THE STRUCTURE OF REALITY
By Jim DeKorne
2002, 2005

 

 

CHAPTER 3

 

EMPIRICAL CHARACTERISTICS

OF THE OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE

 

Originally published in New Dawn Magazine 2002 Jul/Aug

 

 

Empirical --  2a: originating in or relying or based on  factual information, observation, or direct sense experience  usu. as opposed to theoretical knowledge.  also: relying on  or proceeding on the information to be derived from  experience and observation for lack of other knowledge... b: experiential; broadly: observational, factual.

          Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary

 

Phenomenology (following Husserl): A mode of investigation  that aims at the discovery of the essential structure of the phenomena experienced by man through recourse to the primary sources of immediate experience ... Phenomenological analysisis a purely descriptive method and as such "empirical" but  not "scientific" in the naturalistic, positivistic sense of  the term.

          Cynthia Nelson, Current Anthropology, V.13:1, 1972

 

"...And the Princess and the Prince discuss what is real and  what is not."

          Bob Dylan, Gates of Eden

 

          In the first two articles of this series, we briefly reviewed the out-of-body accounts of Robert A. Monroe as portrayed in his published work.  These sketches compared Monroe's description of a non-material, hyperdimensional world with two analogous world-views: that of the Shaman and that of the Gnostic.  Neither article was intended to be more than a quick overview of a realm of experience which is accessible only via an altered state of consciousness and therefore not measurable by any methodology known to science. The problems of verifying such data are substantial, so we must seriously examine how they should be evaluated. Perhaps an analogy will help:

          Imagine X-world, much like ours, existing in a parallel universe -- it is as invisible to us as we are to it. There are five-hundred million people living in X-world, and following what is probably the ratio here, only one person in a million possesses the extremely rare (but not unnatural), capacity to consciously leave the body and perceive other "worlds." That means that five-hundred of X-world's citizens have the ability to visit Planet Earth while in the out-of- body state.

 

          Assume that only one hundred of these unique individuals actually publish accounts of their visits to Planet Earth: some describe trips to the slums of Calcutta, some record what the Egyptian pyramids are like; others visit Antarctica, Disney World, Auschwitz, and many other places.  Unavoidably (alas), each individual describes any given location through the filters of his own particular belief system, creating varying degrees of ambiguity about what was actually observed.

 

          The scientists of X-world generally discredit all of these reports. First, because (not having the admittedly rare ability to leave their bodies) they cannot verify such experiences for themselves; secondly, because the various descriptions of this other world don't always agree in every detail; and thirdly (alas, most importantly), because the descriptions don't fit into their "scientific" paradigm -- what their beliefs will accept as possible.

 

          Nevertheless, the sane and credible personalities of most of X-world's out-of-body observers, plus (after adjusting for differing belief systems), the amazing over-all consistency of their reports, suggest the existence of a reality which no impartial person could ignore: a Mystery to be sure, but one with outlines sufficiently delineated to be recognizable as an authentic manifestation, not a fantasy. X-world's Empiricists and Phenomenologists must therefore factor our world into any description of their overall reality: as incredible as it may seem to them, somewhere, somehow, Planet Earth must exist!  Although they cannot scientifically "prove" our existence (because we lie beyond the current range of their science's ability to measure), certain quantum physicists and mathematicians from X-world privately admit to our world's probability -- too many witnesses describing the same thing cannot be ignored, regardless of current cultural "rules" for what may or may not be accepted as real.

 

          This analogy illustrates the extremely tricky problem of how any open-minded observer should approach anomalous phenomena in the "real world" -- i.e., the consensus reality that most of us agree exists: the animal, vegetable, mineral world of three spatial dimensions: plus time: plus the collective human awareness perceiving it.  The best method we've come up with is called "scientific method," a consistently dependable way to measure physical phenomena, but still lacking any agreed-upon methodology for evaluating consciousness itself.

