[Ebook] ⚖ Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife ☫ Renegades-bempflingen.de

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 gatherers left me believing in anything I didn t believe in a year ago It has It has left me believing something Bruce Greyson believes I had asked him whether he believes that near death experiences provide evidence of a life after death He answered that what he believed was simply that they were evidence of something we can t explain with our current knowledge I guess I believe that not everything we humans encounter in our lives can be neatly and convincingly tucked away inside the orderly cabinetry of science Certainly most things can including the vast majority of what people ascribe to fate, ghosts, ESP, Jupiter rising but not all I believe in the possibility of something rather than in any existing something reincarnation, say, or dead folks who communicate through mediums It s not much, but it s than I believed a year ago Roach reminds me of Bill Bryson or Sam Kean a fine storyteller She includes some personal information and responses, but she doesn t overshare Her description of her efforts to unobtrusively examine the ectoplasm she has borrowed from the Cambridge University library archive, while sharing a library table with other library visitors, is entertaining, and certainly conveys the repulsiveness of the stuff Tales of her participation in other experiments, such as when she sits in a soundproofed room at Laurentian University to find out if exposure to EMF s will make her sense presences and see and hear ghosts, and in investigations, such as when she brings in a forensic handwriting expert to determine the authenticity of a ghostly will, are engaging and told with sympathetic, if sometimes flippant and earthy, humor Her footnotes are also amusing.This was particularly interesting in conjunction with The Witch of Lime Street S ance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World also better than that one, btw in that Roach includes a couple chapters which overlap the subject of that one Harry Houdini and the Scientific American medium challenge Roach actually gives a better context for understanding how serious scientists could have been taken in, at least temporarily, by mediums who appear now to be so obviously fakes The table tipping and cheesecloth ectoplasm still looks pretty blatantly phony from where I sit, but at the time, when photography was in its early years and X rays, radio waves, etc were newly discovered and poorly understood I can imagine how things might have looked different, and open minded people might plausibly have imagined disembodied personalities zipping about in the ether.So, lots of fun, and recommended for those with an interest in the subject 4 stars. 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. [Ebook] ♰ Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife ☫ 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 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 discuss at length how embarrassed I am to be studying such a silly subject Then, after summarizing the articles I read in boring detail, I ll have a good long laugh about the ridiculous shenanigans people got up to in olden times, and how funny their beliefs sound today Long story short, her investigations into phenomena are cursory at best This is a book that claims to speak for sciencebut true scientific research is never this shallow The only chapter that I really found interesting was the one on ghosts ghost sightings However, I was put off by Roach s presentation for example, she investigates in some detail a case in which a farmer claimed to see the ghost of his deceased father the ghost directed the farmer to a hidden copy of his will, a will which just so happened to give the farmer a greater share in his late father s estate No surprise here First, Roach investigates the ghost sighting claim, then feels the surely noble need to tell the farmer s grandchildren that their ancestor was likely involved in some sort of scam even though they previously had held no doubts about their grandfather s story, and didn t seem to want to hear any of her arguments Blah blah blah Nearly none of this book is clever or particularly engaging When it s not trying to be humorous, it just feels like a long list of names and dates and titles of research studies Most inexcusable this book is boring I m one who actually watches those terrifically bad Discovery Channel shows about hauntings the ones with dramatic re enactments, complete with computer generated ghosts and spooky noises soundtrack I shouldn t have found this book boring I should have devoured it Instead, I was bored out of my mind and desperately wished each page was the last. 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 provides neither New Age pseudo support for every little possibility of the supernatural, nor mean spirited skepticism The aforementioned two classes seem to dominate far too much of these subjects, making much of the discourse unbearable If you need her to seriously lean towards orthodoxy or the scientific method, don t bother reading Spook She will not bow to your paradigm, and really, if you re so certain that you cannot stand anything but confirmation of your belief or disbelief, why do you even bother reading about these matters You re done Get a less parasitic hobby than arguing with people over their interests Roach is wise enough to observe interests and report them in detail, even when they run as absurdly as a court case over the existence and desires of a ghost, or a real life sample of ectoplasm It s wonderful to read someone who can be funny about this sensitive matter without ever coming across as hating one of the embattled sides It allows me to forgive her naive definitions of proof, evidence, belief, and knowledge, because by the end you aren t reading Plato You re reading the observations of a friend, from whom you have much to learn and much to laugh about.In short this is a book titled Spook and only subtitled Science Tackles the Afterlife, and the photo of the author on the dustjacket shows her laughing hysterically If you pick up and carry it all the way to the checkout desk, you know what you re in for You re only lucky that she went through such a thorough journey of research and observation of other people s research Written 2008 edited for typos, 2014. 