Documenting the Coming Singularity

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Skeptic Checks the Evidence for Life After Death

aeon - 11.13.13 by Jesse Bering

If the brain is the source of consciousness, and the brain stops working at death, then paranormal afterlife experiments are just exercises in the absurd.
General Photographic Agency
She was nothing like the sweet old lady in Poltergeist, a film that gave me, an overly imaginative child growing up in the 1980s, my most memorable brush with the spirit world. In fact, Caroline seemed so down-to-earth that I wondered if she truly believed this stuff. Maybe she just enjoyed pulling people’s legs and catching the money falling out of their pockets.

‘Well, don’t force it,’ I told her. ‘I mean, if he’s not here, he’s not here, right?’

‘Ian’s definitely here,’ she snapped. ‘I feel like he’s outside, not in the house. It’s just, either he doesn’t want to do this, or something won’t let him.’

I thought of Poltergeist again, the final tug-of-war between the forces of good and evil over that creepy little blonde girl, who died of an illness in real life. That’s real life for you. We live and we die: that’s it. If I were to be convinced that there’s more to the afterlife than frauds, wishful thinking and special effects, I’d need evidence. And I’d come here — to a sprawling 300-acre estate just outside Charlottesville, Virginia — to get that evidence from the property’s former owner, Ian Stevenson.

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