 

          Because science can only measure physical things, some people who call themselves scientists conclude that only physical things are real, forgetting that the immediate reality of their own observing awareness is itself quite unquantifiable.  This has resulted in a kind of solipsistic materialism (a religion really), called "Scientism." Scientism is defined as: "the philosophical belief  (masquerading as objective science and held with the  emotional tenacity of born-again fundamentalism) that we are  nothing but material beings." (1)

 

          Unfortunately, most people are unable to distinguish between true science (which accepts phenomena without pre- conditions and tries to evaluate it in a systematic manner) and scientism, which is a closed belief system passionately defending the materialist world-view.  By definition, scientism must repudiate psychic phenomena because it is not measurable in material terms -- not easily, anyway.

 

          The Empiricist-Phenomenologist, on the other hand, observes, records and evaluates phenomena as it comes to him, and if he thereby accumulates enough data to reveal a pattern, he is entitled to submit an hypothesis about what that pattern might reveal.  For example, on November 22, 1963, when American president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, there were literally dozens of witnesses who testified that some of the shots were fired from a "grassy knoll" in front of the motorcade. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, the "Authorities" decreed that all of the shots came from behind the motorcade, and the case was closed.  Decades later, when the so-called "Zapruder film" of the assassination was finally released for public viewing, it became indisputable that at least one of the shots that killed the president indeed came from the front.

 

          Metaphorically at least, the position of Scientism is that of the Authorities; the Empirical-Phenomenological position is that of the witnesses: they knew what they saw, they knew what they heard, but until the Zapruder film became available, they had no "scientific proof" for their claims. The Authorities, whether Big Government, Big Science, or Big Business, all have agendas (beliefs), hidden and otherwise, and because they have the power to do it, they largely determine our "official" reality.  (I will go into this in more detail when we return to a discussion of who the Gnostic Archons are.)

 

          In terms of out-of-body awareness, we have not only the

testimony of Robert Monroe, but that of innumerable other "witnesses" -- all describing a reality which is too consistent not to be in some sense accurate.  Nevertheless, the official verdict of scientism (always immediately recognizable because of its tone of "authority"), is adamant that OOBEs are "nothing but" epiphenomena of the physical brain:

 

          All we now know about OBEs suggests that nothing really  leaves the body. In normal perception a model or  representation of the world is built by the brain and  seems real -- likewise, the brain constructs a model of  self, a "self-image." But what if this image is  disrupted in an illness or accident, or even  deliberately during meditation?  In striving to get back to normal, the brain may need to use an image from  memory -- but memory images are often "bird's eye view." If such an image takes over as "reality," then an OBE  has occurred. The whole normal world of the senses is  replaced by one constructed from memory and imagination.(2)

          CASE CLOSED! The implicit objective of scientism is to slam the door on further inquiry into anomalous events by vigorously debunking them as "nothing but": [insert mundane explanation here -- preferably in a way that makes any other interpretation seem ridiculous].  Fortunately, they never succeed in holding truth at bay forever: otherwise, we'd all still be living in a geo-centric universe!

 

          The above author believes that OOBEs are "nothing but" a complex reflex of the physical brain to reproduce a familiar reality during times of stress.  How physical brain processes can create this miracle of metaphysical duplication is never addressed, nor is any consideration paid to the fact that in other altered states the brain is incapable of mirroring anything close to consensus reality -- which is precisely why they're called "altered states!" The dogmatic pronouncement: If such an image takes over as "reality," then an OBE has  occurred, is, as quoted here, no more than somebody's theory. Without even the verisimilitude of empirical experience, it comes off as more fantastic than the idea that human consciousness can exist outside of the body!

 

          The general success of scientific method has resulted in an unwarranted bias in some people which denies reality to anything that cannot meet a physical standard.  Alas, consciousness-based phenomena refuse to adapt themselves to the rules of material verification -- which doesn't prove that they are not real, only that we must be extremely careful in their evaluation.  Don't believe everything you hear, but by the same token don't reject something just because it challenges your view of what's possible.

 

          To deny the possibility of the existence of anything of which we know nothing, would imply that we imagined ourselves to be in possession of all the knowledge that exists in the world, and believed that nothing could  exist of which we did not know.  A person who  peremptorily denies the existence of anything which is  beyond the horizon of his understanding, because he  cannot make it harmonize with his accepted opinions, is as credulous as he who believes everything without any 

discrimination. (3)

 

          In evaluating empirical data, a good first rule of thumb is to examine as large a body of evidence as possible for overall consistency.  If numerous on-the-spot witnesses all claim that shots were fired from the grassy knoll, then that testimony should be taken at least as seriously as assertions to the contrary from the Authorities.

