Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Early Induced Out-Of-Body-Experience??

Again reading some of the old library journals that I bought to preserve. In this one (Atlantic Monthly, April 1924), there was the article indicated above. Its title ["What Death Is Like"] intrigued me as I surveyed the table of contents, but upon reading, I didn't really expect an OOBE. But this is what's reported here, and interesting enough that I thought you might like it.

This case involved a woman who was intrigued about hypnotism, but suspicious of it. The activities described by the article occurred somewhat by accident, as she was just visiting a sanitarium in which a friend was resident. A hypnotist was there at the time, by coincidence, demonstrating his techniques. She remained wary of the thing. Her friend, however, told her that she herself had been learning about hypnotism, and that it wasn't hard nor dangerous. Later, upon going to her room, the friend offered to demonstrate. With some reluctance, and assuring her friend that she would not likely succeed, the author of this piece acceded to the request to try it.

Unbeknownst to herself, she turned out to be easily hypnotizable, even by this raw amateur. But that was not the biggest surprise. Her friend, obviously a completely immoral thrill-seeker at heart, then suggested that she "leave her body". This clownish friend had no idea what she was doing, nor how to undo anything which might occur. Here's what did:

"In obedience to her words, something very remarkable happened. I felt as if an inner spiritual body were being dragged out of my physical body through the head --- and with intense physical suffering. I could compare the process only to tearing out a firmly embedded plant by the roots from the ground. I seemed to have a light ethereal body, floating in a horizontal position directly above my physical body, perhaps three feet away. And I thought: 'How strange! How wonderful! I am here and my body is there! Now I know that I have never believed in immortality. I have thought that I believed it; I have wanted to believe it; but my astonishment shows me that I have never really believed the mind could exist apart from the brain. I have never really believed that the self, the ego, could go on thinking and being apart from the physical self. This must be death. Never again shall I be afraid of death. How free I feel! How delightful it is to be unhampered by all the limitations that are a part of the body!'."

Then she became acutely aware of both the physical world, but also of a world of spiritual presence. These "presences"were all about her and she wanted to stay with them and go on with them. Something was nagging at her that she was not ready. She protested that she didn't want to go back to that old "dry-goods box" [her body].

Meanwhile she noticed that her "friend" was first exulting then panicking hysterically. Somehow her disgust with these antics gave way to compassion and she made an act of will to "go back". Again the passage was through the head, and again with great suffering. She was quite discombobulated for a time before the reintegration[?] was complete, and she was able to think and talk normally. She left the building as soon as she had recovered, and never saw nor talked to that "friend" again.

That experience has much congruency with near-death experiences brought on by severe trauma. It is particularly interesting because it is written before most of the publicity given these things later in the century. And it seems to be roughly in the category of self-induced OOBEs that alleged masters of that psychic trick seem to be able to do.

I've wondered for a long time now if much of Clairvoyance wasn't really a type of OOBE. It might not be. Perhaps there is a merely "direct" way of knowing outside of any relationship with our spatial dimensions. But maybe, just maybe, our consciousnesses "separate" and leap out and "go there" when they Clairvoye. This idea came to me [after no doubt it had come to thousands of people earlier] when I read Mind-Reach. Mind-Reach was spoken of mainly in clairvoyance terms, but the key psychic succeeders were clearly using a type of OOBE. I was impressed by the text... but could you really believe any of this?

Years later I joined the Society for Scientific Exploration, welcomed as a university science prof and a UFO researcher mainly, and there was Hal Puthoff, the primary scientist on the Mind-Reach project. I had an interest in his work; Hal had an interest in UFOs; we became friends. Hal is on the right in the picture from the 1960s above. On the left is the well-known-by-the-insiders-of-government research, Christopher [Kit] Green. In the middle is the superstar of the Mind-Reach project, California police detective, Pat Price [guess how he solved his crimes].

I instinctively like Hal, so my judgement here is probably no good, but he has always been a straight-shooter with me. Hal could talk about some of the stuff that he did at the Stanford Research Institute, but hardly all of the secret stuff done specifically by the government. Still his SRI stories gradually eased my mind about the validity of the techniques and the results with people like Price. If the SRI results are no good, it was not because of Hal Puthoff.

As time has gone on, the government has released the majority of the Black side of these experiments... and Hal has become free to talk about those. He said that the experiments generally took place out of a rooftop electronically-sealed laboratory on top of the radiophysics laboratory at SRI. Originally it was the CIA who sponsored these, but later the administration of the thing was taken over by the Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA]. Hal says that many agencies had their hands in this, "including a couple which I can't yet name". Now he named CIA, DIA, and National Security Agency --- what's left? What's so secret that it's beyond CIA, DIA, and NSA?? Oh well, ... not to pry....

