To those who like reading about religion, Corey Taylor is likely to split the masses (not exactly a shock to those who have read Seven Deadly Sins ). But where atheists like Richard Dawkins make you want to violently punch walls with the way they present their views, Taylor brings a dose of humour along with a reflective look at himself. He never slams anyone for their belief, but just makes it clear what he says is merely his own belief.
And why is this remotely relevant to a book about the existence of ghosts? Well, as Corey himself says, “I do not believe in God. […] So here is the question: How can I believe in ghosts… and not in God? How can I mock the existence of Jehovah and his creepy-winged minions while straight-facedly maintaining that there are ghosts, spirits, poltergeists and haunts among us? How can I go on record with a whole book for that matter, dedicated to my versions of the various events in my life, knowing full well that I might be regarded as a hypocrite at best, a nutcase at worst?”
Luckily he answers that too: “The running theory is a case of knowing versus believing.”
Cutting to the chase: this book has the potential for very polarised reactions. If you’re a believer of the paranormal, then you’ll find his experiences captivating. More so, if you’re a Slipknot or Stone Sour fan, you’ll find it incredibly cool that Corey is on the same wavelength as you and has the stories to back it. However, if you’re a non-believer, this will read like a crazy man’s ramblings. Luckily, Corey notes that himself.
For skeptics though, those who sit in the middle ground, this is really interesting. Not sitting fully at one end of the spectrum, the reader can be swung from side to side, finding the stories themselves haunting and unsettling but also finding some moments a little hard to swallow. But is the point to grab you by the shoulders and scream in your face that ghosts exist? Well, no. It’s openly concluded that this is just a host of personal experiences, with hope of starting a dialogue into the subject. It’s certainly got one person thinking, and probably a few others.
The book is just Corey Taylor. Though the stories may be dark at times, or the science-based stuff might feel a bit too academic to some, his humour and wit is ever-present, as well as his ability to deviate into random trains of thought, with a neat splattering of dick, fuck, fart and shit to boot.
One book that springs to mind is James Kakalios’ The Physics of Superheroes in that, when you accept a certain exception to how we view the world – the ‘miracle exception’ – then everything is completely plausible, from Superman’s jumping abilities to the Flash’s great speed. Though Corey’s proposal of ‘intelligent energy’ is likely just smart conjecture, if you make the relevant exception that ghosts are, generally speaking, completely real, his explanation seems completely plausible.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven seems like it’s going to be packed with a mass of ghost hunting expeditions and doesn’t quite live up to that particular hype after a while, but delivers a lot of personal insight into a side of Taylor’s life that many never really knew. It also reads a bit like a personal tour through his homes over the years, with a number of anecdotes thrown in for good measure. For one, it’s a really enjoyable read and – regardless of personal beliefs – was well worth it, and at no point do you lose his own personality in the process.