Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

by Mary Roach


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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

The best-selling author of Stiff and Bonktrains 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393329124
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/02/2006
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 87,564
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mary Roach is the author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Her writing has appeared in Outside, Wired, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Spook 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
TrickyTasty More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing and I think it deserves a five star review. But only certain people would like it. First of all, you have to appreciate Mary Roach's style of sarcastic humor. I think it's hilarious but some people don't like sarcasm. Secondly, you have to have an open mind or a be able to suspend your disbelief. Narrow-minded people who don't look up when someone says "gullible is written on the ceiling" won't enjoy this book. You have to believe from the start that scientific experimentation can measure spiritual phenomena. Also, I'm one of those people who enjoys ghost/haunting shows so if you aren't an avid fan of Ghost Adventures or you're not at all curious about whether ghosts or the afterlife exist, you won't like this book. This book covers many different topics like does the body become lighter at the moment of death as the spirit departs, is reincarnation plausible, are seances legit, near death experiences, etc. I thought it was all very fascinating. You just need an open mind, some curiosity, and a sense of humor to like this book. P.S. You don't have to be a crazy cat lady or psychic to enjoy this book. Also, if you read Stiff and liked it, Spook is narrated in the exact same way aka it is equally as awesome.
MerryMayhem More than 1 year ago
I've read Stiff and Bonk, both by Mary Roach, and enjoyed them immensely. I was super excited to get this book for Christmas, but found that I was really struggling to get through it. I believe this is her second book, and it sounds like she's struggling with her voice a little: this one read more like a research paper, lacking somewhat in her characteristic sense of humor. The subject matter is interesting, and, as usual, you can tell she knows her stuff, but I didn't find it to be as absorbing as her other books.
Cpski More than 1 year ago
This book was not as entertaining to read as Mary Roach's book "Stiff". It had many interesting facts, yet I was glad when I finished reading it.
nycfs More than 1 year ago
Having read and enjoyed Ms. Roach's previous effort "Stiff," I looked forward to reading Spook. I was a little disappointed however because at the end of the book, you come to realize you haven't really discovered anything. For a book to explore the possibility of life after death, all you come away with the same realization that no one knows for sure what happens to the soul. But it took 200 pages to see I was pretty much right back to the same question. I don't profess to expect her to unlock the secret of course, but I thought the research left a little something to be desired. I guess "Stiff" could be better enjoyed considering it's subject is a tangible matter (even if that matter is corpses). I just felt the Spook was a wasted read.
mike100274 More than 1 year ago
I've read a couple of Mary Roach's books and this one was not as good as others, in my opinion. I felt it was an overambitious attempt to answer certain questions. There weren't complete answers and it left me unsatified. I also thought there was too much emphasis on certain parts of science and not enough on other areas. I felt there was too much subjectivity and not enough objectivity, which makes for a bad science-based book. But that is my opinion. Mary Roach is a fantastic author that tackles amazing topics! If you like death and the afterlife, I'd get "Stiff" if I were you!
pccoder More than 1 year ago
After reading Stiff, I tried this one. It's a good book, don't get me wrong. Unfortunately it didn't really answer any questions or shed any light on anything new for me. I suppose that's because she subtely debunks a great deal of meta-physical nonsense that so many poeple in the world (not including myself) believe. I went in to this book already feeling a certain way. All she did was show me that I'm most certainly not the only one was ultra-sceptical when the lack of any emprical evidence is provided for mediums, afterlifes, out on a limb Shirley McClaine craziness. :)
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
Mary Roach followed up Stiff with another home run. Spook is exceptional in both depth and breadth. For me, Mary Roach is what you would have if you combined Michio Kaku and David Sedaris. In this clever study of what happens to our spirit and/or soul after death, she presents a witty and entertaining look 12 different arenas that deal directly with after-death. While maintaining a skeptic's edge, Mary nonetheless seems to give the died-in-the-wool (pun intended) believers the benefit of the doubt as she joyfully pursues her research. From the silliness of ectoplasm to the sadness of medium school, the author takes us on an original ride that fascinates while repelling and attracting. I really appreciated the footnotes except that I wished she had explored these side roads a bit more. Oh well...maybe in another Roach book. I hope you find my opinion helpful. Michael L. Gooch Author of Wingtips with Spurs
