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Death and the Afterlife
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"It cannot be that our life is a mere bubble, cast up by eternity to float a moment on its waves and then sink into nothingness. There is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will be spread out before us like islands that slumber in the ocean, and where the beautiful beings, which now pass before us like shadows, will stay in our presence forever."
~ George D. Prentice, "The Broken-Hearted," 1854

Learn more about Heaven and Hell

Learn more about the Monkey’s Paw

Learn more about the Grass Harp

Death and the Afterlife

A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection

Clifford A. Pickover

Praise for Pickover

"Pickover contemplates realms beyond our known reality."
-- The New York Times

"Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas."
-- Christian Science Monitor


A chronicle of history's preeminent and peculiar notions of death and the afterlife

Throughout history, the nature and mystery of death has captivated artists, scientists, philosophers, physicians, and theologians. This eerie chronology ventures right to the borderlines of science and sheds light into the darkness. Here, topics as wide ranging as the Maya death gods, golems, and séances sit side by side with entries on zombies and quantum immortality. With the turn of every page, readers will encounter beautiful artwork, along with unexpected insights about death and what may lie beyond.

Milestones include:

11,000 BC: Natufian Funeral Flowers * 5050 BC: Mummies * 2400 BC: Heaven * 2000 BC: Epic of Gilgamesh * 1500 BC: Egyptian Book of the Dead * 1007 BC: The Witch of Endor * 1000 BC: Ossuaries * 900 BC: Gravestones * 850 BC: Hades * 850 BC: The Elysian Fields * 850 BC: Necromancy * 600 BC: Reincarnation * 560 BC: Cerberus * 480 BC: Epitaphs * 400 BC: Hell * 210 BC: Terracotta Army * 30: Resurrection * 50: Ghosts * 200: Xibalba * 380: Angels * 700: Tibetan Book of the Dead * 834: Viking Ship Burials * 1200: Bifrost * 1600: Golem * 1845: Summerland * 1846: Death’s-Head Hawk Moth * 1880: Cotard’s Walking Corpse Syndrome * 1890: Ghost Dance * 1896: The Garden of Death * 1902: The Monkey’s Paw * 1903: The Wounded Angel * 1907: Searches for the Soul * 1922: Last Words of the Dying * 1922: Lovecraft’s Reanimator * 1951: Grass Harp * 1956: Electronic Voice Phenomena * 1957: Transhumanism * 1962: Cryonics * 1975: Near-Death Experiences * 1987: Quantum Immortality * 100 Trillion: Death of Universe * > 100 Trillion: Quantum Resurrection... And many more....

Sampling of Images from Death and the Afterlife

Explore the colorful mysteries of death and the afterlife as the adventure unfolds over 1000s of years.

Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Burial Mounds
Burial Mounds
Egyptian book of the Deadn
Egyptian Book of the Dead
Mummies
Mummies
Transhumanism
Transhumanism
Reincarnation
Reincarnation
Brain Death
Brain Death
Searches for the Soul
Searches for the Soul
Angels
Angels
Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army
Jacob's Dream
Jacob's Dream
Afterlife in a Simulation
Afterlife in a Simulation

"Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." -- WIRED

"A perpetual idea machine, Clifford Pickover is one of the most creative, original thinkers in the world today." -- Journal of Recreational Mathematics


Cool Book Reviews!

  • Wink Books
  • “Scientist, scholar, inventor, and prolific author Clifford A. Pickover, who has written more than fifty books about science, religion, math, history, and art, has given us a handsome and thoughtful guide to some of our notions about death. From necromancy and thanatourism to kamikaze pilots, sin-eaters, and walking corpse syndrome, Pickover chooses topics wisely from art, literature, science, and our daily traditions from all walks of life throughout time and the globe over. I look forward to exploring more of Clifford A. Pickover’s work along the fringe intersections of science and art.

    Skip the bottle of wine for that Halloween dinner party and bring this for the host instead. It's a little bit different, a little bit ghoulish, and a great deal of fun."
    -- Aaron Downey, Wink Book Reviews

  • Neatorama review
  • Walking corpse syndrome
  • Coast to Coast
  • Coast to Coast (interview starts at 1:14 and 30 seconds>

Black Death Song
At YouTube
"Black Magic Woman"
At YouTube
A chronicle of history's preeminent and peculiar notions of death and the afterlife...

Symbols and stories involving death permeate out myths, paintings, and great literature—and they shape our funeral customs and preparations for the ends of our lives. Our interest in death, and what may lie beyond, is also reflected in our entertainment, with movies and books often presenting spooky or transcendent themes involving near-death experiences, the afterlife, and creatures rising from the dead. Many of these themes are ancient, hearkening back to times when people not only believed in miracles but also felt a deep connection to nature and a sense of being surrounded by unseen entities.