Hal has said that Pat Price was able to "go" to a secret USA facility and mentally "walk around" inside, seeing clearly enough to bring back specific knowledge, even names on doors. He said that Price did an extremely accurate "reading" of a Soviet facility. The great majority of this information, admittedly, did not reach the level of actionable intelligence, although Hal is more positive about that, feeling that much of the problem is that the inner corridors of the intel community just can't get comfortable with the idea. It was Pat Price who described plainly that he'd sort of "fly" to the target, and once there nose around just as if he were physically present --- clearly OOBE.

There is only one alternative hypothesis that I have ever been able to contemplate which would say that these things did not happen. Because I know Hal, and I have good reason to trust his view of these matters, any alternative would have to be one in which Hal himself didn't know that something else was going on. Let me say now that I don't believe that, but I'm going to be intellectually honest and give you the alternative theory anyway.

The only way that these results didn't happen but Hal thought that they did would be if the intelligence community whizzed the whole thing up, leaving Hal [and probably Russell Targ too] out of the real loop. Given the amount of involvement by the primary physicist-investigators, it's hard to see how they could have done this --- but there certainly would have been motive. Motive would be to fool the Soviets into believing that we were succeeding at something VERY dangerous to their keeping of secrets. Hal has said that the CIA informed him that the USSR was spending millions trying to crack this problem of remote viewing. Our "success" would require them to waste a lot more money. Also, this would constitute a "honeytrap" for Soviet spies, or a test for our own personnel's loyalty-to-secrecy. Such are the bent subtleties of the Black World Mind.

But in the end I believe my friend. I think that he would have sniffed out any puzzle-palace fooling about, and he also had enough positive evidence outside of the Black Project side of this to know that the best remote-viewers could make it work at least some of the time.

Still... what do I really know of what goes on behind the Dark Mirror.....? ....

you are getting sleepy....



Snap out of it, you overly dramatic goof!!!


  1. Thanks for the work you're doing here, sir. Your blog is a wonderful compendium.

  2. Howdy Prof. It's good to see your thoughts on this mysterious and convoluted subject. I've tied myself in mental knots trying to tease some kind of sense out of it all and see you've had similar results. As usual, you're closer by many degrees to the people involved and your impressions are informed by personal contact. I can only listen to the interviews, read the literature and digest the opinions of others in my efforts to arrive at some sort of satisfactory, tenuous conclusion.

    Like yourself, I was drawn to the idea that Intel shenanigans were dictating the run of play and likewise found that direction wanting for similar reasons. For instance, Edgar Mitchell and Russel Targ sound sincere in their accounts of various incidents involving remote viewing. Targ's accounts of predicting the silver market could be confirmed if the dates and documentation were available. In conflict with trusting some of their accounts are the Cold War realities that Intel agencies were playing each other off by disseminating stories designed to make the other side feel paranoid and disadvantaged.

    After spending too much time trying to find a 'best-fit' explanation, I've got as far as suspended judgement and investing time elsewhere. It's possible that these phenomena have been somewhat similar to the UFOs. By this I mean something extraordinary might have agglomerated the onion skin layers of hoaxers and the slight-of-hand activities of Intel agencies. As you know, reports of OOBEs and NDEs precede, parallel and side-step any Cold War Intel influence.

  3. ... sensible thoughts as usual.

    My Catholicism and spiritual orientation really should compromise my credibility with others on these [OOBE/NDE] subjects [though obviously of no relevance to UFOs]. BUT, in my defense, at least I know that I have given these subjects an honest "scientist's analytical go". I've read the stuff on the NDEs from earlier than Moody through to Ken Ring and the ANABIOSIS journal, and those intellectual adventures led me solidly to buy the spirit/body separation phenomenon as more than some aspect of the mental carnival. I particularly have been impressed with the rare-but-there instances of the "I could see things that I shouldn't have been able to see" reports. Ken Ring became a distant [corresponding] friend, and I trust his work as professional and competent. The work of Michael Sabom, whom I do not know, also seems solid.

    That said, the spirit/body consciousness separation became not just an intuition and an extension of my Catholicism, but a theory backed by data. And if THAT were true, why not OOBEs? There seems afterall a sliding gradient of experiences from NDEs through lesser traumas through other potential alterings of normal consciousness through self-induced and self-controlled separations. Other religions than Catholicism, which I respect, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, have stated simply that such mental states are in some senses "ordinary", requiring "only" personal discipline of a proper kind. So, I am all primed to buy into a western-style set of experiments which would demonstrate these same things. And along comes Hal and Mind-Reach.