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary Roach is like any other person who wonders about the afterlife. She cleverly wrote this book providing background information and experiences on her journey to find out the inevitable question: Is there really an afterlife? Not really for the religious reader, I would say, simply because religious readers know what they believe in and are very passionate about it. But for others, it is definetly one of the most interesting things you will ever read. This book is fascinating and gives you A LOT to talk about. Good for someone seeking answers and information. Not only that, but Mary Roach is hilarious. I literally L-O-L'ed reading this book. It's a book you don't want to put down. Highly (and I mean highly) recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who has interest in science and the unknown, I was looking forward to reading this book. I must admit there were some very good discussions, and the writer explored a number of different experiences. In the end though, was looking for more substance even though the writing style made the book enjoyable.
Ricardoricardo More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading Spook. Mrs. Roach knows her trade. I'm looking forward to read her other two books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been laughing aloud reading this book. Her deadpan writing style is great, and the history of spirituality is fascinating, not to mention current research. I can't help but notice that the only negative reviews given this book here are from those who already believe strongly in the ghosties. grin
compulsivereaderSC More than 1 year ago
This is a great read whether you are a believer or not. Like Roach's other work, the book is incredibly well-researched and allows for your own opinions and interpretations.
kpro More than 1 year ago
Mary Roach has quickly become one of my favorite writers. She is funny and interesting, and always picks a provocative subject to write about. Her books are very well researched and besides being entertained I always feel like I learned something. Spook is great (not quite as good as Stiff) and I would recommend it to anyone.
BuzzMA More than 1 year ago
Mary Roach has a great depth of knowledge of her subject matter and presents it in an understandable, witty and humerous fashion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what would happen after you die? So did Mary Roach. In her novel Spook she goes on a search for any evidence that can be found about the matter. She first tackles reincarnation, which is being born into another life after you die. To study this, Roach teams up with Kirti S. Rawat and together they traveled to India to interview children ages 2-4 about their past lives. She then tries to figure out if a soul really does exist and if so, does it weigh something and how much? Another question is if one can you actually see a soul and how? Roach also studies a great deal about spiritualism and mediums. Spiritualism is connecting to the dead through mediums, while mediums are people who talk to the dead. In her book she also addresses mental patient ¿voices¿ and how Wilson von Duson thinks them to be actual spirits and not their imagination at all. She also talks about other peoples own experiences with spirits, and how some are their own relatives supposedly come to tell them important news. This mind boggling question is very hard to handle or even just to think about and I give Roach much credit for her novel. I do believe that this novel was very well written. I would probably recommend this book to skeptics about spirits or the after life, even though they would probably become more confused about what they believe after reading this book, as I have. The writing technique was not my favorite but I did like how she explored many solutions to the same question. Mary Roach is a very good writer who tries to answer her own questions along with others, thus I am very much looking forward to reading many more novels by her.
slvq on LibraryThing 6 days ago
The best-written bad book I've ever read. It's a funny, quick read that leaves the reader (well, this reader, at least) wondering what it is I was supposed to take away from it.
Crowyhead on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Roach brings to this book the same humor and curiosity that made Stiff such a fantastic read. My favorite chapters were the one on science and Spiritualism in the early 20th century, and the one on near-death experiences. Roach has this sort of uncanny talent of asking the experts exactly what you or I would want to ask them, if we could -- she's never afraid to "go there," wherever "there" is. Great stuff!
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing 6 days ago
It's not very many books that can make me interested in science, and for the second time in a row (after Stiff), Mary Roach has done that and more. I stayed up all night reading (and laughing). Everything within the book is fascinating, even the footnotes, and my only wish would be that she would include more. I loved this book! Highly recommended.
PirateJenny on LibraryThing 6 days ago
First she looked into cadavers. Now she tackles how science is trying to prove that there is an afterlife. With her same brilliant sense of humor (or, to quote Mary Roach, her fourth-grade maturity level) she takes us from mediums and ectoplasm (describing how she really hopes the students at her table at Cambridge University would go to lunch before she has to pull the ectoplasm out of its box file) to stories of reincarnation to near death experiences. The perfect follow-up to Stiff.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A bit dry and slow, so not at all like her other books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in black dress and black makeup wearig fake fangs she smiles
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Saggyroy More than 1 year ago
It was ok in parts, but then author tries to be too cute when she tries to be funny. I get the feeling if you met her, she would be making fun of you as soon as you left. I can't take her seriously, and I will not read any more of her books.