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 scientific and factual whereas with Spook, it s a lot of interviews with folks who are speaking about belief systems and faith I m not trying to knock organized religion or anything, it just didn t hold my attention as much as Stiff, or even Packing for Mars.If anything, seek out the chapters about her enrollment and experience in medium school I m not the biggest fan of that profession and while she goes on record in detailing her personal skepticism, I found that she provided a fair and balanced approach regarding the students and professors.I d be interested to hear thoughts from someone who carries a firm belief in the afterlife and what, if anything, this book did for them I consider it a fault of mine to be unable to shut off the voice in my head screaming, You re lying None of this is possible when Mary is interviewing someone If I could, I m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot. 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 an endless NPR personal essay or a salon.com article.Could be good, amusing food for thought if you re interested in this kind of thing, but for some reason it seems to drag a little bit It s almost boring.How can anything be boring when it includes people killing themselves out of curiousity about the afterlife, mediums hiding cheesecloth and animal parts in their vaginas, electromagnetic impulses being sent into the right lobe of the brain to simulate the experience of being haunted, and a man mowing his lawn in a three piece suit Don t ask me, but it is.Incidentally, I actually listened to this on audiobook whatever you do don t do that The reader is terrible, and manages to step on the punchline of nearly every joke I also didn t need the exaggerated French accent when reading a quotation from Descartes in English, thank you very much. 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 What kind of divine joke is that, exactly Whatever did make fatuous sunbeams toil only to cast us once again down into eternal the darkness Why must our first screaming inhalation foretell all too predictably, even in its repetition, our final, sighing exhalation If anything confirms Stendhal s quip that God s only excuse is that he doesn t exist then surely our infinitely insignificant three score and ten standing as it does divided by 13 billion years quickly takes most of the humour out of just about everything.Vanity spurs our reason to snatch at, grasp and cling to the hope that this is not, nor can be, all There must be And if there is , then surely there must also be a two way desire both from us in the here and now and from those we love wherever they have gone from the here and now to somehow communicate Unfortunately, I start from the premise that those who believe in an afterlife cover a rather unappealing spectrum that is, from the deluded to the charlatan And although I can understand the motivations of self interest that motivate both ends of this spectrum even if I can only view one end with any compassion , I generally turn away from this all too bright light as a pitiful kind of wish fulfilment Better by far the cold realisation of eternal non existence that is awaiting us, than the infinite horrors eternal salvation seem to invariably impose on the vast majority of those not saved.It is difficult to get the tone right in a topic like this, particularly if you are going to also try to be humorous about it It is hard to avoid pointing and laughing at all of the clearly self serving beliefs you don t share, even while remaining completely blind to your own and probably equally self serving beliefs I couldn t help feeling there was so much she could have spoken about at one point she mentions William James, but then says nothing at all about his extensive work on the continuation of our souls after our need for our worldly solid form goes away Other books cover this topic in much detail and probably are better in many ways James own work makes it clear that he expected Spiritualism to have come into its own long before this.If I must make a snide remark it is to wonder why people who believe in the afterlife don t seem to be appropriately concerned about senility This is something she mentions in this book too and is something I ve often wondered about I m sure most people who believe in an afterlife assume dying somehow restores their faculties back to mid season form as Wodehouse might have put it But just why this might be the case is never made all that clear The idea of eternal mental decay, or worse, being endlessly fixed in a part way decayed stage, seems as good a definition of hell as I can think of.This wasn t a bad book, in fact, some of it, particularly at the end with the stuff about the ghost and his second will, was really fascinating but the book could so easily have been a much better one. 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 was a high evolutionary priority.I also learned than I ever wanted to know about the various ways spiritualist mediums faked the extrusion of ectoplasm Despite the interesting nature of the topic, however, I didn t love this book as much as I hoped There were moments in which the narrative got bogged down as the author detailed a few too many historical efforts to prove the existence of the soul In addition, I struggled with the tone of the book Roach admits to being a skeptic, but she said her goal was to explore this topic with an open mind In this I don t think she really succeeded Though she does acknowledge some inexplicable events, she spends time poking cheap fun at many of her subjects In some circumstances, I can imagine the temptation was hard to resist, but this semi snarky tone felt a little too easy A few moments of genuine humor combined with her generally readable style, however, made me want to seek out her first book, which I ve heard is much better. 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 to her deliberate and even handed approach to the other easily debunked examples Which I find insulting as a reader I don t mind being entertained, but I do mind someone pretending that I won t notice flaws in her argument.