A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


The Book 4th Edition

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7. Out of Body Experiences

“The greatest illusion is that man has limitations.”
Robert A. Monroe

While out of body experiences have been reported all around the world for over twenty centuries, it is only recently that techniques for experiencing them have been systematically taught. The non-profit Monroe Institute has taught tens of thousands of people both in residence and through distance learning to undertake Out of Body Journeys. So useful was his program that it was adopted by the American Military as part of the standard training of remote viewers (see Chap.18).

An out of body experience or OBE happens when a person's duplicate invisible body, sometimes called the astral or etheric body, is able to move out of the physical body with full consciousness. For this reason it is sometimes called ‘astral projection’. For most people there is no control at all over the OBE—it just happens spontaneously. A person who experiences an OBE does not have to be ill or near death.

OBEs in history

• ancient Egyptians described the OBE and the astral body which they called the 'ba'

• Mithraic mystery initiation rites called for OBEs

• Plato recalled the OBE of Er in his Republic

• Socrates, Pliny and Plotonius described out of body experiences

• Plotonius wrote of being lifted out of his body on many occasions

• Plutarch described an OBE that occurred to Aridanaeus in A.D. 79

• The Tibetan Book of the Dead describes a duplicate of the physical body, called a 'Bardo Body', which lifts out of the body

• Mahayana Buddhism acknowledges the existence of a duplicate body

• ancient Chinese said that they could experience an OBE after meditation

• some tribal shamans say that they can attain an OBE at will

• early missionaries to Africa and America were stunned at how native tribes could have a detailed knowledge of everything that was happening within a radius of hundreds of miles (see Inglis 1977: 30-35).

Some early systematic research (briefly)

• Yram, born Marcel Louis Fohan, (1884-1917) systematically recorded his own OBEs?see his book Practical Astral Travel (or Projection)

• Sylvan Muldoon, in the United States, with Hereward Carrington wrote about his years of OBEs (1915-1950). His book The Projection of The Astral Body was first published in 1919

• in England, Oliver Fox recorded his OBEs in his book Astral Projection (1920)

• J H M Whiteman, in his book The Mystical Life (1961) claimed to have had more than 2,000 astral projections

• a 1954 a survey at the Duke University Sociology Department showed that 27.1% of students reported having experienced OBEs

• two surveys conducted by Celia Green in British universities in 1967 showed that 19% and 34% had OBEs (Green 1967 and 1973)

• studies by John Palmer and M Dennis in 1975 showed that 25 % of students and 14% of residents from Charlottesville, Virginia, claimed to have had OBEs (Palmer 1975).

The consistency of OBEs

Dr Dean Sheils analyzed over a thousand studies of OBEs in seventy non-Western cultures. His conclusive results showed that whereas it was expected that there would be significant variation in the experience there was absolute consistency. Dr Sheils claimed that the results were so universal that the phenomenon had to be genuine (Lazarus 1993: 167).

Many of the literary giants of this century publicly stated that they had an OBE: Ernest Hemingway; Tolstoy; Dostoevsky; Tennyson; Edgar Alan Poe; D H Lawrence; Virginia Woolf (Lazarus 1993:166).

Seven hundred cases

A most highly credible scientist, Dr Robert Crookall, analyzed over seven hundred reports of OBEs. He found that 81% of those who had experienced them had a firm conviction of life after death owing to their personal experience. What astounded Crookall, a meticulous scientist, was the consistency of the reports of OBEs coming from all over the world with near death experiences and with the communications coming from high level mediums (Crookall 1970).

Astral body observed during exteriorization

The Society for Psychical Research has a great number of cases of OBEs on record. One of the most interesting involved the person experiencing the out of body state being actually perceived as if in the flesh by another person:

Mr Landau reports that in 1955 his wife-to-be told him of her OBEs. One night he gave her his diary and asked her to move it to his room during her next OBE. Early the following morning he saw her apparition which backed out of his room across a landing to her room. He watched while the apparition vanished into her body sleeping on the bed. When he returned to his room he found her rubber toy dog which he had last seen on a chest of drawers beside her bed, lying beside his bed. When questioned about it she stated that she had felt uncomfortable moving the diary as she had been taught as a child never to handle other people's letters and diaries (Landau 1963: 126-128).

Alex Tanous

In the United States, Karlis Osis and Boneita Perskari spent several years doing scientific research with an excellent OBE subject, Alex Tanous, and were able to achieve significant results. One particular test involved Tanous traveling astrally to a different place miles away to visit a particular office to see what was on the table then report back. Tanous did not know that at this office a psychic, Christine Whiting, was waiting to see if she could see anyone coming to visit. With her clairvoyant sight she was able to see Tanous come into the office and as well she described in detail his position and the shirt with rolled-up sleeves and the corduroy pants he was wearing (Williams 1989: 35-36).
Scientific study

Because of the co-operation of some gifted OBE experiencers the phenomenon has come within the ambit of science.

• Dutch scientists succeeded in weighing the physical body before, during and after exteriorization (OBE). They found a weight loss of 2 1/4 ounces during exteriorization (Carrington, 1973)

• French researchers including Professor Richet spent many years having the exteriorized body move material objects, produce raps at a distance and affect photographic plates and calcium screens. They photographed exteriorization.

• Other experimenters including Robert Morris at the Psychical Foundation of North Carolina spent two years investigating OBEs. A volunteer subject Keith 'Blue' Harary, who claimed to have been having out of body experiences since childhood, was able to lie down in a sealed laboratory room and project himself to another house twenty yards away. While there he was able to read letters and report accurately on which experimenters were sitting there and where they were sitting

Robert Monroe

In 1965 Dr Charles Tart, a psychologist at the University of California, conducted controlled experiments with Robert Monroe, a highly gifted out of body experiencer.

A former vice-president of Mutual Broadcasting Corporation, Robert Monroe was president of two corporations active in cable-vision and electronics. He produced over 600 television programs. During the years of his reported OBEs Monroe continued to lead an active business and a rewarding family life. He died in 1995. His work is being carried on by the Monroe Institute.

Out of Body experiences and the afterlife

Those who have had an out of body experience usually accept that they survive physical death. They know that the reason why they return to their physical body is because their duplicate body is still connected to the physical body by a silver cord. When the silver cord is irretrievably severed, the duplicate body continues to survive in the next dimension.

Monroe wrote more than three books giving meticulous details about his OBEs. He described in what he calls ‘Locale I’ and ‘Locale II’ the common experiences of occult literature such as floating outside of one's body within the familiar physical environment. Like Swedenborg he also talked about traveling to the ‘astral’ worlds of heaven and hell complete with spirits and thought-forms.

On the Internet

For more on the work of super psychic Alex Tanous see the
Alex Tanous Foundation for Scientific Research

For detailed scientific papers on these experiments see Charles Tart’s homepage

The Out of Body Experience Research foundation run by Dr Jeff and Jody Long has a wonderful page with lots of recent examples of out of spontaneous and meditation induced out of body experiences

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