Welcome to Death and the Afterlife, in which we shed light into the darkness. Here, a book topic can turn from gruesome or emotional to cosmic and transcendent with just the turn of a page. In what other book can you find a discussion of Viking ship burials alongside an entry on quantum immortality, which mysteriously suggests a way we might live forever through subatomic physics? Few books attempt to describe the wonders of Truman Capote’s Grass Harp—which allows us to hear dead people in the sounds of wind-swept grass—alongside an entry on electronic voice phenomena, in which people hear the dead in amplified recordings with background noise.

Clifford A. Pickover is a prolific author, having published more than forty books, translated into over a dozen languages, on topics ranging from science and mathematics to religion, art, and history. He received his PhD from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, holds over 200 U.S. patents, and is an associate editor for several scientific journals. His research has received considerable attention from media outlets ranging from CNN and WIRED to The New York Times, and his website, www.pickover.com, has received millions of visits.

Pickover has been elected a Fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for his "significant contributions to the general public's understanding of science, reason, and critical inquiry through scholarship, writing, and work in the media." Other Fellows have included Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov.

Follow Dr. Cliff Pickover on Twitter. Return to Pickover's main web page. Information on Pickover's other books.


Death and the Afterlife
Some Topics

20,000 BC: Cremation
11,000 BC: Natufian Funeral Flowers
5050 BC: Mummies
4000 BC: Burial Mounds
4000 BC: Coffins
2400 BC: Heaven
2000 BC: Epic of Gilgamesh
1772 BC: Capital Punishment
1500 BC: Egyptian Book of the Dead
1110 BC: Yama
1007 BC: The Witch of Endor
1000 BC: Ossuaries
900 BC: Gravestones
850 BC: Hades
850 BC: The Elysian Fields
850 BC: Necromancy
700 BC: Thanatos
600 BC: Reincarnation
560 BC: Cerberus
550 BC: Bridegroom of Blood
480 BC: Epitaphs
400 BC: Hell
210 BC: Terracotta Army
30: Resurrection
50: Ghosts
70: Abortion
80: Outer Darkness
200: Xibalba
380: Angels
700: Tibetan Book of the Dead
834: Viking Ship Burials
1200: Bifrost
1321: Dante’s Divine Comedy
1324: Sky Burial
1348: Black Death
1380: Banshee
1424: Grim Reaper
1519: Day of the Dead
1600: Golem
1619: Plague Doctor Costume
1622: Children and Capacocha
1651: Gravediggers
1670: Suicide
1731: Obituaries
1761: Autopsy
1770: Death Certificate
1792: Guillotine
1796: Extinction
1800: Jacob’s Ladder
1818: Frankenstein
1819: Vampires
1825: Sin-Eaters
1831: Cemeteries
1832: Resurrectionists
1838: Funerals
1844: Premature Burial
1845: Death by Poe
1845: Summerland
1846: Death’s-Head Hawk Moth
1848: Séance
1852: Ophelia
1867: Embalming
1872: Euthanasia
1880: Cotard’s Walking Corpse Syndrome
1885: Death Mask
1886: The Death of Ivan Ilyich
1890: Crucifixion Vision of Tissot
1890: Electric Chair
1890: Ghost Dance
1895: Schwabe’s “Death of the Gravedigger”
1896: The Garden of Death
1902: The Monkey’s Paw
1903: The Wounded Angel
1907: Searches for the Soul
1922: Last Words of the Dying
1922: Lovecraft’s Reanimator
1944: Genocide
1944: Kamikaze
1951: Grass Harp
1956: Electronic Voice Phenomena
1956: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
1956: Golding's Liminal World
1957: Transhumanism
1962: Ondine's Curse
1962: Cryonics
1967: Hospice
1968: Brain Death
1968: Zombies
1969. Kübler-Ross’s On Death and Dying
1975: Near-Death Experiences
1980: Death Squads
1987: Quantum Immortality
1991: Do Not Resuscitate
1996: Dark Tourism
2002: Programmed Cell Death
100 Trillion: Death of Universe
> 100 Trillion: Quantum Resurrection
For the Joy of Learning
Other Illustrated Books by Pickover

"My primary interest is finding new ways to continually expand creativity by melding art, science, mathematics and other seemingly disparate areas of human endeavor.
I seek not only to expand the mind, but to shatter it."


The truth behind Hades at YouTube



Return to Cliff Pickover's main web page.
Information on Cliff's other books is here.

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