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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary…
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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (edition 2006)

by Mary Roach (Author)

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3,1211381,805 (3.53)166
Member:akwael
Title:Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
Authors:Mary Roach (Author)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2006), Edition: 1st, 313 pages
Collections:Read, eBook
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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

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Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Spook was my first dive into Mary Roach's writing, and I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable one. The first chapter I found a bit on the difficult side to read as it was tedious to me, but the rest of the book flowed easily and amusingly through the strange topics of ghosts and the possible afterlife. A self-proclaimed skeptic, Roach managed to keep a fairly non-biased view about the manner and remain open-minded while still voicing her own disbelief in a manner that allowed the reader to make the choice for themselves as to how they felt about things.

I'd recommend the book to just about anyone and am looking forward to getting through her other publications. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
The audio version was difficult to handle. I found myself zoning and having to backtrack. Mary Roach is one of my favorite authors & the audio performance should not be a reflection on her research. I might have enjoyed this much more had I read the hard copy or if the narrator was someone different. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
This one is really hard for me because I like Mary Roach. The truth i I only read it as far as I did because I liked several of her other books a lot. This book didn't do it for me. I didn't like the way she attacked the subject. I didn't think it was funny, although I think it was trying to be in places. It seemed to have no clear direction on what kind of book it wanted to be. I stopped reading about 60% of the way through. Again if it hadn't been Roach I would have set this one down much earlier. She can write and there were some interesting parts but not enough to keep me going. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
Mary Roach is the Dave Barry of popular science writing. Her text is funny, her chapter titles are funny, her footnotes are funny, even her page numbers are funny.* Spook explores the history of “scientific” studies of the afterlife. This is, of course, a subject that lends itself to cheap laughs, but all of Roach’s are earned.


I can do no better than just describe some of the issues covered: reincarnation; ovism vs. spermism; the soul’s weight (apparently about 20 grams), volume (about 0.3 quarts) and color (greenish-purple), leading one researcher to conclude that leprechauns are discarnate human souls; attempts to X-ray the soul; the Carrington Soul Box, which incorporated hermetic seals, anesthetics, “ionization rays”, and a live monkey; ectoplasm (including an actual sample in the Cambridge University Library, which, strangely, appears to be cotton cloth); various communications with the spirit world (including a claim that Heaven is full of sailboats); Ms. Roach’s experience in a medium school (“There are moments, listening to the conversations going on around me, when I feel I am going to lose my mind”); attempt to get in touch with the dead using tape recorders (conducted, ominously, at the USFS Donner Party Picnic Ground); using EMF and infrasound to induce hallucinations; a note from a dead man settling a law case; and NDE experiments.


Extremely recommended

* “17”. See? ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 19, 2017 |
Amusing and inciteful. The author tackles reincarnation, spirit mediums, out-of-body experiences and the like. Very interesting reading. ( )
  ouroborosangel | Nov 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (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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My mother worked hard to instill faith in me.
I don’t recall my mood the morning I was born, but I imagine I felt a bit out of sorts.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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 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 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.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 184195845X, 1847670806

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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