Last week I reread The Romeo Error by Lyall Watson (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974). Watson is a South African doctor of biology who was educated in England. He is best known for his 1973 bestseller Supernature. In the introduction Watson says, "If Supernature was my 'life book,' then this is its companion volume on death." (p. viii) As a biologist Watson was embarrassed by the fact that biologists do not know when life begins or ends. "I believe that a student of life should know where it starts and have some idea of how it ends. Hence this book. It starts from first principles and develops along the lines of a debate, as much for the sake of my own sanity as for anyone else's edification." (p. viii) The nine chapters include: Life, Death, Dying, Personality, Enlightenment, Dissociation, Survival, Possession, and Miracles.
Here's a list of some of the many fascinating topics.
The inability of scientists to distinguish life from death.
The suggestion that death is a continuum rather than an event.
The concept that death should be treated as a disease, which is sometimes curable.
The unreliability of death tests that involve the heart, breath, temperature, pupil, brain waves, rigor mortis, and even putrefaction.
The fact that death is redefined whenever technological advances show that people who would have formerly been called dead, can now be called alive.
Evidence indicating the existence of a death cry at the cellular level, which can be received by other organisms at a distance.
Experiments that indicate a plant witnessing the murder of another plant can later identify the murderer by means of electrical responses.
The stages of dying.
Accounts of death by means of magic.
Studies showing that individuals are linked telepathically and that someone who is being thought about reacts with measurable physiological changes.
The suggestion that such phenomena as fainting, cataplexy, catalepsy, and seizures are biological survival mechanisms.
The idea that ceremonies for the dead are designed to keep the dead from bothering the living.
The possibility of the personality surviving physical death.
Embryonic cell behavior and how such cells can alter their purpose.
The suggestion that we are all psychic but psychic inputs are subtle and filtered out by our brains.
Satya Sai Baba's miracles.
The psychic medical diagnoses of Jose de Freitas (Arigo).
Psychic healing and psychic surgery.
The Romeo Error is well-written and well-researched. More than three hundred bibliographic entries are cited throughout the text. There is also a good index enabling the reader to find those topics he finds the most interesting. Even now, over thirty years later, the book is filled with thought-provoking concepts, profound insights, and wonderful mysteries.