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Mental induction[ edit ] Falling asleep physically without losing awareness. He would rest a silver dollar on his head while sitting with a metal bucket in a chair. As he drifted off, the coin would noisily fall into the bucket, restoring some of his alertness. Deliberately teetering between awake and asleep states is known to cause spontaneous trance episodes at the onset of sleep which are ultimately helpful when attempting to induce an OBE. This slipping is reported to feel like leaving the physical body. Some consider progressive relaxation a passive form of sensory deprivation. Deep trance, meditation and visualization. The types of visualizations vary; some common analogies include climbing a rope to "pull out" of one's body, floating out of one's body, getting shot out of a cannon, and other similar approaches. This technique is considered hard to use for people who cannot properly relax. Binaural induction of a "body asleep" 4 Hertz brainwave frequency was observed as effective by the Monroe Institute ,  and some authors consider binaural beats to be significantly supportive of OBE initiation when used in conjunction with other techniques. Another popular technology uses sinusoidal wave pulses to achieve similar results, and the drumming accompanying Native American religious ceremonies is also believed to have heightened receptivity to "other worlds" through brainwave entrainment mechanisms. This approach aims to induce intense disorientation by removal of space and time references. Flotation tanks or pink noise played through headphones are often employed for this purpose. The subject can for instance be rocked for a long time in a specially designed cradle , or submitted to light forms of torture , to cause the brain to shut itself off from all sensory input. Both conditions tend to cause confusion and this disorientation often permits the subject to experience vivid, ethereal out-of-body experiences. Hyslop wrote that OBEs occur when the activity of the subconscious mind dramatizes certain images to give the impression the subject is in a different physical location. Tyrrell interpreted OBEs as hallucinatory constructs relating to subconscious levels of personality. His theory involved a cognitive personality construct known as psychological absorption and gave instances of the classification of an OBE as examples of autoscopy , depersonalization and mental dissociation. Instead, they reveal something far more remarkable about the everyday workings of your brain and body. Out-of-the-body experiences were known during the Victorian period in spiritualist literature as "travelling clairvoyance". The book was largely criticized by the scientific community as the anecdotal reports lacked evidential substantiation in nearly every case. Gardner Murphy wrote that OBEs are "not very far from the known terrain of general psychology, which we are beginning to understand more and more without recourse to the paranormal". For a series of these experiments he was asked whilst in an OBE state to try to identify coloured targets that were placed in remote locations. Osis reported that in trials there were hits. However, the controls to the experiments have been criticized and according to Susan Blackmore , the final result was not particularly significant as hits would be expected by chance. Blackmore noted that the results provide "no evidence for accurate perception in the OBE". During her OBE she claimed to have floated outside her body and outside of the hospital. Maria would later tell her social worker Kimberly Clark that during the OBE she had observed a tennis shoe on the third floor window ledge to the north side of the building. Clark would go to the north wing of the building and by looking out of the window could see a tennis shoe on one of the ledges. Clark published the account in The story has since been used in many paranormal books as evidence a spirit can leave the body. They placed a tennis shoe on the same ledge and discovered that the shoe was visible from within the building and could have easily been observed by a patient lying in bed. They also discovered the shoe was easily observable from outside the building and suggested that Maria may have overheard a comment about it during her three days in the hospital and incorporated it into her OBE. Richard Wiseman has said that although the story is not evidence for anything paranormal it has been "endlessly repeated by writers who either couldn't be bothered to check the facts, or were unwilling to present their readers with the more skeptical side of the story. Crookall approached the subject from a spiritualistic position, and collected his cases predominantly from spiritualist newspapers such as the Psychic News , which appears to have biased his results in various ways. Her purpose was to provide a taxonomy of the different types of OBE, viewed simply as an anomalous perceptual experience or hallucination , while leaving open the question of whether some of the cases might incorporate information derived by extrasensory perception. In , at the 1st International Forum of Consciousness Research in Barcelona, International Academy of Consciousness research-practitioners Wagner Alegretti and Nanci Trivellato presented preliminary findings of an online survey on the out-of-body experience answered by internet users interested in the subject; therefore, not a sample representative of the general population. The most commonly reported sensations experienced in connection with the OBE were falling, floating, repercussions e. Another reported common sensation related to OBE was temporary or projective catalepsy , a more common feature of sleep paralysis. William Buhlman, an author on the subject, has conducted an informal but informative online survey. The subject was attached to an EEG machine and a five-digit code was placed on a shelf above her bed. She did not claim to see the number on the first three nights but on fourth gave the number correctly. And that was exactly what it did show. OBE-like experiences have been induced by stimulation of the brain. OBE-like experience has also been induced through stimulation of the posterior part of the right superior temporal gyrus in a patient. The term OBE-like is used above because the experiences described in these experiments either lacked some of the clarity or details of normal OBEs, or were described by subjects who had never experienced an OBE before. Such subjects were therefore not qualified to make claims about the authenticity of the experimentally-induced OBE. British psychologist Susan Blackmore and others suggest that an OBE begins when a person loses contact with sensory input from the body while remaining conscious. The perceived world may resemble the world he or she generally inhabits while awake, but this perception does not come from the senses either. The vivid body and