Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife
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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 laptop'? Mary Roach trains her considerable humour and curiosity on the human soul, seeking answers from a varied and fascinating crew of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. Along the way she encounters electromagnetic hauntings, out-of-body experiences, ghosts and lawsuits: Mary Roach sifts and weighs the evidence in her hilarious, inimitable style.
keep in touch. New relatives are a novelty and a charm. It’s a buzz, and you want to give in to it. Six weeks later, back at home, my grandmother’s birth certificate arrived from the Dublin General Register Office. Her birth date was about ten years earlier than I’d thought. My Irish “family” were no more than friendly strangers in a pub. I’d been swept up in the excitement of the unraveling, paying attention to the facts and dates that fit, overlooking those that didn’t. It is certainly
how I feel right now. My life as a comfortable, middle-class American ended two nights ago at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Today I am reborn: the clueless, flailing thing who cannot navigate a meal or figure out the bathrooms. I am in India spending a week in the field with Kirti S. Rawat, director of the International Centre for Survival (as in survival of the soul) and Reincarnation Researches. Dr. Rawat is a retired philosophy professor from the University of Rajasthan, and one of a
ectoplasm as a link between life and afterlife, a mixture of matter and ether, physical and yet spiritual, a “swirling, shining substance” that unfortunately photographed very much like cheesecloth. The original ectoplasmic medium was Eva C., whose emanations drew the attentions of French surgeon and medical researcher Charles Richet. Richet was the discoverer of human thermoregulation and cutaneous transpiration, a pioneer in the treatment of tuberculosis, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for his
out that Margery wouldn’t be history’s first vaginal smuggler of bulky carcass parts. In 1726, a rumor spread through England about a peasant woman from the outskirts of Guildford, who was giving birth to rabbits. (The story is spun out in precise and rollicking detail by medical historian Jan Bondeson, from whose remarkable book A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities come these facts.) The rumor soon made its way to the Prince of Wales, who, fascinated,* promptly dispatched the court anatomist,
190 (8): 533–41 (2002). ——, S. A. Koren, and R. P. O’Connor. “Geophysical Variables and Behavior: CIV. Power-Frequency Magnetic Field Transients (5 Microtesla) and Reports of Haunt Experiences Within an Electronically Dense House.” Perceptual and Motor Skills 92: 673–74 (2001). ——, S. G. Tiller, and S. A. Koren. “Experimental Simulation of a Haunt Experience and Elicitation of Paroxysmal Electroencephalographic Activity by Transcerebral Complex Magnetic Fields: Induction of a Synthetic