 

          Because the out-of-body explorer by definition claims to perceive from a non-physical point of view, let's inquire how that happens -- how do they separate from their bodies in the first place?  There is plenty of evidence to examine.

 

LEAVING THE BODY

 

          Although between 20 and 35 percent of the population (depending on who did the survey) claims to remember having had an OOBE, the ability to consciously and consistently induce one is one of the rarest of human skills.  It's relatively uncommon for anyone to remember an OOBE; it's very unusual for anyone to recall multiple OOBEs; and extremely infrequent (perhaps one in a million) for anyone to be able to initiate an OOBE at will.  Rare or not, there are still many descriptions of what it is like to leave the body. Probably the most ubiquitous symptom is that of experiencing a kind of sound-vibration as one's fully awake consciousness separates from its physical base.  These phenomena are probably the most commonly described harbingers of out-of-body awareness -- described to the point of redundancy in the OOBE literature of any era.  (If the reader feels that my own quotations tend toward redundancy, it is only because I want to give a feeling for how utterly consistent these empirical data are. Rather than use footnotes, I will provide the source after each quotation; complete bibliographic data will be found at the end of this article.)

 

          My entire rigid body -- I thought it was my physical,  but it was my astral -- commenced vibrating at a great  rate of speed, in an up-and-down direction, and I could  feel a tremendous pressure being exerted in the back of  my head, in the medulla oblongata region. This pressure  was very impressive and, came in regular spurts, the  force of which seemed to pulsate my whole body.

          Sylvan Muldoon, The Projection of the Astral Body, Pg 51

 

          It was not a shaking, but more of a "vibration," steady and unvarying in frequency. It felt much like an  electric shock running through the entire body without  the pain involved. Also, the frequency seemed somewhat  below the sixty-cycle pulsation, perhaps half that rate. Frightened, I stayed with it, trying to remain calm. I  could still see the room around me, but could hear  little above the roaring sound caused by the vibrations.

                   Robert Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body, Pg 24

 

          In seconds I'm shaken awake by intense vibrations and a roaring sound throughout my body. It feels like I'm in  the middle of a jet engine and my body and mind are  about to vibrate apart. I'm shocked and scared by the intensity of the vibrations and sounds and snap back  into my body.

                   William Buhlman, Adventures Beyond the Body, Pg 8

 

          I heard also, when in this state, in addition to  physical sounds, several strange noises: crackling  sounds suggesting electrical phenomena; roaring and  whirring noises as of gigantic machines; a peculiar  snapping sound, recalling the driving-bands, used to  transmit power in a workshop; sounds like the surging of an angry sea and rushing winds; and sometimes voices  calling.  Some of these sounds may have been caused by  variations in blood-pressure, but I do not think that  all of them can be accounted for in this way.

                   Oliver Fox, Astral Projection, Pg 62

 

          At ten o'clock I went to bed and felt somewhat better.  Half an hour afterwards I heard a noise beneath my head  ... Immediately there came over me a powerful tremor,  from the head and over the whole body, together with a  resounding noise, and this occurred a number of times.  I found that something holy had encompassed me.  I then  fell asleep, but about twelve, one or two o'clock in the night there came over me a very powerful tremor from  head to the feet, accompanied with a booming sound as if many winds had clashed one against another. It was  indescribable, and it shook me and prostrated me on my  face.

                   Emanuel Swedenborg,  Journal of Dreams (quoted in Van Dusen, Wilson, The Presence of Other Worlds),  Pg 43

 

          This description of sound is identical to the noise heard by people undergoing a near-death experience (NDE). Because of their clearly identical symptoms, I regard the near-death-experience as just a dramatic form of out-of-body projection, and other than using illustrative quotations from the literature, will not treat it as a separate phenomenon:

 

          In many cases, various and unusual auditory sensations  are reported to occur at or near death. Sometimes these  are extremely unpleasant. A man who "died" for twenty  minutes during an abdominal operation describes "a really bad buzzing noise coming from inside my head. It  made me very uncomfortable ... I'll never forget that  noise." Another woman tells how she heard "a loud  ringing.  It could be described as a buzzing. And I was  in a sort of whirling state." I have also heard this  annoying sensation described as a loud click, a roaring, a banging, and as a "whistling sound, like a wind."

