Surviving Death: A New Book on Afterlife Research from Leslie Kean

The Deceased in the Afterlife Realm

Leslie Kean, who made bestseller lists worldwide with her book UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record, has now turned her attention to another 'weird science' area deserving of more genuine enquiry: the evidence for the survival of consciousness after death. Like the previous release, the new book (released this week) - Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife - takes somewhat of an anthological approach, with a number of chapters provided by those intimately involved in the field. Here's the blurb:

“While exploring the evidence for an afterlife, I witnessed some unbelievable things that are not supposed to be possible in our material world. Yet they were unavoidably and undeniably real. Despite my initial doubt, I came to realize that there are still aspects of Nature which are neither understood or accepted, even though their reality has profound implications for understanding the true breadth of the human psyche and its possible continuity after death.”

So begins Leslie Kean’s impeccably researched, page-turning investigation, revealing stunning and wide-ranging evidence suggesting that consciousness survives death. In her groundbreaking second book, she continues her examination of unexplained phenomena that began with her provocative New York Times bestseller UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record. Kean explores the most compelling case studies of young children reporting verifiable details from past lives, contemporary mediums who seem to defy the boundaries of the brain and of the physical world, apparitions providing information about their lives on earth, and people who die and then come back to report journeys into another dimension. Based on facts and scientific studies, Surviving Death includes fascinating chapters by medical doctors, psychiatrists, and PhDs from four coun- tries. As a seasoned journalist whose work transcends belief systems and ideology, Kean enriches the narrative by including her own unexpected, confounding experiences encountered while she probed the question concerning all of us: Do we survive death?

Now, while I definitely recommend my own book as well for great background in this area (ahem, Stop Worrying, There Probably is an Afterlife), this sounds like an excellent one to add to your collection if you're interested in the controversial, yet fascinating topic of the survival of consciousness after death.


News Briefs 08-03-2017

Ride the wave...

Quote of the Day:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Litany Against Fear (from 'Dune')

The Hunt for 'Planet Nine' Explained

Mystery planet

In recent years new astronomical observations have led researchers to suggest that there may be another large planet in our Solar System, on a very elongated, elliptical orbit compared to the rest of the planets. Since nicknamed 'Planet Nine' (Planet X perhaps being too heavy with Zecharia Sitchin baggage for 'respectable' astronomers?), the mystery object is believed to currently be in the general direction of the constellation of Taurus (as viewed from Earth).

If you'd like to understand the discovery, and now search for, the mysterious Planet Nine, check out the video below by Mike 'Pluto Killer' Brown of Caltech, which is a part of a free online astronomy course "The Science of the Solar System", offered by Coursera. Brown gives the historical background to the search for distant planets, then describes how astronomers (including him) came to believe there was another large planet to be found, and how they are going to try and find it. A very interesting, concise explainer of the Planet Nine story, I definitely recommend checking it out:

Related stories:

News Briefs 07-03-2017


Quote of the Day:

We're all like detectives in life. There's something at the end of the trail that we're all looking for.

David Lynch

Brain Waves Detected Up to 10 Minutes After the Time of Death

Brain activity

Canadian researchers studying the neuroscience of the moment of death ('necroneuroscience') have uncovered a surprising phenomenon: anomalous EEG activity up to 10 minutes after the time of clinical death. The researchers were examining EEG readings recorded at the time that life support was withdrawn from four critically ill patients, and found that in one of patients - a 67-year-old man who suffered cardiac arrest - "single delta wave bursts persisted following the cessation of both the cardiac rhythm and ABP":

It is difficult to posit a physiological basis for this EEG activity given that it occurs after a prolonged loss of circulation. These waveform bursts could, therefore, be artefactual in nature, although an artefactual source could not be identified.

Here's the EEG readings of the four patients:

EEG at time of death of four patients

On the other hand, it's worth noting also that this study failed to find evidence for the so-called 'death wave' previously found in studies with rats, in which a surge of brain activity was detected at the time of death, leading some people to suggest that it might evidence for a 'near-death experience' type brain event.

