surviving-deathInvestigative journalist Leslie Kean takes a close look at a wide variety of unexplained phenomena in order to answer the age old question- does human consciousness survive death intact with the memories, personality, and uniqueness that was exhibited in life? I found her evidence astonishing.

Much of her research into near-death experiences (NDEs), I had been exposed to in other books. But, the chapters about children remembering past lives, psychic mediums and physical mediums was entirely new to me. As I read, I kept getting goose bumps up and down my arms. The stories are that powerful.

(Reminder, the following quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may change or be edited in the final printed version.) Why did Kean write this book? “My intention is to present some of the most interesting evidence from diverse sources and show how it interconnects, making it accessible for the intelligent and curious reader encountering the material for the first time. Strict journalistic protocols can be applied to any topic for which there is data, no matter how unusual or even indeterminate.” loc 51, ebook. I think she succeeded admirably. Most of Surviving Death is easy to understand, no matter how far-out the material may be.

I’ll admit to losing interest in the passages where she tries to distinguish between intelligence coming from the living human psyche or dead ones, the psi theory vs the survival theory. But, since that was the point of the book, that may be some people’s favorite part so don’t let me put you off.

Take these death bed descriptions of the other side by those about to leave this world: “The great inventor Edison, just hours before his death, emerged from a coma, opened his eyes, looked up, and said: “It’s very beautiful over there.” And more recently, the sister of Steve Jobs reported that just before he died, Jobs looked over the shoulders of his family members, right past them, and said, “Oh wow. Oh Wow. OH WOW!!” loc 2176, ebook. I was not present when my grandpa passed, but Grandma told me later that at the moment he took his last breath, that a light came into his eyes and his face became so completely peaceful that he looked thirty years younger. I can’t say that I know for sure what waits for us beyond this life, but I can say that I’m not afraid. If you happen to have any fears in that regard, Surviving Death could be of great help to you.

Kean doesn’t answer the question she poses definitively because, of course, she hasn’t died and come back to tell us about it, but the stories and evidence that she presents is compelling. Throughout the chapters, Kean writes about personal, first-hand experiences that she has had. I believe that they are genuine. The hardcore skeptics may disagree.

The most extraordinary part of this book were the physical manifestations that Kean observed in the medium seances. Apparently, these seances have been going on for hundreds of years in certain areas of the world. Did you know that in the 1920s in Warsaw, Poland, bowls of wax were placed in the seance chapter and apparitions were able to make molds of their hands? “In the Warsaw experiments, gloves were produced with interlocking fingers, with two hands clasping one another, and with the five fingers spread wide apart. Needless to say, the removal of a human hand from such formations would be impossible. Dematerialization was the only method that would leave the molds intact.” loc 4504, ebook. How had I never heard of this!

Recommended for readers who are prepared to have their minds blown. Surviving Death is incredible and almost indescribable. If you are interested in such studies, it is an absolute must-read. You may also want to look into Wisdom of Near Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully and The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People Are Proving the Afterlife.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for a free digital copy of this book. And, thank you for reading!

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