                   Raymond Moody, Life After Life, Pg 29-30

 

          Not surprisingly, the Tibetan Book of the Dead gives us identical information about what to expect at the moment of death:

 

          From the midst of that radiance, the natural sound of  Reality, reverberating like a thousand thunders  simultaneously sounding, will come. That is the natural  sound of thine own real self. Be not daunted thereby,  nor terrified, nor awed.

                   W. Y. Evans Wentz, Bardo Thodol, Pg 104

 

          Meditators sometimes describe this sound upon the attainment of an altered state of awareness during yogic practices, reinforcing the hypothesis that this is a consciousness-based phenomenon in the process of shifting between two realities or dimensions:

 

          I seemed ... to be standing in a fountain of flame, and there were fiery pulsations as of wings about my head,  and a musical sound not unlike the clashing of cymbals  with every pulsation.

                   George Russell, quoted in: Wilson, Colin, Mysteries, Pg 324

 

          Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the  spinal cord.

                   Gopi Krishna, Kundalini, the Evolutionary Energy in Man, Pg 12

 

          Although still scientifically unquantifiable, this phenomenon has actually been observed numerous times under laboratory conditions.  Rick Strassman, M.D. headed a government-funded study in the early 90's on the effects of N,N-dimethyltriptamine (DMT) on human consciousness.  The symptoms of this drug are as powerful as they are instantaneous, altering the subject's awareness in ways that uncannily reproduce many OOBE symptoms, including the one under discussion:

 

          There was a sound, like a hum that turned into a whoosh, and then I was blasted out of my body at such speed,  with such force, as if it were the speed of light.

         Research subject, "Sara," quoted in: Strassman, Rick, DMT, The Spirit Molecule, Pg 212

 

          DMT is naturally synthesized in the human brain: almost certainly in the pineal gland. All human beings possess tiny amounts of this powerful drug as a normal part of their metabolism. Ever since the discovery of this fact in 1965, scientists have been puzzled about its function: what conceivable evolutionary advantage is given to our species via endogenous production of what is arguably the most potent psychedelic drug yet discovered?  Strassman hypothesizes that the otherwise ambiguous pineal gland (which Descartes significantly regarded as "the gateway to the soul"), somehow serves as a physical modulator of consciousness via controlled releases of DMT into the brain during moments of extreme stress:

 

          The most general hypothesis is that the pineal gland  produces psychedelic amounts of DMT at extraordinary times in our lives. Pineal DMT production is the  physical representation of non-material, or energetic,  processes. It provides us with the vehicle to  consciously experience the movement of our life-force in its most extreme manifestations ...  Pineal DMT mediates the pivotal experiences of deep meditation, psychosis,  and near-death experiences. As we die, the life-force  leaves the body through the pineal gland, releasing  another flood of this psychedelic spirit molecule.

          Rick Strassman, M.D., DMT, The Spirit Molecule, Pg 69

 

          In the Tibetan language, the phrase "Pho-wa" relates to what we would call an out-of-body experience -- the English translation is: "transference of the principle of consciousness."  In their writings, the Tibetan Lamas have likened this energetic transference of awareness to a bird which flies through an open skylight:

 

          Success in the transferring of the principle of consciousness is dependent upon proficiency in KundaliniYoga ... The process itself is `likened to a bird flying out of an open skylight,' the skylight being the  Aperture of Brahma, situated on the crown of the head at the sagittal sutre where the two parietal bones  articulate, opened by means of the yogic practice of the Pho-wa.  The bird flying out of it is the consciousness- principle taking its departure from the body, either  permanently at death or temporarily during the yogin's  exercise of the art. It is through mastery of Pho-wa  that the Great Yogin transcends normal processes by  voluntarily relinquishing his old, outworn body and  taking a new body, without suffering any break in the  continuity of his consciousness.

