Experiences Out-of-Body

Victor Borras’ Out-of-Body Experience

The following is Victor Borras’ OBE testimony sent to me by email in his own words.

I’m 54 years old now. When I was 19 years old I had become a Christian and I began preaching the Bible. I read the Bible every day and prayed daily.

I met these missionaries one day and they were different. Two families each had children and they were all dressed in this white robes and all wore their hair long brushed backwards. The men, husbands and older sons, never shaved. I learned from them that God had told them to practice this tradition.

Well one night after I preached, I went home happy and excited but tired and sleepy. So instead of praying for about a usual 30 minutes or so, I did a quick 10 to 30 second prayer and jumped to bed and fell into a very deep sleep. I don’t recall how long I slept but suddenly I heard the door knock. I quickly got up.

To me this was no dream. It was real.

I answered the door. There standing in front of me was one of the husband missionaries and with a great smile he simply said, “God bless you.”

As he was dressed, everyone compared him to Moses or a prophet from the Old Testament days.

I was happy to see him visit me so I quickly invited him to my room. But he didn’t walk in.

The next thing I knew I was back on my bed and he simply floated to the foot end of my bed. While floating there in a standing position, he asked me to get him some fruits. I quickly went to the kitchen and from the refrigerator I grabbed oranges, grapes, bananas, etc. It seemed I had an assortment of all kinds of fruits that I was more than desirous to give to him. But when I got to the bed and motioned to give them to him, he made a gesture that he did not mean eatable fruits but spiritual fruits. I understood this to mean converts into Christianity by my continuing preaching the Bible. But I wanted him to take the eatable fruits too. But he suddenly disappeared.

I then felt myself alone but thankful that this had occurred.

Then something strange happened as I lay in bed. I saw this cloud descending from my ceiling and coming down towards me but I wasn’t scared, just apprehensive.

When the cloud was descending on me, I had this feeling of fear. That part confused me, I could never understand why fear? But when the cloud covered me completely it was magical, a smile came over me, not a physical smile where my mouth was curved to form a smile, but something that tingled sensations of the GREATEST joy any human could experience, for I could feel my feet, my chest, arms, brain, heart and soul all consumed into a joyous smile of my soul! That’s why I knew this was GOD.

When the cloud covered my body, from toe to top of my head, I felt the most enormous and immense sensation of LOVE. It was so beautiful that I began laughing out of the joy this gave me. It was like too much for my body to contain this. And it seemed that I heard this voice from heaven speak to me and say, “Well done my son.”

Upon hearing this, I then believed that I had been carried to heaven or before the Almighty God.

I was so filled with LOVE and JOY. I was content and NEVER wanted to go back to Earth, ever. But I again heard these words, “It is not your time for you have much fruits to bring to me.” But I did not want to return back to this Earth.

Suddenly I felt myself back on my bed and the cloud had left. I felt so immensely sad and wanted to cry. I knew I wasn’t being rejected, but had things to do, only I couldn’t think of being back to Earth and going back to things of this Earth.

Next to my bed I had a window. This was during the summer and I always kept my window opened. So I thought or I heard a voice say, as if from the basement, “If you jump off the window you’ll go back to that wonderful place and you wont have to spend any more time on this Earth.” The logic seemed true and clear.

So I sensed myself putting my legs first through the window. Then an image came flashing to my head quickly. I received a message that if I jump I’d be killing myself, committing suicide, and this does not please GOD. I’d be escaping HIS WILL and would be wrong to do in the eyes of GOD. And it is better to be faithful and patient and pleasing then to be so self-willed and do what I knew was wrong and unfavorable to GOD.

So I simply returned back to bed and accepted my destiny. As I moved my body closer to where my pillow was I noticed that as I was awakening, my legs were actually sticking out of the window.

Then I went to sleep, with a smile and at peace.

I’ve always wondered if this was like a near-death experience. Even though there was no hospital, surgery, or a flatliner situation, some of the other scenarios did seem to be there. Any ideas?

Kevin Williams‘ reply: Very interesting experiences you have. These kind of experiences can labeled many different things and they could be one whole experience involving three separate kinds of aspects to it and this is what I think you had.

In my opinion, you mentioned your were greeted by a husband missionary at the door. If this man was the “essence” of a deceased person (i.e., spirit, ghost, whatever) and you were wide awake, then the first part of your experience may have been what is called a “pre-death” vision. Before many people die, they are visited by someone on the Other Side, usually to tell them they are soon to join them.

Because you didn’t die, your second experience probably was a near-death experience or a vision (these kind of things overlap and even are part of other experiences) but probably a near-death experience because your third experience was obviously an out-of-body experience.

The reason I say your third experience is an out-of-body experience is because of several reasons. You mentioned a point in time when you were awakening yet saw your legs sticking out of the window. This kind of thing has happened to me twice in my life and it is the result of “sleep paralysis.” When you are asleep, your consciousness leaves your body and your physical body becomes more out of your control. This is because nature does not want you acting out your dreams, like a sleepwalker, when you are dreaming. But in your case, because it does appear you had a near-death experience, returned to your body then had a brief out-of-body experience involving sleep paralysis.

It is during out-of-body experiences where people are more apt to come in contact with earthbound souls of the kind that might tell you to kill yourself, in my opinion. Also, the realm of your dreams is the same realm where out-of-body experiences occur and the realm is called the “astral realm” or the “earthbound realm” because it is close to Earth. This realm is like a never-never land where we can see our loved ones on the other side, experience whatever our minds desire, and even hear the voice of God. When you are finished dreaming, your soul body or “astral body” returns to your physical body.

Sleep paralysis happens when you awaken before your astral body has returned to your physical body. It is a strange sensation where your physical body is paralyzed for a short while and you can momentarily see two of yourself. In my case, I once woke up but was paralyzed. For a brief moment, I saw that I was half-way out of my body. It was like being at two places at the same time. The first time this happened to me I was terrified. Then I realized that it was an extremely brief out-of-body experience resulting from sleep paralysis.

Of course, all near-death experiences start out as an out-of-body experience and then progresses to certain stages. I think your experience began with a pre-death vision where the missionary appeared and told you what was about to happen. Then the near-death experience. When you returned to your body, you had a brief out-of-body experience resulting from sleep paralysis and it was at this time the earthbound soul (probably a suicide) told you to kill yourself. Very interesting experience(s) I believe. But not unusual in of themselves. Having all three of these in one experience: pre-death, near-death, out-of-body, is not common I believe. But not impossible. Thanks for sharing this.

Experiences Out-of-Body

Sandy Lemke’s Out-of-Body Experience

Sandy Lemke states: “I was just reading Betty Bethard‘s comment on ‘soul merge’ and I had experienced this when I was in my 30’s. My boyfriend died of a brain tumor and I had so many things I did not get to tell him because it happened so quickly and I never knew what was wrong with him until one day when the doctors said it was a tumor and they were doing surgery right away. Well, he died in surgery and I was devastated! I could not eat and just cried all the time saying over and over out loud that if only he knew the truth about a personal matter with us.

“Well, after about couple months of this one night, I had just laid down in bed and I was on my back and crying as usual and repeating to my self in a prayer that he would hear my last words. All of a sudden my body lifted up to the ceiling and my real body was lying in bed yet I was up above and he met me there. Took my hands and merged with me. It was the most wonderful experience I have ever had. It is indescribable.

“I just know after we separated again he knew everything about me that would have took years to tell someone and this took like a minute. I also knew everything he ever wanted to tell me in seconds. It was so peaceful and relaxing, so wonderful.

“Next I remember going back into my body and I rolled over and slept till morning. I don’t know why I slept right afterwards, but I know I was awake and it was not a dream. It really happened to me and from that day on, I woke up feeling like the world was lifted off my shoulders. I was happy again and I knew he knew everything I needed to tell him. He filled me with this unbelievable joy and it is a memory I will never forget.

“I am not sure, but I think he was my twin soul or something, and we had to be separate to grow. I never see anything on this subject and was so surprised to see an article on this in Betty’s site on the internet. Do you know anymore on this happening that you could fill me in. I would appreciate anything on the subject as I can’t find books on this or anything. Thanks for your time and Bless you.”

From Webmaster Kevin Williams

Sandy, it sounds like you definitely had an after-death communication (ADC) of your boyfriend in the form of an out-of-body experience. I have read a lot about these kind of experiences and how unusual things often happen before and after a loved one passes away. But it wasn’t until I experienced profound after-death communications from my mother after she passed away that I was forever convinced that contact with the Other Side is possible.

Concerning the topic of soul merge, it is a phenomenon that appears often in NDEs. Usually, it happens when the experiencer merges fully into the light of God and the experience feels as though they have “become God”, that is, knowing all things and being aware of all things and feeling all the love that exists with God.

Here is more information from my website on the topic of soul merge:

From Betty Bethards: On Marriage and Unions on the Other Side

There are unions of souls on the other side, and marriage as such is optional. If couples prefer to remain together they may do so, as long as their interests and growth are taking them in the same direction. If they choose to go in different directions, there are no hurt feelings. There is no possessiveness or demands. You are free to go your own way, in your own time, at your own choosing.

Married couples will be reunited after death, and may choose to stay together if they want to, provided they are on the same level of vibration. This is free will. If you have been married three or four times, you will find that you will want to be with the one whom you truly love. It could even be someone from another incarnation. You will be with those you love, and there is a total merger which is a much higher experience and a deeper love bond than anything you can know on the Earth plane.

This total merger is like stepping inside one another’s auras, a total blending of energies. It’s a way of expressing love and sharing. What you know on Earth as a sexual relationship takes the form of a higher merger of souls. There is no need for sexual organs on the other side unless you choose to have them. For this merger of energies is far superior to the physical mechanics of the sexual experience. This merger is not limited to husbands and wives, but may be experienced by any two souls who are loving and caring.

From America’s “Sleeping Prophet” Edgar Cayce

God’s plan for the soul is a cycle of experience that is unlimited in scope and duration. Through this evolutionary cycle, the soul will come to know the creation in all its aspects at the discretion of the will. The cycle would be completed when the desire of the will was no longer different from the thought of God. The consciousness of the soul would then merge with its spiritual consciousness of its identity with God. Then the soul will return to its source as the companion it was intended to be.

As a companion, the soul would remain conscious of its separate individuality and would be aware of its own free will as it now acted as a part of God, but not diverting its mind because it was in agreement with God’s influence on the mind of the soul. Until this state of at-onement was reached, the soul would not be a companion in the true sense of the word.

The idea that returning to God means a loss of individuality is paradoxical, since God is aware of everything that happens and must therefore be aware of the consciousness of each individual. The return of the soul is the return of the image to that which imagined it. The consciousness of the individual – its soul record – could not be destroyed without destroying a part of God. When a soul returns to God it becomes aware of itself not only as a part of God, but as a part of every other soul, and everything.

What is lost is the ego – the desire to do other than the desire of God. When the soul returns to God, the ego is voluntarily relinquished. This is the symbology behind the crucifixion of Christ.

The plan for the Earth cycle of souls was a limited series of incarnations with periods in between of dwelling in other heavenly dimensions of consciousness. Reincarnation would continue until a soul’s every thought and action of the physical body was in accord with the plan originally laid out for the soul (i.e., a human-divine unity, Christ consciousness). When the body was no longer a hindrance to the free expression of the soul – when the conscious mind had merged with the subconscious, the Earth cycle was finished and the soul liberated to move on to new adventures.

When the individual has attained complete human-divine unity, its cycle of reincarnations is finished, the soul is liberated, and the soul then merges with its spirit and, therefore, with God. The soul record (memory) is forever retained. This record is, at all times, is the sum total of what the soul personality has been: all it has thought, all it has experienced; all it has eaten, drunk, and felt through the ages.

Thus, as the soul is subjected to reincarnation, both the atheist and the religionist are correct. The atheist believes the personality does not survive after death. The religionist believes the soul is judged after death by its Creator. Substituting “personality” for “soul”, both are expressing the truth. The personality is evaluated after death and then returns to the soul which created it, thereby giving up its own independent existence and becoming once again a facet of the soul. This process is different from the process where the soul merges with the spirit after it completes its cycles of reincarnation.

From Near-Death Experiencer Thomas Sawyer

Once you enter into the light and blend with God, you become God. God is light and light is love. You can’t take a knife and cut out a part of love and take it away. If you theoretically cut love in half and take it, there’s not half love here and half love there. Each part is wholly God.

The incomprehensible part is at that point at which you no longer exist and you become only light when you fully merge with the light. This is because the character and the characteristics that you are, the uniqueness that is you and nobody else, still exists when you cease to exist as a personality. But every bit of your personality is available for reincarnation. That’s the paradox part.

I just kind of became little photons of light and there is only the slightest of memories of anything after that. Even though I was in my soul body, not my physical body, that which I was before the light blended in and ceased to exist. In other words, if you have pure light you have all of the masses of photons in the universe in a purified state only white light. One of the last things I can recall is that I was blending into and becoming homogeneous with that light. I had the feeling of the light just engulfing me. About the only accurate word that I can use to describe what I felt then is the word “power.” But it wasn’t an earthly type of power, it wasn’t greedy power, or an I’m-better-than-you-power.

One of the purposes of the life review is to make an informed choice between remaining in spirit and returning to flesh. Should we choose to merge completely with the light of God, we will never again be able to choose, on our own decision, to return to physical life. The decision to merge in the light is the best decision.

If a person dies and merges completely into the light, another reincarnation is improbable. However, it is more usual for people to have earthly attachments and not merge completely with the light. Such souls may have characteristics of their personality, which they do not want merged with the light.

From NDE Expert and NDEr P.M.H. Atwater

I teach a shamanic-style guided visualization that enables an individual to find and to recognize their Holy of Holies, their Center where the True Self resides. This goes for everyone; we all have that conduit, that channel, that “launch-pad,” that place from which we touch the “Hand of God” in the sense of how we are affected once we align and/or merge with our soul.

I truly believe that soul discovery is the over-riding reason or purpose behind spiritual development … so we, in this lifetime, can be more mindful of who we really are and can align our will with God’s Will. When this occurs, we can merge more and more with the power of our own soul. You see this in cases of near-death experiences and deathbed visions, NOT that there is a split-off at death (the personality self sloughing off with the body or as an egoic being having some sort of existence by itself – as some researchers claim); but, rather, that at death the soul and the ego (personality) merge into each other and become one again. It’s like at birth, a “finger” of the soul drops down into the body, to properly animate it so the ego personality can develop and grow. It’s the ego that seems to “feed” the soul, in the sense of what can be learned, experienced, given, and received during a lifetime. It is the soul that seems to be the major “player” in the outworking of God’s Greater Plan. To use an analogy, we humans are like worker bees, the soul that guiding intelligence which keeps us on track, and God that which provides the environment and the power source in which we can not only learn and grow – but transcend that which seems to limit us, so we can “awaken” to a higher reality and a grander view. We can then realize there really is no separation, no distinction of three in one, but One – All in One. You could look at this situation yet another way: One Mind, many thinkers.

What impresses me, however, is the extent to which the dying of any age can and oft times do merge into their own soul as they cast aside the physical body in death. This merging, this becoming more of what we really are, a soul, is one of the higher goals of any spiritual calling or religious ritual. It’s what undergirds the practice of prayer and meditation. It’s a large part of what makes the sacred, sacred. Our goal, as near as I can tell, is to link more with that perfect part of us, that Higher Self, True Self, that is still connected to God in the sense that it never separated from The Godhead, and to do this while alive and actively engaged with our fellows. As we become more spiritual in our lives, make better choices, are more responsible and caring and loving, we open ourselves to the energy of the soul – its reality and its power – and its goal of carrying out God’s Greater Plan. The soul, our soul, encourages us to become more of what we really are in the truer sense, divine beings here to learn, grow, discover, experience, and transform – so what we project (who we think we are) matches more closely with our true identity (what we really are). Again and again, near-death experiencers, when describing their scenario, actually depict that mergence, and they certainly talk long and lovingly about their true self, their true identity, their soul. At the deathbed, merging into our soul, joining with the divine, becomes primary.

From Near-Death Experiencer Christian Andreason

I saw that we were indeed made in the image of God, which is an essence taken from the Creator’s own LIGHT. It is because of this Light that we can never die. Every single child of God carries this Light within their Soul, and we call this Light, Spirit. As we learn how to LOVE, we build the Light of Spirit within. A day will come (in a time not so far away) when all of our Light(s) will have become so large that we will merge and go back to the Creator and be as ONE — just as we were in the beginning. Once we are ONE again, there will be a great celebration. And after a certain amount of time has passed, yet again, there will be another great explosion, only this time it will be much bigger and the process of Creation will be far more advanced.

From Near-Death Experiencer Margaret Birkin

Every couple of nights I took a journey. I don’t know whether Peter felt left out, but each time we had sex, I left my body and went further and further into space.

As each night I traveled further and further from my body and the Earth realm, and the energy got closer, I became aware of the co-relation with the whole of life itself. I became in awe of the creative work of God.

Then one night, I came closer to the energy and as I did, I felt it for the first time. It was pure love, pure unconditional love. At this point in my life, I had never seen myself as a decent person, but this energy spoke to me in thought and told me that I was a beautiful person. It told me to let go of the conditioning that I had of myself as a person with no worth.

The love from this energy was amazing. It was so profound I sobbed uncontrollably.

My next visit, I got closer and the same with the next visit. Finally, I was able to merge with this energy and the bliss, happiness, incredible peace that I felt inside. This being’s energy was so incredible. I did not want to leave.

It spoke to me in thought and told me that one day when I had finished my spiritual development, this energy and I would work together. However, I had a hard path in front of me with my development and I was not to give up for in the long term. It would be worth it. It also told me that I needed to move toward it slowly, because, had I not done so, I would have burnt up within the spirit.

They call the orgasm in some circles the little death. For me it was a death and a rebirth. I was never the same after that. I don’t think I will ever change either. It was the most amazing experience and one I know I will never forget.

From Near-Death Experiencer Lynnclaire Dennis

Suddenly, the stage was gone and I was once again out of time. I was a witness, observing myself as a child … I watched as my innocent child-self … began to dance across the meadows.

Then, as I contemplated this celebration of life, I saw that in a single turn in my-her waltz, I-she was no longer a child, but a thirty-five year old woman dancing alone in the Hofburg Palace … I was once more in my magical gown, moving alone in harmony with the MUSIC. In that moment I chose to merge with that self and began to dance. Each step drew me closer to the light.

Then, in a sacred place somewhere before the light, I found myself being held, gently rocked, nurtured, and embraced in the arms of the one I believed to be the presence. Whether this was a guide, a guardian, a human man who has the ability to walk between the worlds, or even an angel, it does not matter. For still today this memory is alive. The presence vibrates within my senses and daily infuses my sentient memory archives with love. I knew then, and remember now, the warmth, serenity, and comfort I felt as I was embraced in the arms of a long and still-remembered love. As I was cradled in this serene embrace, I was bathed in light. My spirit was imbued with a sense of peace, and my soul was engraved with the remembrance of a timeless love…

The light was getting brighter and warmer as I moved through the tunnel. The MUSIC, the celestial symphony, continued to fill the air with a psalm of Oneness, played on unseen instruments of peace.

I arrived at the pinnacle and, standing at the entrance to the light, took a single step, leaving my right footprint imbedded in Eternity. I entered a sacred space a place where I knew I had returned to my most essential nature, where I felt wholly and consciously united with all things and Source, where a soothing balm of peace was poured on my spirit by an unseen hand, an emollient so rich in love that to this day I cannot fully absorb or comprehend it.

And then, in one ephemeral glimpse, I saw the Pattern, the single strand of the tapestry I knew was the essence woven through matter in every reality. Its design was so complexly simple that I knew it could only have been fashioned in the exalted intricacy of infinity.

Seeing the Pattern, I knew I was looking at life itself. It was light; it was time and space. It was the energy of all matter, the heart of all that mattered. It was the very essence of all being. It emanated from Source, illuminated to my mind by “the Source behind the sun” as it moved in perfect harmony with all the universe. As I prepared to meld into the Source of light and absolute love, I knew with all my being that the Pattern was the core of all substance. I knew that the MUSIC emanating from the Pattern was the song of my heart, a testament of unconditional love. The single step I had taken was the first in a dance that would take me into the single point of Infinite light, which contained the power of love that would forever illuminate my mind and heart. I inhaled and prepared to take the next step as the exhalation of love, the Life Force of the Universe, carried me home.

From Near-Death Experiencer Josiane Antonette

Merging with the light, I am so overcome with gratitude and overwhelmed by the love that fills me that I cry. Suddenly, time and space are different again, and I am momentarily aware of my body. I am aware that the window to the left of my bed is filled with vibrant, powerful light. It seems to be calling me and pulling me toward it like a magnet. I hear the buzzing again, and … Whoosh! I’m zooming through the window! I merge with the light! I am the light, and the light is me. “From the light we have come, and to the light we shall all return,” repeats the voice.

From Hindu Afterlife Beliefs

“Moksha” is the traditional Sanskrit term for release or liberation from the endless chain of deaths and rebirths. In the southern Asian religious tradition, it represents the supreme goal of human strivings. Reflecting the diversity of Hinduism, liberation can be attained in a variety of ways, from the proper performance of certain rituals to highly disciplined forms of yoga. In the Upanishads, it is proper knowledge, in the sense of insight into the nature of reality, that enables the aspiring seeker to achieve liberation from the wheel of rebirth.

What happens to the individual after reaching moksha? In Upanishadic Hinduism, the individual Atman is believed to merge into the cosmic Brahma. A traditional image is that of a drop of water that, when dropped into the ocean, loses its individuality and becomes one with the sea. Although widespread, this metaphor does not quite capture the significance of this merger. Rather than losing one’s individuality, the Upanishadic understanding is that the Atman is never separate from Brahma; hence, individuality is illusory, and moksha is simply waking up from the dream of separateness.

The most that the classical texts of Hinduism say about the state of one who has merged with the godhead is that the person has become one with pure “beingness,” consciousness, and bliss. From the perspective of world-affirming Western society, such a static afterlife appears distinctly undesirable.

Experiences Out-of-Body

Paul Beecher’s Out-of-Body Experience

The following is Paul Beecher’s OBE testimony sent to me by email in his own words.

This is the first time I have publicly come out and told of this event. Prior to this, I’ve only told family members and very close friends about my experience. The reason is because I am skeptical of others recollections of their experiences. Why wouldn’t there be more similarities between mine and others descriptions of their events. The common similarity, “The bright light”.

While attending the University of Wisconsin, I developed a casual working relationship with the Dean of Psychology. It was one of two majors I was pursuing at that time but Psychology was my love. Prior to my coming to him and divulging what I had just experienced, I had no idea my professor was so curious about or familiar with near-death experiences.

After having a party at our apartment celebrating the completion of exam week, I fell asleep around 1:00 am.

While asleep, I found myself in a corridor without walls and existence on both sides of me as I passed along this pathway. I say, “passed along,” because I didn’t feel like I was walking.

Everything was so effortless. I was also being communicated with by each of these entities I passed, as I continued. It’s the best way I can describe it.

I couldn’t actually see anything or anyone on either side of me, yet it was still very obvious whom or what they were. As ridiculous as it may sound I remembered the single celled amoeba.

As I progressed, there was an evolution taking place, both physical and intellectual.

I remembered specifically again, passing by what was then referred to as a “Trash collector”. It was at that time, I noticed a light, that seemed forever away, yet in the direction I was coming.

I remember an executive, then a leader, dignitary and scholar. Although I can’t describe any other specific life forms I encountered, it was every form of life and they were communicating to me without speech. I was spellbound. Then I looked ahead and remember how surprised I was at how much space we had covered and how much closer the light was.

This was the first time I really felt the presence of that pure white light and also sensed it drawing me closer. It’s glow was so comforting and warm. It’s maybe hard to imagine a light being clean. It was almost an antiseptic type clean that was odorless, tasteless, but so perfectly balanced, it was amazingly pure tranquility and harmony.

It was at this point that I realized, that the physical appearances on both sides of me had evolved to forms I’d never seen. With these image changes came remarkable advancements in intelligence. As I proceeded towards that glorious light, now beginning to encompass everything, I started to feel uncomfortable although continuously being more powerfully drawn to the light the closer I got. I also realized, soon there were no more material entities on either side of me anymore – just immense evolutions of intelligence without form. For the longest time I couldn’t understand what was being communicated and I found a new peace and security that came from their evolution of their knowledge. I just can’t put their affects on me into words.

Suddenly, I sensed that beautiful and tranquil light was drawing me into it. I became panic stricken and finally reached a point where I was going to have to make a choice that I didn’t want to make. I was torn between the feeling of nirvana, which I’m certain would have been the result of letting the light consume me, and a sudden anxiety – a fear that soon the decision would no longer be mine and I had to act now.

I sat straight up in my bed after yelling, “No!” and decided I didn’t want to go any further into the light. My roommate rushed in having heard my yell. I was holding my left chest and could feel my heart pounding. It wasn’t until then that I started to sweat profusely. I had to tell someone. My professor seemed the logical choice.

After divulging in detail the previous evenings proceedings, my professor told me that, had I not waken up when I did, I probably wouldn’t have woke up at all. He told me that that light was heaven – Nirvana – whatever that final perfect place in my mind is. He said the authorities would call it unusual that someone my age could die from a heart attack, but something like that was what my death would have been attributed to.

I carry from that experience, a newly found resolve with death. I have no fear of death. Quite to the contrary, “I have seen the light!”

Experiences Out-of-Body

Mihbond’s Out-of-Body Experience

The following is Mihbond’s OBE testimony sent to me by email in his own words.

A few years ago, when I was 11, I had an out-of-body experience. I went to sleep. My dad was already asleep next to me, and I closed my eyes. I didn’t think of anything. I started rising out of my physical body. When I left it, I was happy because I left all the problems of the Earth, mental and physical, and nobody could hurt me physically or mentally. I knew I could go through the walls.

I saw a white sun above me, two feet above me. The sun was six inches thick with rays that were two inches thick. I knew that this PURE WHITE Sun was from God the Father. I saw the world as in a physical form, but it was lit up, illuminated, but not to the point of blinding light. The world was a bit brighter, from that WHITE Sun. I looked at my physical body, and it did not mean anything to me. I was actually scared of it.

I knew that before I would meet God, I would have to feel all the bad things I had made people feel, every thought and action. Also, I knew I would meet a person who used to live on the Earth, and I knew he would tell me how great the Kingdom of God would be.

I was rising, slower as a man walking. I started getting afraid because I wasn’t rising by my own power, but by someone else’s. I was not sure who though. Right then, just before I started the emotion of being afraid, Jesus Christ said, “Don’t be afraid.” Then I was happy again.

I was rising and being happy, until I suddenly stopped rising. I was getting ready to be confused, before I “felt” God the Father say, “No! You are not allowed to go yet. You have a purpose in your life and your father needs you.” I knew God meant my dad who was sleeping next to me.

Then I started rising down, much faster than when I was rising up. I was sad because I had to go back to all the problems of the Earth.

I was back in my physical body. It did not hurt when I left my physical body or when I entered it. I was getting ready to be afraid as never before in my whole life. I was getting ready to scream to my dad sleeping next to me, and for eternity on Earth, because I was so afraid. Then suddenly I “felt” God the Father say, “Don’t be afraid. Go to sleep.” I had to go to sleep. I had to do what God told me. I couldn’t imagine not doing what he told me. So, I closed my eyelids and I fell asleep. The next morning I felt amazing. I felt energetic. I felt great.

As time went by, I asked questions about life, and I instantaneously received answers. Here is what God told me:

Everyone has had past lives on Earth.

The more you suffer in life, the greater your reward will be in your next life.

The better a person you have been in life, the greater your reward will be in your next life.

When we die, we meet God the Father (a White Oval Spirit) and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is on the left and God the Father on the right from our view.

Before we stand before Jesus and God, a spirit who has kept a record of our life gives that record to God and Jesus. When we meet that spirit he says, “I have been waiting for you.” When we meet God and Jesus, Jesus says, “We have been expecting you.” Jesus is in his physical body wearing a red robe.

When we pick our next life, we meet with God the Father and pick our eye color, height, parents, EVERYTHING! But if we haven’t been good enough in our previous life, we are unable to make this choice. God chooses for us, which is why we face difficulties on Earth. But if we are able to choose our next life, we can ask God whether or not we can be a spirit and wander and fly upon the Earth. God then allows us to have a certain amount of time to do so.

The instant a good person dies and leaves their physical body, they become automatically good and believe that God is real.

When we pick our next life, God lets us know He is real. That is when we have exercised our own free-will.

Sometimes when people die, they become a spirit working with another angel helping someone on Earth from a bad situation, for example, a serious disease. This allows the spirit to learn the meaning of brotherhood by working together.

Good things come out of bad things. For example, let’s say a man’s family is killed by a tornado. His house is destroyed and the man becomes depressed and angry at life. He becomes desperate and prays. And God speaks to him. Then the man becomes happy because he now realizes God is actually real. He realizes it took the death of his family, the loss of his house, his depression and anger, to discover the reality of God and true happiness.

God does miracles in physical form. For example, if you pray to God for a person to find happiness, God will change the minds of the people around that person to love that person.

We all have guardian angels. When we are faced with a problem, such as a disease, God becomes aware of what is happening and we are helped by our guardian angels. But depending upon our karma from our previous life, God may heal our disease or allow us to return to spirit.

After we choose our next life, God tells us EVERYTHING that will happen in our life, every action and event and emotion. However, we are not sad about hearing the bad things that will happen because God is at our side! If God tells us we are destined to smile at a person when we are 82 years old, for example, but we will also have a heart attack at the age of 42, WE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO DIE. We can have every disease there is on Earth; but we still will not die. We are still destined to give a smile to that person when we are 82 years old.

God’s actions always lead to good effects. If we regret the bad things we did with all our heart, we’re not going to be held accountable for it. If we want to help someone, but that person gets mad and believes we only want to hurt them, we will not get blamed for that. But if we want to hurt someone, but instead we make that person happy, we will not get a reward for that.

There is no such thing as devils.

It takes 0-4 hours for most spirits to reach God. Really bad spirits take 4-8 hours to reach God. The better we are, the faster we rise to God to pick our next life. The worse a person is, the slower they rise to pick their next life. If we have been extremely bad, we are not allowed to come back to Earth.

The Earth is the only place for God to see whether we want to go to heaven or to hell.

God is able to forget all the bad things we have done, through Jesus Christ.

What I told you God told me himself. No one told me what I wrote here, only God did.


Experiences Out-of-Body

Lynn Russell’s Out-of-Body Experience and NDE Research

For most of her life, Lynn Russell has been a student and experiencer of a variety of spiritual phenomena. And for 28 years, Lynn was a professional family counselor and loved every minute of it. But when Dr. Jeffery Long of asked for help in researching his vast online database of NDE testimonies, she didn’t hesitate to accept the challenge on the spot. From her research of over 2,500 NDEs, Lynn discovered profound and consistent insights about life and what happens afterward. Through divine inspiration, she published her findings in a book, The Wonder of You: What the Near-Death Experience Tells You About Yourself. Her mission is to share these profound insights – backed up with scientific evidence – to give readers a greater understanding of their own spiritual journey. Her book is filled with thought-provoking answers to humanity’s ongoing quest to better understand the true nature of our existence and to gain a better perspective of the many paths we travel as individuals.

The following information includes excerpts from her book, a brief analysis of her OBE, and more information about Lynn Russell and her wonderful book.

Table of Contents

  1. Lynn Russell’s Out-of-Body Experience
  2. Kevin Williams’ Brief Analysis of Russell’s OBE
  3. How Lynn Russell Learned God Wanted to Use Her
  4. Excerpts From Russell’s Book “The Wonder of You”
  5. Reviews of Russell’s Book “The Wonder of You”

1. Lynn Russell’s Out-of-Body Experience

In May of 1973, shortly after college ended for my second year, I had three magnificent spiritual experiences. Actually, I see them more as episodes that in the end, linked together into one. They blew me away and taught me great insights. In sharing these experiences, I find it difficult to find the right words. Words are extremely poor tools to relate such deep learning.

Each of these events occurred in the middle of the day. My children, Leah and Brad were at school and three-year-old Gwen was down for her afternoon nap. They all happened on different days and always when I was busy doing housework.

The first episode occurred while I was doing dishes. Just above the sink was a window and beyond the window in the yard stood an old fruit tree. Its gnarled branches twisted and turned in awkward directions. I looked out that window at the tree so many times that I ceased paying attention to it. On this particular day I suddenly had the overwhelming and unquestionable feeling that the tree and I were one. I’m not talking about a simple kinship with the tree; I have felt that many times. This time, I became the tree, and the tree became me.

I was overwhelmed with a feeling of great joy and connectedness to all of life. Within the exuberant happiness I had a feeling as though everything was in its proper place and all was humming along, as it should.

Standing with my hands dripping with suds, I thought of various other forms of life; fish in the ocean, lions and elephants in Africa, the bird that sat in the tree and the bug the bird was about to eat. Whatever form of life I thought of, I became so enmeshed with it that I was not able to tell where the creature began and I ended. It felt as though whatever life forms I thought of and myself were identical! There simply was no separation.

That was the end of the first installment in a series of three. While the whole experience lasted less than a minute, it had a lasting effect on me. I no longer saw the world in the same light. I knew deep in the center of my being that everything in the world was wonderfully connected in a way I did not yet understand. When it was over, I was thrilled. I felt extremely privileged as though I had been invited to view one of the mysteries of the universe.

The next piece of the puzzle came a few days later while I was completely unprepared. Again, it was the afternoon. I was doing housework and the house was quiet. This time, I was washing fingerprints from the hall walls. My mind was on anything but spiritual things, yet, as unexpected as before, it was as if my conscious thought was being taken over by something beyond me.

In this second experience, I was intensely aware of an atom in my mind. I visualized the atom’s nucleus with the electrons spinning around the core as though they had a consciousness and knew exactly what they were to do. The planning and order of the phenomenon of an atom seemed to dominate my awareness.

Without warning, my vision changed. I was now viewing our solar system with the sun in the center and the planets spinning around. Again, I found myself concentrating on the deliberate order, rhythm and planning of what I was viewing. Inexplicably, I seemed to know without a doubt there was intelligence behind all I was being shown. I knew deep in my soul that the order and planning of the universe was not just an accident.

The visions continued to expand until I felt as though I was looking at the micro and macro universe simultaneously. Over and over the same message was being given to me. The order and rhythm of everything in the universe is not accidental. There is intelligence and planning behind all that is.

At this point I got a message that kept me wondering for many years. I did not hear a voice, yet the information came to me in such a powerful way I was completely unable to dispute or deny it in any way. It was so strong it hit me in the center of my gut. “Your being is intricately connected with the operation of the universe!”

It was such a strong knowing that I was powerless against it. Still, I don’t have delusions of grandeur. I know when it comes to the universe I’m smaller than a speck of dust. So how could my being have anything to do with the operation of the universe? It took me eleven long years to realize that we are all a part of a magnificent Oneness. It is through our connection with this Oneness that we each play a part in the operation of the universe.

The final experience was even more vibrant and with deeper learning, if that is possible. As before, it too came in the afternoon when the house was quiet. It was several days, or perhaps even a week, after the last event and was fully unexpected.

I had just finished picking up the children’s toys in the living room when the final experience occurred. Standing in the middle of the room, I scrunched down to see if there were any toys under the couch or chair. I do not understand how it happened, or why. All I know is that without warning there was a presence in the room with me. I did not see anything, yet it was undeniable, I was not alone. I felt as though I was engulfed in an enormous blanket of more love, peace and joy than I could ever come close to describing. This overwhelming love was being directed right at me.

Next, I felt as though I had an umbilical cord in my stomach, connecting me to the presence. It was then I heard actual words. The words were external to me and seemed to come from my right. The voice said, “This is where you came from and this is where you will return.”

Then, just as suddenly as it began, the experience was over. No other events followed.

When I think back to the experiences as a whole, I believe that the entire experience was designed to teach me about the Oneness of all. I have come to realize that if we are all one and there is planning, order and an intelligence within the operation of the universe, then we must all be connected to that Intelligence the Oneness.

For months I walked several feet off the ground in ecstasy. Nothing bothered me, not even my father. Before these experiences I was terrified of dying. At night I lay in bed working myself into a worried mess, knowing that eventually I would have to die and there was nothing I could do to stop it. After these events I looked forward to dying. Not that I became suicidal. Still, I knew when the day came it would be a positive experience.

Another change happened after my spiritual experience. I was a serious nail biter. My nails were bitten back so far that I could not chew any more. When I ran out of nail to work on, I chewed the skin around the nails. They looked like bleeding, gnawed, piggy fingers. After these beautiful experiences, one day I looked down at my hands and I had nails. I do not recall stopping myself from biting them. It just seemed to happen unassisted.

It took me many years to understand the meaning of these spiritual events, but the learning made me feel alive. Life has become a joyous adventure.

2. Kevin Williams’ Brief Analysis of Russell’s OBE

In my opinion, Lynn’s third experience was an out-of-body experience. She felt a presence which was connected to an umbilical cord. This is a clear reference to her becoming aware of her so-called “astral” or “soul” body tethered to her physical body. The umbilical cord Lynn saw attached to her body is known as the “silver cord.” It also appears that her experience was a spontaneous OBE which either bordered on an NDE or may have been an actual NDE. Whatever the case, she certainly experienced the out-of-body phenomenon and the astral realm. As it is with spontaneous OBEs, spontaneous NDEs also happen. For example, I remember watching a British NDE documentary on television describing a spontaneous NDE reported by an elderly British woman. She was merely sitting in a chair reading a book when suddenly she found herself out of her body and looking down on herself. She then flew out into space and had a classic NDE. Then at some point, she immediately found herself back in her body, dazed and amazed. So, these kind of experiences can happen spontaneously when you don’t expect it. However, such experiences are not common.

Lynn’s experience had the side-effect of taking away her habit of chewing your fingernails – a habit often associated with anxiety. Side-effects such as this are very common because NDEs and OBEs are often profound and life-changing.

3. How Lynn Russell Learned God Wanted to Use Her

Can we say no to God? I did.

An enticing slice of sun shone through my window and tickled my longing to be out in it. I was at my desk busily writing a report on a family I’d recently closed. It had almost been a year since I’d joined the Family Therapy Program and I was becoming comfortable with my job. Still, according to Rob Tomlinson, I wasn’t there yet. “It’s not good enough to know this material in your head. It takes a good two years of working in the field to be able to think in families.”

He was right, I wasn’t to the point of thinking in families; I wasn’t even sure what that meant until I’d been working in the field long enough to understand. In the meanwhile, Rob was there to offer his encouragement and support.

When I was struggling with a family, I was comfortable going to him knowing he would willingly help me. “What does your tummy tell you?” he asked. “What are you feeling about the situation in your bones?”

After I explained what I thought, he encouraged me to listen to those feelings and follow what they were telling me. It was, he said, the best indicator of all.

On this particular day, I hunched over my report and concentrated on what I was doing. Suddenly, I clearly heard a voice speak to me in my head.

“I want to use you,” it told me.

A flood of emotions smashed through me with a loud crash of chaotic jumble. I was alone in the office and immediately jumped up to open the door and make sure no one had spoken beyond that barrier. The hallway was empty and quiet. It appeared that most of my co-workers were off seeing their clients or working quietly in their offices. In truth, it hadn’t really been necessary to check the hall; I knew instantly where the voice had come from. Still, I didn’t want to acknowledge that reality.

Slowly I closed the door and returned to my seat while confusion, apprehension and unreasoned fear danced in my mind. I wanted to reject the whole thing. Alarm for my sanity rolled around in my thoughts. Then again, I thought, I was perfectly sane a moment before I heard the voice, so why would I think I had lost it in an instant.

“What do you want to use me for?” I asked the voice … nothing.

“I want to know what you want me for, then I’ll decide if I’ll do it or not!” … nothing.

“I don’t want to be seen as weird or strange, I don’t want to end up like those people who stand on street corners praising the Lord!” … nothing.

“Why didn’t you choose a good born-again Christian? I don’t even know the Bible!” … nothing.

For the next year I dug in various corners for answers … again nothing. Psychics couldn’t give me any ideas on what I was to do. Ministers and preachers wanted to pray for me and clear out the demons. Eventually I let it go and decided that it was just my imagination.

Four years passed since I’d begun working. I loved every moment and every family. Yet there was just so much one person can accomplish alone and with three teenagers. I felt like I was stretched as far as I could go. At times it seemed I was hanging on to the side of the Grand Canyon by my fingernails. That was when I heard the voice one more.

Saturday afternoon brought a list of chores that needed to be done. Pick up some groceries, go to the cleaners and buy shoes for the kids. Gwen, now fourteen, her friend and I were enjoying a treat in a crowded doughnut shop. We’d been fortunate to find a seat as I watched people flowed in and out, in and out with eager anticipation of their coming pleasure. Gwen and her friend were giggling over some silly teenage thing when I heard that voice again.

“I still want to use you, you know,” it clearly said.

My instant reaction was one of surrender. “Okay,” I willingly thought, “but, I have nothing left to give.”

“Don’t worry,” the voice returned, “I am preparing you now.”

Then I had a flash of a man and money. I had no idea if the man owned the money or if the money was completely separate from him. And, I had no idea what role the man would play in the opera of my life.

A short while ago I got another message that the time had come. I knew it was this book and the next book that I was to do. The Wonder of You: What the Near-Death Experience Tells You about Yourself is the result of researching 2,500 NDEs from Dr. Jeffrey Long’s website. My next book (half written) is entitled “Paradise Restored” and its purpose is to prove the Oneness of all that exists.

I also have a workshop on Science and Spirituality and a future book on the same topic. I look at quantum theory, cosmology, holographic studies, research on the brain, and the search for consciousness. The purpose for my workshop is to show people how amazing they really are.

4. Excerpts From Russell’s Book “The Wonder of You”

From the Chapter on Oneness:

While the NDErs full memory of their identity remained, they were miraculously transformed into the Being of Light. They knew — in a way they could not understand — that they had, at the very fundamental level, been intricately involved in the creation of the universe. This awareness was not simply a metaphor; it was a complete and genuine fact. Additionally, they realized they had taken an active role in the formation of every single thing that exists everywhere.

In order for us to know a full human experience, it is important we have individual egos which bring separation. It is through separation that we learn to consciously reach out in love and understanding. The lessons of the physical existence would not be possible if we retained the awareness of our connection to the Oneness. At that level the essence of our being is to love and we cannot be otherwise. For us to learn to reach out to one another, as well as understand all that is available for us here, we need to know existence from and individual perspective.

From the Chapter on Creation:

The Source not only creates because it wants to, it creates because it must. There simply is no other choice. This Loving Creative Energy is a vast power greater than the Big Bang. It produces an ecstatic joy because the Love Force that is the essence of Its being compels nothing less.

From the Chapter on Illusions:

With the certainty of our existence, we need to know we are far more than just connected to one another by an invisible cord. It is imperative we realize we are the Muslim women behind their burkas and the homeless people in the inner cities of the world. In precisely the same way, we are multimillionaires living in luxury, and simultaneously the African dying of AIDS.

From the Chapter on Our Reality:

Anthony de Mello tells us to “Wake up and discover your true reality.” He tells us that we are an amazing and glorious creation of Love and even the smallest atom of us is sacred — we are consecrated ground.

According to those who have had a near-death experience, we are already there. There is no need to strive to be closer to spirit, we already are. As Yoda in Star Wars said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

5. Reviews of Russell’s Book “The Wonder of You”

“Lynn does something in this book nobody else has done. She shows you how near-death experiencers, in sharing what happened to them and what that meant to them, are actually describing the truth, the real truth, about each and every one of us … anywhere in the world! She gently and relentlessly, puts the full-brunt of the near-death experience in your lap, right where you live and love and have your being. Near-death states strip away the trappings of the mind, to reveal the substance of soul. Thank you, Lynn, for helping to awaken us.” — P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., near-death researcher since 1978, investigating nearly 4,000 cases of adult and child experiencers. Latest findings in “Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience.

“There are many books about the near-death experience, but The Wonder of You; What Near-Death Experiences Tell You about Yourself is absolutely exceptional. Lynn Russell is a recognized NDE expert. She has researched over 2500 NDEs; more than virtually anyone else in the world. This book is scholarly in its depth of understanding NDE, but also is very clearly written and easy to read. With each turn of the page you will find a treasure trove of insights and inspiration. After reading this book you will understand the profound truth of what a wonder you truly are. This simple but powerful awareness could change your life.” — Jeffrey Long, MD, founder of the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation, and author of the New York Times bestselling Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.

“Buy, beg or borrow a copy of The Wonder of You; What Near-Death Experiences Tell You about Yourself, by Lynn Russell. This book will help to make sense and tie together all the books and stories of others’ near-death experiences. Plus it will reveal what those experiences tell us about ourselves. Ms. Russell describes her own life-changing spiritual experiences, and how, through them, she learned that there was no difference, no separation between her and all life forms on the planet — way before the term ‘oneness’ was understood. Her background makes for a great foundation for this book; one I feel will become the new Bible for NDErs. She did an extensive two-year research on NDEs with Dr. Jeff Long, M.D and his wife Jody Long, J.D., who later wrote Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences. She has studied over twenty-five hundred reports by people who experienced NDEs. Early on, she began to see a pattern that their experiences were deeper messages like buried treasures brought back from what we call death or the other side that were a legacy for all of us.

“She relates some of these 2,500 stories, grouped by categories of their experiences. Although no two NDEs are alike, the similarities in what they experienced when they ‘died’ are extraordinary. The incredible stories, and Ms. Russell’s way of weaving them together by topics, makes the book hard to put down. You will want to keep this book and make it a permanent part of your library, underline and mark it for future study. If you’re like me, you will experience a change in consciousness after reading The Wonder of You. I believe I will never look at death quite the same. The love of our Creator and the vast array of experiences awaiting our soul, when it’s ready to permanently exit the physical form, or experience its own NDE, is exciting to consider.

“I LOVED this book. Kudos to Ms. Russell for excellent research and a job well done on a book that people of all ages will be helped and inspired by for decades. The Logos Center has pre-ordered 20 books — I’m sure we will place many more orders.” — Anne Puryear, Vice-President, The Logos Center, Scottsdale, Arizona. Author of Stephen Lives! My son Stephen, His Life, Suicide and Afterlife and Messages from God.

Experiences Out-of-Body

How To Have An Out-of-Body Experience

Robert Monroe (1915-1995) was a distinguished radio broadcasting executive and pioneer in consciousness studies who founded The Monroe Institute (, a worldwide organization dedicated to expanding human potential. His classic Journeys Out of the Body introduced the term “out-of-body experience” (OBE) and involves inducing mental states beyond space, time, and even death. Monroe became famous for discovering how specific sounds have the ability to produce out-of-body states and positive enhancements to consciousness including sleep, relaxation and expanded awareness. Monroe developed the Hemi-Sync Method, an audio technology where specific sounds are able to coax the brain into various beneficial states. In 1958, while Monroe was experimenting with ways to enhance learning while in a sleep state, he experienced sleep paralysis and bodily vibrations followed by seeing a bright light. Then after several weeks of experimenting he induced his first out-of-body experience. Monroe is also the author of two more classics: Far Journeys and Ultimate Journey.

Robert Monroe’s Method by Dr. Susan Blackmore

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Susan Blackmore ( in her book, Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences (1992) where she describes Robert Monroe’s method of inducing an out-of-body experience. Dr. Blackmore is one of the few NDE researchers who has actually experienced an OBE. Although she is a skeptic of claims suggesting NDEs are evidence supporting the Afterlife Hypothesis, she is a recognized authority in both NDEs and OBEs. In the Nov-Dec 1984 of the Parapsychology Review, Marilyn Schlitz of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, had the following to say about Dr. Blackmore’s book:

“I applaud the phenomenological approach which underlies Blackmore’s approach to the OBE. Perhaps the most important contribution put forth in Blackmore’s book is the psychological model found in Chapter 22 … an important source for anyone with an interest in psi research … an enjoyable experience and is highly recommended reading.”

In the Spring 1984 edition of Anabiosis (now the Journal of Near-Death Studies), Emily W. Cook of the University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies, described Dr. Blackmore’s book as:

“A survey of OBE research that is both readable and scholarly.”

Other books by Blackmore include: The Meme Machine (2000), Consciousness: An Introduction (2003), and Conversations on Consciousness: What the Best Minds Think about the Brain, Free Will, and What It Means to Be Human (2007), all of which I highly recommend.

In his book, Journeys Out of the Body, Robert Monroe describes a complicated-sounding technique for inducing OBEs. In part, it is similar to other imagination methods, but it starts with induction of the “vibrational state”. Many spontaneous OBEs start with a feeling of shaking or vibrating, and Monroe deliberately induces this state first. He suggests you do the following. First lie down in a darkened room in any comfortable position, but with your head pointing to magnetic north. Loosen clothing and remove any jewelry or metal objects, but be sure to stay warm. Ensure that you will not be disturbed and are not under any limitation of time. Begin by relaxing and then repeat to yourself five times:

“I will consciously perceive and remember all that I encounter during this relaxation procedure. I will recall in detail when I am completely awake only those matters which will be beneficial to my physical and mental being.”

Then begin breathing through your half-open mouth.

The next step involves entering the state bordering sleep (the hypnagogic state). Monroe does not recommend any particular method of achieving this state. One method you might try is to hold your forearm up, while keeping your upper arm on the bed, or ground. As you start to fall asleep, your arm will fall, and you will awaken again. With practice you can learn to control the hypnagogic state without using your arm. Another method is to concentrate on an object. When other images start to enter your thoughts, you have entered the hypnagogic state. Passively watch these images. This will also help you maintain this state of near-sleep. Monroe calls this Condition A.

After first achieving this state, Monroe recommends to deepen it. Begin to clear your mind and observe your field of vision through your closed eyes. Do nothing more for a while. Simply look through your closed eyelids at the blackness in front of you. After a while, you may notice light patterns. These are simply neural discharges and they have no specific effect. Ignore them. When they cease, one has entered what Monroe calls Condition B. From here, one must enter an even deeper state of relaxation which Monroe calls Condition C — a state of such relaxation that you lose all awareness of the body and sensory stimulation. You are almost in a void in which your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.

The ideal state for leaving your body is Condition D. This is Condition C when it is voluntarily induced from a rested and refreshed condition and is not the effect of normal fatigue. To achieve Condition D, Monroe suggests that you practice entering it in the morning or after a short nap. With eyes closed, look into the blackness at a spot about a foot from your forehead, concentrating your consciousness on that point. Move it gradually to three feet away, then six, and then turn it 90 degrees upward, reaching above your head. Monroe orders you to reach for the vibrations at that spot and then mentally pull them into your head. He explains how to recognize them when they occur. “It is as if a surging, hissing, rhythmically pulsating wave of fiery sparks comes roaring into your head. From there it seems to sweep throughout your body, making it rigid and immobile.” This method is easier than it sounds.

Once you have achieved the vibrational state, you have to learn to control it, to smooth out the vibrations by “pulsing” them. At this point, Monroe warns it is impossible to turn back. He suggests reaching out an arm to grasp some object which you know is out of normal reach. Feel the object and then let your hand pass through it, before bringing it back, stopping the vibrations and checking the details and location of the object. This exercise will prepare you for full separation.

To leave the body, Monroe advocates the “lift-out” method. To employ this method, think of getting lighter and of how nice it would be to float upwards. An alternative is the “rotation” technique in which you turn over in bed, twisting first the top of the body, head and shoulders until you turn right over and float upwards. Later you can explore further. With sufficient practice Monroe claims that a wide variety of experiences are yours for the taking.

Experiences Out-of-Body

Greg Burkett’s Out-of-Body Experience

In 1978, Greg Burkett was returning from a three week vacation in northern Wisconsin. His family had rented a cabin in the woods with two private lakes. While his family slept in the cabin, Greg always slept alone in his tent in the woods. He spent most of the week wandering in the woods, fishing and meditating. During this time, he would have spontaneous astral projection experiences. The following is an example of one of his astral travels in his own words.

My brother was driving the car as we headed south on highway 45. I was suddenly seized with the knowledge that I was leaving. I simply knew I was leaving this world – period.

I thought I might be going up or vertical. I began to disengage from all I was attached to. My friends, family, the place where I grew up, everything. As I thought of each thing I let them go.

The last thing I remember giving up was the concern that I might seriously startle my brother by disappearing. I wondered how he would explain my being gone.

Then everything changed. The world changed. I no longer had use of my mind. Try as I could I could not form a thought.

I saw the world with eyes that were not eyes of man. I perceived directly and realized that I had seen the world through words which led to only relative knowledge.

I laughed out loud as I saw each thing as it was. It was pure joy. Everything was alive with the shiny energy of God; a total flowing and pure expression.

I have no idea how long this went on but when I turned my attention back to my body I noticed it was in some type of shock. There was a knot in my stomach and I was trembling.

I told God that I could not take it any more. The experience subsided and I vowed to return as soon as I could.

I never mentioned this experience to anyone for three years. I began to read books to find out what it meant.

I simply abide in the present now and now and now.

Beginning in late 1994, I began to become aware of moments when my mind was unusually quiet. Most often in the evening before I went to bed. All thinking would be gone and I would simply remain aware. It seemed the room was “full” of this silence no matter what was going on. There was only contentment. No questions, nothing to say.

Experiences Out-of-Body

Dr. Charles Tart’s Study of Verified Perception

Dr. Charles Tart ( and is a transpersonal psychologist and parapsychologist known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness (particularly altered states of consciousness), as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in scientific parapsychology. He earned his Ph. D. in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963. His first books, Altered States of Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychologies, became widely used texts which were instrumental in allowing these areas to become part of modern psychology. Dr. Tart has been involved with research and theory in the fields of hypnosis, psychology, transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, consciousness and mindfulness since 1963. He has authored over a dozen books, two of which became widely-used textbooks; he has had more than 250 articles published in professional journals and books, including lead articles in such prestigious scientific journals as Science and Nature, and provides regular public speaking appearances.

The following is an excerpt from an article by Dr. Tart published in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. In it, Dr. Tart documents the out-of-body experience of a young woman who was one of his research subjects. What makes this particular out-of-body experience remarkable is how she was able to leave her physical body and read a 5-digit number, which was at a significant distance, and correctly give it to Dr. Tart upon return. The odds of guessing a 5-digit number correctly is 1 in 100,000. Her OBE a good example of “veridical perception” where verified events are observed while in an out-of-body state.

Table of Contents

  1. Charles Tart’s “The End of Materialism” Amazon Book Review
  2. A Psychophysiological Study of OBEs in a Selected Subject
  3. Introduction to the OBE Study
  4. Description of Miss Z
  5. Preliminary Experiment
  6. Laboratory Procedure
    6a. Figure 0. OBE Study with Miss Z, Lab Setup
  7. The Nature of Sleep
  8. Results of Study
    8a. Night I
    8b. Night II
    8b1. Miss Z’s Nightmare and the Murder Case
    8c. Night III
    8d. Night IV
  9. Discussion
    9a. Figure 1. Illustration showing Miss Z’s EEG pattern and Stage 1 dreaming with REMs
    9b. Figure 2. Miss Z’s Stage 2 Sleeping EEG and Alphoid Pattern
  10. References
  11. Charles Tart Resources and Links

1. Charles Tart’s “The End of Materialism” Amazon Book Review

+++++ 5 Stars Rating+++++ – Tart’s Best Bet – By Stephen P. Smith (May 7, 2009)

Tart believes that the big five, his referral to telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing, are well supported by scientific evidence. Tart reviews this evidence, but wants to go to the next step: to consider other paranormal phenomena, and to look at the issue of what these phenomena mean in a philosophical sense (his best bet).

Tart confronts this issue of belief and knowledge, and how we humans struggle with meaning. He (page 25) writes

“Things that we believe that we don’t know we believe, though, are like a set of chains. They just automatically affect our perceptions and thoughts, and trap us.”

Tart (page 34) writes: “If you don’t consciously see that you have competing, clashing views of something, it won’t feel as if you have a conflict. But, at a deeper, psychological level, your psyche is not whole when you do this; the conflict will exact a price from you on less-conscious levels.”

This struggle is most apparent in a misplace certainty given to a science turned scientism, with materialistic philosophy at its core. Tart (page 37) writes: “Scientism has uselessly hurt enormous numbers of people, and we must distinguish scientism from science if we want any hope of science and spirituality helping each other.”

Tart (page 38) writes: “Until we learn to distinguish essential science from scientism, we remain vulnerable to false invalidation, which seems to have the full power and prestige of science behind it but is really an arbitrary, philosophical opinion. And we lose the ability to constructively apply essential science to increase our understanding of and effectiveness with spirituality.”

Tart (page 67) writes: “Pseudoskeptics aren’t actually skeptics in a genuine sense; they’re believers in some other system, out to attack and debunk what they don’t believe in while trying to appear open minded and scientific, even though they’re not.” Tart continues: “Various media love to report in these controversies stirred up by pseudoskeptics, and usually give the pseudoskeptics high, expert status and make the arguments sound serious, either because (1) the people running a particular reporting medium are themselves pseudoskeptical, committed to scientific materialism, (2) as cynical media people have put it for decades, controversy sells more newspapers than accurate reporting, or (3) both.”

Tart (page 192) writes: “Try to always notice when I write [scientism] rather than [science]. A major aspect of my personal identity is being a scientist and thinking like a scientist, and I consider science to be a noble calling that demands the best of me. I want to use genuine, essential science to help our understanding in all areas of life, including the spiritual. Scientism, on the other hand, is a perversion of genuine science. Scientism in our time consists mainly of a dogmatic commitment to a materialist philosophy that dismisses and [explains away] the spiritual, rather than actually examining it carefully and trying to understand it.”

Among the various accounts of paranormal phenomena presented by Tart, there is one interesting account of an out-of-body experience (OBE), where a hidden number is revealed (page 204):

“The number 25132 was indeed the correct target number near the ceiling above here bed. I had learned something about designing experiments since my first OBE experiment, and precise evaluation was possible here. The odds against guessing a five-digit number by chance alone on one try are hundreds thousand to one, so this is a remarkable event! Note also that Miss Z had apparently expected me to have the target number propped up against the wall behind the self, but she correctly reported that is was lying flat. She had also hoped to pass through the wall or closed door and see a second target number in the control room, but could not do so.”

Tart (page 226) describes Dennis Hill’s near-death experience (NDE), and quotes Hill: “There is a sudden rush of expansion into boundaryless awareness. I feel utter serenity infused with radiant joy. There is perfect stillness; no thoughts, no memories. In the rapturous state, free from the limitations of time and space, beyond the body and the mind, I have no memory of ever having been other that This.”

And Tart (page 229) speculates: “If NDEs were nothing but hallucinatory experiences induced by a malfunctioning brain as a person dies, as materialists want to believe, then we would expect great variation from person to person, and the qualities of experience would be largely determined by the culture and beliefs of each person experiencing the NDE. Instead, we have great similarity across cultures and belief systems, arguing that there’s something real about NDE rather that its being nothing but a hallucination.”

Tart (page 246) takes a materialist rejection of after-death communication, and turns it into an absurd darkness: “I personally find the materialistic idea quite depressing – an admission that, to materialists, will simply show that I have neurotic hopes and lack the courage to face the facts. If I believed that there’s no hope of any kind of survival, I would adapt as much as possible by becoming more normal in this materialistic age. That is, I would show excessive concern for my health, promote research that supports health and increases our life spans, and avoid taking any unnecessary risks that might endanger my health or my life, while otherwise trying to maximize my pleasure and minimize my pain. Psychologically, I would try not to think about the depressing reality and finality of death, would work on distracting myself with constant pleasurable pursuits, and if the above steps weren’t enough, to find a doctor who would prescribe mood-altering medications so I wouldn’t feel depressed.”

Tart (page 291) provides a neat summary: “When we look at paraconceptual phenomena in detail, in the science of parapsychology we find, grouped for convenience, two categories. Group one, the big five – telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing – are psi phenomena whose existence is supported by hundreds of rigorous experiments for each phenomenon. Group two, the many maybes, are phenomena that have enough evidence that it would be foolish to simply dismiss them as unreal, but not enough evidence, in my estimate, to make them foundation realities for further research as the big five are. The many maybes that we’ve surveyed in this book (which certainly aren’t all of them) are postcognition, out-of-body experiences (OBEs), near death experiences (NDEs), after-death communications (ADCs), and postmortem survival in some kind of afterlife as primary evidenced through mediumship and reincarnation cases.”

Tart (page 291) continues: “The big five paint a picture of humans as being who are more than just their physical bodies, beings who can sometimes communicate mind to mind, sometimes clairvoyantly know the state of the physical world, sometimes predict an inherently (by physical laws) unpredictable future, sometimes affects, for the better, other biological systems, as in psychic healing. Traditional spiritual systems in general tell us that ordinary, physical life is only part of reality; there’s a larger, more encompassing spiritual reality beyond the ordinary space, time, and embodiment, and the big five can readily be seen as glimpses of mind operating in this larger reality.”

Tart is describing “the end of materialism,” as the evidence he brings forth supports his best conclusion (page 310): “My current best bet is that there’s a real spiritual realm, as real or perhaps even more real (in some sense that’s hard to understand in our ordinary state of consciousness) than ordinary material reality. My current best bet is that this spiritual realm has purpose and is intelligent and loving in some profound sense. My current best bet is that our human nature partakes of this spiritual nature. The deep experience of many mystics that are one with all of reality, including spiritual reality, is about something vital and true. The several psychic ways we occasionally connect with each other (telepathy) and the material world (clairvoyance) are partial manifestations of this inherent connection with all of reality, spiritual as well as material.”

2. A Psychophysiological Study of OBEs in a Selected Subject, by Charles T. Tart

Originally published in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1968, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 3-27.

ABSTRACT: A young woman who frequently had spontaneous out-of-body experiences was studied in a sleep laboratory for four nights. She reported several partially out experiences and two full ones. While the physiological data are limited by dependence on her retrospective report in correlating physiological pattern with the experience, it seems as if her out experiences occurred in conjunction with a non-dreaming, non-awake brain wave stage characterized by predominant slowed alpha activity from her brain and no activation of the autonomic nervous system. Two incidents occurring in the laboratory provide suggestive evidence that the out of-the-body experiences had parapsychological concomitants.

3. Introduction to the OBE Study

Out-of-the-body (OOB) experiences have always been a peripheral problem in psychical research in spite of the fact that their important implications for the question of survival, as well as their inherent interest, have long been recognized. This neglect has been due to the fact that an experimental approach to the study of OOB experiences is extremely difficult. In the vast majority of reported cases, the experience occurred only once in the lifetime of an otherwise “ungifted” person. The occasional persons who have claimed to produce such experiences at will (26, 44, 64) have, by and large, not been investigated by psychical researchers, although the reason for this lack of investigation is not clear. The few “experimental” attempts to produce such experiences have almost exclusively been older attempts involving the use of hypnosis (8, pp. 146-154; 21).

Thus we have a phenomenon whose occurrence is quite rare, which we do not know how to produce experimentally, and whose “spontaneous” occurrence cannot be predicted. We cannot study a phenomenon very thoroughly which does not occur when we are prepared to study it. Aside from Hornell Hart’s excellent beginning work (29; 30, pp. 91-93; 31) and some recent work by Robert Crookall (10, 11, 12) on the experiential content of reported OOB experiences and some of their reported antecedents, we know virtually nothing about the nature of such experiences and their possible causes.

I have been interested in OOB experiences for several years and have often talked about this phenomenon with acquaintances. During a conversation with a friend (whom we shall call Miss Z) a couple of years ago, she reported that she had spontaneous OOB experiences approximately two to four times a week and that she would be interested in being studied in the laboratory. As this afforded an unusual opportunity for research, I studied her for four nights in a sleep laboratory in order to determine what, if any, psychophysiological correlates of her OOB experiences occurred. This paper will describe Miss Z and her spontaneous experiences, and report on the psychophysiological studies which were carried out.

4. Description of Miss Z

Miss Z is a young, unmarried woman in her early twenties, with two years of college education. Her education was temporarily interrupted at the time of this study because of her need to work in order to earn money to continue at college. She is a warm and highly intelligent person, and had great interest in what the study would show.

Psychologically, it is extremely difficult to describe Miss Z. My informal observations of her over a period of several months (undoubtedly distorted by the fact that one can never describe one’s friends objectively) resulted in a picture of a person who in some ways was quite mature and insightful, and in other ways so extremely disturbed psychologically that at times, when she lost control, she could possibly be diagnosed as schizophrenic. Miss Z came from a broken home. She recounted a number of instances of apparent parapsychological interaction between her and her parents as well as between her and her foster parents. She had been hospitalized for several weeks for psychiatric treatment about a year prior to the present study. Despite numerous psychological difficulties in her personal life during the several months over which the experiment was carried out, however, Miss Z did not interject her personal difficulties into the experimentation.

Miss Z’s OOB experiences were almost all of one kind. She would wake once or twice during a night’s sleep. Each time she would find herself floating near the ceiling, but otherwise seemingly wide awake. This condition would last for a few seconds to half a minute. She frequently observed her physical body lying on the bed. Then she would fall asleep again and that was all there was to the experience. As far as she could recall, these experiences had been occurring several times weekly all of her life. As a child, she had not realized that there was anything unusual about them. She assumed that everyone had such experiences during sleep, and never thought to mention them to anyone. After speaking about them to friends several times as a teenager, however, she realized that they were looked upon as “queer” experiences, and she stopped discussing them.

At the time of the experiment, she had never read anything about such experiences. After initially hearing about her experiences, I asked her to refrain from reading anything about them until our experiments were completed, and she complied with this request.

Note that Miss Z had never made any attempts to control her OOB experiences, nor did she attach any great significance to them. She definitely felt that they were not dreams, but she was otherwise puzzled as to what they were.

On a few occasions Miss Z’s OOB experiences had seemed to transport her to distant locations, rather than just floating above her body. One experience she reported is particularly relevant here. It is not certain whether it was a nightmare with elements of ESP in it, or a genuine OOB experience. At about the age of fourteen, she had a vivid “nightmare” in which she found herself walking down a dark street in a deserted part of her own home town. She noticed the clothes she was wearing, including a checked skirt; she realized that she did not own any clothes like this, and felt that she was in someone else’s body. Someone was following her, and she was terrified. This person caught up with her, raped her, and then stabbed her to death. Miss Z’s memory of what happened near the end of this sequence is very poor, but she awoke quite disturbed and horrified because this “nightmare” had seemed so terribly real. She reported that the next day there was a story in the newspaper about a girl who had been wearing a checked shirt having been raped and stabbed to death the previous evening in the part of town corresponding to her “nightmare” locale. This experience made a considerable impression on Miss Z and will be relevant to one of the events which happened in the laboratory, described below.

5. Preliminary Experiment

My interest in OOB experiences has two separate facets. On one level, I am interested in such experiences as a unique, psychological experience, possibly related to nocturnal dreaming. On another level, I am interested in the extrasensory aspects of the experience: in some OOB experiences the person reports accurate information about the distant localities he seemed to be at, and such information would apparently have to have been acquired by some form of extrasensory perception. Thus we have a unique psychological experience worthy of study in its own right, as well as an experience that often seems to have parapsychological aspects.

In my initial talks with Miss Z, I explained to her that I was interested in her OOB experiences from both of these points of view. I suggested that she carry out some observations on herself at home, before we began all-night laboratory studies, in order that she might distinguish for herself whether this was a vivid type of dream experience only, or whether it also possessed parapsychological aspects. At my suggestion, then, Miss Z carried out the following procedure.

She prepared ten slips of paper with the numbers one to ten on them and placed them in a large cardboard box. Each night, after getting into bed at home, she shook the cardboard box to randomize the slips of paper, and then, without looking into the box, drew out one slip of paper and put it on her bedside table. She could not see the number on the piece of paper from her position in bed, but anyone with a vantage point of several feet above the bed would be able to read the number clearly. If she awoke while experiencing floating near the ceiling that evening, she was to memorize the number, and then check on awakening in the morning to see whether she had perceived it correctly.

When I saw her two weeks later, she reported that she had tried this for seven nights and found she had been correct each time on checking in the morning. While this cannot be cited as evidence for some form of extrasensory perception, as it depends entirely on the subject’s word, it did suggest that the possible parapsychological aspects of Miss Z’s OOB experiences could be studied as well as the psychological experience per se.

6. Laboratory Procedure

I was able to observe Miss Z in my sleep laboratory for four non-consecutive nights, over a period of approximately two months. The procedure was essentially the same on all nights, and will be described here.

Miss Z’s electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded each night. Grass silver disk electrodes were applied to the vertex, the right occipital area, and the right frontal area (high on the forehead, just below the hairline). Recording of the EEG was bi-polar, frontal-to-vertex, and vertex-to-occipital. Recording was continuous through the night on a Grass model VII polygraph, running at a speed of ten millimeters per second.

Rapid eye movements (REMs) were recorded by means of a miniature strain gauge, taped over the right eyelid. This technique for recording REMs is described in detail elsewhere (4, 58). Movement of the eye under the closed eyelid distorts the strain gauge and a corresponding electrical output is recorded on the Grass polygraph. This combination of two EEG channels and a REM channel is typical in sleep studies and allows one to discriminate the various stages of sleep, including dreaming sleep.

Basal skin resistance (BSR) was also recorded on the Grass polygraph. Silver-silver chloride electrodes were used, one on the eminence of the palm of the right hand, the other on the right forearm. These electrodes, described elsewhere (45), have negligible polarization characteristics and provide an accurate record of BSR. Galvanic skin responses (GSRs) were recorded from the same electrodes at a higher sensitivity than BSR by capacitively coupling the output of the BSR channel into a high gain channel on a Sanborn polygraph. This latter polygraph ran continuously through the night at a paper speed of one millimeter per second.

On two of the four nights, heart rate and digital blood volume were measured by means of a Grass model PTT1 finger photoplethysmograph. This device transmits a beam of light through a finger, and measures the amount of light transmitted by means of a photo cell (7). The output of this photo cell reproduces the pulse wave, allowing heart rate to be measured, and the amplitude of this tracing varies with variations in the blood volume in the finger. Technical difficulties with this device prevented its use on two of the four nights.

The sleep laboratory consisted of two rooms, each lined with acoustic tile for sound attenuation. A large window was between the rooms for viewing, but in this experiment it was covered with a Venetian blind in order that the subject’s room could be reasonably dark for sleeping. This blind allowed enough light to come through so that the subject’s room was dimly illuminated, but not enough to disturb sleep. The polygraphs were located in the second room, and the door was kept closed. An intercom system allowed hearing anything the subject said. I monitored the recording equipment throughout the night while the subject slept and kept notes of anything she said or did. Occasionally I dozed during the night, beside the equipment, so possible instances of sleep talking might have been missed.

Charles Tart lab

The subject slept on a comfortable bed just below the observation window. The leads from all electrodes were bound into a common cable running off the top of her head, and terminating in an electrode box on the head of the bed. This arrangement allowed her enough slack wire so that she could turn over in bed and otherwise be comfortable, but did not allow her to sit up more than two feet without disconnecting the wires from the box, an event which would show up on the recording equipment as a tremendous amount of sixty cycle artifact. Thus her movements were well controlled. Immediately above the observation window (about five and a half feet above the level of the subject’s head) was a small shelf (about ten inches by five inches). Immediately above this shelf was a large clock, mounted on the wall. Each laboratory night, after the subject was lying in bed, the physiological recordings were running satisfactorily, and she was ready to go to sleep, I went into my office down the hall, opened a table of random numbers at random, threw a coin onto the table as a means of random entry into the page, and copied off the first five digits immediately above where the coin landed. These were copied with a black marking pen, in figures approximately two inches high, onto a small piece of paper. Thus they were quite discrete visually. This five-digit random number constituted the parapsychological target for the evening. I then slipped it into an opaque folder, entered the subject’s room, and slipped the piece of paper onto the shelf without at any time exposing it to the subject. This now provided a target which would be clearly visible to anyone whose eyes were located approximately six and a half feet off the floor or higher, but was otherwise not visible to the subject.

The subject was instructed to sleep well, to try and have an OOB experience, and if she did so to try to wake up immediately afterwards and tell me about it, so I could note on the polygraph records when it had occurred. She was also told that if she floated high enough to read the five-digit number she should memorize it and wake up immediately afterwards to tell me what it was. My conversation with Miss Z after I had prepared the target was, of course, minimal and could not have given her any clue as to the target number. In future experiments, however, it would be preferable for a second experimenter, who had had no contact at all with the subject, to prepare the targets.

6a. The Nature of Sleep

As some readers may not be familiar with recent psychophysiological findings on the nature of sleep, a brief review of these will be presented here. More detailed reviews and evaluations of the more than one hundred studies of the past decade which have so changed our view of sleep and dream activity may be found elsewhere (25, 37, 41, 47, 48, 56, 57).

Sleep may be defined in this paper as a stage of the organism indicated (in human subjects) by one of four EEG stages (16, 17). The Stage 1 pattern consists of an irregular mixture of theta waves (4-8 cps), random low voltage activity, occasional isolated alphoid activity (waves of 1 to 2 cps slower than the subject’s waking alpha), and occasional alpha waves (8-13 cps). Stage 2 contains spindle activity (14 cps) in addition to the above, and Stages 3 and 4 contain an increasingly larger proportion (up to 100 per cent) of delta waves, 1-3 cps, high amplitude, in addition to spindle activity. The exact divisions between Stages 2, 3, and 4 are arbitrary, based on the percentages of delta waves in given epochs. The Stage 1 pattern is readily distinguishable from the other stages by its total lack of spindles and delta waves.

Stages 1 through 4 were initially conceived of as comprising a continuum from “light” to “deep” sleep (2, 3, 14), but as other measures of the “depth” of sleep contradict this conception (5, 32, 37, 56, 62), this paper will treat sleep as being of two qualitatively distinct types, namely, Stage 1 as one type and Stages 2, 3, and 4 as the other type. Distinctions between Stages 2, 3, and 4 will not be made, and they will be collectively referred to as Nonstage 1 sleep.

If subjects are awakened from the two types of sleep and asked to report on what they have been experiencing, the reports may be classified into two rather distinct types. One type, awakenings from Stage 1 sleep or shortly (within, roughly, ten to fifteen minutes) after Stage 1 sleep has changed to Nonstage 1 sleep, possesses the characteristics traditionally associated with the experience of dreaming (24, 51). Reports from Nonstage 1 sleep seem more like “thinking,” and are generally called thinking by the subjects-these same subjects generally refer to their Stage 1 experiences as dreams. The psychological differences reported so far are quantitative rather than being completely dichotomous, but they generally give the impression of being distinct types of experiences.

Stage 1 sleep is almost always accompanied by binocularly synchronous rapid eye movements (REMs), and the evidence is very convincing that these are closely associated with the content of the dream, if not actual scanning movements of the dream imagery (6, 19, 53). Such REMs have not been reported in Nonstage 1 sleep, although there are some slow, rolling movements (37). In view of these findings, the theoretical position taken in this paper is that an experientially distinct type of phenomenon occurs concurrently with the presence of Stage 1 sleep, which phenomenon will be called Stage 1 dreaming, or just dreaming. The mental phenomena of Nonstage 1 sleep will not be considered in this paper. Further, it is assumed that the experience of Stage 1 dreaming is essentially continuous during the presence of Stage 1 EEG, whether or not the subject can always recall this experience on waking. This position is, in my opinion, supported by all the studies using the EEG and REM technique, and directly refuted by none.

For normal subjects, Stage 1 dreaming and Nonstage 1 sleep alternate in a regular cyclic fashion referred to as the sleep-dream cycle. As the subject falls asleep there is generally a brief (a few seconds to a minute or two) period of Stage 1, without REMs, but subjects’ reports indicate that this is apparently a period of hypnagogic imagery rather than typical dreaming (17, 47). At approximately ninety-minute intervals through the night there are periods of Stage I dreaming, each dream period generally being longer than the preceding one. The first Stage 1 period may last for ten minutes; the fourth or fifth one may last as long as fifty minutes. Altogether, Stage 1 dreaming occupies between twenty and thirty per cent of the total sleep time of most young adults, spread over three to six Stage 1 periods. While the exact percentage of dream time and the number of cycles varies from subject to subject, for a given subject the sleep-dream cycle is generally quite stable from night to night (15, 16, 40, 63).

8. Results of Study

Table of Study Results

8a. Night I
8b. Night II
8b1. Miss Z’s Nightmare and the Murder Case
8c. Night III
8d. Night IV

8a. Night I

The first night in a dream laboratory is usually considered an adaptation night, with the data from it not being used in physiological studies. This is because of the so-called “first night effect” in which a subject is liable to skip his first Stage 1 dream period, and the content of his dreams is often obviously concerned with the fact that he is being experimented upon (1, 20, 50, 59, 61).

On her first night in the laboratory, Miss Z fell asleep rather rapidly, reached Stage 4 sleep within the first half hour after falling asleep, and then showed three Stage 1 dream periods during the course of the night. After the first dream period, there were scattered instances of prominent alphoid activity, that is, a Stage 1 pattern mixed with slowed alpha waves, and rather poorly developed sleep spindles. The only unusual feature of this night was that the subject showed REMs during Stage I drowsiness at the beginning of sleep, a very unusual finding.

[Note: Within a continuous period of Stage 1 EEG, the content of the experienced dream may be divided into several distinct episodes so that, in a sense, there are several distinct “dreams” within a continuous period of dreaming. Dement and Wolpert (19) present some evidence that such change of topic may he accompanied by a gross body movement on the part of the subject.]