world is made by our brain's ability to create fully convincing realms, even in the absence of sensory information. This process is witnessed by each of us every night in our dreams, though OBEs are claimed to be far more vivid than even a lucid dream. Irwin  pointed out that OBEs appear to occur under conditions of either very high or very low arousal. By contrast, a substantial minority of her cases occurred under conditions of maximum arousal, such as a rock-climbing fall, a traffic accident, or childbirth. McCreery   has suggested that this paradox may be explained by reference to the fact that sleep can supervene as a reaction to extreme stress or hyper-arousal. Olaf Blanke studies[ edit ] Research by Olaf Blanke in Switzerland found that it is possible to reliably elicit experiences somewhat similar to the OBE by stimulating regions of the brain called the right temporal-parietal junction TPJ; a region where the temporal lobe and parietal lobe of the brain come together. Blanke and his collaborators in Switzerland have explored the neural basis of OBEs by showing that they are reliably associated with lesions in the right TPJ region  and that they can be reliably elicited with electrical stimulation of this region in a patient with epilepsy. Using event-related potentials , Blanke and colleagues showed the selective activation of the TPJ — ms after stimulus onset when healthy volunteers imagined themselves in the position and visual perspective that generally are reported by people experiencing spontaneous OBEs. Transcranial magnetic stimulation in the same subjects impaired mental transformation of the participant's own body. No such effects were found with stimulation of another site or for imagined spatial transformations of external objects, suggesting the selective implication of the TPJ in mental imagery of one's own body. When subjects performed mental imagery with an embodied location, there was increased activation of a region called the "extrastriate body area" EBA , but when subjects performed mental imagery with a disembodied location, as reported in OBEs, there was increased activation in the region of the TPJ. This leads Arzy et al. During multisensory conflict, participants felt as if a virtual body seen in front of them was their own body and mislocalized themselves toward the virtual body, to a position outside their bodily borders. This indicates that spatial unity and bodily self-consciousness can be studied experimentally and is based on multisensory and cognitive processing of bodily information. The study participant sits in a chair wearing a pair of head-mounted video displays. These have two small screens over each eye, which show a live film recorded by two video cameras placed beside each other two metres behind the participant's head. The image from the left video camera is presented on the left-eye display and the image from the right camera on the right-eye display. The participant sees these as one " stereoscopic " 3D image, so they see their own back displayed from the perspective of someone sitting behind them. The researcher then stands just beside the participant in their view and uses two plastic rods to simultaneously touch the participant's actual chest out-of-view and the chest of the illusory body, moving this second rod towards where the illusory chest would be located, just below the camera's view. The participants confirmed that they had experienced sitting behind their physical body and looking at it from that location. As with previous experiments which induced sensations of floating outside of the body, Ehrsson's work does not explain how a brain malfunction might cause an OBE. Essentially, Ehrsson created an illusion that fits a definition of an OBE in which "a person who is awake sees his or her body from a location outside the physical body. Parnia wrote "anybody who claimed to have left their body and be near the ceiling during resuscitation attempts would be expected to identify those targets. If, however, such perceptions are psychological, then one would obviously not expect the targets to be identified. Following on from the work of Pim van Lommel in the Netherlands, the study aims to examine near-death experiences in 1, cardiac arrest survivors and so determine whether people without a heartbeat or brain activity can have documentable out-of-body experiences. Only two out of the patients reported any visual experiences, and one of them described events that could be verified. Among those who reported a perception of awareness and completed further interviews, 46 per cent experienced a broad range of mental recollections in relation to death that were not compatible with the commonly used term of NDEs. These included fearful and persecutory experiences. Only 9 per cent had experiences compatible with NDEs and 2 per cent exhibited full awareness compatible with OBEs with explicit recall of 'seeing' and 'hearing' events. One case was validated and timed using auditory stimuli during cardiac arrest. Rather, it was a patient giving a supposedly accurate report of events during his resuscitation. He didn't identify the pictures, he described the defibrillator machine noise. But that's not very impressive since many people know what goes on in an emergency room setting from seeing recreations on television. She reported developing the ability as a child and associated it with difficulties in falling sleep. Her OBEs continued into adulthood but became less frequent. She was able to see herself rotating in the air above her body, lying flat, and rolling in the horizontal plane. She reported sometimes watching herself move from above but remained aware of her unmoving "real" body. The participant reported no particular emotions linked to the experience. Activations were mainly left-sided and involved the left supplementary motor area and supramarginal and posterior superior temporal gyri, the last two overlapping with the temporal parietal junction that has been associated with out-of-body experiences. The cerebellum also showed activation that is consistent with the participant's report of the impression of movement during the ECE. There was also left middle and superior orbital frontal gyri activity, regions often associated with action monitoring. The International Academy of Consciousness in southern Portugal features the Projectarium, a spherical structure dedicated exclusively for practice and research on out-of-body experience. Astral projection Astral projection is a paranormal interpretation of out-of-body experiences that assumes the existence of one or more non-physical planes of existence and an associated body beyond the physical. Commonly such planes are called astral, etheric , or spiritual. Astral projection is often experienced as the spirit or astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the spirit world or astral plane.
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