                   Evans-Wentz, W.Y., ed. (1935, 1958).  Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, Pg 170

 

          Although the pineal gland, per se, is not mentioned, it

is obvious that the Western and Tibetan conceptions are almost identical. The pineal gland is buried in the center of the brain -- making, as Strassman says, "an excellent marker for the mid-line of the brain in skull X-rays and CAT scans." If the out-of-body experience is indeed modulated by this organ, the most direct "transference of the consciousness principle" (Strassman's "life-force") would be through the top of the head at the sagittal sutre: via the "Aperture of Brahma."

 

          This idea is neither new nor exclusive to any single culture or philosophy. In the early decades of the 20th Century, pioneer out-of-body explorer Oliver Fox gave detailed instructions for how to accomplish what the Tibetans would recognize as "the yogic practice of the Pho-wa":

 

          I had to force my incorporeal self through the doorway  of the pineal gland, so that it clicked behind me... It  was done, when in the trance conditon, simply by  concentrating upon the pineal gland and willing to  ascend through it. The sensation was as follows: my  incorporeal self rushed to a point in the pineal gland  and hurled itself against the imaginary trap-door, while the golden light increased in brilliance, so that it  seemed the whole room burst into flame. If the impetus  was insufficient to take me through, then the sensation  became reversed; my incorporeal self subsided and became again coincident with my body, while the astral light  died down to normal. Often two or three attempts were  required before I could generate sufficient willpower to carry me through. It felt as though I were rushing to  insanity and death; but once the little door had clicked behind me, I enjoyed a mental clarity far surpassing  that of earth-life.  And the fear was gone."

                   Oliver Fox, quoted in Muldoon, Sylvan, Projection of the Astral Body, Pg 35

 

          This is empirical evidence -- testimony gathered from a large number of witnesses all describing clearly analogous occurrences.  The practitioners of scientism might jump in at this point and say that it proves nothing -- since we have not measured, weighed or photographed the "consciousness principle" leaving the body, it "logically follows" that their explanation of our brains playing clever tricks on us is more plausible than any of the above testimony.  If so, then the brain has been tricking us in exactly this way for millennia: the OOB phenomenon is probably as old as humanity itself.  Here the sound/vibration is described by the Biblical prophet Ezekiel just before his "chariot" vision (Circa 593 B.C.E.), which is regarded by many researchers as both an out-of-body experience and a UFO encounter:

 

          I heard the noise of [the creatures'] wings as they  moved; it sounded like rushing water, like the voice of  Shaddai, a noise like a storm, like the noise of a camp.

                   Ezekiel, 1:24

 

          The UFO connection is a significant one, which we will examine more thoroughly later. Suffice it to say that many (not all) UFO encounters are so similar to OOBEs that we must postulate some connection between them:

 

          The abduction experiences begin with a shift in  consciousness on the part of the abductee, which may be  signaled by a hum or other odd sound, by the appearance  of a light for which no usual source can be found, by  the sense of a presence or even the sight of one or more alien beings ... or by a strong vibratory sensation in  the body ... This change in consciousness may be subtle, but abductees are always sure that they are not dreaming or imagining. Rather they experience that they have  moved into another reality, but one that is,  nevertheless, altogether real. This is a waking reality, but a different one.  As one abductee described this  shift to me, is as if the alien beings break through a  kind of screen, revealing a new reality to the  experiencer.

                   John Mack, M.D., Abduction, Pg 393

 

          We have empirically demonstrated how the early symptoms of a conscious out-of-body experience usually (but not always) follow a recognizable pattern: that of sound and vibration accompanying the separation of awareness from the physical body.  Once this separation has been effected, a variety of possible realities suddenly appear to the observer.  Robert Monroe differentiated two broad categories: Locale-I and Locale-II (described in the first article of this series).  Although Monroe abandoned these labels later in his "career," I think they still have value for defining generic boundaries in an essentially infinite realm of awareness.  We can address the subtleties after we've first established the general territory.

 

LOCALE-I

 

          Monroe defines Locale-I as our familiar physical world as seen from outside of the physical body.  It is perhaps the most common environment described by most "casual" observers (those who are conscious while out-of-body only once or twice during their lives) -- although at least one frequent visitor apparently never got beyond it:

 

          I have never had a conscious out-of-the-body experience  when I was not here on the earth plane, just as much as I am right now. I wouldn't know where to look for the  higher planes!  ... In every conscious out-of-the-body  experience I have ever had I have never seen anyone  (sic) but the earthly things I have always seen.

