In 2003, four-year-old Colton Burpo had quite a story to tell when he returned to his home in Nebraska from hospital after a near-death experience resulting from a burst appendix.
He said that while the doctors were desperately trying to save him, he briefly went to heaven and came back.
Burpo’s parents found out about it when they took notice of his changed behavior. One day, when they told him off for not sharing his toys with other children, he apologized immediately.
The boy didn’t apologize because of his parents. He did so because Jesus had told him he had to be nice.
That’s not it. The boy also claimed that, while on his heavenly trip, he had also met his long-deceased grandfather. Colton also started talking about his ‘other’ sister, a once miscarried girl, who he wasn’t supposed to know about.
Some people have described his ‘visions’ as hallucinations as a result of the anesthetics and a vivid Christian imagination.
Nevertheless, the story has earned his family tons of money as a book, Heaven Is For Real, written in 2010 by Colton’s father Todd Burpo, has sold ten million copies and spent more than 60 weeks as the No. 1 non-fiction paperback on the New York Times bestseller list.
The book and the nature of Colton’s claims have polarized the audiences. Even Christian readers have criticized the book for being "extra-biblical" and "problematic".
The book has also been adapted to a movie of the same name starring Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly. The film has already stormed the US box office and gathered more than $66 million.
Check out the trailer of the film here: