeptical of stories about NDE's and the afterlife, and what I like about Ms. Pearson's book is that I can tell she comes from that same place. What she presents are personal experiences along with anecdotes, research studies, experiments and topics like ESP and The Third Man along with alternate scientific theories and often not talked about terrifying and dark experiences that some people have with body paralysis. So, she gives us everything, the good, the bad and th ...more
Charles Oakley
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting but a bit repetitive. I felt like there were so many valid points, lost inside the text.
Stan James
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I picked up this book (well, it was an ebook, so the picking up was virtual) for three reasons:

1. It was on sale. Cheap is always a price I like.
2. I've loved these sorts of nutty topics (out of body experiences, telepathy, Bigfoot, ghosts, Bigfoot ghosts with telepathy, etc.) since I was a kid.
3. It seemed like good background material for a novel I'm writing that coincidentally embraces the subject of death and near-death experiences.

Journalist Patricia Pearson draws from a range of studies an
Christian Engler
Patricia Pearson’s book comes from the standpoint of a skeptic turned believer writer/journalist who had an open mind and ear concerning her dying sister, Katharine’s, ethereal experience. Before her passing, she was blessed to be intuitively and spiritually aware of a divine grandiosity that not only enveloped her but allowed her to sense and feel a transcendent intimacy, a unity that allowed her and connected her to her father who had unexpectedly passed away a short time before her. While the ...more
Marina Quattrocchi
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Patricia Pearson has certainly done her research for his book. Although it is well researched, I loved the personal perspective she brought to her book. After both her father's and her sister's death, and a mysterious experience her sister had before her death, Pearson sought answers to the complex subject of that hinterland between death and dying, the experiences of the dying, and the question of life after death. Many years ago I read Raymond Moody's book, Life After Life, which was life chan ...more
Mary Kenyon
Apr 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the personal stories, but the science bit got a bit heavy for me.
I wrote down this passage: "'Welcome to our tribe,' someone said to me wryly that summer, speaking of the crazy shift in perspective that comes with grieving, and that is exactly how it felt. Suddenly there were people who understood how you could feel as if you were constantly gulping air. It was a bond that was fiercely intimate; even if we had nothing else in common, we had death in common now...The experience of grievi
Vicki H
Most interesting points I want to remember:
1. Dying people may dream or speak about going on a journey (tickets, what time do I leave, I want to go home, etc.)
2. Terminal lucidity: dying people with diminished brain capacity due to dementia or stroke may talk completely normally to loved ones in last days (briefly)
3. not uncommon for bereaved people to have vision or sense presence of departed loved one; found very comforting but rarely spoken about
4. dying people may see or hear deceased loved
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The only reason i even own this book is because i won it in a giveaway and im actually really glad i won it. I dont normally read books like these but this one was really good. If you're someone who's interested in spirits and have dealt with feeling a dead loved one around you then this book is something that might comfort you. Pearson talks about her own experiences along with other peoples and it really is an interesting read. I would have read it at a much faster speed if it wasnt for all th ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Patricia Pearson for persevering and getting this master work published! I couldn't put it down. This is an extremely well researched text drawing on historical and present day accounts of psychic phenomena such as Near Death Experiences, sensed presence, and out of body experiences. The catalyst for the book was the author's personal experience at the time of her father's and shortly thereafter, her sister's death. For me, this was an exciting and hopeful overview of what lies 'on the ...more
Sam Mlyniec
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I tend to enjoy paranormal books but only within strict parameters. They either have to be unabashedly creepy or hyper objective. This is neither. I understand the author's critique of rational materialism, at least in the sense that it discounts subjective experience. But Pearson seems to accept personal experience and intuition without critique, which is why I stopped reading. If you're looking for an interesting look at objectively written paranormal subject matter, I'd look at Sam Parnia's E ...more
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I started this last night and sat up most of the night reading till the end. She talks mostly about people knowing before it's their time that they are going to go. What I found interesting what that many people who are on the verge of dying will talk about going on a trip--they will ask for their tickets or where is the train or car or plane to take them. Before my friend Susan died she talked about "going home".
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
What was fascinating about this book was the similar experiences people share, over the course of hundreds of years and from people living all over the globe.
This book discusses the following interesting topics:
The Phenomenon of Nearing Death Awareness
Uncanny Experiences at the Moment of Death
The Phenomenon of a Sensed Presence
How the Dying Attain Peace
What Near Death Experiences tell us about where the dying go
How NDEs change the lives of those who have experienced them
Sparked by extraordinary experiences that occurred when the author lost both her father and sister in the same year, Patricia Pearson explores what we may experience when we die. With first hand accounts from medical staff and those who have had a Near Death experiance(NDE), and Researchers in the field..