          Sylvan Muldoon, The Projection of the Astral Body, Pg 44, 288

 

          As briefly discussed in our first article, Locale I is equivalent to the Sidpa Bardo of the Tibetans -- a realm in which the Second Body, apparently constructed of a much finer class of "atoms," is able to penetrate what we regard as "solid" physical matter at will.

 

          As you are a mental body and your mind is separated from its support, you have no material body, so now you can  pass back and forth even through Mount Meru, the king of mountains ...

              Bardo Thodol, Freemantle-Trungpa translation, Pg 73

 

          The ability to penetrate matter is probably the most salient characteristic of Locale-I, since in most other ways this realm seems to be identical to our everyday consensus reality.  Here are three contemporary descriptions of what it's like to experience this realm:

 

          The vibrations and sounds rapidly diminish as I separate and float up to the ceiling. Out of instinct I reach out my arms to touch the ceiling, but instead of touching,  my hands slowly enter the tingling vibrational substance of the ceiling. I can feel a slight resistance as my  hands and arms move through the ceiling. Moving slowly  upward, my body enters and passes through the  insulation, rafters, and attic.  An intense excitement  flows through me as I pass through the roof and float at the top of the house ... As I look around, I can clearly see the TV antenna and chimney ... I spread my arms,  glide down from the roof, and fly over my backyard.

                    Willian Buhlman, Adventures Beyond the Body, Pg 12

 

          Started trip slowly to observe surroundings as much as possible. Went slowly through west wall, feeling texture of each layer of material in wall, then into another  room ...  Looked out the window for area identification. Outside the window was a small roof, such as over a  porch.  Beyond was a street, with many trees and a  grassy island strip in the middle.  There was a car  parked at the curb, a dark-colored sedan ... I used  stretch technique, shot up through the ceiling, and returned to the physical without problems.

                   Robert Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body, Pg 65-6

 

          Usually, in my out-of-the-body adventures, I can pass  through walls without being conscious of any appreciable effort; but this time, for some unknown reason, the  conditions seemed altered. I stood facing the wall,  gently pressing against it, and steadily willed to pass  through it.  I succeeded, and the sensation was most  curious.  Preserving full consciousness, I seemed to  pass like a gas -- in a spread-out condition -- through  the interstices between the molecules of the wall,  regaining my normal proportions on the other side.

                   Oliver Fox, Astral Projection, Pg 98

 

          Locale-I visitors seldom report encountering other discarnate observers there, though the prevalence of physical humans is often the same as in our consensus reality --except that (with rare exceptions), the out-of-body traveller can't communicate with them.  This "objective" observation of the material world when freed of the "subjective" constraints of a physical body suggests that perception in Locale-I must take place from a fourth spatial dimension -- what else could it be?  It is also significant to note that many "Alien Abduction" descriptions strongly suggest that the abductees are being shifted into Locale-I (or the Sidpa Bardo, if you prefer) from their physical bodies:

 

          After the initial contact, the abductee is commonly "floated" (the word most commonly used) down the hall,  through the wall or windows of the house, or through the roof of the car. They are usually astounded to discover  that they are passed through solid objects, experiencing only a slight vibratory sensation.

         John Mack, M.D., Abduction, Pg 33

 

          Since most observers (both empirical and scientific) would agree that it is normally impossible to transport anything physical through walls, doors or closed windows without first making an opening, the logic of the OOBE evidence examined so far suggests that some UFO abductions involve "transference of the consciousness principle" into at least Locale-I.  Although the average abductee (probably unfamiliar with the OOB state) might understandably believe that the abduction was physical, it makes better sense when understood as some form of out-of-body experience.