Rapid eye movements almost never occur if normal subjects during drowsiness, although they have been found to occur frequently in narcoleptics (18, 36, 49, 52). There is no evidence that Miss Z suffers from narcolepsy, however, and these REMs during drowsiness seem to be related to the unusually vivid hypnagogic imagery that she reportedly experiences on falling asleep.

Miss Z did not feel that she had had any OOB experiences that night.

8b. Night II

A number of interesting incidents occurred during Miss Z’s second night in the laboratory.

As Miss Z went to sleep, she showed a drowsy pattern alternating with a waking pattern for approximately the first ten minutes. Then there was a minute of a drowsy EEG pattern consisting of occasional theta waves, some alphoid waves (alpha waves of one to one-and-a-half cycles per second slower than her usual waking alpha), and a good deal of flattening of the record, ending in thirteen seconds of waking alpha rhythm, nearly continuous, and then a large body movement. With this body movement, Miss Z called out that she was awake and that she had just had a sensation of starting to float up toward the ceiling immediately prior to her moving and calling out. The finger photoplethysmograph was being used on this night, and her heart rate during this time was a steady seventy-one beats per minute, not in the least unusual. Her BSR was steady throughout this time, no GSRs were seen at all, nor was there any body movement. Also, there were no REMs during this period.

Miss Z then went to sleep, quickly going into Stage 2 sleep, which lasted for about half an hour, and then a half hour of Stage 3 and Stage 4 sleep. This was followed by a short Stage 1 dream. Her Stage 1 dream period showed a classical Stage 1 pattern with REMs. This dream was followed by about an hour and a half of Stage 2 sleep, then twenty minutes of Stage 1 sleep, and then another period of unusual EEG. For approximately one minute Miss Z showed a pattern of alphoid waves mixed with poorly developed, low voltage sleep spindles. Then there was a two-minute period of alphoid waves superimposed on a generally low voltage pattern with no spindles and no clearly developed theta waves. This was followed by a minute of predominantly low voltage theta activity, with very poorly developed sleep spindles present, This terminated in a large movement and Miss Z awoke, There were no REMs during this four-minute period, heart rate was steady at seventy-four beats per minute, and BSR steady, with no GSRs. There were two small body movement artifacts during the terminal period of slowed alpha without spindles and one small body movement in the period of slowed alpha and poor spindling which began this unusual EEG sequence. The sequence occurred at approximately 3:15 A.M.

Upon awakening from this sequence, Miss Z called out:

“Write down 3:13 A.M. I don’t see the number, but I just remember that.”

Although she did not say anything more, the implication, confirmed by conversation later on that morning, was that she had: floated somewhat above her body, high enough to see the clock, but not high enough to see the target number. Some further comments on this episode will now be made.

When going back to sleep, Miss Z showed a Stage 2 pattern for an hour, had a dream of twenty-five minutes’ duration following that, then showed some Stage 2 and Stage 3 for the next hour. About fifteen minutes of record was then lost because of a paper jam. When recording was resumed, she was showing Stage 1 dreaming. This lasted for about ten minutes, and then the record became rather difficult to classify. For a period of approximately ten minutes the EEG consisted of a great deal of slowed alpha rhythm, no theta rhythm, and a fair amount of flattening. It could not be classified clearly as either a sleep or a waking pattern. There were some occasional body movements, a fair amount of REM activity scattered through, and some GSR activity. Miss Z then awakened by herself and reported that in the last five minutes she thought she had floated in and out of her body four or five times. Nothing else of interest occurred that night.

8b1. Miss Z’s Nightmare and the Murder Case

One day later, Miss Z told me that she had had a very frightening nightmare during her previous night in the laboratory, which she had not reported at the time because of its terrifying nature. She had wanted to forget it, but had not been successful. This nightmare had apparently occurred just before she woke, called out the time, and reported that she had not been able to see the target number. I cannot be sure of this, of course, as she did not report it at the time. The stimulus for now reporting it was that she had seen a television news program the night following her night in the laboratory which made her decide to write down an account of her nightmare immediately because it seemed to coincide with an item in the newscast.

Because Miss Z did not report this material to me before seeing the newscast, it cannot be considered evidential of extrasensory perception. As it is quite interesting psychologically, however, and fits in with the earlier traumatic incident of her childhood (described above) in which she had a nightmare or OOB experience coinciding with the murder of a young girl, the material will be reproduced here. Her account, written after she saw the newscast, is as follows:

Sunday night – vague nightmare – recalled previous experience ? – blocking on much of memory – young girl (13 to 16?) – outdoors? – stabbing, but not knife, more slender – head hurt (slapped ?) – not stabbed, surely – expanse of white, car white ? – knew fellow (she knew, not I!) who also youngish – horrible experience but no support in papers this morning – so far so good.

Miss Z told me that the television newscast said that a young girl had been stabbed to death in Marin County. Whether additional information was given in the newscast is not known.

I did not check the newspapers at the time; I wanted the incident to die down as Miss Z was obviously rather disturbed about it. Several months later I checked the newspaper files in the library. Nothing had appeared in the papers until April 20, 1965. Miss Z’s second night in the laboratory had been the night of April 18th. Thus, as she had said, there had been nothing in the morning paper after she had seen the TV newscast. I do not know if she saw anything which appeared in the paper after that. The following material has been taken from the April 20, 1965, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. (I have left out details such as names and the like which are not relevant to Miss Z’s nightmare.) The headline is “Girl Found Murdered in Marin.” Marin is the county immediately above San Francisco, about forty miles north of the laboratory.

“A pretty Daly City high school girl was found murdered on a flower covered slope in Muir Woods in Marin County yesterday afternoon. She had been stabbed savagely in the head at least six times and her skull was crushed, Coroner Frank Keaton said. There was no indication that she had been raped…. The young victim was identified as Nonita , sixteen. Nonita’s boyfriend is also missing and is sought for questioning… He was identified as Virgilio…, nineteen, a resident of a San Francisco hotel. He is driving a white 1960 Thunderbird, police said… The victim was fully clad – though her underclothing was in some disarray – in a black sweater, red blouse, plaid skirt, tennis shoes, and white socks. Keaton estimated that she had been dead three or four days.”

In the Chronicle for April 21st, the information is given that the police are still looking for the boyfriend, and that the car has been found:

“… the murder weapon-a sharp, thin instrument, a little thicker than an ice pick-was not found … An autopsy showed that death came from six stabs of this weapon into her head, one of them penetrating the brain.”

The Chronicle of April 22nd reports that the girl was murdered in the car, according to bloodstains and signs of a struggle found in the car. The Thunderbird was parked in a San Francisco parking garage late Friday night, and the body was apparently in it for attendants noticed a little pool of blood in the parking place after the car was checked out.

After a small notice on April 24th in the Chronicle that the FBI had entered the case, I could find no more information about the murder, though I searched the paper for the next several weeks.

With respect to the parallels between Miss Z’s nightmare and the murder case, we note the following:

  1. The victim was a young girl of sixteen, as estimated in the dream.
  2. The setting of the nightmare was outdoors and the body was apparently out-doors, where it was found, at the time of the dream, although the murder took place in the car.
  3. Death was caused by stabbing with an instrument like an ice pick, not a knife.
  4. Miss Z said her head hurt, that it was slapped, not stabbed; the girl was stabbed in the head and her skull was crushed
  5. Miss Z saw an expanse of white in her dream and thought it was a white car; the suspected murderer was driving a large white car
  6. Miss Z said the murderer, a “youngish man,” knew the girl; the suspected murderer was a young man who was a boyfriend of the girl.

The parallels between this nightmare, the actual killing, and the incident Miss Z reported from her early teens is striking. In the earlier nightmare incident, the girl Miss Z identified with was also wearing a checked or plaid skirt. In one sense, this entire recent incident may be a reactivation of the earlier trauma. (As mentioned above, the nightmare can only constitute suggestive evidence for extrasensory perception because it was not reported to me before Miss Z saw the television newscast.) An alternative hypothesis is that no nightmare took place in the laboratory, but that the TV news bulletin triggered the earlier trauma in Miss Z’s mind and she fabricated (unknowingly) the incidents of the nightmare.

8c. Night III

On her third night in the laboratory, Miss Z went to sleep quickly and showed an ordinary sleep pattern for the first half of the night, that is, Stages 2, 3, and 4 alternating with a couple of Stage 1 dream periods at approximately ninety-minute intervals, At 3:35 A.M. an unusual EEG pattern sequence started which will be described here. It began from Stage 3 sleep, which was clearly defined by frequent, well-developed sleep spindles and clear, high voltage delta activity. Then there was a minute of large body movements, followed by five minutes of alphoid activity with no spindles, some flattening of the record, and no REMs. Then there was another minute of massive body movements, followed by a half minute of rather poorly developed Stage 1 EEG, that is, a flattened low voltage slow pattern, but with the theta almost absent and no RE Ms. Again there was a half minute of body movements, and then five minutes of alphoid activity as before. There were several bursts of twenty-four cycle per second rhythmic activity in the frontal channel during this five-minute period, but it is not clear whether these were actually EEG patterns or some sort of external electrical artifact which happened to occur at this time. Then for two and a half minutes the alphoid activity was less prominent, there was some theta activity, but still no spindle activity. Then there were five minutes of record that could not be classified because body movements obscured almost all of it except for occasional slowed alpha. Then there was a minute in which the EEG record was clear and showed alphoid activity predominantly, but the strain gauge REM channel showed all sorts of artifact, such as one might get from tremors of the eyelids. This was followed by seven minutes of alphoid activity, with some flattening, and continual interference and possibly tremor on the strain gauge REM channel. Then, after some more body movement, there were three minutes of waking alpha rhythm with high amplitude REMs. The subject may very well have been awake during this brief period. Then followed a minute and a half of Stage 1 pattern with REMs (dreaming), although the theta was rather poorly developed. There were some occasional bursts of twenty-four cycles per second activity in both EEG channels again. This gave way to seventeen minutes of alphoid activity with no REMs and only a couple of small movements of the body scattered through this period. There were occasional GSRs during this long period of EEG disturbance. Then there were a couple of minutes of Stage 1 EEG pattern, with occasional REMs (dreaming), and Miss Z awoke. She reported on OOB experience. After her final awakening later in the morning, she wrote a full account of this experience, as follows:

“I seemed to be flying, although too high and seemingly fast to recognize where I was; neither did I have any sense of where I was going. The flying disturbed me as I knew I was supposed to stand up in the room and read the number above my head, Therefore, I would rouse or questionably awaken and realize that I was still lying on the bed. Every time I drifted off to sleep I would resume flying, however. This was not preceded by any other activity-that is, there seemed to be no intermediate experience between falling asleep on the cot and flying. Finally, the third or fourth time I flew I decided to relax and let the experience come to completion. Very shortly (that is, in far less time than was objectively possible- I would say less than two minutes) I realized I was on my way home; that somehow my sister was involved in the experience. Essentially simultaneously with this realization I found myself in my home in Southern California, in the living room. Seated in the rocker was my sister, dressed in her pajamas. She seemed upset, somewhat frightened; however, she recognized me immediately and did not seem particularly surprised to see me. We did not talk, but we seemed to communicate (i.e., I knew she had had a nightmare, she welcomed me, etc.). After standing with her (she had arisen when I appeared) for a brief period of time, we walked back to her bedroom where I observed her body asleep on the bed – she was lying on her right side and seemingly tranquil. The sister with whom I had been communicating observed that it was probably time for me to go and I agreed. Almost simultaneously with this understanding I began to rouse and to realize I was back in the lab.”

I was unable to contact the sister before Miss Z went home for a visit a few weeks later, so this experience cannot be considered as to possible parapsychological aspects. On this visit home, Miss Z discussed the incident with her sister, and reported that the latter vaguely recalled having a dream about Miss Z visiting her at about the proper time, but unfortunately no written records were made. As for the experience per se, this sort of OOB experience in which she seemed to travel a great distance was unusual for Miss Z.

After reporting the experience described above, Miss Z went back to sleep, had a couple more Stage 1 dreams during the night, and was awakened by me at 6.50 A.M. so that she could get to work.

8d. Night IV

On reporting to the laboratory on the fourth night, Miss Z seemed to be determined to have the right kind of OOB experience. Although I had indicated complete satisfaction with her performance so far, she was angry at herself because she had not been able to float up and read the target number.

