Author: Mary Roach
Publication: October 17, 2006
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
The best-selling author of Stiff and Bonk 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.
I absolutely adore Mary Roach. I have read several of her books including Boink (a book about sex and everything that goes with it), Stiff (a book about cadavers in medical schools and research labs), and Grunt (a book about the military). They never cease to amaze me and I learn new things all the time. I had this book on myself for a little bit as a physical book but when I passed my licensing and some other things I decided to get some audible books (it also helped that audible did a massive sale), I picked out this one as well as two more that I wanted to read by her.
What exactly happens when you die? This is what Mary Roach tackles. The afterlife. A nice bit of information that I shared with my BFF that made her say come again was…..did you know in the early 1900’s they thought the portal that ectoplasm escaped was the VAGINA?!!?!?! They thought this to the point that they would examine them during seances. People would even go as far as to swallow like a gauzy material just so they could regurgitate it later tricking people into thinking it was their loved one returning to visit them.
There really isn’t a story in this book. It’s a culmination of her year of studying the afterlife and those people that also have studied it, are studying it, or how those in the past handled it. She talks to people who are researching people who have out-of-body experiences when they are dead for moments be it in surgery or they have had something traumatic happen to them. The book also delves into how they made the tables rise in order for the people to think that they were being visited by a long lost family member. In the end she makes a powerful argument for the afterlife. As for me I believe in it. I have seen my grandfather on several occasions and I have smelled my grandmother on more than one occasion in my current house and felt her presence. Call me crazy but it is what I believe. Do I believe in people regurgitating “ectoplasm” no but for the other things that make me believe my loved ones are present absolutely.