Following on from the story of Paul Eicke, the 3-year-old boy in Germany who met his great-grandmother in a near-death experience (NDE), we now have a similar account from a boy in Nebraska.
Colton Burpo’s vivid NDE was full of Christian imagery as well as remarkable meetings with deceased relatives. The NDE actually happened in 2003, when Colton was, like the German boy, 3 years old.
[Note ~ Some reports say Colton was 4 years old. To be precise, the incident happened when Colton was 3 and he started talking about it four months later when he was 4.]
During a family vacation trip to Greeley, Colorado, Colton started complaining of a stomach ache. He was actually suffering from a burst appendix, but this fact wouldn’t be discovered for another five days.
His parents, Todd — a garage door seller and a church pastor — and Sonja — a school teacher, took him to see a local doctor. Here, the problem was misdiagnosed as ‘flu.
Colton’s parents, Sonja and Todd Burpo
The family then went back home to their small hometown of Imperial in Nebraska. Colton continued to worsen, however, so they took him to see another doctor. This one dismissed the suggestion of appendicitis and sent the family home. (What is it with these doctors?)
Colton rapidly went downhill and within a couple of days he was slipping out of consciousness. Todd and Sonja rushed their lifeless son to the Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte, Nebraska. This time he was correctly diagnosed and immediately taken off into surgery.
Todd and Sonja both feared Colton was dying. While he was being operated on, they prayed in separate rooms of the hospital.
But Colton eventually recovered and was soon back to normal.
Colton, just after his recovery in 2003, with his father Todd Burpo
One day, four months later, as they happened to be driving past the same hospital, Todd asked Colton half-jokingly if he remembered being there. Colton answered, “Yes, that’s where the angels sang to me.”
Todd remembers looking into the mirror and seeing his son’s face being dead serious, with no smile or indication that he was joking.
That was the start of a two-year period in which Colton gave more and more accounts of what he had experienced. This included:
- during the surgery, he left his body and looked down upon the doctors operating;
- he also saw his parents at the hospital, his father praying and his mother on the phone, but in separate rooms;
- he met his great-grandfather, “Pop” [right], who had died in a car crash thirty years before Colton was born; but he saw “Pop” as a young man, not as an older man as shown in the Burpos’ family photo of him (Heaven, Colton says, is a place where “nobody is old and nobody wears glasses”);
- most striking of all, he met his unborn sister.
One day while Colton was playing he walked up to Sonja and asked, out of the blue, “Mom, you had a baby die in your tummy didn’t you?”
Sonja was shocked by what her little boy had just said. She had had a miscarriage in 1998, about a year before Colton was born. But neither she nor Todd had ever mentioned this to their son.
When Sonja asked Colton who had told him about this, he said, “She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy.”
He added: “She looked familiar, and she started giving me hugs, and she was glad to have someone in her family up there.”
There was also a strong Christian/Biblical element to Colton’s vision of heaven — perhaps not surprisingly, given the family’s strong faith and ties to their local church. Todd is pastor of Imperial’s Crossroads Wesleyan Church [below].
Crossroads Wesleyan Church, Imperial, Nebraska
Colton talks of a Heaven with pearly gates and streets of gold, and of seeing Jesus, and angels with wings, and God — a very big man sitting in a very big chair. “He’s big enough to hold the whole world in his hands.”
Consistent with the above, Colton has said: “Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was scared. They made me feel better.” He also describes doing “homework” with Jesus as his “teacher”.
Intriguingly, Colton also described being introduced to the cousin of Jesus, and being told that Jesus had been baptised by this cousin. This is evidently a reference to John the Baptist — yet Colton’s parents say that their son had yet to learn about John the Baptist in Sunday school.
Todd says that originally he and Sonja were not sure about Colton’s experience. But he is now.
“I am 100% convinced he was in heaven,” he said.
The book — Heaven Is For Real
Prompted by friends, Todd wrote about Colton’s experience in a book. Heaven Is For Real has now been on the New York Times Best Sellers List since it was released in November, and has received wide TV coverage (see below).
Here is a link to the book and audiobook at Amazon:
There is a video of Colton speaking (very confidently) about his experiences here:
Incidentally, Colton looks like a King soul to me.
For other TV news reports and interviews, see:
For more of my posts about near-death experiences, here’s an index: