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Pete B's Experiences

Experience description:   

When I was in college in the mid-1980s, I saw a stage hypnotist and became fascinated with hypnotism.  I began researching it and found self-hypnosis.  I began practicing self-hypnosis and became quite proficient.  A couple of years later read about lucid dreaming in one my books on hypnosis and began researching and practicing lucid dreaming.  In a book on lucid dreaming, I came across a discussion of OBEs for the first time.  The book said that an OBE could be launched from a lucid dream.  Soon after, one afternoon I was napping and began lucid dreaming.  I remembered the OBE discussion and decided to try it.  I told myself to sit up.  Looking back, I realize I absolutely no belief that anything would happen. I was shocked to find myself sit up in bed without my body.  It was a split second up, great surprise, and then laid back down.  This was my first OBE.  It freaked me out.  It would be four years before I would try it again.

That first experience was very brief.  Only a second or two.  The time it takes to sit up and lie back down.  Let me say this.  It was not part of a lucid dream.  It was not my actual body.  I know some people attribute OBEs to lucid dreaming but anyone who has experienced an OBE knows that is not the case.  I recorded the details of the experience at the the time but my notes are gone after 25 years.  I do remember that I had sight but it was if I was looking through a window screen.  I had the sensation of motion and sight but no other senses.

Fast forward four years.  I am married and my wife is pregnant with our first child. I had recently logged onto the internet (1994) and found a usenet site on OBEs.  I also found a document written by a guy called doobe.txt.  He was a theosophist (I was and am a Christian) but the text included methods one could practice to induce OBEs that were non-dogmatic.  Eventually, with practice, I was able to have over 30 self-induced OBEs over the next year.  My approach was scientific and I kept detailed notes.  I had no preconceived notions and approached it with an experimental open mind.

Here are some main points that I documented in my experimenting in no particular order (I can add detail if there is interest but experience was extensive and beyond this form)

1.  OBE is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice

2.  OBE is distinct from lucid dreaming

3.  There appears to be universal aspects of OBE that are commonly experienced. I experienced things that I later found described in literature)

4.  There are physical aspects to the experience, not just mental or spiritual

5.  Alcohol is an inhibitor

6.  I only ever had an OBE lying on my back

7.  Fear appears to be a major obstacle to overcome.  Fear was very common for me early on.  In fact, it often ended my attempt.  It took about an hour to get to that point.   I got so sick of spending an hour getting there and then bailing due to fear that I said screw it and push through and had success.

8.  Most of my experiences lasted only a few seconds, some lasted half a minute.  I believe they can be lengthened with practice.

As I said, I had over 30 OBEs in a year.  Eventually, I found myself becoming obsessed with it. In addition, what I found was that the only literature discussing it was New Age.  Finally, it was at this time that I 'refound' my faith.  I felt uncomfortable spending so much time thinking about and practicing and reading New Age that I decide to stop.  I felt I needed to spend my time focused on my wife and new baby.

The most interesting OBE I had involved rising up from the bed, through the ceiling and down the alley behind our house.  I had sight and looked down to see a basket ball hoop in the backyard of a house down the street.  It was odd because the backyard was all grass and not pavement.  The experience lasted about 30 seconds.  When it was over, I was curious.  I walked down the alley to the yard in the OBE and much to my surprise, there was a basketball poll in the backyard over all grass.  I can say with 100% certainty that I had not been down there before.  One interesting thing.  The hoop was on the opposite side of the lawn than what I saw in my OBE.  Later, I would read in doobe.txt that things are often reversed.

As I said above, there is much more I could write.

Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?   No   

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words?   No   

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?   No   

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?   Very high but different, in an way that is hard to describe.

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?   Yes   It is very hard to describe the form.  It was my consciousness.  It was me.  This is not exactly right but it was like my body but made of electricity or some other substance. Having said that, I was aware that my physical body was below me.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?    Fear in the moments approaching and at separation but then it subsides.  No particular emotions during the experience.

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?    The one sound that stands out is the sound of a creaking floor right before separation. I experienced this several times.  The first time it snapped me out as I thought someone was coming up our stairs.  I would later read that a creaking floor sound is common.  Reading that after I experienced it increased my belief that I was dealing something that was objective.

Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures?    Yes    Familiar temporal locations.  Nothing supernatural.

Did you see a light?    Yes    Only in the sense of common light in vision.

Did you meet or see any other beings?    No   

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state?   Yes    See discussion of the basketball hoop above.

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?   Yes    See above.

Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different?    Yes    Vision varied.  Sometimes none.  Sometimes dimmed (like looking through a screen).  Sometimes relatively clear. Sometimes differnet in a way hard to describe - like seeing but not with eyes.

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?    No   

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    No   

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?    No   

Did you become aware of future events?    No   

Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body?    Yes    I felt I was always in control of returning.

Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?    No   

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   Yes    I had what I believe was objective evidence that we are more that physical beings.

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?    It strengthened my faith.  The analogy I used was that I had faith that there was an elephant behind that tree but all of a sudden I saw a bit of a toe sticking out that proved it was there.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?   No   

Have you shared this experience with others?    Yes    yes, but very limited.  My wife, my brother and my parents.  My parents were concerned.  My brother was interested and tried it himself, getting as far as the creaky floor.  It has been 20 years and I have not really had very much motivation to share.  I posted some of my experiences anonymously online at the time.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?   It was a new experience that was extremely interesting.  It was frustrating as I would only succeed maybe one out of 30 attempts so it took quite a commitment of time and effort.   

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?    No           

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?    Yes