Miss Z went quickly to sleep, entering Stages 3 and 4 less than fifteen minutes after going to bed. The night was uneventful for the most part – there were several Stage 1 dream periods in the first two-thirds of the night, as would be expected for any normal subject. After four and a half hours of sleep, she had a Stage 1 dream period with REMs which lasted for half an hour. The EEG was technically rather poor on this night, being obscured with a great deal of sixty cycle artifact and requiring rather heavy high frequency filtering to make it clear, so the EEG findings should be taken with the realization that they are subject to more error than usual. Miss Z’s Stage 1 dream terminated with several minutes of intermittent body movements and EEG artifact. Then (at 5:50 A.M.) the occipital channel showed an enlarged, slow wave artifact, the REM channel showed no REMs, and the record looked like a Stage I tracing; however, I could not be sure due to the considerations mentioned above. At 5:57 A.M. the slow wave artifact was lessened and the record looked somewhat like Stage 1 with REMs, but I could not be sure whether this was a waking or a Stage I record. This lasted until 6:04 A.M., at which time Miss Z awoke and called out that the target number was 25132. This was correct (with the digits in correct order), but I did not say anything to her at this point; I merely indicated that I had written the number down on the record. I then told her she could go back to sleep, but twenty minutes later I awakened her so that she could get ready to go to work. At this time, she described her experience as follows:

“I woke up; it was stifling in the room. Awake for about five minutes. I kept waking up and drifting off, having floating feelings over and over. I needed to go higher because the number was lying down. Between 5:50 and 6:00 A.M. that did it. … I wanted to go read the number in the next room, but I couldn’t leave the room, open the door, or float through the door. . .. I couldn’t turn off the air conditioner! “

It should be mentioned that Miss Z had expected me to prop the target number up against the wall on the shelf; actually, I had laid it flat on the shelf, which she correctly perceived. Also, I had put a second number on a shelf in the equipment room, but she reported she could not get into this room to see the number. Neither could she turn off the air conditioner, and she complained – that although it had been stifling, it was too cold in the room by that time.

Since Miss Z’s correctly calling a five-digit number (P = 10^-5 [i.e., odds of 1 in 100,000]) was the first strong evidence that her OOB experiences contained a parapsychological element, I inspected the laboratory carefully the next day to see if there was any way in which this number could have been read by non parapsychological means.

[Note: I was assisted in this by Dr. Arthur Hastings, whom I wish to thank.]

As a first alternative to an explanation involving extrasensory perception, we decided that “sophisticated” cheating by Miss Z was not impossible. She might have concealed mirrors and reaching rods in her pajamas and used these during the period when the EEG was difficult to classify (due to movement artifacts) to read the number. While this is possible, I personally doubt that it occurred. The second alternative is that she might have seen the number reflected in the surface of the case of the clock which was mounted on the wall above it. This was the only reflecting surface in the room placed in such a way that this might have been possible. Both Dr. Hastings and I spent some time in the dimly lit room to dark-adapt our eyes, and tried to read a number from the subject’s position on the bed, as reflected on the surface of the clock. As the room was dimly lit and the surface of the clock was black plastic, we could not see anything of the number. However, when we shone a flashlight directly on the number (increasing its brightness by a factor somewhere between several hundred and several thousand) we could just make out what the number was in the much brighter reflection. Thus, although it seems unlikely, one could argue that the number constituted a “subliminal stimulus” in its reflection off the clock surface. Therefore, Miss Z’s reading of the target number cannot be considered as providing conclusive evidence for a parapsychological effect.

After calling out the number, Miss Z again returned to sleep and spent approximately twenty minutes in a stage where the EEG was again quite difficult to classify. It was a generally low voltage, flattened record which looked rather like a poorly developed Stage 1 record. However, there were no REMs to speak of, and there was only a small amount of alphoid activity. Upon awaking, she reported that she had had a number of floating sensations during this time.

9. Discussion

In the course of four nights in the laboratory, Miss Z reported three clear-cut incidents of “floating” and two instances of feeling completely out of her body. The floating incidents, according to her accounts, were all characterized by the feeling that she was starting to rise up above her body, but only slightly, and then being back in her body, usually waking in the process.

[Note: The set-up of the room was changed slightly in preparation for a fifth laboratory night, and the shelf was extended so that no reflection could be seen off the clock from the subject’s position in bed. However, personal difficulties forced Miss Z to return to her family’s home in Southern California before a fifth laboratory night could be scheduled]

The “nightmare” during her second laboratory night is not clearly classifiable as an OOB experience.

Only the final night in the laboratory produced a report of an OOB experience giving fair evidence of parapsychological concomitants (her reading of the target number), but as this evidence is not conclusive, the remainder of this discussion will focus on the subjective experience of being out of the body, and on the concomitant psychophysiological states.

It is difficult to state conclusively what kind of EEG pattern accompanied the floating experiences and full OOB experience because we must depend on Miss Z’s retrospective report for the approximate times when they occurred. In connection with most of these experiences, she reported waking up briefly several times during their course; thus, one would expect whatever pattern accompanied them to be mixed with transitory waking patterns, as well as with the body movement artifacts which generally accompany waking from sleep. My general impression of the EEG correlates of Miss Z’s floating and OOB experiences is that they occurred during a rather poorly developed Stage 1 pattern which was dominated by alphoid activity and often mixed with transitory periods of wakefulness. This alphoid activity was always one to one and a half cycles per second slower than her normal alpha rhythm. No REMs seemed to accompany these experiences and, judging from the one night when the plethysmograph was working satisfactorily and the two nights when the skin resistance channel was working satisfactorily, there are no marked autonomic alterations concomitant with the experiences; that is, heart rate stays at a normal, steady rate, and there is no pronounced change in either BSR or spontaneous GSR activity.

Further, it can be stated with some certainty that Miss Z’s OOBs experiences do not occur in a normal state of Stage 1 dreaming. She showed normal, well developed Stage 1 EEG and REM patterns, but she did not report OOB experiences in conjunction with these patterns unless they changed into the alphoid pattern, without accompanying REMs.

Figure 1 shows a typical example of Miss Z’s waking EEG pattern and an example of Stage 1 dreaming with REMs.

EEG pattern

Figure 2 shows a sample of Stage 2 sleep with an example of the prominent alphoid pattern she showed in conjunction with her OOB experiences; this particular example is taken from her second laboratory night when she reported seeing the time.

EEG pattern #2

Considering, then, that we have a fairly good correlation between Miss Z’s reported OOB experiences and a relatively distinct neurophysiological pattern, how would we describe her physiological state? Here we run into considerable difficulty. The mixture of Stage 1 and pronounced alphoid activity, along with no REMs or cardiovascular or skin resistance changes, has not been described before, to my knowledge, in the sleep literature.*

[Note: * Alphoid activity is usually mentioned as a component of Stage 1 sleep, but there are no quantitative standards available as to how much alphoid activity is typical. Thus I am depending upon personal experience with dozens of sleep records in forming my impression that Miss Z’s alphoid activity was exceptionally prominent during her OOB experiences.]

The particular pattern cannot be unequivocally classified as a waking pattern, nor can it be unequivocally classified as any of the known stages of sleep. Nor is it a typical Stage 1 drowsy pattern by any means, because of the pronounced alphoid activity. Dr. William Dement, one of the world’s leading authorities on sleep research, kindly looked at these patterns, and agreed with me that they could not very well be classified into any of the known sleep stages, nor could they even be classified unambiguously as waking or drowsy patterns.

From some points of view, we could say that Miss Z was in a hypnagogic state at the time of her OOB experiences, or in a transitional state between sleeping and waking; but simply putting a familiar label on the state tells us nothing about its nature. Furthermore, the presence of so much alphoid activity is not typical of hypnagogic states. However, some interesting literature is starting to come out of Japanese laboratories on the slowing of the alpha rhythm during Zen meditation (35, 38, 39).

The significance of alphoid activity is difficult to assess. In ordinary subjects, alpha frequency tends to decrease with advancing age (34, 41), but this is a long-term decline rather than a transient change. Acute alcoholic intoxication transiently lowers EEG alpha frequency (13, 22, 54), as does acute anoxia and hypoglycemia (23). For normal subjects not subjected to such drastic treatments, however, I can find no reports of such transient alpha slowing or its possible significance.

One other unusual experimental treatment has been reported to result in slowed alpha activity, viz., sensory isolation. Heron (33) presents graphs which show a shift from alpha activity predominating at 10 cps for three normal subjects to 9 cps for two of them and 8 cps for one of them at the end of ninety-six hours of isolation. Even more drastic shifts to alphoid activity are reported by Zubek, Welch, and Saunders (65) for a longer isolation period. Heron also mentions that some subjects felt as if another body were lying beside them, sometimes overlapping with their physical body, although it is not clear from his report whether these were the same subjects who showed alpha slowing. In any case, it would be interesting to follow up on these findings. This is a transient alpha slowing iii otherwise normal subjects, but further equating of the states of Zen meditation or sensory isolation with Miss Z’s state during her OOB experiences would be quite speculative at this time (5).

There is one sleep study (42) in which considerable alphoid activity was reported in the sleep records as a result of chlorpromazine administration. Chlorpromazine is a fairly commonly used tranquilizer known under the trade name of Thorazine. A friend indicated that Miss Z might have been taking trifluoperazine (Stelazine) at the time of the study. Neither Miss Z herself, her roommate, nor her boyfriend recall that she was taking this at the time of the study, but it remains a possibility. There have been no studies of the effect of this drug on the sleep EEG, but the possibility should be borne in mind that Miss Z might have been taking this medication, and that it might have contributed to the alphoid activity in her patterns. But even if this were true, it would not account for the findings, as the fact remains that her OOB experiences were associated with this unique pattern, which was quite distinguishable from the normal sleep stage patterns. Indeed, one might speculate that drugs which tend to slow alpha frequency might promote OOB experiences, and this could be a possibly fruitful line of experimental inquiry.

It is important to note that Miss Z’s psychophysiological state during the OOB experiences was not at all what one would predict from reading various occult works on OOB experiences or “astral projections” (21, 26, 44, 46), or from accounts of OOB experiences reported in conjunction with serious illnesses or accidents (10, 11, 12, 43). These works lead one to expect that a “death-like trance” accompanies OOB experiences, in which respiration and heart beat would be markedly slowed, temperature might fall considerably, and in which one would probably see the sort of brain waves (high voltage slow waves) characteristic of coma (55). Miss Z did not seem to be in a “death-like trance.” When it was measured, her heart rate was normal and steady, there was no unusual autonomic activity, and the Stage 1 and alphoid activity in the EEG was not what one associates with coma.

Closer reading of some of the techniques described in the occult literature for producing OOB experiences (e.g., 9, 26, 27, 28, 44, 46), however, suggests that there may be several distinct sorts of experiences produced by the variety of techniques presented.

[Note: I hope to do some work in the near future with another woman who claims that she can have O0B experiences at will. She has participated in a colleague’s experiment on operant control of EEG alpha rhythm and is reported to he very good at enhancing this rhythm.]

Some of these techniques are dream-control techniques, in which the dreamer must recognize that he is dreaming and then convert the dream into an OOB experience. Others are what we might call hypnagogic experiences, for they involve fixedly holding the idea of having an OOB experience in mind while allowing oneself to drift into a hypnagogic or sleep state. Still other techniques seem to involve the creation of a “trance” state, but nothing further will be said about this third possibility here because writers use the term “trance” in very ambiguous ways, as will be discussed elsewhere (60). Miss Z’s experiences may have been cases of hypnagogic phenomena following brief awakenings during the night, or of a Stage 1 dream being converted into an OOB experience. Which alternative is true is not clear from the exploratory work of this study.

The tentativeness of the correlations reported here between OOB experiences and brain wave states should be noted. The EEG is a complex phenomenon that varies in terms of frequency, regularity, waveshape, spatial distribution over the brain, and interareal phase relationships. The analyses reported in this paper were confined to visual inspection: adequate investigation of the possible EEG correlates of OOB experiences will have to use the most sophisticated recording and electronic analysis techniques, as well as running the selected subjects through control conditions to see which EEG correlates are unique to the OOB experience and which appear under other circumstances as well.

In summary, this brief study found a fairly clear-cut correlation between several of Miss Z’s reported OOB experiences and a physiological pattern characterized by a flattened EEG with prominent alphoid activity, no REM or skin resistance activity, and normal heart rate. Much more work remains to be done before we can begin to understand the psychophysiological and parapsychological aspects of OOB experiences, and it is hoped that the present study, insofar as it has shown that these experiences can be studied by the techniques of modern science, will encourage other investigators to carry out further experiments.

Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., Editor, TASTE
Professor of Psychology, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of California at Davis
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Noetic Sciences
President, Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness

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[57] Snyder, F. “Progress in the New Biology of Dreaming.” American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 122, 1965, 377-391.

[58] Tart, C. “Technical Note: Use of Strain Gauges to Measure Rapid Eye Movements.” Paper, Association for the Psychophysiological Study of Sleep, New York, 1963.

[59] Tart, C. “The Influence of the Experimental Situation in Hypnosis and Dream Research: A Case Report.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Vol. 7, 1964, 163-170.

[60] Tart, C. “The Concept of Trance.” Manuscript in preparation.

[61] Whitman, R., Pierce, C., Maas, J., and Baldridge, B. “The Dreams of the Experimental Subject.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 134, 1962, 431-39.

[62] Williams, H., Tepas, D., and Morlock, H. “Evoked Responses to Clicks and Electroencephalographic Stages of Sleep in Man.” Science, Vol. 138, 1962, 685-686.

[63] Wood, P. “Dreaming and Social Isolation.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of North Carolina, 1962.

[64] Yram (Pseudonym). Practical Astral Projection. New York, Samuel Weiser, 1965.

[65] Zubex, J., Welch, G., and Saunders, M. “Electroencephalographic Changes during and after 14 Days of Perceptual Deprivation.” Science, Vol. 139, 1963, 490-492.

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