Body Popping

Susan J. Blackmore. Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences. Heinemann, for the Society for Psychical Research, 1982.
This is an extremely valuable study of ostensible out-of-the-body experiences, and covers all aspects of the subject. The author's approach is sympathetic but critical; she makes it clear that it is certain that people have out-of-the-body experiences but points out that the dispute is about the interpretation of such experiences.

Susan Blackmore effectively disposes of many of the naïve 'etheric nuts and bolts' theories which seem to gain credence across the Atlantic by pointing out that they simply do not make sense. She believes that the evidence for ESP and PK during these experiences is very limited and concludes by somewhat tentatively proposing a psychological theory: 'I would suggest that the OOBE is best seen as an altered state of consciousness (ASC) and is best understood in relation to other ASCs. Everything perceived in an OBE is a product of memory and imagination, and during the OOBE one's own imagination is more vividly experienced than it is in everyday life.' ( p. 243)

She relates such an experience to others in which there is direct awareness of the imagination. The similarity between the OOBE and the false awakening is very clear, and the kind of vivid imagery occurring in OOBEs may be a clue to the bases of many vivid UFO experiences, apparitions, etc . I believe that this book is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in these subjects.

Peter Rogerson, from Magonia 12, 1983

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