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on 22 June 2013
I have been reading a lot of books about the afterlife recently, because I have noticed that there is much evidence accumulating which suggests there is a life after physical death. These books, many of them written by highly respected scientists, are not to be dismissed lightly, and I highly recommend them to anyone who is afraid of death, or has lost a loved one.
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on 5 November 2012
I have often heard it said, usually by those who have not really looked for it, that there is no evidence to support the assertion that we survive physical death. Perhaps sometimes what is meant is that there is insufficient evidence to constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. Either way there is a vast amount of evidence available to those with a genuine interest. Some of this evidence appears to have been meticulously researched by individuals who were apparently, at least initially, highly sceptical. Some of them were the finest minds of their day.

Chris Carter's latest book won't convince a confirmed cynic, however it is clearly stated that this is not the author's intention. For those who haven't formed a final view on the matter and remain open-minded, this book contains a few of what the author considers to be the most evidential reports. Chris Carter's analysis of the reports is forensic and detailed.

The examples given are very interesting and diverse. In most cases it is difficult to see any explanation for them other than survival or fraud. In some of the cases cited, the fraud would need to have been gargantuan and have involved highly respected persons with no obvious motive. In the words of Jung; ""I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud".

Although I don't have much interest in Reincarnation, there was much of interest apart from that; I particularly appreciated Chris Carter's treatment of the Chess Game between Korchnoi and, apparently, a long dead Chess Grandmaster, Maroczy, and his analysis of the purported communications from Myers.

In some ways the book reminded me a little of "Is There An Afterlife?" by David Fontana, however in this case the author does not shy away from stating his own opinion on the answer to that question, and the reason for it.

Thorough, honest and as usual anticipating the common objections to the evidence presented, and treating such fairly. In the final analysis I suspect true conviction can only be found through a combination of research and direct personal experience, however for those waiting for the latter, this book is well worth reading.
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on 4 April 2013
Excellent book - Chris Carter has taken the time and trouble to collate a huge number of convincing cases for the continuance of Consciousness after death in a well written lucid style.

He well describes the absolute stupidity of some of the so-called 'scientific community' who insist against overwhelming evidence that when life leaves the body that is 'the end'; he states that this branch of scientific enquiry is the only one which has a whole range of die-hards trying to refute every finding and to prove it wrong - he is absolutely correct! I just wonder what IS their agenda - are they afraid of facing the truth and why?

I, personally have had several proofs, without the possibility of fraud or wishful thinking of the continuance of 'life' after death and it angers me that these die-hard skeptics dare to debunk my experiences.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions but why go out of your way to so vehemently debunk those of others when proof is actually there if you want to find out!

This book says all this and is definitely recommended as an extremely good, informative read. Well worth anyone's time
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on 9 October 2012
When Chris Carter's first book, Science and Psychic Phenomena, came out he mentioned he'd originally tried to do it all in a single volume, but was advised to separate it into three. In doing so he's given himself the room to do full justice to the various different topics. His first two instalments tackled psi research and NDEs. With this latest book on survival-related research - spirit communications, ghosts and apparitions and memories of a past life - he has carried his ambitious trilogy to a triumphant conclusion.

This is more than a survey; it's an uncompromisingly partisan argument in favour of survival. The last person to make the case with philosophical rigour was Robert Almeder some twenty years ago, and it's fitting that the book includes an foreword by him. An earlier one was by CJ Ducasse, which Carter frequently references, also perhaps CD Broad's Lectures in Psychical Research, but these of course didn't include near-death experiences or evidence for reincarnation. Stephen Braude's Immortal Remains is up there too, but, like Broad, he's more concerned with exploration than in making a committed statement. So it's not a crowded field.

The advantage of having plenty of room is that the topics are pretty comprehensively covered, with case studies representing a good range of evidence and illustrating all the main issues. It's also admirably laid out and structured. Much of the material is probably familiar to anyone who is reasonably well read in psychic research. On the other hand there were quite a few examples which I was glad to be reacquainted with, and others which were completely new, leaving me with the feeling that I don't know as much as I thought I did. One such is the chess match between living and deceased grandmasters, concluded in 1993, via a medium who knew nothing about chess - an extraordinary and apparently successful experiment.

It's brave of Carter to tackle the cross correspondences, which to get the full impact of requires a knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman literature that few now possess. I'm still not convinced that they make the case for survival as watertight as the SPR researchers at the time clearly thought it did. But at the very least one can clearly see the convincing appearance of their deceased colleagues trying to come up with ways to persuade them that mediumistic communications are not just confabulations in the minds of the living.

But could that not be the case? The nub in books about survival is what to do about the super-psi hypothesis, the possibility that survival evidence can be more economically explained in terms of a virtually boundless psi capacity in living humans. I'm used to seeing this quite fully described with some seriousness - and in Stephen Braude's case, with a large degree of sympathy - as if it's a real contender. Carter will have none of this, and in what, for me, was one of the best chapters of the book, provides a full array of cogently argued examples to show why it is untenable.

