In August, 1975, a 48-year-old man was undergoing open-heart surgery. A half hour after being taken off cardiopulmonary bypass, he suffered from cardiac arrest and had to be revived by an injection of epinephrine into the heart and two electric shock treatments. On awakening, he recalled the following experience:
I was walking across this wooden bridge over this running beautiful stream of water and on the opposite side I was looking and there was Christ and he was standing with a very white robe. He had jet-black hair and a very black short beard. His teeth were extremely white and his eyes were blue, very blue…. He looked different from any pictures I had seen before…. My real focus was on the white robe and if I could prove it to myself that this was really Christ…. And during all this time the knowledge, the universal knowledge, opened up to me and I wanted to capture all of this so that when I was able, I could let people know what was really around them. Only trouble was that I was unable to bring any of it back.
This is a typical example of an out-of-body experience, or OBE. In such an experience, a person has the impression of leaving his physical body while continuing to see, hear, and think as a conscious being. Out-of-body experiences often occur when a person is in a near-fatal physical condition, and so they are also called near-death experiences, or NDEs. With the recent development of techniques for reviving a person who is near death, there has been a great increase in reports of such experiences, and a number of books have been written about them by doctors, psychologists, and psychical researchers.
Many OBEs are difficult for an external observer to distinguish from dreams, although persons experiencing them may regard them as real because of their great vividness and profound psychological impact. This is true of the OBE mentioned above, which took place entirely in some dreamlike otherworld. There are many instances, however, in which a person having an OBE sees his own unconscious body from a distance. In some of these cases, persons who were supposedly unconscious due to cardiac arrest were able to give accurate descriptions of medical procedures being used to revive them.
Here is how cardiologist Michael Sabom summed up one man’s description of his own resuscitation from a heart attack, as seen during an OBE:
His description is extremely accurate in portraying the appearance of both the technique of CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] and the proper sequence in which this technique is performed i.e., chest thump, external cardiac massage, airway insertion, administration of medications and defibrillation.
Sabom said that he came to know this man quite well and that the man gave no indication that he possessed more than a layman’s knowledge of medicine. The man also testified that he had not watched cardiac resuscitations on TV before his experience. In his OBE, the man had seen the resuscitation procedures in vivid detail, even though his heart was not functioning at the time and his brain was deprived of oxygen. If the experience was a dream, then how did the man acquire the accurate knowledge of detailed medical procedures that this dream contained?
OBEs and UFOs
There has been a great deal of controversy over how to interpret out-of-body experiences, with some favoring theories based on dreams or hallucinations and others advocating paranormal explanations. One topic that is generally not introduced into these discussions is the subject of UFOs. However, it has recently emerged that out-of-body experiences may take place in connection with UFO encounters. Many witnesses have reported experiencing out-of-body travel during UFO abductions, and some have also reported spontaneously experiencing OBEs in the aftermath of UFO encounters. This leads to a completely new controversy over out-of-body experiences – one that inevitably brings in the body of observation and theory that has built up around the UFO phenomenon.
One theory is that UFO-related out-of-body experiences are actually misperceptions of physically real abduction experiences. Another is that UFO abductions are essentially illusory. According to this theory, OBEs are also hallucinatory experiences that are generated by the mind, perhaps due to the influence of some external agency. UFO abductions and OBEs go together because both are of a similar illusory nature.
A third theory is that UFO abductions are real events that can take place on a gross or subtle level of material energy, and OBEs are real events involving the temporary separation of the subtle mind from the physical body. In a UFO abduction, the physical body may be taken onto a UFO, and during this experience an OBE may or may not take place. Also, some UFO abductions may take place within OBEs. In these cases, the subtle mind is taken on board a UFO and the gross body is left behind. I will discuss these theories after giving a few examples of out-of-body experiences associated with UFOs.
First of all, there are reports indicating that OBEs are sometimes induced by humanoid entities of the kind associated with UFOs. One example of this is an experience reported by Betty Andreasson. She said that in July of 1986 she was lying on the couch of her trailer-home reading a Bible when she heard a whirring sound and saw a strange being appear next to the couch.
At this point, she had the experience of seeing her own body from an external vantage point:
I see myself standing and I see myself laying on the couch! The being had put a small box or something on the couch first and then I saw myself appear there. I see myself standing up…. And I see myself moving toward the being. And then I turn toward the couch and I reach down to touch myself and Ahhhh! when I do, my hand goes right through me!
In this case, the being was of the standard “Gray” type. After entering the out-of-body state, Betty underwent a strange experience involving visions of crystal spheres, the passing shadow of a gigantic bird, and a hovering spherical craft. This is in some ways reminiscent of the otherworldly experiences that often occur in OBEs. However, the “Gray” aliens were present throughout the experience.
Whitley Strieber recounted a very similar experience, in which he awoke at about 4:30 in the morning in his country cabin and tried to achieve an OBE using methods recommended by Robert Monroe, a well-known investigator of out-of-body states. He said that he saw an image of a long, bony, four-fingered hand of a “Gray” being pointing towards a two-foot-square box on a gray floor.
He then experienced an inappropriate wave of sexual feeling, followed by an OBE. He found himself floating above his body. He saw his cat, which should have been in New York City, and he saw the face of a “Gray” visitor outside one window. He found that he could move about in his out-of-body state, and he described his adventures of passing out through a closed window and back. During all this he experienced himself as a “roughly spherical field.”
There are also cases in which a person has an out-of-body experience with no obvious cause, enters a UFO in the out-of-body state, and has an encounter with UFO entities. For example, Betty Andreasson, after her remarriage to Bob Luca, reported a joint OBE in which they both entered a UFO occupied by typical “Gray” beings. There she encountered featureless human shapes glowing with light and found that she was also in this condition. She also saw the featureless light-forms changing into balls of light and then back into human light-forms.
In another out-of-body UFO experience, a person named Emily Cronin had the experience of standing by her car and seeing her dormant body within the car.
Here she recounts this experience under hypnosis:
Emily: Not in the car. But I am in the car. It’s silly.
McCall: Don’t worry about it. Just tell me what’s going on.
Emily: That’s silly! You can’t do that!
McCall: You can’t do what?
Emily: You can’t be in the car and out of the car, too. That’s silly! But I am.
After this, she saw a large, glowing “bubble” hovering over some trees by the roadside. She communicated telepathically with unseen intelligences associated with this object, and she had a realization that all life is one and that the intelligences were not actually alien.
In the case of Judy Doraty discussed in Chapter 9 [see Alien Identities], the witness, Judy, experienced standing by her car and simultaneously entering a UFO and observing what was happening inside it. In this case, the UFO had been previously seen by Judy and other witnesses from a normal, physically embodied point of view. Within the UFO, Judy reportedly observed humanoid entities cutting up a living calf and then dropping its body to the ground using a shaft of light. This would suggest that the scene within the UFO was grossly physical and that Judy was viewing it just as persons having OBEs sometimes observe their own bodies.
People in their normal bodily condition usually cannot perceive someone who is present near them in an out-of-body state. However, Judy reported that the entities she saw in the UFO were aware of her presence, and they communicated with her telepathically.