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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (edition 2006)

by Mary Roach

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2,564None2,333 (3.51)149
Member:jsetla
Title:Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
Authors:Mary Roach
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2006), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 311 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

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Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Science: 1. Religion: 0. Rawr SMASH.

Loved this book, especially the fact about natural disturbances in the electromagnetic spectrum easily explaining away ghostly presences. After all these years, that tidbit is the one that sticks out in my mind. Of course now that I'm thinking about it, more is coming back to me. The scientist that weighed dying people to see if the soul can be proven by weight loss (the 21 grams thing is pure fiction) was awesome. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Science: 1. Religion: 0. Rawr SMASH.

Loved this book, especially the fact about natural disturbances in the electromagnetic spectrum easily explaining away ghostly presences. After all these years, that tidbit is the one that sticks out in my mind. Of course now that I'm thinking about it, more is coming back to me. The scientist that weighed dying people to see if the soul can be proven by weight loss (the 21 grams thing is pure fiction) was awesome. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Science: 1. Religion: 0. Rawr SMASH.

Loved this book, especially the fact about natural disturbances in the electromagnetic spectrum easily explaining away ghostly presences. After all these years, that tidbit is the one that sticks out in my mind. Of course now that I'm thinking about it, more is coming back to me. The scientist that weighed dying people to see if the soul can be proven by weight loss (the 21 grams thing is pure fiction) was awesome. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Assuming that a book is intended to be more than the sum of its parts, this volume fell down a bit in that regard. Mary Roach's investigation into the afterlife approaches the notion of "afterlife" by looking for demonstrable evidence that something of us persists after death. In doing so, she unearths a number of interesting scientific explanations for various phenomena that people have claimed could only point to ghostly interference. Many of these things kept me interested, but I was less interested in the chapters that featured the author traveling to interview people about their studies--of reincarnated souls, of electromagnetic fields, of electronic voice phenomena--because the incidents sought to amuse more than inform. Roach takes the skeptic's point of view during her research, seeking explanations that can be verified and results that can be replicated. This makes for an interesting study in itself, and I think I would have preferred it if she didn't also adopt the role of the hapless, sarcastic participant as well. ( )
  phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
Not my favorite of her books, but an enjoyable survey of paranormal research during the past couple centuries. ( )
  MarysGirl | Feb 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Roach ranges far and wide in "Spook," traveling to India to look into reincarnation and England to take a course in how to be a medium. She is a skeptic, but comes to some surprising conclusions in "Spook."
 
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For my parents, wherever they are or aren't.
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I don’t recall my mood the morning I was born, but I imagine I felt a bit out of sorts.
My mother worked hard to instill faith in me.  (Introduction)
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Also published under the title of "Six Feet Over".
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393329127, Paperback)

If author Mary Roach was a college professor, she'd have a zero drop-out rate. That's because when Roach tackles a subject--like the posthumous human body in her previous bestseller, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, or the soul in the winning Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife--she charges forth with such zeal, humor, and ingenuity that her students (er, readers) feel like they're witnessing the most interesting thing on Earth. Who the heck would skip that? As Roach informs us in her introduction, "This is a book for people who would like very much to believe in a soul and in an afterlife for it to hang around in, but who have trouble accepting these things on faith. It's a giggly, random, utterly earthbound assault on our most ponderous unanswered question." Talk about truth in advertising. With that, Roach grabs us by the wrist and hauls butt to India, England, and various points in between in search of human spiritual ephemera, consulting an earnest bunch of scientists, mystics, psychics, and kooks along the way. It's a heck of a journey and Roach, with one eyebrow mischievously cocked, is a fantastically entertaining tour guide, at once respectful and hilarious, dubious yet probing. And brother, does she bring the facts. Indeed, Spook's myriad footnotes are nearly as riveting as the principal text. To wit: "In reality, an X-ray of the head could not show the brain, because the skull blocks the rays. What appeared to be an X-ray of the folds and convolutions of a human brain inside a skull--an image circulated widely in 1896--was in fact an X-ray of artfully arranged cat intestines." Or this: "Medical treatises were eminently more readable in Sanctorius's day. Medicina statica delved fearlessly into subjects of unprecedented medical eccentricity: 'Cucumbers, how prejudicial,' and the tantalizing 'Leaping, its consequences.' There's even a full-page, near-infomercial-quality plug for something called the Flesh-Brush." While rigid students of theology might take exception to Roach's conclusions (namely, we're just a bag of bones killing time before donning a soil blanket) it's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying this impressively researched and immensely readable book. And since, as Roach suggests, each of us has only one go-round, we might as well waste downtime with something thoroughly fun. --Kim Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Draws on the achievements of scientists, engineers, and mediums to consider the feasibility of life after death, from a reincarnation researcher's experimentation with out-of-body experiences to laboratory investigations into ghosts.

(summary from another edition)

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Editions: 184195845X, 1847670806

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