Surviving Death by Leslie Kean – Book Review

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Jan 282018
 

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I recently finished reading Leslie Kean’s second book, “Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife”. It was the first book in a while on this topic of survival of consciousness that I read but certainly far from first.

I bought the book on Amazon for my Kindle Paperwhite reader. I like reading on the Kindle because I can read in bed before going to sleep and it’s easy to highlight passages of text and find them later.

Back to review. The short version is that I found this book to be the most compelling and well-structured book that I’ve ever read on this topic. And even though I’ve read about some of the accounts described in the book, I find that Leslie Kean could gather more information about them and present them in a very clear manner. In fact, she says that some details of cases were only provided for her book. She mentions which ones they are.

The book’s purpose is to consider the existing evidence that a person’s consciousness can survive bodily death. The book is organized into 4 parts, which in a way build one upon the other, or at least they go from the “simpler” to the more “complex”, or hard to understand or to believe, aspects of her research. The author also reports her own experiences related to that, some as part of her research for the book and some not so much.

Some chapters of the book were written by other people, mostly researchers, but the style and flow of the book are kept fantastically despite being written by other people. Good editing.

The four parts of the book delve into the following phenomena:

  1. Reincarnation research. Includes summaries of research by Ian Stevenson and also newer cases in the US. I knew about one of them and not about the other. Both cases are very compelling to suggest that something is going on, and they have good records that decrease the chances of fraud to nil.
  2. NDE research – Probably the topic I knew the most about personally. The is one of the best coverages on this topic. Again, compelling cases are described very well.
  3. Mental and Trance mediumship – This is where research summary and cases are enhanced by author’s own experience. Fantastic reads.
  4. Physical mediumship – The topic that I knew the least about. I always thought that it was a kind of a lost art or all fraud. I was intrigued to learn that physical mediums still exist. This part also includes author’s personal testimony of attending several such séances and a chapter by the medium himself that describes the journey and personal thoughts on scientific research of this phenomena.

The book constantly tries to compare if the phenomena suggest survival of consciousness versus the super-psi theory that posits that all of the knowledge (such as of a medium or a child who remembers past lives) comes from their own super-sensory apparatus.

To me personally, the super-psi theory seems to suggest too much psi power to individuals, while there’s no real evidence of such strong powers in individuals. To me, it’s a more complicated explanation than the one that posits survival of consciousness. Still, as the book says, it’s impossible to prove the super-psi theory wrong because it puts no limit on the paranormal abilities of people.

If you’re in any way interested in learning more about the possibility of an afterlife, this book, “Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife”, is a must have, in my opinion.

Highly recommended.

This book makes me want to read Leslie Kean’s previous book, her investigation on the subject of UFOs: UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.

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Travel Far by Darryl E. Berry Jr. book review

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Nov 162015
 

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“Travel Far” by Darryl E. Berry Jr. is a book about Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE). It was published in the summer of 2015 and is the first book by the author. Darryl sent me a copy of the book for my review.

Structurally, the book has two very distinct parts: it starts with a collection of Darryl’s personal OBE accounts, beginning from his first ones in childhood and going through experiences such as meeting the deceased, engaging extra-terrestrials and other strange being, and visits to strange worlds.

Part Two of the book is a practical guide to practicing Out-of-Body Experiences. It is longer than Part One and goes over a wide variety of topics.

Initially I found the personal OBE accounts in part one intriguing but also confusing. These are not connected much one to another but a collection of stories, some short and some longer. Most are OBE-related and at least one is a UFO encounter. While the content of many of these might be hard to digest, I’ve found that the writing style was very believable, it is written just as I would expect somebody to tell a personal story. Darryl refers to some of these accounts in the second part of the book and in this way the two parts connect.


I must digress now and mention that I don’t have any personal experience with OBE, but I’ve read other books and accounts about it. I believe that the closest I’ve ever been to one is the feelings of strange trembling in the body that is often described as a precursor to an OBE. As I’d never experienced OBE I can’t know for sure if this feeling was it but it was during my attempts to create an OBE, usually following my readings on the subject.


Back to the book. Part two is all about the theory and practice of OBE, starting at the very beginning. I’ve found this part to be written very well. Both the content and clarity of writing is very good. I’ve found that the parts that I had some knowledge in, such as energy work, theory of altered states of consciousness and some exercises for developing psychic abilities are in line with what I know and the advice there is correct, even if it doesn’t go into details in some cases, since they’re not the main goal of the book. Based on that, I believe that the advice in the book related to OBE is also good.

Part Two begins with the description of altered states of consciousness and how they relate to OBE. Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta states are all covered. The basics of development are covered next and include everything from relaxation and meditation to energy work to psychic development.

The book the covers practical considerations, such as timing, environment and goal setting.

From there the book moves to actual OBE practice, from preparation to initiation, covering the relationship between OBE and dreaming.

The author also has a troubleshooting chapter and some description of the OBE environment based on his experience and from other sources.

Again, this part of the book is written very practically and clearly. If you’re interested in the topic of OBE, especially if you want to learn to OBE yourself, this is probably one of the best books available.

More information about the author, Darryl E. Berry Jr., can be found on his personal web site at http://www.darryleberryjr.com and at the address of his publishing and research company The Next Density.

The book itself can be purchased from Amazon.

EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomena with videos

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Feb 072015
 

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In What is the best kind of evidence of afterlife I wrote that EVP is one of the more interesting areas of research, though not one widely discussed, for some reason.

The short explanation of what EVP is – these are recordings, usually audio, of voices that seemingly couldn’t be produced by any means other than paranormal. Thus it’s named “Electronic Voice Phenomena”. The stronger evidence is provided by the recording of messages relevant to those who hear it, like it would be through a human medium. There appear to be cases of visual EVP as well, such as recordings on VCRs and such.

One of the more prominent people who researched EVP was the Latvian-born Dr. Konstantin Raudive. He recorded thousands of EVP messages and, after he passed, was the messenger to his fellow researchers in their EVP experiments.

A voice recorder

There’s a fascinating documentary work-in-progress available online at “Calling Earth (July 2014 Version)”. Note, it’s about 1h 15m in length, so set some time aside.

Also, there’s an ongoing Kickstarter campaign now where the producer wants to set up a very rigorous EVP experiment and record the whole process. It includes a short but interesting personal introductory video, with some of the campaigner’s own experience there. Check it out and consider donating at The Afterlife Files

There’s also a good overview of the history of EVP at the Anomalist.