ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Tommy Benson has been called many things during his ten years of life. A little prick. A sneaky shit with no manners. A boy who deserves a swift kick in the ass. None of this has ever phased the young boy, though; in fact, Tommy has reveled in it, taking immense pride in being what appears to be the city’s unofficial prankster laureate.
But life hasn’t all been fun and games for Tommy. He is currently suffering from leukemia and last week nearly died at Presbyterian Children’s Hospital. For all intents and purposes, he actually did pass away on Tuesday, as Tommy’s doctor, Tim Richards, was prepared to declare the boy dead after several minutes of failed attempts to revive him.
But something amazing happened in that small hospital room with some of Tommy’s family surrounding him. As Dr. Richards was about to announce the death of the boy who had gotten four of his mother’s boyfriends to commit violent crimes just so they could be safely behind bars, Tommy suddenly woke up, more full of life than he had been in months.
And what Tommy had to say shocked everyone.
“[Tommy] explained to all of us that he had visited hell,” Dr. Richards said. “According to him, he met Satan and everything.”
While there have been cases of children experiencing visions of heaven in near-death experiences, it is highly unusual for one to travel to the underworld. But Tommy is no usual child. When he was eight, Tommy drove the neighbors’ Toyota Camry through the front of their own house. And when he was just five years old, Tommy pulled so many manipulative self-proclaimed “mind pranks” on his kindergarten teacher that she was eventually institutionalized.
As for the hell that he visited, Tommy says it’s truly all the fire and brimstone you’ve been led to believe it is.
“It was really hot,” Tommy said. “I met the devil and he showed me around for a while. He showed me a place where people were getting all kinds of things put into their butts.”
From what Tommy can remember, the items viciously inserted into the anuses of hell’s residents included everything from live animals and red-hot bowling balls to other people who were shrunk down to fit into a butthole, but by no means comfortably.
Tommy’s mother, Susan Benson, remains baffled, but also scared at the event her son experienced.
“I just couldn’t – I can’t – believe what Tommy was telling me,” Susan said. “But he described everything in such vivid detail, right down to Satan’s apparently horned penis.”
More disturbing to Susan, though, was that Tommy also said he met her father, who has been dead for the past fifteen years and never met his grandson.
“Tommy knew things about my father’s white supremacist past that I never would have dared to tell him,” Susan said. “But I know that deep down my son is a good human being. I refuse to believe he’d spend eternity in damnation.”
Tommy insists that the devil Himself showed the young boy a room that would eventually be his, and went into great detail about the torture devices that awaited him, from some type of rib magnet that exists to tear a rib cage right out of a person’s chest to a TV that only plays additional sequels in the Grown Ups franchise, all of which, Tommy says, are produced right there in hell (in this vision, all members of Happy Madison Productions appear to be lieutenants to the devil).
It is still unclear as to what Tommy will do in his life to continue to secure a place in hell. For now, Susan is simply taking solace in the fact that this means Tommy could potentially pull through and beat the leukemia. And as she turns her attention towards ensuring that her son leads a life that ends in salvation, Tommy is embracing his vision with a book deal and an upcoming promotional tour across the country.
“There’s a pitchfork down there with my name on it,” Tommy said. “I’m going to make sure I get it.”