    From a loftier perspective, I imagine the Buddhist adepts sitting around smiling at us, as we go about such testings in about the greatest possible opposite way to that which brings "simple" results [i.e. our severe analytical mindstate is precisely the wrong stand-apart mental approach to encourage a holistic "communing" phenomenon. But it's science's way, and we're stuck with it.]

    OH, and on intel meddling with games about crashed aliens, as I've written elsewhere, it's about the only hypothesis which makes sense out of the apparently honest reports of Just Joes who are taken to see bodies lying about or rocking craft in a hangar, and then taken back to their regular jobs without explanation. That almost has to be intel screwing around for whatever their nefarious purposes are.

  4. Nice find from your archives, I like the roaring 20s hypnotism-sanitarium setting. What strikes me about accounts of OOBEs is their similarity to the experience induced by salvia divinorum, the Diviner's Sage, a psychoactive cultivar originating from Mexico. I've had a single experience with the stuff and have read quite a few accounts from others. A common occurrence under its sway and something I've experienced is very much akin to OOBE -- in my case I was abruptly pulled out of my body while an audience of entities remarked 'here comes another one'; I was aware of the soft vastness of where the spirit might soar but was afraid to leave the hard angular world of where my body was anchored. An intense experience. The similarity of the salvia experience to NDEs has also been commented on [a book by J.D. Arthur on the subject discusses this aspect]. Thanks for connecting these avenues in my mind.... ZN

  5. You're welcome, and thanks for the interesting tale back.

    There are only three general "metaphysical" categories of models when it comes to deciding what to believe about these things. a]. All Spiritual; b]. All Material; c]. Spiritual/Physical interaction. The All Spiritual denies the physical as not actually existing at all, and that everything must be something illusionary [profoundly so perhaps] washing across consciousness. We had a comment over on the Ouija posting which reduced to this sort of viewpoint. This to me is nonsense, though, as one must believe that one lives in ones own private universe, a sort of Leibnizian Monad, to imagine that. I intuitively think that "I" am not the whole show, so this is a rejection by me. I recall a quip about one person telling another that the " Everything's just as it should be" guru was in the hospital. "What happened?, his friend asked. "He was run over by a mass of oncoming conscious perceptions."

    To believe in the Materialist-reductionist theory, one must buy that what we experience as "being conscious" is only a circumstance of complicated chemical-electrical feedback loops in the brain. This consciousness and sense-of-self is therefore only an "emergent phenomenon" arising from simpler organizations, and therefore "unreal" and merely temporary. Whenever parts of the necessary feedback loops are disturbed or become disconnected, there is no longer consciousness and the illusion of "self" dissipates. This is, of course, the modern academic view, and can be intellectually argued. For me, it does not best satisfy the "evidence" as we have it, nor make any sense of any larger picture of what's going on with this Universe.

    So, I am left in the third category, essentially the Bipartite Man, body and soul in interaction. My model for this is based upon what to me was a brilliant intuition had very long ago by Plato of the "Prisoner-in-the-Cave". Here the Prisoner [The Soul] is "stationed" in some non-material circumstance which allows "normal perception" when the material elements of the brain are operating in certain normal ways --- i.e. the "windows to the material Universe are open". When those windows close [ex. sleep], the Soul/Prisoner receives no normal input and waits with no sense of normal flow, and thereby, no sense of Time. Under some circumstances [Trauma, certain drugs, Death], the windows are so thoroughly abnormal, that the viewing direction of the Soul may shift to "see" in another way --- "altered states of consciousness". This is clairvoyance, or telepathy, or PK, or OOBE/NDE etc. This sort of model is also arguable intellectually.

    Neither the reductionist nor the Bipartite models are provable. They are matters of choice or faith.

  6. Like you I find myself a Bipartite Man.. :) Great explanations of the 3 metaphysical modes. For the Bipartite model I would also say that our window unto the universe is layered over by "filters" which have come to be over millennia and correspond to our particular biology and history of survival on this planet. Our brains evolved to hone in on certain wavelengths, aural frequencies, spatial perceptions etc. to deal with the basics of survival (eating, reproducing), giving us our "normal perception", while other modes of perception not essential to these activities have been in a sense "filtered out" -- they're there, just harder to detect with our particular set of senses. Our technologies may be able to pick up on some of these other modes but probably not all of them; we need to have an idea of what to look for/ where to direct them.