Blinded by the lies: Tracking Dannion Brinkley’s continued fabrications

This article originally appeared in the “Miracles” issue of The Bent Spoon.  To check out this free magazine, click here.

Dannion Brinkley tells a lot of tales to a lot of people.  Some of them are even true.  For instance, it is a fact that, in the early evening of September 17th 1975, he was struck by lightning while on the phone at his house.  But the stories that came out of that – the events related to his alleged out-of-body experience – are predicated upon a pack of lies.

In his book, “Saved By the Light,” Dannion recounts his story and embellishes upon the details.  He claims that he was dead for 28 minutes.  During this time, he floated above his body, watching as his wife attempted to revive him in the moments after the lightning strike.  He says he heard a paramedic pronounce him dead.  Later, he talks about traveling to heaven, where he met and spoke with angels, saw a crystal city and cathedral of light.  And then, he woke up in the hospital just before being taken to the morgue.

It is an incredible story; one that saw his book at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, as well as spawning a highly rated television movie.  Dannion has since used his notoriety to become a psychic, charging $250 for a half hour reading [1], and a spiritual advisor, lecturing to large groups of people around the world about the “secrets” he found in the light – secrets that you, too, can share – if only you can afford tickets at places like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  But if his story were true, we can reasonably expect that he would have told a similar one in the days following his injury.  But it’s not, because he didn’t.  In fact, he told a remarkably different story at the time, and continues to change the details to this day when confronted.

Carl Langley was a newspaper reporter for the Augusta Herald at the time of Dannion’s ordeal.  He interviewed him, and in the September 19th 1975 edition, published a story about the incident titled “Phone Call Almost Cost Him His Life.”  The story as Mr. Brinkley told it then is dramatically different than the one he tells now in his books and interviews [2].  Remember how Dannion said he was dead for 28 minutes, and the paramedic pronounced him dead?  Langley’s newspaper article says otherwise:

“Frantically, Mrs. Brinkley began pounding away on her husband’s chest, stopping only to grasp his tongue and pull it away from his windpipe so he could breathe.

“I was out for a few minutes, and she saved my life, “Danny said.  With breathing restored, Mrs. Brinkley called the paramedics.'”

How long did Dannion, or Danny as he was called then, say he was out for?  “A few minutes.”  Who saved his life?  His wife.  And it all happened before the paramedics even arrived!

But there’s more.  Remember, Dannion also tells people that he woke up in the hospital later, after having traveled to heaven and talking to angels.  But that is definitively contradicted by Dannion’s own doctor, who was interviewed by investigative journalist Jon Ronson in the film, “Reverend Death.”  Dr. Gilmore Eaves says he was at Dannion’s side within an hour of his brush with lightning.  Was Dannion terribly hurt?  Was he talking about his incredible Out-of-Body Experience?

“When I saw him he was completely lucid,” Dr. Eaves said.  He tells Ronson that he read stories later about how Dannion Brinkley had been pronounced dead and how he recalled a sheet being pulled over his head.  But as Dr. Eaves says, “That’s just not true.”  Nor did he ever tell him about seeing a light or seeing a cathedral.

In the film, Ronson actually goes to see Brinkley himself, showing him the article by Carl Langley in the Augusta Herald.  Brinkley laughs it off, explaining that he was young and embarrassed and, “wasn’t gonna start ranting and raving about a near-death experience.”  He states that it is true that his wife, by pounding on his chest, did bring him back to his body, but that then he left it again.  That is a dramatically different account; one that seems clearly invented on the fly after being cornered with his earlier statements [3].

But the film “Reverend Death” came out in 2008.  It is three years later now, and Dannion has had some time to make up a new version of what happened.  In a video posted on his website on May 18th of 2011, Dannion now claims to not remember much about the days of the events in question, which is funny since he has never had problems remembering in radio and television interviews before.  Dannion says now that he was paralyzed for “6 or 7 days,” and couldn’t talk.  So did Langley just invent the quotes in his article when he spoke with him the day after the lightning strike?  Did Dr. Eaves have an imaginary conversation with a “completely lucid” Dannion Brinkley at the hospital?  If Dannion’s newest story of not remembering details and being paralyzed and unable to talk is true, why didn’t he tell this to Ronson during the filming of “Reverend Death”?  It is a complete and total contradiction to give interviews to newspaper reporters that your wife saved you after a few minutes, then write books claiming you were dead for 28 minutes and spoke with angels, to then saying your wife did save you but then you left your body again immediately after, then saying you don’t remember the details, to then saying everyone else is lying about everything except you because, hey, you were paralyzed and couldn’t talk at the time.  It is also interesting that he has waited until after Mr. Langley and Dr. Eaves have passed away to say all this [4].

The truth is that Dannion Brinkley is a fraud.  He has invented a fictional story about an Out-of-Body experience to sell books.  He has given people false hope about heaven, angels, and crystal cities, and has made a fortune doing it.  That type of cruelty makes him among the worst people imaginable.  When confronted with his fictions, he changes his story or infers that everyone else is lying about what happened.

Dannion has since written two more books about two more near-death and out-of-body experiences he has had.  He claims to have been saved by the light, and to have found both peace and secrets in the light.  But the more he talks, and the more you look into his story, the more you’ll find yourself blinded – not by the light, but by his lies.

REFERENCES:

http://www.dannion.com/readings/

http://youtu.be/o-c1RyplBig#t=7m47s

http://youtu.be/fhGbUKp1fzc

http://www.dannion.com/dannion-brinkley-exposed-dannions-official-response/

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