Charlotte Holmes’ story about a visit to heaven goes viral, ‘breaks internet’
Charlotte Holmes has been inundated with calls, messages and invitations since the story about her visit to heaven was published in the Dec. 25, 2019, edition of the Times and was posted a few days later on the ozarkcountytimes.com website and linked to the Times’ Facebook page.
Before the Times’ website host, Surf New Media, blocked Facebook from linking to the Times’ website on Jan. 2, the story had been shared by more than 32,000 Facebook users. According to Google Analytics, close to 495,000 people have accessed the story in the two weeks it has been online. The data shows that, at 8 p.m. Dec. 30, 14,578 people were simultaneously reading Charlotte’s story.
Each visit to a page, or story, on the website generates several “hits” as the different components of the page load – photos, text, ads, logos and such. On Jan. 2, Surf New Media owner John Sokolich told Times publisher Norene Prososki, “in the past three to four days,” the Times’ website had received “more than 11 million hits from Facebook,” causing the server to crash twice.
Sokolich added, “Something must have gone viral….”
That “something” was the story describing Charlotte’s hospitalization in September for treatment of high blood pressure. On her third day in the hospital, her heart stopped, and during the 11 minutes that medical personnel rushed to get it restarted, Charlotte said, she “came out of body” and watched the scene from above. Then a beautiful fragrance surrounded her, and heaven opened before her, complete with waving, welcoming family members who had died many years ago.
Times staffers posted the story directly on the Facebook page, and hundreds more people read it before the Facebook link to the website was restored.
The resulting attention has been amazing for Charlotte, who has struggled in the past week to respond to hundreds of Facebook messages, phone calls and invitations to share her story in speaking engagements around the country.
So far she has accepted 15 invitations to speak at churches and other groups, and she has received other invitations from Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Wyoming, Arizona, Georgia, Arkansas and Missouri.
“I only want to go where God wants me to go, so when they ask, I tell them I have to pray about it first,” she said.
Her family is concerned that all the strain will cause Charlotte’s blood pressure problems to reappear, but she says, “I’m not worried about anything. God has this. He will take it as far as he wants me to go. If it continues, hallelujah. If God wants me to keep sharing it, I’ll share it.”
With the help of her husband, Danny, she has tried to respond to the more than 700 Facebook messages that have come in. “For the last few nights, we’ve been at it until 4 or 5 in the morning, and then I just have to quit,” she said Monday. “I just feel that, if people contact me, I have to answer them back. And I’m telling you, Danny and I have literally cried over some of them. We’ve prayed over them. Some are so encouraging. Some just want hope. Some are so hurt they don’t know where to turn. They just want to know there’s a place that’s wonderful – and that their loved ones are there.”
She’s also spent many hours talking on the phone with people who have reached out to talk about her story. Best of all, Charlotte said, “When they pray for me, it’s amazing.”
That happened at her most recent speaking appearance Sunday morning at The Church, a nondenominational congregation in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
“Oh, my goodness! Those people! I was blessed much more than I could ever have blessed them. They were so receptive, so on fire for God. The Spirit fell on us, and the angels just flooded in there,” she said. “I was humbled. I think God did that because he knew I needed that rejuvenation.”
Her next appearance will be Jan. 19 in Berryville, Arkansas.
It’s been an extraordinary experience, for sure. And even though a few negative and critical messages have surfaced, she’s unfazed.
“I’m just Charlotte, no one special. I really can’t quite fathom how it’s all happened,” she said, adding that when she heard that the Times had posted a lighthearted message that her story “broke the Internet,” she told Danny, “Oh, no! Do we need to get them a new computer or something?”
She admits that “this country girl is a little overwhelmed,” but she’s determined to keep telling the story God gave her to tell as long as he gives her strength to tell it.