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The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death Paperback – March 18, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schwartz (The Living Energy Universe), director of the Human Energy Systems Laboratory at the University of Arizona, proposes "working with a group of top mediums who have consistently received messages, supposedly from the dead," to investigate whether or not there is indeed life after death. Armed with consummate authority (e.g., logic, scientific research and the focus of a recent HBO documentary), the book progresses through the lab's findings. Of particular fun are the session transcripts, which include running commentary provided by lead investigators. (One sitter describes a medium's performance as "dead on.") That their data will convince readers, the authors believe, is a foregone conclusion: "[E]ven skeptics will begin to evolve as a result of these findings." Yet the story comes off like high-grade magic or a splendid infomercial. Despite the reliance on experts (such as magicians, scientists and videographers), the narrative has the suspect tone of a sideshow barker. All the same, Schwartz embraces an admirable passion for curious knowledge and adamantly resolves to uphold his survival-of-consciousness hypothesis until research proves otherwise.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Schwartz has long been interested in the possible survival of consciousness after death. With Simon's assistance, he reports on his and fellow psychologist Linda Russek's increasingly scientific experiments to determine whether consciousness survives death--experiments that HBO publicized in a program that unfortunately downplayed the science in them. The second and third experiments involved some silent-sitter time, when the spirit mediums involved had to make observations without being able to ask questions, and also wholly quiet times. The results, particularly of the second and third experiments, showed definite examples of precognition and surprisingly accurate observations by the mediums. Lengthy presentation of some of the sessions with the mediums figure in the text, and 90 pages of scientific reports demonstrate the scientific foundation for Schwartz and Russek's work, as does their earlier book The Living Energy Universe (1999). The Afterlife Experiments should provoke considerable discussion, which, once the reactions of those who refuse to look at the data are discarded, should be of value for further investigation in this controversial field. William Beatty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (March 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743436598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743436595
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 171 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on February 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you've lost a loved one, if you are a fan of Jonathan Edwards or James Van Pragh or Sylvia Browne, this book will be a pleasure.
The book reports on scientific findings about consciousness after death from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Gary Schwartz, former Yale and Harvard professor. He works with mediums, who are "superstars of mediumship" including Jonathan Edwards.
The findings are based on data the mediums report based on their contact with people on "the other side" who are associated with "sitters" who are volunteers for these experiments.
For example, if a person says to a sitter that she had a grandmother, that's not impressive. If the medium says the grandmother loved the sitter very much, that's not too impressive either (My grandmothers died before I was born so it would be a wrong answer in my case) But if the sitter said that the grandmother is talking about daisies and her wedding-- well, that stands out. And if the medium reports that the daisies were in the sitters hair.. That's pretty amazing. Schwartz's research takes hundreds of items like this and then has the trained sitters rate them for accuracy. The mediums never meet, never see or hear the sitters, except when the medium hears the sitter in the next room sob, if the medium really nails a connection.
This work has evolved as a logical step in Dr. Schwartz's research into human energy systems and energy medicine, and from ideas that he first developed and reported with Lynda Russek in the book Living Energy Universe.
This research is very controversial, and while exciting and comforting to some, it is upsetting to some of the science skeptics, like James Randi, who seems to have made Dr. Schwartz his number one target recently.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Caroline W. on April 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author wrote the book to address our intellect, not our emotions. There is nothing "misty" and "spiritual" about his writing style or his facts. He is a scientist who, with professional hoax-exposers (hired to spot any funny business or "magic tricks"), put five psychic mediums through a series of tests to either prove or disprove their claims that they communicate with the deceased. Then they tested the results against a control group of non-psychics, and reported their findings.

The book begins with what, at first sight, appears to be a self-congratulatory chapter where the author seemingly brags about his background, education, and standing within the scientific and academic community. As dry as that is, I got the sense that he wasn't bragging, nor was he being defensive. He was simply trying to demonstrate to us he that isn't a kook, and was looking for the truth whatever that is. He put his career at risk to complete this experiment, and was merely telling us he risked quite a lot.

His conscientious attention to detail and completely balanced approach to the experiment appealed to me. I'm not looking for the misty and the spiritual; I want facts as much as he does, and I'm less concerned with what the truth is than with what can be proved. If something can be proved, I get over myself and accept it whatever it is and regardless of how sincerely I wanted the truth to be something else.
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117 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Tymn VINE VOICE on March 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In offering evidence that consciousness survives bodily death, the author goes well beyond the "preponderance of evidence" standard required to prove civil law suits and, in this reviewer's opinion, easily exceeds the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard required for criminal cases.

Certainly, Dr. Schwartz has the credentials of a true scientist. He received his doctorate from Harvard and taught at Yale before moving on to the University of Arizona, where he is professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery as well as the director of its Human Energy Systems Laboratory. But Schwartz is not your mainstream scientist. Even though very much a skeptic himself, he had the courage to take on a research project in a scientifically taboo area after being introduced to a medium who immediately began communicating very evidential material from his mother.
Schwartz arranged for five mediums, including the well-known John Edward and George Anderson, to undergo testing at his laboratory. All possible scientific controls and precautions were taken. The conclusion by Schwartz and Dr. Linda Russek, who collaborated with him in the research, was that the mediums were indeed gifted and able to communicate with spirit entities.
In in the initial stages of the research, Schwartz found it difficult to believe what he was seeing and hearing. "My degree of doubt in the presence of all data was frankly irrational," he writes. "I was experiencing skeptimania." But as the research continued, Schwartz was forced to face the truth. "I can no longer ignore the data and dismiss the words," he continues. "They are as real as the sun, the trees, and our television sets, which seem to pull pictures out of the air.
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