Science Tackles the Afterlife

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You will also see this book titled Six Feet Over. The cover depicts (I think) a spirit rising from a newly-deceased person, on its way to whatever awaits.

Mary Roach has made a niche for herself exploring offbeat (often unsavory) topics with diligent research and irreverent humor. This 2005 book examines efforts to discover what happens after we die.

Example of the irreverent humor, a footnote on page 265:

A celebrity website reports that Elizabeth Taylor saw [ex-husband] Mike Todd during her near-death experience. "He pushed me back to my life," she is quoted saying. Whether this was done for her benefit or his was not clear.

Ms. Roach travels to India to check out reincarnation. She looks at historical efforts to locate the soul. Efforts to measure the weight loss caused when your spirit escapes your body at death. (It's tough to get folks to occupy a sensitive-enough scale at this trying time.) The somewhat icky nature of "ectoplasm", and various scam artists preying on the gullible. She goes to "medium school", where they teach you how to communicate with the departed. And more.

Mary Roach is a hoot, a fine and honest writer, and I'm slowly working through her oeuvre.

Last Modified 2024-01-09 6:48 PM EDT