(via NeuroSkeptic)

Related articles:

News Briefs 06-03-2017

Shoot your shot...

Quote of the Day:

I'm not a political person. ... I don't understand politics, I don't understand the concept of two sides and I think that probably there's good on both sides, bad on both sides, and there's a middle ground, but it never seems to come to the middle ground and it's very frustrating watching it and seemingly we're not moving forward.

David Lynch

Journey Through Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

With just over two months left until that TV show we liked comes back into style, there's no doubt plenty of us will be wanting to refresh our memory of the plot, characters and general weirdness of the original Twin Peaks, given its been over 25 years since the series premiered. If you're one of those people, I highly recommend the 4-part video series Journey Through Twin Peaks, embedded below, which analyzes the narrative cycle of Twin Peaks, from the pilot right through to the movie Fire Walk With Me.

Written, narrated, and edited by Joel Bocko, the series takes an in-depth look at the plot of the original series, with interesting asides and insights - including some of the more occult influences - without going too deep (and with Twin Peaks, you can go deeeep down the rabbit hole if you want to).

Obviously, spoilers, so if you're new to Twin Peaks and are planning on watching the original series, this will give everything away!

Part 1, "Harmony of the Dark Woods" explores the pilot through the season 2 premiere, examining how the show perfectly balances its three core elements: Laura Palmer, the town of Twin Peaks, and FBI Agent Dale Cooper.

Part 2, "The Center Cannot Hold" explores episodes 9-17 (the first third of season 2) with particular focus on the character of Laura Palmer, the revelation of her killer, and the show's mistakes in resolving her mystery.

Part 3, "The Whole Damned Town" explores episodes 17-29, the second half of the series in which the show tries to move beyond the Laura Palmer investigation. Along the way, we will pause to examine the show's colorful ensemble cast, the "spirit" of the show (through its style and media reception), the character arc of Agent Cooper (as well as David Lynch's and Mark Frost's differing conceptions of him), and the evolution of the Twin Peaks mythology, including the influence of Theosophy.

Part 4, "Laura is the One," explores the 1992 prequel feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, including its controversial reputation and the character arc of Laura Palmer, as well as the "afterlife" of Twin Peaks, including the show's impact on David Lynch's later films.

(via OpenCulture)

News Briefs 04-03-2017

”The earth, like the sun, like the air, belongs to everyone — and to no one.”

Quote of the Day:

“Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now.”

Edward Abbey

Tracking Down the Secret Drugs of Buddhism

Buddhist goddess, or mushroom?

Did Buddhists of ancient times use shamanic plants and mushrooms in their sacred rituals? This is the question that Mike Crowley attempts to answer in his new book Secret Drugs of Buddhism. The book looks at the central role which psychedelics have played in Indian religions, beginning with the legendary soma, and follows the trail all the way to amrita, the sacramental drink of Vajrayāna Buddhism.

A glance at the titles of Vajrayāna scriptures will find the word amrita again and again. Many Vajrayāna deities have amrita as part of their name and a liquid called amrita is frequently visualized in Vajrayāna meditations. Almost all the early teachers of the Vajrayāna are depicted holding skull-cups of amrita. Two "skull-cups" of amrita adorn Vajrayāna altars and a drink called amrita is consumed at all major Vajrayāna rituals. Hundreds of Vajrayāna deities are said to carry amrita in some form, whether in a skull-cup, vase, flask or bowl.

Consider, for example, the prominent meditation-deity Hevajra. He is usually described and depicted as having sixteen arms with every hand holding a skull-cup filled with amrita and in one of his several variants he and his trantric consort arise out of the amrita itself.

