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Spook: Scare Yourself Silly this Halloween

Although ghoulishly entertaining, Spook is ironically not about the supernatural happenings of the spirit world as its title eerily suggests. Instead, famed science writer Mary Roach takes a fresh approach in her investigation of the afterlife, delving into scientific explanations of “life after death.” As with Roach’s other books, it is a fun, fact-filled romp covering the myriad ways the afterlife has been interpreted, prodded and poked throughout history by folks seeking concrete facts.

Included are chapters on telecommunicating with the dead, the weight of a soul (spoiler alert: it’s not always 21 grams), ectoplasm, mediums and capturing NDEs (near death experiences) via computer screen. Although many of the topics go back in time to the nineteenth century and even before, when quackery and odd “scientific” experiments were rampant, others involve modern scientists and researchers with appointments at prestigious universities.

Some of this research goes to incredible lengths in the attempt to crack one of life’s great mysteries. Maybe scientists will someday. It’s certainly understandable that they would want to do so. I want them to do so! But so far, nothing concrete has been revealed or duplicated in another lab, which needs to happen for science to sign off on it. So for now, find yourself a cozy nook, pipe some scary music into your headphones, dim the lights and dive into the macabre pages of Spook. You won’t be disappointed!

For another spooky tale by Mary Roach, read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.

Fascinating stuff!