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Mary Roach

One section is about reincarnation. She goes to India and finds villagers who take it for granted that when someone dies he has to enter someone else, so they don't look too critically if someone appears to recognize the right friends relatives or belongings.

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Their code, The Ordinances of Manu covers everything in criminal law (If a man of lower caste spit on a highborn man, his lips shall be cut off; if he makes water on him, his penis; if he break wind, his buttocks) And reincarnation is included as a matter of consequences (One becomes a heron by stealing fire, a house-wasp by stealing a household utensil, by stealing dyed cloths one becomes a fowl. Similarly if you steal silk you are reborn as a partridge; linen a frog; cotton a curlew; or a cow leads to an iguana)

Historical belief that sperm and eggs held miniature beings - usually the sperm held a soul with the potential to become a human life, and that the woman's role was merely to receive and nourish the perfectly formed mini human being Then once conception discovered, the debate shifted to when the soul entered the new being. One of most reasoned attempts came from Norman Ford, a moral philosopher and a Catholic priest, who decided that 'ensoulment' or 'personhood' had to wait until 14th day. Before that the zygote capable of splitting to form twins, or to go the other way - two eggs can merge back together to form one embryo.

Jewish Talmudic law gets very worried about quite small details. One book makes judgements about 'whether or not a cattle breeder whose animal caused damage by knocking something with its penis must make restitution (undecided), upon the inadmissibility of cleansing the anus with the snout of a dog, and upon the misconduct in which a woman places into the vagina of another woman a piece of meat from a fallen animal

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U of Virginia study on NDE's Near Death Experiences. In an operating theatre taped an open laptop computer to the top of highest monitor, facing toward ceiling. Computer displays a random selection of bright, animated images, so that if any patient reports an out-of-body NDE, he plans to ask them what they saw on the screen (so far none have reported any NDE at all)

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Victims of armed robberies can accurately describe the weapon 91% of the time and the criminal only 35% of the time. Funny that.

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