And yet, despite multiple references in Vajrayāna literature and near-ubiquitous depictions in Vajrayāna art, you may be forgiven for never having heard of amrita before. If you are, as I am myself, a practicing Vajrayānist, then you may have performed the Vajrasattva purification practice in which the body is (mentally) filled with amrita. But the actual nature of amrita, its origin and history, are rarely discussed, if at all. In fact, even a standard textbook which provides a detailed account of Vajrayāna Buddhism as practiced in India and Tibet has managed to overlook it entirely.

Secret Drugs of Buddhism sets out to remedy this 'blind-spot' in the understanding of ancient Buddhist practices, pointing out the importance of amrita to the Vajrayan Buddhist tradition, and even offers suggestions for the ingredients of the original, psychoactive potion.

In telling the story of amrita, this book provides a new perspective on the origins of the Vajrayāna itself and, in the process, it resolves a few puzzles of tantric iconography (e.g. the role of peacocks, wheels and water-buffaloes) as well as offering an explanation for the previously inexplicable "crown-bump" deities.

It must be said that, in many cases, Buddhist references to amrita are simply an allusion to a legendary "elixir of immortality" and nothing more. Such turns of phrase as "the nectar of my teacher's words" may be considered as expressions of devotion or mere literary tropes, but not references to a physical potion. On the other hand, there are abundant instances in which amrita (whether actually drunk or merely visualized in a meditation) is associated with "bliss" or even "intoxication". In these instances we may clearly perceive indications that a draft of amrita was expected to induce a state of "blissful" intoxication - at least in the historical past. Yet, as we will see, the drinking of a drug potion called amrita was an essential component of the original Vajrayāna practice.

The book is full of fantastic insights and speculation, such as the proliferation of 'parasol' imagery and multi-armed deities fanning their limbs about in a circle in Buddhist artwork - both rather close analogues to the distinctive shapes and anatomy of mushrooms (it seems so obvious once it is pointed out). Secret Drugs of Buddhism also features a short foreword from Ann Shulgin and colour plates illustrating points made in the book.

Link: Secret Drugs of Buddhism at Amazon US

News Briefs 02-03-2017

Walking under a canopy of trees beats any type of psychotherapy.

  • These tiny fossils could be the oldest evidence of life on Earth.
  • 'Best ever' view of what a dinosaur really looked like.
  • US scientists find a way to safely thaw cryopreserved tissues. Just wait a bit longer, Walt!
  • Professor David Nutt: Psilocybin does in 30 seconds what antidepressants take 3-4 weeks to do.
  • The Israeli army is enrolling people on the autistic spectrum, with surprising results.
  • On the latest episode of Skeptiko, Ed May explains why, despite having run the Stargate psychic program for 10 years, he remains an unapologetic materialist and scoffs at any notion of consciousness surviving death.
  • Making (religious) sense on the possibility of life in the TRAPPIST-1 system: The Baptist approach, and the Catholic approach.
  • Scientists from the University of Central Florida want to become the first Martian bricklayers.
  • Space tourist Richard Garriott forewarns future SpaceX tourists about the Overview effect.
  • Tom DeLonge: From Blink 182 to "the world's leading UFO hunter." Srsly?
  • My bud and colleague, Robbie Graham, doesn't buy the DeLonge Delusion [Part1] [Part 2].
  • Unsolved UFO case in Houston still bewilders former police officer.
  • Recently-disclosed CIA document reveals Carl Jung accused the government of withholding UFO information.
  • Rediscovering 60 years of Sasquatch stories.
  • Military officers in Chile spooked out of haunted house.
  • Red Pill of the Day: If you love doing laps in your local public swimming pool, then you DO NOT want to know how much urine was found by a recent scientific test.

Thanks to Conan & Bill Paxton --game will NEVER be over, man!

Quote of the Day:

"I was so glad I had it yesterday when my boss demanded that we allow the White House lawyers to look at our phones to stop the leaks. I just sat there on my secret and smiled."

˜Amazon customer review for the Beat The Boss 3in1 J8 World Smallest Mobile Phone, which is so small it could be easily concealed in somebody's rectum.