After enjoying Bonk by the same author, I went to get all the available books by Mary Roach at the library. Stupid of me to borrow the same book, but with different titles.
Although not as funny as Bonk, this is still a good read and thought provoking – where do my soul go to after i die? You’d be surprise that many universities actually fund studies to investigate life after death.
Here, Mary Roach went to india in search of people who are reborn into another person. How credible are their stories? What about mediums who can communicate with the dead? She found that those who believe in them do so because of some things that were mentioned being similar to the deceased. What was mentioned could be so general it may refer to half the general population. "The middle ground between genuinely true and outright faking is uncounscious delusion." I may believe the medium is talking to my deceased loved ones when I focus on the things that was said that applied but ignore those that do not.
A huge part of the book was devoted to scientist studying exactly when the soul leaves the body upon death, and vice versa – at which stage is the soul formed during conception. Scientists in the early century had tried to measure the weight of the dying just before and upon death and concluded that our soul weighs a mere 21g, despite the many inconclusive and inaccurate measurements.
If mediums are not to be taken seriously, then can we communicate with the dead via some scientific methods like machines? Again, many scientists tried to do that after people reported hearing voices from haunted places, using the various Ometers such as Thermo, Baro, Speedo, Sphyno, Sthenometer, Biometer, Suggestometer, Magnetometer and the Galvanometer, measuring any physical changes in the environment and accounting for the strange voices. These instruments are no longer in existance but ‘the lure of gizmo remains among modern-day paranormal hoobyists.’ (Statics, radio waves interceptions are some of the explanations for the strange noises/voices.)
So, if all these fails, what about animals? Can they sense ghosts? Various animals were used but most showed no reactions and no conclusive evidence that there were any other beings about.
To learn more about the after life, she interviewed doctors and patients who had near death experience (NDE). The out of body experienced by many with NDE is widely recorded to be heavenly but there are also those who suffered in hell ‘before going to heaven’. It’s noted that NDE are also experienced by people on Ketamine, a party drug. Thus if one wishes to preview death, take large doses of Ketamine preferably in the presence of a ‘sitter’.
Again, it’s highly questionable if conciousness can be experienced independently from the body as no credible records were found.
Remember, Mary Roach’s research is based on science and not superstitions. There must be concrete data and records to justify and not based on hear-says.
Lastly, she says not to confuse knowledge and belief. A belief is a leaning, not a knowing. ‘Is it possible to believe without knowing?’ While there are plenty of people who’ll tell you they know God exists, in the same way that they know the earth is round and the sky is blue, there are also people who believe in God, who do not make such a claim.
So, do you believe in ghost?