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What Is An Out Of Body Experience (OBE)

Updated on February 13, 2009

Paranormal Article

What is an Out of Body Experience?

Out-of-body experience (OBE) occurs in about one in ten people and some point in their lives. The phanomena is an occurrence when one has the sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside of it. OBEs are often part of a event called a Near Death Experience (NDE). Astral Projection is another name for the expeience. Those experiencing an OBE sometimes observe details which were unknown to them beforehand, and at some times are actually witnessed by other people.

Here are some well known people who have reported experiencing a type of OBE classified as Near Death Experiences (NDE):

Jane Seymour: Jane reportedly experienced a NDE when she delivered her twins. "I literally left my body. I had this feeling that I could see myself on the bed, with people grouped around me. I remember them all trying to resuscitate me. I was above them, in the corner of the room looking down. I saw people putting needles in me, trying to hold me down, and doing things. I remember my whole life flashing before my eyes, but I wasn't thinking about winning Emmys or anything like that. The only thing I cared about was that I wanted to live because I did not want anyone else looking after my children. I was floating up there thinking, "No, I don't want to die. I'm not ready to leave my kids."

"And that was when I said to God, "If you're there, God, if you really exist and I survive, I will never take your name in vain again." Although I believe that I "died" for about thirty seconds, I can remember pleading with the doctor to bring me back. I was determined I wasn't going to die." Then Jane suddenly found herself back in her body.

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Elizabeth Taylor: During an interviewed by Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live, Elizabeth Taylor shared how she had been pronounced dead for five minutes while on the operating table during one of her surgeries. She relayed that while she was clinically dead, she had encountered the spirit of Michael Todd, one of her former husbands. She had wanted to stay with Todd, she said, but he had told her that she had work and life ahead of her, and he "pushed me back to my life." Ms. Taylor told the medical team who brought her back to life about her experience.

"I went to that tunnel, saw the white light, and Mike [Todd]. I said, Oh Mike, you're where I want to be. And he said, ‘No, Baby. You have to turn around and go back because there is something very important for you to do. You cannot give up now.' It was Mike's strength and love that brought me back."

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Chevy Chase: While working on his 1981 film, Modern Problems, Chevy Chase was electrocuted when a stunt went wrong during the sequence in which he was wearing landing lights and dreams that he is an airplane. The current in the lights short-circuited through his arm, back, and neck muscles which precipitated a near-death experience. After his event, Chevy went through a period of deep depression, as many people with similar experiences do when they don't want to return from their NDE.

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Dr. Raymond Moody wrote several books dealing with Near Death Experiences. He interviewed and documented over 150 people who reported NDEs. During these interviews Dr. Moody determined nine basic similarities about what the people he interviewed experienced.

  • A buzzing, or ringing noise, while having a sense of being dead.
  • While people are dying, they may be in intense pain, but as soon as they leave the body the pain vanishes and they experience peace.
  • The dying often have the sensation of rising up and floating above their own body while it is surrounded by a medical team, and watching it down below, while feeling comfortable. They experience the feeling of being in a spiritual body that appears to be a sort of living energy field.
  • The next experience is that of being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light. Also, although they sometimes report feeling scared, they do not sense that they were on the way to hell or that they fell into it.
  • Instead of a tunnel, some people report rising suddenly into the heavens and seeing the Earth and the celestial sphere as they would be seen by astronauts in space.
  • Once on the other side of the tunnel, or after they have risen into the heavens, the dying meet people who glow with an inner light. Often they find that friends and relatives who have already died are there to greet them.
  • After meeting the people of light, the dying often meet a powerful spiritual being whom some have identified as God, Jesus, or some religious figure.
  • The Being of Light presents the dying with a panoramic review of everything they have ever done. That is, they relive every act they have ever done to other people and come away feeling that love is the most important thing in life.
  • The Being of Light sometimes tells the dying that they must return to life. Other times, they are given a choice of staying or returning. In either case, they are reluctant to return. The people who choose to return do so only because of loved ones they do not wish to leave behind.


In June J. Caryne Aglin was a guest on my World of the Paranormal radio program. Caryne relayed how she went into a coma for several hours and during that time she experienced a NDE. When she awoke from her coma she realized that she had become a Clairvoyant. Many people who have had a NDE often report heightened psychic ability when they return to life. Almost all report they no longer fear the thought of death, and some are actually depressed that they came back to life.

Not all OBEs are from near death experiences. Astral Projection is another form of OBE that can occur when a person is relaxed or asleep. Astral Projection experi- ences have been reported throughout history. In ancient Egypt, between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago, the Egyptian priests were aware of the existence of the astral body and called it the Ka. Many illustrations of the Ka (soul leaving the body) are depicted in Egyptian tombs and their artwork.

Greek philosophers, Aristotle, Homer and Plotinus all preached that a person’s spirit could leave its body and that it is capable of communicating with other spirits. Aristotle and Plato believed that what we are cogniscent of in our physical bodies is a mere reflection of what the spirit could see if it were released from the physical. The Greeks also believed that we all have spirit doubles that are capable of much more knowledge and insight then what we can experience with our physical bodies. Homer thought that each person is composed three separate entities: the physical body (soma), the 'psyche,' and the thumos. (“Thumos” is an Anciet Greek word expressing the concept of "spiritedness". The word indicates a physical association with breath or blood. The word is also used to express the human desire for recognition. [Wikipedia])

People who have had these experiences usually report that they sense
a cord (sometimes referred to as a silver life cord) that remains in tack
between their astral body and their physical body while they are projecting
to other places. Reports from astral travelers tell of some astral bodies
traveling great distances even to other planets, while the cord keeps them
firmly attached to their physical bodies.

In some cases the person experiencing the OBE is aware that it is occurring and that they are functioning via a duplicate but spiritual body. The OBE subject travels to a distant location where he comes in contact with a person and is aware of being seen by that person. This is usually confirmed by the person who saw the apparition of the OBE subject, thus confirming the event. In other cases, the subject believes that he/she is dreaming, or is completely unaware of the experience. In the April 2008 issue of Paranormal Musings Newsletter I discussed the Doppelganger Phenomena. This occurrence is also thought to be linked with an OBE event.

Scientists have offered many explanations for these phenomena, but none that can explain how people who have OBE experiences obtain knowledge about what they see during their travels outside of their physical bodies, or that the people involved usually consider it a life-altering encounter.

If you think you have experienced an OBE or a NDE, please tell me about it. Email me at edparanormal@comcast.net

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

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