I have said at the beginning of this series that astral projection or out-of-body experience (OOBE) is a natural phenomenon that happens to everybody, whether they are aware of it or not. As such, it is not a paranormal phenomenon. But because it cannot be explained or proven scientifically, it is easily dismissed as fiction or a mere product of one’s imagination.
In my column on Jan. 25, 2005, I pointed out that, “out-of-body experience or astral projection, is not simply a neurological disorder.”
That piece was reprinted in the American book, “Paranormal Phenomena,” as part of a series called “Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints,” published by Green Haven Press in New York and edited by Norah Piehl.
A scientist, professor Olaf Blanke of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said that “recent neurological evidence shows that these experiences are related to an interference with the temporoparietal function of the brain.” This is the part of the brain that gives a person a sense of selfhood.
Blanke pointed out that OOBE occurs in about 10 percent of the population, most of the world’s cultures and several medical conditions. I wonder how he arrived at the 10 percent figure.
I would assume that majority of people, such as those in the Philippines, have had such experiences, but are reluctant to tell their stories for fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.
Blanke added: “Some clinicians have observed OOBE in association with various neurological conditions, but mainly in epileptic seizures and migraines. These early reports have also allowed us to link OOBE with deficient visual, vestibular (relating to balance) and multisensory processing.”
He continued: “On the basis of these findings, our team proposed a cognitive model for OOBE relating them to failure of integration of proprioceptive (stimuli produced within an organism), tactical (touch) and visual information of one’s body (personal space).”
When we think or sense ourselves to be out of our body, it is because, according to Blanke, there is an interference or anomaly (abnormality) in our sense of where we are in relation to our surroundings. We seem to think that we are outside our body, but actually we are not. In other words, neuroscientists think OOBE is merely hallucination.
But certain facts contradict this. If OOBE is merely hallucination or a neural deficit, how come there are people who see the astral body or etheric double of someone having an OOBE? Sometimes the astral body is seen quite far from the physical body of the sleeping person.
Because science has no knowledge of the astral body, its nature, characteristics or powers, it creates a model based merely on physiological and neurological evidence. But if a theory contradicts a proven fact or experience, something is wrong with the theory.
Mainstream scientists sometimes propose the most incredible theories just to maintain their own assumptions about a certain phenomenon.
For example, one “scientific” theory on why natives of Fiji, Indonesia, Brazil and India are able to walk on fire without getting hurt or burned is because “the natives have developed very powerful sweat glands on their feet. When they touch the burning charcoal or fire, these sweat glands are activated, thus cushioning the effects of the fire.”
They call this the “Leidenfrost effect.” Native fire walkers also tend to walk very fast so that they are not harmed by the fire.
According to Wikipedia, the Leidenfrost effect happens “when a liquid close to a surface that is significantly hotter than the liquid’s boiling point produces an insulating vapor layer that keeps the liquid from boiling rapidly. The water in your feet creates a layer of gas that separates the hot surface from your skin.”
Many years ago, I walked on fire in Tagaytay City without getting burned. I don’t think I have very thick soles or powerful sweat glands. Despite its obvious inadequacy, this theory is accepted by mainstream scientists.
It is quite obvious that these scientists have never attempted to walk on fire to test that theory. It would be interesting if they did.
Another phenomenon whose scientific explanation does not jibe with facts is near-death experience (NDE). In a typical NDE, which has been extensively studied by Dr. Raymond Moody and others, a person is pronounced clinically dead.
In that state, the person sees himself out of his physical body and traveling through a tunnel with a bright light at the end. He moves toward the light, usually seeing a religious figure who asks him questions.
The Being of Light tells him it is not yet his time, and he must go back to his body. He wakes up feeling all the pain of the surgery or accident he had gone through. Then his life is transformed. He feels a sense of mission and exhibits previously absent psychic abilities (such as telepathy, clairvoyance and even healing).
Scientists working with experimental pilots in Canada have a different explanation. They think NDE or OOBE is caused by a lack of oxygen in the brain.
When pilots are placed in a rotating machine, the centrifugal force temporarily deprives the brain of oxygen. Pilots lose consciousness and get a sensation of floating or being out of their body and going through a tunnel where a “Being of Light” talks to them. They wake up remembering every detail of the experience.
But such experiments only prove that when you place a person in a machine that rotates, he is deprived of oxygen in his brain. It does not prove OOBE or NDE is not true. It does not follow.