I learned a number of interesting things reading Mary Roach s survey of the historical and scientific efforts to prove the existence of a soul Her discussion of the scientific inquiries into stories of reincarnated children provides an excellent example of the difficulties of trying to objectively prove something when your main resource is the shaky memories of those who are already convinced of whatever it is you re trying to prove.
Though I was already familiar with the theory that infrasound sound at a frequency too low for humans to hear can cause the experience of ghostly phenomenon, I was intrigued to learn that a tiger s roar contains infrasound and some theorize that the fear we feel in the presence of infrasound is left over from days when escaping tigers wa All of Mary Roach s book have a few things in common 1 They are brilliantly and exhaustively researched 2 They are incredibly engaging 3 They are hilarious without ever being silly.
Spook is not the exception Roach take on the afterlife is a fresh one, aimed at explaining the many similar phenomena reported by every culture around the world in a compelling way, one that doesn t alienate but widens our view of the world Whatever the reader s background religiously, culturally this book offers answers and, as all good books, also creates questions to soothe our fears and make us feel a little bit at ease with that last stage in every life death.
Not bad, but Roach reveals her limitations in this book namely, she writes mostly to entertain She spends most of her time making fun of mediums from the spiritualism craze in the 20 s which, let s face it, is like shooting fish in a barrel.
But you can also sense the places where her unspoken thesis i.
e that the idea of a soul, and any attendant special effects, is bunk runs into problems.
She hurriedly scurries past it as in the case of Kirlian photography, or a scientific experiment which seemed to validate the presence of an astrally projected body form This is not to say that either of these is true or valid Just that the clumsy and hostile way she handles stuff she can t turn into a modest punch line is in sharp contrast This is a book that tries too hard to be cutesy From page one, we re dumped with tons of cute little footnoted anecdotes about quaint pseudo scientific afterlife related topics many of her anecdotes tend to veer far off topic , but nothing meaningful or even slightly memorable Further, Roach s humor comes across not as funny but as smug, even mean spirited and, as a firm non believer, I was predisposed to agree with her point of view anyway.
Her research and organization were both terrible She seemed to jump into topics haphazardly, with no segues between them, and with no reason except to poke gleeful fun at the topic she s investigating Look at me I managed to get into the highly exclusive Cambridge Library Manuscript Room First, I ll make a joke about all the nerds doing research in the room, and what mind numbingly boring topics they re studying Then, I ll Mary Roach s book has two great strengths The first is that she s damnably funny she brings humor to any place of uncertainty and any place of anyone s absolute certainty The second strength is that she s humble and friendly her prose is downright gregarious, so that reading often comes off as chatting with a well versed but not know it all friend She is less interested with one person being right and interested in finding every available source of information, which often means transcending two sides of an argument and finding bystanders In her opening she casts doubt on both religion and science, doubting and chiding them paragraph for paragraph, setting us up for the spirited search of spirits she s about to embark on Spook pr Want to know what happens when we die You and everyone else apparently Many people believe in some sort of continuation be it an afterlife, reincarnation or maybe that your soul sticks around and haunts old, abandoned mansions Unfortunately, no one really knows for sure With Spook, Mary Roach isn t going to provide you with a concrete answer but rather an exploration of several beliefs and possibilities.
I didn t enjoy this one nearly as much as Stiff It s not to say it s a poorly written book, I just found my interest waning at certain points That being said, there are some interesting chapters detailing EVP electronic voice phenomenon reincarnation, ectoplasm and the ongoing search for the human soul but they felt long winded and repetitive With Stiff, Roach s research is Happens When We Die Does The Light Just Go Out And That S That The 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 [Mary Roach] ✓ Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife [vegan PDF] read Online ↠´ Goes On After We Die ✓ Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife É A trip through various scientific and not so scientific attempts to ascertain whether or not the human soul, consciousness, personality, or whatever survives the death of the body Looks at reincarnation, mediums, ectoplasms, attempts to measure or weigh the soul, anatomical searches for the seat of the soul within the body, electromagnetic haunting, quantum physics theories of consciousness, ghost hunting, electronic voice phenomena and near death experiences Not at all a scholarly work and written in a tongue firmly in cheek fashion I ll allow there were some funny moments I m still chuckling over the chapter on reincarnation, entitled You Again , but unfortunately it s not as entertaining as the diverse and bizarre subject matter might suggest The tone of the whole thing is smug and self involved, enad of its own clever little turns of phrase, like This would have been a much better book if I had read it, rather than listened to it as an audio book The problem was that the person reading it had been told Roach is funny, in much the same way bad actors spend too much time remembering Shakespeare wrote his plays as poetry so she read this almost with a laugh track playing throughout Nothing kills a joke quite so stone dead as telegraphing it in your voice two sentences ahead of the punch line Given that the humour in this one had been sent to the other side for me the only interest left was in the subject matter itself But let s face it, the subject matter is inherently interesting Our feeble hold on existence, which is both fleeting and precarious, outrages our sense of, well, of fairness Why raise us as this quintessence of dust only to scatter us again all so quickly back to the winds Now this was fun I ve never read Mary Roach before, but I enjoyed her exploration of possible evidences for life after death very much She s a skeptic, but not a debunker she would like to see solid evidence that some sort of consciousness continues after the body dies, but for the most part what she finds is that even where scientists and other investigators are trying to be rigorous in their experiments, squishiness often intrudes Results can be interpreted in various ways, and the ways subjects and investigators perceive occurrences are influenced by their beliefs Still, some of the researchers Roach visits are surprisingly objective, and on a few occasions Roach allows that the paranormal explanation of events might have something to it And, as she points out, choosing to believe that the mystical answer might be right might just be fun Has my year among the evidence ga

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