 

          Strassman's research, which is replete with accounts of alien encounters among his volunteers during their DMT experiences, has compared his data with that of Dr. John Mack, the Harvard psychiatrist quoted above, who is one of the foremost researchers of the Alien Abduction Syndrome:

 

          The resemblance of Mack's account of the alien  abductions of "experiencers" to the contacts described  by our own volunteers is undeniable. How can anyone  doubt, after reading our accounts in these last two  chapters, that DMT elicits "typical" alien encounters?  If presented with a record of several of our research  subjects' accounts, with all reference to DMT removed,  could anyone distinguish our reports from those of a  group of abductees?

          Rick Strassman, M.D., DMT, The Spirit Molecule, Pg 219

 

          Since we know that Strassman's research with DMT didn't catapult anyone's physical body out of the room (he and a nurse were both present to verify that), we can logically postulate that when injected intravenously, this endogenous psychedelic engenders an almost instantaneous OOBE -- at an order of magnitude faster than any "normal" out-of-body projection!  Leaving the instant onset aside, there are just too many similarities between his data and both classical and contemporary OOBE descriptions to assume that "the consciousness principle" hasn't in some way left the body and entered another dimension -- at least Locale-I, and almost certainly Locale-II.

 

          The reader may wonder what it's like to have a DMT- induced alien encounter such as those referred to above.  I was one of Dr. Strassman's volunteers, and for what it's worth, here is my own report of what such an experience is like, as recorded in his book, DMT, The Spirit Molecule:

 

There is nothing that can prepare you for this. There is a sound, a buzz. It started off and got louder and  louder and faster and faster. I was coming on and coming on and then POW! There was a space station below me and  to my right. There were at least two presences, one on  either side of me, guiding me to a platform. I was also  aware of many entities inside the space station --  automatons, androidlike creatures that looked like a  cross between crash dummies and the Empire troops from  Star Wars, except that they were living beings, not  robots. They seemed to have checkerboard patterns on  parts of their bodies especially their upper arms. They  were doing some kind of routine technological work and 

paid no attention to me. (Pg 189)

 

          The unbelievably rapid onset of the experience threw my body into shock, and I snapped back into physical awareness as quickly as I'd left: there was neither enough time nor space to differentiate the transition: it was virtually "instantaneous."  A comparison with my first out-of-body experience wasn't even possible -- that would be like trying to measure an event lasting ten minutes against one lasting only ten seconds.  I almost passed out from metabolic shock.

 

          This experience took place in a scientific context utilizing intravenously injected, laboratory synthesized DMT -- a drug famous for the extremely brief duration of extremely bizarre, yet amazingly consistent effects.  Compare the following three DMT-induced alien encounters with the general content of my own experience:

 

          There was the usual sound: pleasant, a  roar, a sort of    an internal hum.  Then there were three beings, three        physical forms.  There were rays coming out of their            bodies and then back to their bodies. They were     reptilian and humanoid, trying to make me  understand,      not with words, but with gestures. They wanted me to  look into their bodies. I saw inside them and understood  reproduction, what it's like before birth, the passage  into the body. Once I established what they were  communicating, they didn't just fade away.  They stayed  there for quite a while. Their presence was very solid.  (Subject "Chris," Pg 191)

 

          There was this loud intense hum. It was like the fan at first, but separate. It began engulfing me. I let go  into it and then...WHAM!  I felt like I was in an alien  laboratory, in a hospital bed like this, but it was over there. A sort of landing  bay, or recovery area. There  were beings ... They had a  space ready for me. They  weren't as surprised as I was.  It was incredibly un-psychedelic. I was able to pay attention in detail.  There was one main creature, and he seemed to be behind  it all, overseeing everything. The others were orderlies, or dis-orderlies.  (Subject "Dmitri," Pg 197)

 

          I realize the intense pulsating-buzzing sound and  vibration are an attempt by the DMT entities to  communicate with me. (sic) The beings were there and  they were doing something to me, experimenting on me.  I  saw a sinister face, but then one of them somehow tried  to begin reassuring me. Then the space opened up around  me. There were creatures and machinery. It looked like it was in a field of black space. There were  brilliant psychedelic colors outlining the creatures and  the machinery. The field went on forever. They were  sharing this with me, letting me see all this. There was a female. I felt like I was dying, then she appeared and reassured me. She accompanied me during the viewing of  the machinery and the creatures. When I was with her I  had a deep feeling of relaxation and tranquility. (Subject "Rex," Pg 208)

