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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Mental and Trance mediumship – This is where research summary and cases are enhanced by author’s own experience. Fantastic reads.
- 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.
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.