O.B.E: The Out of Body Experience Phenomenon

OBEby Tony Harrington

OBE or “Out of Body Experince” is a term that was first used in 1943 by author George N. M. Tyrell.

Tyrell was looking for a broader scientific term to replace more supernatural or mystical terms such as “Spirit Walking”, or the more common “Astral Projection”.

The concept of OBE, simply put, is a sensation or hallucinatory experience of an individual leaving their physical bodies. Most OBE’s are encountered during near death experiences, as a result of hallucinogenic drugs, or in stages of deep sleep or comatose conditions.

According to Wikipedia, an estimated 10% of the population has experienced the OBE phenomenon, at least once, some on a recurring basis. While most recorded instances of reports of OBE have fallen under NDE (Near Death Experience) or as a result of hallucinogens, there have been viable studies where participants in sensory deprivation studies report having encountered an OBE.

During NDEs, the experience is greatly different compared to those who claim to “Astral Project”.  When somoene comes close to dying, or experiencing a traumatic event, they may experience the sensation of leaving their bodies. Many survivors of horrific accidents or other NDEs report leaving their body, hovering above it, and the sensation of moving toward a white light with a small percentage reporting on the presence of a deity such as a god or angel. They also hear voices calling to them and may encounter a departed loved one in the ether.

For those encountering this type of OBE, it can be a powerful life affirming experience that solidifies or reinforces the belief in a god. Most people reporting on these experiences almost always share a similar experience. There have even been few instances of individuals claiming to have seen the devil and hell.

These types of NDE OBEs are often exploited by the religious fanatics as proof that a higher power exists, some going so far as to fabricate their encounter with God during an OBE for monetary gain, only to admit later that they lied or were coerced. Case in point, Andrew Malarkey, whose book about his OBE and subsequent grand tour of Paradise was the basis for the film “Heaven is For Real”. He later recanted and admitted to faking his experiences, including his near death.

For many others, OBEs are very real and happen frequently.

There are individuals who claim that they have the ability to astral project. This is when they are able to leave their physical form and travel via the astral plane (spirit world) to destinations beyond. Whether it is to check on loved ones, visit friends or family, or simply go to places that being trapped within their physical shell simply does not allow.

“M” states that she is able to do this nightly. Her voyages take her to see her grandchildren who live 800 miles away. She claims to have walked around malls that have long closed for the night. One of her favorite OBE activities is encountering other “travelers” on the astral plane. Some are those with abilities just like hers, others are those who are on the final journey. Perhaps “M” is one of the kind faces those crossing over see on their way to the hereafter.

While some claim to be able to do this on a whim, others encounter a very real phenomenon that is terrifying and beyond comprehension, and completely unplanned.

“T” Shares his story:

“I had a dream, I guess. It was so real. One moment I was falling asleep in my bed, the next I was suddenly in my parents house. It was late at night, just as it was in the real world. I could smell the familiar smells of the house, hear the creaking of the floors as the house settled, I could hear dogs barking outside. I was aware of my parents’ dogs shuffling about in the back room. I was there, I can’t explain it, but I was actually there, cognizant of my surroundings. I became suddenly aware of something there with me, something evil, malevolent. It moved toward me, and the next thing I know I am back in my own bed, in the familiar surroundings of my own home.”

There have been numerous studies conducted on OBEs and astral projection with results ranging from inconclusive to rational scientific explanations garnered from brain function studies of participants who claim to experience OBEs regularly.

One of the most famous study cases was that of “Miss Z”. She was a study participant who while asleep was able to reveal a set of numbers posted above her bed without having seen them. There were factors that skewed the results to a positive outcome, such as the fact that she was unobserved during the nighttime hours. She simply could have stood up and seen the numbers, though the neurologists behind the study state that her brainwave activity was consistent with sleep state and if she had moved, the sensors to which she was connected would have triggered movement or transition from a stage of sleep to alert.

For more information on this historical case study visit http://www.psywww.com/asc/obe/missz.html

Out of Body experiences are, like most supernatural or paranormal phenomenon, completely subjective as not everyone experiences them and those who do can only convey the experience to us, making us a secondhand source of information.

What do you believe? Have you experienced any type of OBE? Are you able to project? Share your experiences with us in the comments field on this entry.

7 thoughts on “O.B.E: The Out of Body Experience Phenomenon

    1. I personally have not experienced it. I know several folks who have shared their stories, two of which appear in the article.

      Hopefully more people will stop by and share their experiences and start a dialogue.

      What have your experiences been like? Are you aware of everything or is it dreamlike?

      1. In my experience it’s much easier to induce if you’re in an overslept state of mind. For instance, while taking a nap during the day. Laying down comfortably on your back is definitely recommended, I believe it has something to do with the water level in the pineal gland. Your definitely aware of it but honestly it’s hard to really explain without going on for awhile lol. To be frank, it’s kinda like my vision was all around me, as if I had eyes in the back of my head. The world looks kinda foggy, for an example, try on someone’s prescription glasses and walk around. Things become more clear after awhile though. I’ve noticed sounds from the real world can’t be heard while floating, like the sound of a television for example. By the way, if you’re interested, I have a write up about one of my OBE experiences on our blog. http://kineticlowdown.com/2015/12/05/while-sleeping-you-may-float/

  1. I have experienced several times what may be called OBE, I am not sure though. It used to happen when I was younger. I would take afternoon naps while alone at home during my summer vacations and some times I would feel I am leaving my body. It used to be a pleasant experience. Despite being in deep sleep, I would be aware that I am having a very pleasurable deep sleep. Suddenly, I would start getting up from my body (head first, then shoulders, torso and lastly legs) but always used to stop when the time for my ‘feet’ to leave my feet would come. Because I would fear that if I leave this last contact with my body I will die. Those days I didn’t know anything about OBE or the like. I would just brush this experience off after waking. I hope I hadn’t backed off from leaving my body completely. It doesn’t happen with me now.

  2. I was in a really bad car accident 2 years ago. From the moment right before the driver running the red light t-boned the driver side of my car until i was on the curb gathering my thoughts i was watching myself. I saw the accident from the other side of the car in the front passenger seat. I felt everything my physical body was feeling, but i was watching myself experience it. I saw angles i never would have seen otherwise. To this day i can’t fully explain it, but all i know is someone was watching over me that morning because if the other driver had hit me a few seconds sooner i would have been dead and her car in my lap.

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