“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
It was bedtime, lights out. Television off. My mother stood beside my bunk bed and held my hand as we said a prayer together before she left my room to turn off the hallway lights. Now I was alone. I can remember just staring at my night light sitting on my dresser across the room, letting my mind slip into possible scenarios that may happen the next day at school and before I knew it, my eyes were getting heavy, and my body was starting to relax. Suddenly, I felt a strange sensation of heaviness quickly followed up by a sense of weightlessness. I opened my eyes, and to my surprise, I saw a head on a pillow, the back of a head. I remember thinking to myself, “well, this is a strange dream.” I had a lot of lucid dreams at this age but I knew if this was a dream, it felt different than any other dream I had ever had. I started paying more attention to my surroundings, trying to figure out what was going on and I noticed that everything around me looked familiar, especially when I looked over and saw a dresser with a nightlight sitting on top of it. This was my room! I looked back at the bed and saw the person’s head lying on the pillow. I somehow floated beside my bed to get a better view of the face. It was me! As crazy or ridiculous as this might sound, I was outside of myself, watching myself. But as soon I came to this realization, strangely enough, I didn’t feel that this was crazy or ridiculous at all. In fact, the feeling that came over me was a sense of normalcy. It felt as though I had done this before. I remember I moved my hand to touch my sleeping face, and my hand phased through it as if it was air. And just as I was doing this, I could suddenly feel myself being pulled back into myself. Next thing I knew, I was awake and in my body. I remember I sat up, looked around the room, eventually fixing my sight on my nightlight then laid my head back on my pillow to fall asleep.
This experience is my first vivid memory of what I later found out was called an Out- of- Body Experience or an OBE (for short) but it was not my last. From the age of nine to twelve, I remember experiencing things that are quite frankly hard to believe. And I can remember all through those experiences feeling like they were something I shouldn’t just openly talk about, even at the age of nine. In fact, growing up in a religious family I can recall several times when the idea or possibility of leaving one's body before death just being called straight up evil or works of the devil. Which in turn made me feel that I was evil and something was wrong with me when these experiences were not something I was doing on purpose. I think some of that rhetoric is the reason these experiences abruptly stopped for me at the age of twelve. But even now at age 26, I am aware that people can look at you crazy for even mentioning OBE’s. Honestly, I must confess; besides drawing inspiration from these experiences to use in my books (Of The Forest, Reforming The Psychic Vampire) this is honestly my first time writing about it. But as crazy all of this might seem to people that haven’t experienced this; there has been some scientific study on this subject that has produced results that are both mind-bending and grounding.
About two years ago, I read the book Journeys Outside The Body by Robert A. Monroe. In this book, Monroe details unexpectedly having an OBE one night while he was lying in bed next to his wife. This experience ended up being the first of many for him. Not knowing what was happening to him yet being someone with a scientific mind, Monroe decided to experiment with these experiences and write down the results. A lot of what Monroe described, I could relate to, and even though, I was well aware by this point in my life that other people had experienced Out-of-Body Experiences (from movies like Insidious, Beverly Hills Ninja, Enter The Void, etc.) It was how he described his experiences and his experiments with his experiences that inspired me to look deeper into the subject of OBE’s.
One person’s research I came across was Dr. Robert Crookall’s. Dr. Crookall was a geologist from Britain and a notable OBE investigator. He collected thousands of OBE accounts from different people from different walks of life and compared them for similarities. He has written several books detailing and surveying these accounts. Among these is the book, The Study and Practice of Astral Projection, a book where Dr. Crookall analyzes some of these OBE accounts, separating them into two categories: Natural Out-of-Body experiences and Enforced Out-of-Body experiences. He labeled Natural Out-of-Body experiences as being an experience where the person seemed to rise out of their body naturally. Many of these OBEs were triggered by sickness, exhaustion (sleep), or people that just seem to ‘step out of their bodies even though they were in perfectly good health and energy. He labeled Enforced Out-of-Body experiences as being a swift and sudden experience where someone is almost forced out of their bodies through some sort of drug or accident. The accounts side-by-side are amazing to read. Not only could I find similarities between the stories Dr. Crookall collected but I could also see similarities with Robert Monroe’s accounts of his OBE’s, but not only that, I could see similarities with my own. I found this to be incredibly eye opening. The more and more research I did, I found that OBEs are not that uncommon among people. But were these experiences real? Was it true that I, as well of many others, were actually leaving our bodies?
