Things To Do When You’re Dead by Tricia Robertson is an excellent account of high quality,contemporary psychical research. The author’s degree in Physics and career in education make her an ideal researcher, employing scientific methodology and critical acumen in equal measures. If this book if your first foray into the world of paranormal literature then you can do no better as this book is not a showy piece of sensationalism, but instead presents and investigates the phenomena, as experienced by people of all ages, ethnicity, sex and educational background. Spontaneous phenomena and oral witness testimony are notoriously difficult to investigate, but the author, who personally investigated many of the cases presented in this book, has over 29 years of personal investigative experience. She has worked along with many other excellent contemporary researchers, including the late Professor Archie Roy and the organisational offshoot from Society for Psychical Research, the Scottish Society for Psychical Research.Psychical research encompasses many strange areas and this book investigates a variety of phenomena, from apparitions, mediumship, poltergeists, paranormal surgery and reincarnation, as experienced by ordinary people. Each case has been investigated on its own merit and been exhaustively researched. However challenging the phenomena presented may be to the prevailing cultural worldview, the fact remains that people are having these anomalous experiences, often unwanted, and in some cases extremely frightening. The sheer weight of cases presented and the careful way in which all possible other explanations are considered, makes them even more valid, in my humble opinion.
In addition to presenting the phenomena, the author author bravely looks beyond the `mere spooky goings on’, to their potential implications to us as humans. What does the possibility that extreme personal internal tension can cause physical objects move actually mean? Does every human have such potential abilities? Just what is the psyche and what are the latent abilities of the human mind? Is it possible that the human personality can and does survive bodily death, and can, in some cases, affect the material environment? These are mind-blowing questions to which there are no easy answers.
The author has carefully followed the evidence and does not try to explain all the cases presented. Her sincerity in admitting that she has no answers to some of the more baffling experiences is refreshingly honest.
I personally feel that the cases presented in this engagingly readable and credible book point fairly convincingly to the fact that the human mind is far stranger than we realise and its abilities little understood. We may not have all the answers but denying the evidence simply because it challenges our conceptual worldview is highly unsatisfactory. The evidence is presented in a thoughtful, critical and erudite manner and leaves me, personally, in doubt, of their veracity.
The author follows in the tradition of the 19th century academic pioneers of the Society for Psychical Research, sadly fighting against similar scientific prejudice, media sensationalism, fraud and public misunderstanding. In this current climate it is a testament to the skill of the author that these stories have been told at all – most people are very cautious about telling of their anomalous experience for fear of ridicule or questions over their mental sanity.
This book is a fascinating account of the experiences people are having and their presentation and research is excellent. This leaves me wanting more from the author….as soon as possible, please!