The book needed to be edited better, the author kept making the same points over and over again.
Thought provoking, a quick read, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Kimberly Mcdonald
I needed more of the hope, the stories and less of the research which went in strange directions and tangents that didn't have much to do with the original premise of the book. I enjoyed it though and would recommend it with caveats that it can get bogged down in places
Amy Chevalier
Apr 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Out of body stories, death omens, death projections. Nothing really new.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
life after death,process of dying etc. learned some,most already familiar.
Paul Bone
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Have you ever been visited by a recently-deceased relative? Have you felt a presence, seen a form at the end of your bed, then found out the next day that at that same hour of the visitation that person died? Have you ever felt a guiding presence, seen a person, or heard a comforting voice in times of duress and felt that presence as a reality and not a dream? Have you had a near-death experience yourself and come back from it? Sat vigil while the dying beloved came into a sense of calm and luci ...more
Kerry Mayo
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Patricia Pearson’s own experience of unexplained happenings within her family sparked her interest in researching this fascinating area.

When her sister was suffering from cancer, their father died suddenly in the night, appearing as a feeling of light and joy to his ailing daughter for two hours, before anyone even knew that he had passed. Her sister was not someone given to fanciful notions and the book has example after example of rational, mentally-stable beings who have had similar experienc
Laura Pope
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Having had a few of my own close brushes with the afterworld and how it comes in touch with us I found this book a lovely and thoughtful collection of impressions.

It is so immensely clear to me that we see so little of what is truly around us. As my mother approaches her end I decided to read again and think again about what death really brings. I have never had any doubt that we carry on in some way but just what way is the question? Patricia obviously I'm deeply pursued just exact
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, its about a man who can talk to loved ones who have passed away,he says their are different levels in heaven and people go to one aligned with their development leve. He talks about when he was a boy and how he was affected by just suddenly knowing something that others didn't perceive.It takes him some time to decide to actually do the mediumship. If you like this type of thing its a very good
Allie Chapman
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing & believable

I loved this book. It was informative, almost scientific in places - allowing you to make your own mind up on its story. It is written with a real warmth that shines out of each page. I would highly recommended it.
Morgan Cox
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very well researched but told in a personal way. Beautifully describes death that both the skeptic and believer can absorb I think.
Jane Dougan
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this a few moments ago, and found I needed quiet time to reflect on all that it contained. The author's voice strikes me as completely genuine. Incidents she describes (those that have happened to her, and those that she recounts that have happened to others) resonate with experiences I have had, and experiences that people I trust completely have told me. So much of this makes sense as she explains it, and as she explains our western opposition to accepting it. My mother ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Patricia Pearson has written an enlightening book on the science of near death experiences and what happens to people when they "pass over". It is a readable book and what I found interesting is how much research has been done on near death experiences and how science can only attempt to make an educated guess as to the reasons behind it. While the subject of death is not an enjoyable one I found this book insightful and the topic handled with sensitivity including the personal experiences of th ...more
George K. Ilsley
Science and Spirituality! Herein a journalist explores a topic many of us don't want to talk about -- what happens when we die. Not just the "near death experience" that is more often discussed, but also the "shared death experience" where people around the dying person also have unexpected experiences.

I found the book a bit too long in places, but only perhaps because Pearson was singing to the choir with me. I found there were too many examples, however, the book gets 5 stars for Pearson runni
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-gots
Let's call this book an exploration of possibilities. I appreciate the scientific/academic approach the author has taken, rather than simply writing about unsubstantiated beliefs. After her own experiences with grief, Pearson sought to find answers in studies and personal testimonies from across the globe. The narrative did get bogged down a bit with the numerous examples, particularly toward the end, but maybe that's simply an indication that I'd already gotten what I needed from the book. In a ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who is older, and faced with a serious illness that could kill me, I loved this book. I found Pearson to be articulate, credible and often very funny. I have no interest in the Richard Dawkins vision of life and death, where we are all just a meaningless sack of atoms, careening along blindly in a pointless universe. Pearson's book is the antidote to that bleak, modern - but sadly, very popular - approach.
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Canadian journalist and daughter of Canadian diplomat Geoffrey Pearson and former Ontario Senator Landon Pearson, and the granddaughter of former Prime Minister Lester Pearson.

She resigned her weekly column at the National Post in 2003 to protest that newspaper's support for the Bush administration.

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In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
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“Families shelter their knowledge, keeping it safe and beloved like a delicate heirloom, away from the careless stomping of strangers.” 0 likes
“I was acutely aware of her dying, so much so that it seemed to me the air itself was dangerous to breathe, for each breath demarcated the passage of time. I sensed the clock continuously, how it betrayed me, let go of me, ruined me and broke my heart with every exhalation.” 0 likes
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