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Author to talk about near-death experiences

Best-selling author and television producer Dannion Brinkley will talk about his life, and his death, to an audience at the MGM Grand Conference Center Saturday.

If you’re a fan of the Fox science fiction television show “Fringe,” you might know Brinkley’s face from a series of videos he recorded to promote the show, on which he serves as a consulting producer. In the videos, he interviews various scientists who study what he calls “fringe,” or “frontier science,” which includes topics such as communicating with the dead.

The show is about an FBI team that uses fringe science to investigate and solve mysteries and crimes.

But Brinkley’s real claim to fame? Dying and coming back to life. He recounted the story of his life and death in the best-selling book, “Saved by the Light.”

In 1975, Brinkley — who now lives in Henderson — was struck by lightning while talking on the telephone in his South Carolina home. He was 25.

After the injury, Brinkley was taken to the hospital where doctors declared him dead. His body was placed in the morgue. That’s where, he says, he woke up 28 minutes later.

During the time when he was technically dead, Brinkley experienced what is now called a near-death experience; at the time, it didn’t have a name, he says.

Since then, an entire industry has developed around the phenomena. Dr. Raymond Moody, who coined the term “near-death experience” in the mid-1970s, identified the characteristics of a near-death experience as involving a light, a tunnel and a re-experiencing of life events, among other things.

Brinkley has been a major contributor to this field, writing three books on not only his first near-death experience but two subsequent ones that occurred when he had open heart and brain surgeries.

His most recent book, “Secrets of the Light: Lessons from Heaven,” was written with his wife, Kathryn, who says she has had two near-death experiences of her own.

In this book, the Brinkleys frame the end of life so that people can live without fear, he says.

Though his beliefs sound like the basis of religion, Brinkley says he holds to no particular faith and doesn’t believe in hell. Rather, he considers himself and his wife to be spiritual.

In his first book, Brinkley wrote about going through a tunnel and meeting “Beings of Light” who helped him to see and feel everything that had happened in his life. After showing him visions of the future, the beings told him to return to his body.

Crossing over and visiting heaven, as Brinkley describes it, gave him the ability to communicate with the dead, he says.

During his talk, Brinkley will try to help as many people as possible, he says, and he hopes he can provide some entertainment in the process.

Charming and affable, Brinkley comes armed with a life’s worth of stories about his childhood, his time in the Marine Corps and the family’s nonprofit organization, Twilight Brigade, which helps military veterans.

Those who come to his talks often are looking for reassurance about a loved one who has died, Kathryn Brinkley notes.

“People need to understand there is something called a near-death experience,” Dannion Brinkley says. “And there is a life after death, and the people they lost aren’t really dead. They’re waiting for them.”

Those are the main topics people want to address, and Brinkley says he does his best to put them at ease.

Death is the second biggest fear, after public speaking, Kathryn Brinkley says, because people associate death with pain and damnation.

“I read a story that 79 percent of families never discuss death until it happens,” she says, adding that Dannion’s books and lectures start that conversation for them.

Tickets for the evening must be purchased in advance. A meet and greet starts at 5:30 p.m., when guests can interact with Brinkley before the lecture. Those tickets cost $125. Tickets are $45 for those who want to attend only the lecture.

For further details, call 651-2485 or visit dannion.com.

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564.

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