Is Child's Hallucinatory Trip to Heaven 'Real?' USA Today Investigates

USA Today—America's infographic-est newspaper—is tackling the question that is tormenting the minds of USA Today readers: is that book about the little boy meeting Jesus in Heaven real?

USA Today, of course, is merely a provider of journalism; it does not believe that a paper's proper role is to "judge" whether or not this little hallucinating boy's made-up miracle journey tale, Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, is or is not a work of fiction. No, USA Today's role is to get both sides of the story. So, for the sake of balance, the story notes that "Blogs, not surprisingly, are alive with doubting Thomases."

Then—and take note of how real journalism is practiced, bloggers—the reporter goes straight to the source for the real story. And that source is Todd Burpo: minister, garage door company owner, wrestling coach, father of miracle Jesus-meeting child, and bestselling co-author of nonfictional book Heaven Is for Real.

"I questioned my son, too," he says after saying a prayer before Monday's lunch in New York. "We were completely unprepared to have this discussion, but when he told me where I was when he was being operated on, that got my attention because no one knew where I was, including his mother." (He was in a hospital room both praying to and lashing out at God.)

"If he was making it up, he would have gotten something wrong," Burpo says. "But he got nothing wrong. He got it all right. That's what started our journey."

Colton knew that his religious preacher dad was praying during a crisis without even being told that. Who could have told him, but Jesus? USA Today will allow you to decide.

[USAT]