Monday, March 9, 2009
I must admit, I love this author. Although I tend to find errors in her writing and her scientific explanations, I just love her tone and her sense of humor. It helps to have humor when you are dealing with science. And I must admit, I kinda want her job. Just a little bit. Anyways, Spook is a book dedicated to exploring scientific evidence for ghosts, spirits, boogey-men, etc. She begins by describing ways to "measure the soul". If you've ever seen the movie 21 grams, you will recall that at the time of death, people lose 21 grams of weight that cannot be explained, and thus, is concluded to be the weight of the soul. She talks about the experiments that led to this conclusion, as well as many more experiments trying to test this hypothesis. In classic science form, Roach never makes any finite conclusions, leaving the "afterlife" open for interpretation. She does, however, explore current findings in "ghost hunting" and she does so with a wit that makes me crack up out loud. I am not sure if I love this book because I am a scientist and her interpretations of findings (and of scientists themselves) are so dead on (no pun intended) that I can't help but love the irony. Or if I love the books because she is generally entertaining and taking a subject most of us are uncomfortable with and making it a little lighter, and a little easier to deal with. She tackles a lot of different subjects, like "measuring the soul", whether electomagnetic fields or sound below the level of detection can contribute to either "seeing ghosts" or hallucinating things. She also talks a fair bit about near death experiences and whether they are real or not. Once again, Roach has made me giggle out loud about the absurd, has unearthed lovely, forgotten works (and worlds) and will hopefully continue to do so for a long while. If you are interested in science, the scientific method, and ghosts (or, if you have ever seen a ghost!) this book is for you. Read it.