Spook Science Tackles the Afterlife Author:Mary Roach "Equal parts Groucho Marx and Stephen Jay Gould, both enlightening and entertaining."Sunday Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News — The best-selling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers now trains her considerable wit and curiosity on the human soul. What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and t... more »hat's thatthe million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my lap-top?" In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive. 10 illustrations.« less
Mary Roach, also the author of Stiff (the lives of human cadavers) is an investigative journalist with a large funnybone that will keep you turning the pages. Spook gives an overview of society's various theories and experiments related to the afterlife, mediums, ghosts, psychoacoustics,near-death experiences, etc. Facsinating!
Funny and easy to read. This is not a serious book for people wanting to study the paranormal or religion. The author is a skeptic who did some research on various things and wrote a chapter on her explorations into each subject. I enjoyed her sense of humor and think that she would be a great lady to go have a cup of tea - or tequila- and chat with.
This book had a lot of potential, but it fell a bit short of meeting my high expectations. Some chapters were really interesting, and I truly loved the author's subtle touches of humor. But other chapters just dragggged. Overall, it's an interesting read, but you might want to prepare yourself to skim through (or even skip) a few of the sections.
Interesting topic, and the logical follow-up to her previous book, Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. But I thought the title was rather misleading; perhaps "Soul" or "Spirit" would have been more apt. And that misnomer lead to my greatest frustration with the book, I thought it would be more about ghosts, hauntings, that side of the afterlife. Roach's quips are out in-force in this book, more than the gently humor she shows in STiff, and the book is actually less enjoyable as a result. Her humor is always biting, but seldom appropriate and often distracting. Still, the majority of the book, about 70%, was highly entertaining and educational.
Roach turns her patented cock-eyed view to the subject of the afterlife -- does it exist? How have humans attempted to deal with the question? Can we ever really know? Not surprisingly, she doesn't come up with a definitive answer, but the trip, as always, is entertaining.