Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife" by Mary Roach

Okay, I can say whether you are a skeptic or a or a "believer," the afterlife, or what happens after we die intrigues all. C'mon admit it you do find yourself curious. Well Mary Roach has written a book for you. For the skeptics, well Mary is one herself, as for the believers Mary Roach seeks out scientific proof of the soul, heaven and the great beyond.

This book "Spook..." is actually a sequel to Ms. Roach's book, "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers." In "Stiff..," Ms. Roach explored what happens to cadavers/bodies after death. So why not go and find out what happens to the soul?

This book tackles the many aspects of the soul. From reincarnation to near death experiences. Mary Roach approaches the subjects with a mix skepticism and open mindeness, but let me tell you she does so with such a great sense of humor that you actually don't realize you are reading scientific material. The book is anecdotal and mixed in with some of the scientific theories of quantum mechanics and the chemicals of the brain, it is a very fun read. Quantum Mechanics fun read??? Yes, and even more so when Ms. Roach shares the stories and interviews.

The author goes out and crosses the globe to find the subjects and professionals involved. From the poorest neighborhoods in India to taking a course on mediumship in England, Ms. Roach goes all out for this book. She also dedicates a lot of time on the swindlers of the Spiritualists movement which occured in the early part of the 20th century in the U.S. In this section she talks about how spiritualists claimed to talk to the dead and even produced "ectoplasm" from thin air. As the investigation continues it is found that the ectoplasm actually is a gauze like material that the female spiritualists would extract ...their nether regions.

The book also covers such phenomenon as Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP), the weight of the soul (21 grams?), electromagnetically induced hallucinations, a legal case involving life after death, and more. In each of the sections she uncovers evidence that could go either way...but usually tended to lean more toward debunking (or maybe that's the skeptic in ME).

In the end when forced to say whether she believes in life after death, she says the believers are much more fun to visit a cemetery with than a scientific skeptic, so "What the hell, I believe."

This book is really fun and informative...but I like the fun part more. Really you'll find this book hard to put down.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:05 PM Comments: 0