Another person’s research I came across was that of a man named Dr. Michael Persinger. Dr. Persinger is a brilliant neuroscientist that developed a fascinating device called “The God Helmet.” Looking very much like a motorcycle helmet, when worn this device sends magnetic signals to the wearer’s temporal lobes. As a response to this simulation, the wearer can experience an Out-of-Body experience or some psychic phenomena such as feeling an invisible presence in the room like a ghost or an angel, demon or even aliens. People report all these different types of paranormal experiences caused solely by a helmet sending signals to their temporal lobes. Some people observing a few Dr. Persinger’s findings might come to the conclusion that experiences such as OBE’s are only the result our brains playing hallucinogenic tricks on us caused by strange simulation of the brain’s temporal lobes. Could that be what happened to me and countless others?
However, if OBE’s are just hallucinations of the mind, it doesn’t explain how some people’s OBE have caused them to see, hear or learn things they could not have possibly seen, heard or known. For example, Nanci Trivellato, who has her MSc in psychology and is a consciousness researcher, has a TED Talk in which she explained the OBE she had at the age of 7 or 8 that inspired the path she took in life. Being from a small city in Brazil called Jacutinga in the state of Minas Gerais, she describes how during the1960s, Jacutinga had no bookstores, no libraries, no movies theaters and no universities. She goes on to explain how at this time, her family didn’t have enough money to buy a Television or buy books. It was during this period that her uncle and aunt had to go to the city of Sao Paulo, a city she had only hear about at that time, for reasons they did not explain to Nanci. A few nights later, when Nanci went to sleep, she describes her consciousness floating upwards out of her body and somehow ending up in the city of Sao Paulo, in a room with her uncle. She could see him lying in bed with clear tubes going into his nostrils. Another clear tube connected to a bag of clear liquid going into his arm, and another clear thin tube connected to his abdomen, that was also attached to a glass jar sitting on the floor that contained a “slightly reddish liquid.” Upon her uncle and aunts return, Nanci explained to her aunt the strange vision she had seen of her uncle. Her aunt was blown away. It turns out that her uncle had to go to Sao Paulo for bladder surgery and what she was seeing was him lying in his hospital bed. If OBE’s are only illusions produced by the mind and aren't set in “reality,” how could Trivellato have known about her uncle’s condition?
Nanci Trivellato opens her TEDx Talk on How out-of-body experiences could transform you and society by asking the question, “What is reality? Could we say it is what we detect with our senses or with the help of technology? But if we would say so, then what about the period when microorganisms were not known? They were real at that time, of course even though they were not acknowledged.” It was this statement that made me think; in the future, could it be possible that the research being done on OBEs will eventually prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that our consciousness can exist outside of our bodies, solidifying the idea of a spirit or a soul? What if, through this research, it becomes common knowledge that our physical bodies are only a portion of who we are. What would society be like if the whole world knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was life after physical death, how would people live their lives? How would belief systems like religion change? How would science evolve? I know there still may be a lot of research that still needs to be done, and a level of skepticism is healthy, but as someone who has personally experienced OBEs, I just find the possibilities interesting to ponder.
If you have had an OBE that you would like to share your experience with me, I would love to hear it. You can email me at email@example.com
Also for people who would like to know more about Out-of-Body experiences, I highly recommend the following books:
Journeys Out of the Body and Far Journeys by Robert A. Monroe Ultimate Journey
The Study and Practice of Astral Projection by Dr. Robert Crookall
Jack Hitt’s article This Is Your Brain on God about Dr. Michael Persinger’s work with the God Helmet.
Also be sure to check out Nanci Trivellato’s TEDx Talk: How Out-of-Body Experiences Could Transform Yourself and Society, as well as looking into her organization Institute of Applied Consciousness Technologies (I-ACT)
And to learn more about me and my work, you can visit me at r0bproductions.com
Monroe, Robert A. Journeys out of the Body. London: Souvenir, 2014. Print.
Crookall, Robert. The Study and Practice of Astral Projection. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel, 1988. Print.
Hitt, Jack. "This Is Your Brain on God." Wired. Conde Nast, 04 June 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.
TEDxTalks. "How Out-of-body Experiences Could Transform Yourself and Society | Nanci Trivellato | TEDxPassoFundo." YouTube. YouTube, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 15 June 2017.