That is one of the most striking characteristics of Carter's writing, his unwillingness to make the slightest concession to sceptics. This book takes full account of possible counter explanations, and indeed is largely concerned with showing why they must be set aside in the key cases he describes. But unlike the two earlier ones it does not focus very much on individual debunkers. When they do appear, it is to no great effect. For instance Paul Edwards is brought in as the chief prosecutor in the section on reincarnation, but since his basic position is that survival and reincarnation are simply incredible, and for that reason cannot possibly be true, one is left feeling that there is not much to argue about.

A part of me thinks that agnostic readers may object to this, believing that Carter is not giving their natural objections fair representation. After all, they may reason, if traditional materialist science rejects the idea of survival so completely, then its arguments must surely be stronger than Carter is letting on. Another part of me recognises that he is right, at least as far as psychic research is concerned: the evidence, across several different categories, locks together to provide an absolutely convincing case.

So I certainly don't disagree with Carter about his conclusions, which I think are absolutely warranted. I also think this book, and the trilogy as a whole, is a tour-de-force, and that it's vital that authoritative interpretations like this are available to set against the productions of sceptics like Richard Wiseman, which seem to attract media interest more easily. The really big question is whether the books we write about survival will ever make much difference to public perceptions.

Reading Carter's book reawakened in me that sense of wonder that something so entirely obvious should in our time be so effectively suppressed. The bottom line is that a great many people - clever and humane - will take their first steps in a new existence filled with puzzlement, confusion and perhaps even anxiety. That surely can't be a good thing. But if we want to address this, we will have to find ways to get them even to consider the question, never mind weighing up the pros and cons of the evidence.

(Robert McLuhan is author of Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong, and why it matters)
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on 21 October 2012
Just how strong is the case for the survival of consciousness beyond death? You may never get a better answer to that question than in the pages of Chris Carter's Science and the Afterlife Experience, the concluding volume of his masterful trilogy on science and the paranormal.

The book is organized around three major lines of evidence: the apparent past-life memories of children, apparitions, and purported messages from the dead through mediums.

With each of these three lines, Carter first presents a series of well-researched and well-documented cases. These cases are an education in themselves. They are so impressive that I found many of them stretching my view of what is possible. An apparition that was seen by forty witnesses at once, who spoke to them, and "tarried with them till after daylight" (p. 102)? I would have naturally assumed that stories like that were fish tales that had grown in the telling, were they not backed up by witness affidavits and thoroughly investigated by respected (and often skeptical) researchers.

With each line of evidence, Carter then explores a variety of naturalistic explanations, such as chance, fraud, faulty memory, flawed eyewitness testimony, and cultural fantasy. It is a strength of the book that he dispatches these relatively quickly, for he demonstrates that they refuse to seriously engage the evidence, in the dogmatic assumption that such things simply cannot be.

By far, most of Carter's attention goes to non-naturalistic explanations, involving ESP or what he calls super-ESP (usually called super-psi). In this view, the children who are supposedly remembering past lives, the people who are seeing apparitions, and the mediums who are supposedly channeling the dead are all accessing their information not from the deceased, but through a kind of high-octane ESP, one that exceeds in volume, speed, and accuracy anything normally seen with ESP.

It tells you something about the strength of the evidence that the only way to deny survival is to invent an unlimited paranormal faculty. And we may be tempted to give this explanation a pass, since it already generously acknowledges the reality of the paranormal. Yet this is where Carter aims his biggest guns. With each of his three lines of evidence, he shows that the super-ESP explanation is implausibly contrived and contorted, an intellectual Hydra that grows ever-new auxiliary assumptions in response to each challenge from the evidence.

For instance, in the case of mediumship, super-ESP supposedly allows the medium not only to bring through voluminous accurate details about the dead, but also perform convincing impressions of them, demonstrate their hard-won skills, and actually speak in their foreign tongues. As if this wasn't enough, it even enables mediums on different continents (in the famed cross correspondences) to subconsciously collude in elaborate telepathic conspiracies!

Step by step, Carter leads us relentlessly to his conclusion that super-ESP is "an unbridled fantasy" that "shamelessly cloaks itself with elaborate ad hoc, untestable, auxiliary hypotheses whose only purpose is to render the nonsurvival theory immune from being proven false by the overwhelming evidence against it" (p. 271). As a result, he concludes that there is literally no credible rival to the hypothesis that we survive the death of our bodies.

For me, the power of the book lies in the quality of the argumentation. I believe it is exceedingly difficult to objectively assess the evidence for survival in our present age. Art critic Sister Wendy has said that it is impossible for us to evaluate the art of our own time; we are too embedded in our time to view it from outside. In the same way, our educated classes are too infected with the prevailing philosophy of materialism to truly stand apart from it. Thus, even gifted minds who devote their lives to advancing our knowledge of the paranormal often seem infected with the virus to one degree or another.