 

          Now compare the above with typical UFO Abduction scenarios:

 

          Inside the ships the abductees usually witness more  alien beings, who are busy doing various tasks related  to monitoring the equipment and handling the abduction  procedures. The beings described by my cases are of  several sorts. They appear as tall or short luminous  entities that may be translucent, or at least not  altogether solid. Reptilian creatures have been seen...  that seem to be carrying out mechanical functions. (Mack, Pg 37)

 

          Abductees tend to feel that the content of their minds  are thoroughly revealed to the aliens. After this there are various procedures administered under the control of a slightly taller and older-appearing alien, spoken of  by abductees as the doctor or leader. (Mack, Pg 393)

 

          Quite a few abductees have spoken to me of their sense  that at least some of their experiences are not  occurring within the physical space/time dimensions of  the universe as we comprehend it. They speak of aliens  breaking through from other dimensions, through a "slit" or "crack" in some sort of barrier, entering our world  from "beyond the veil." Abductees, some of whom have  little education to prepare them to explain about such  abstractions or odd dislocations, will speak of the  collapse of space/time that occurs during their  experiences. They experience the aliens, indeed their  abductions themselves, as happening in another reality, although one that is as powerfully actual to them as -- or more so than -- the familiar physical world. (Mack, Pg 404)

 

          This empirical evidence, all associated in some way with the out-of-body experience, "proves" nothing scientifically, but forcefully suggests that an entire unseen realm of reality awaits our serious study and comprehension.  This "unseen realm," cognate with Robert Monroe's Locale-I and Locale-II, can obviously be nothing less than a "higher" spatial dimension of the sort that quantum physicists and science fiction authors are so fond of speculating about. Before we can fully comprehend what Locales I and II are, we need to examine the whole idea of higher dimensions.

 

         That will be the subject of the next chapter.

 

        Excerpted from The Structure of Reality, a work in progress.

 

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Footnotes  for Chapter 3 

1. Tart, Charles (1989). "The Science of Spirituality," The  Fringes of Reason Catalog, Ted Schultz. ed., Harmony Books, NY, Pg 67 

2. Blackmore, Susan (1989). "Out of Body Experiences," The  Fringes of Reason Catalog,  Ted Schultz. ed., Harmony Books, NY, Pg 72 

3. Hartmann, Franz, M.D. (1973). Paracelsus: Life and Prophecies, Rudolf Steiner Publications, Blauvelt, NY, Pg v.

 

Bibliography for Chapter 3 

Buhlman, William (1996), Adventures Beyond the Body, Harper SanFrancisco 
 

Evans-Wentz, W.Y. ed. (1935, 1958).  Tibetan Yoga and Secret  Doctrines, Oxford University Press, NY 
 

Evans-Wentz, W.Y. (1960). The Tibetan Book of the Dead,  Oxford University Press, NY 
 

Fox, Oliver (1962). Astral Projection: A Record of Out-of- the-Body Experiences, University Books, New Hyde Park, NY
 

Freemantle, F. & Trungpa, C. (1975). The Tibetan Book of The

Dead, Shambhala, Boston, MA
 

Jones, Alexander, ed. (1968). The Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday, Garden City, NY
  

Krishna, Gopi (1971). Kundalini, the Evolutionary Energy

in Man, Shambhala, Boulder, CO 
 

Mack, John E., M.D. (1994). Abduction, Human Encounters with  Aliens, Chas. Scribner's Sons, NY 
 

Monroe, Robert A. (1977). Journeys Out Of The Body, Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY
 

Moody, Raymond A. (1976), Life After Life, Bantam, NY 
 

Muldoon, S. & Carrington, H. (1974). The Projection of the

Astral Body, Samuel Weiser, NY 
 

Nelson, Cynthia, "World Views -- Their Nature and Function,"

Current Anthropology, Vol. 13, No. 1 -- February, 1972 
 

Strassman, Rick, MD, (2001). DMT, The Spirit Molecule,

Park Street Press, Rochester, VT 
 

Van Dusen, Wilson (1981). The Presence of Other Worlds,  Swedenborg Foundation, NY 
 

Wilson, Colin (1978). Mysteries, Putnam, NY