"Equal parts Groucho Marx and Stephen Jay Gould, both enlightening and entertaining."-Sunday Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News 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 lightMore »
"Equal parts Groucho Marx and Stephen Jay Gould, both enlightening and entertaining."-Sunday Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News 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. 10 illustrations.« Less
science tackles the afterlife
The little man inside the sperm, or possibly the big toe : hunting the soul with microscopes and scalpels
How to weigh a soul : what happens when a man (or a mouse, or a leech) dies on a scale
The Vienna sausage affair : and other dubious highlights of the ongoing effort to see the soul
Hard to swallow : the giddy, revolting heyday of ectoplasm
The large claims of the medium : reaching out to the dead in a University of Arizona lab
Soul in a dunce cap : the author enrolls in medium school
Can you hear me now? : telecommunicating with the dead
Inside the haunt box : can electromagnetic fields make you hallucinate?
Listening to Casper : a psychoacoustics expert sets up camp in England's haunted spots
Chaffin v. the dead guy in the overcoat : in which the law finds for a ghost, and the author calls in an expert witness
Six feet over : a computer stands by on an operating room ceiling, awaiting near-death experiencers
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