I believe that Carter's strength is that he appears to be entirely uninfected. He thus has the rare ability to present the case for survival in a way that is free of the fog of our time. How would the case for survival look if our heads had cleared of this fog? I'll let Carter answer this, in words that may seem audacious, yet are merely a sober acknowledgment of the evidence he has presented: "As others before me have concluded, survival of consciousness past the point of biological death is a fact."
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on 24 October 2012
Chris Carter's three-volume examination of the question of human consciousness concludes with this stunning tour-de-force, which explores some of the most intriguing evidence yet that consciousness survives the death of the body. Every one of these three books is essential reading, building a careful and well-argued case with plenty of evidence, and honestly examining the arguments of those who assert that consciousness is merely a product of the physical body (the brain) and hence deny that consciousness can continue after its death.

The evidence provided in this book is startling, well-documented and extremely important. Nevertheless, the cases discussed are probably not very widely known, beyond those who deliberately specialize in this subject. In other words, the cases Chris Carter presents for the reader SHOULD be widely discussed, but they most definitely are not. Everyone with an interest in this subject (which should be just about everyone) should at least be aware of the details of these fascinating cases, and permitted to consider the evidence for himself / herself.

And fascinating they are -- from the first section, examining the evidence for the possibility of reincarnation, to the final page of the book, the accounts in this book grip the reader and present him (her) with scene after scene in a human drama that he (she) cannot stop thinking about. After the section on reincarnation comes an examination of the most well-documented accounts of apparitions, followed by an in-depth examination of the evidence for messages and communications from individuals who have departed this life -- the longest section of the book and perhaps the most compelling.

Chris Carter does not shy away from the arguments of the critics and skeptics -- instead, he meets those arguments head-on, presenting the counterarguments of the strongest opponents of the survival of consciousness beyond the material body. He clearly states that "Genuine skepticism is an important part of science" and respectfully considers the possibilities that the phenomena explored in the book can be explained by hypotheses other than survival after death. The reader can decide the outcome for himself or herself.

The implications of this discussion are profound, and the book concludes with some valuable examination of these implications. This is a question that all of us should be eager to examine. We owe Chris Carter a true debt of gratitude for assembling this material and guiding us through it in such a clear-headed and engaging manner. Profound.
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on 31 May 2014
Does some aspect of human consciousness survive bodily death? No question is of greater importance to humankind, yet no possibility has been more fiercely resisted by reductionist science since roughly the time of the Enlightenment. What are the facts? In Science And the Afterlife Experience author Chris Carter provides a remarkably informed, logical, and comprehensive review of all the facts that simply steamrolls the old assumptions and trite theories trotted out by material science these days that do little more than blur, muddy, and confuse the issue. In this meticulously researched volume the Oxford educated Carter pushes the tottering reductionist worldview over the cliff for good. If you cherish the truth, this is your book.

JIm Stempel, author of The Nature of War: Origins and Evolution of Violent Conflict (McFarland, 2012)
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on 23 October 2012
This is the third book in a trilogy exploring the evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness and it provides an overwhelming and compelling argument for the survival of the mind after death. It gives the reader conclusive evidence, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the survival of the mind after death is a proven fact that should be accepted by science and explored further.
What lifts this above all other books is the rigour in which evidence for both believers and sceptics is presented. The cases are examined, reviewed and concluded in lay mans terms leaving no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. The evidence is there and is so compelling that the reader is left with very little doubt that the mind does indeed survive death and continues in the afterlife.
The world needs people like Chris Carter to push the boundaries of convention and question what we currently accept as scientific fact. What will be uncovered in the future may bewilder and astonish many but this should not deter us from investigating further and seeking answers even though the consequences may be detrimental to many learned bodies. And I think that is where the crux of difficulties with this type of research lies - changing current convention and beliefs.
But even so, studies and evidence as provided in this book must continue if we are to enhance and enlighten our current understanding of what consciousness is and what awaits us in the next chapter of its existence.
This has whetted my appetite to research and discover more and I can only congratulate Chris Carter for producing this wonderful read and thoroughly recommend this and his other two books in the trilogy to anyone who seeks an answer to these most intriguing and ancient questions: "why are we here and what is next?"
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on 1 November 2012
This is a wonderful book. It is simply written and easy to read. The three sections cover evidence suggestive of reincarnation, (like near death experiences and children who remember past lives), ghosts and apparitions, and communication with the dead (via mediums). Many examples and possible explanations are given. Although the author believes there is more to life than living, the merely curious will find much to satisfy their curiosity. The book is a comprehensive reference work, and a pleasant read.

Robert S. Bobrow, MD
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on 2 January 2013
I can only endorse that what has already been written within the numerous excellent reviews of this worthy book, and am tempted to purchase the other earlier two parts which I understand complete this work by esteemed author.
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