Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Out of Body Suggestive Songs

Out of Body Suggestive Songs

By Bob Peterson

Not long ago, a Facebook friend asked if I knew of any music that's suggestive of Out of Body Experiences and Lucid Dreams. The answer is yes. It's not just OBE books I collect; for many years I've collected songs that remind me of OBEs. I like to listen to them to motivate my subconscious to have OBEs. So below I compiled a list of some of the most OBE suggestive songs I can think of off the top of my head. The songs are in no particular order.

But beware: my taste in music is...let's just say "eclectic." It's a bit different from most people, but to each his own, right? As an older guy, many of the songs are classic rock from the 1970s and 1980s, so I'm sure there's more current music I haven't kept up on. I'm a bit of a metal-head, so some of the songs are classic heavy metal (like Ozzy and Dio), thrash metal (like Megadeth), progressive metal and/or female fronted metal (like Lunatica), and even death metal (like Between the Buried and Me). That's partly because I grew up in the 80s, and I hated disco, plus pop music doesn't often mention OBEs.

Click on the links below to play the entire song in a youtube video, or click on the link at the bottom of the article for an youtube playlist to play them all. But PLEASE listen under headphones if you can.

After each link, I put some of the lyrics to show you how the song is OBE related. Some are obviously related to OBEs like:

"Astral Traveller" by Yes:
Wondering when to do it again
Have another fly into the sky,
Somewhere flying high.
Astral traveller, leaving without her,
Wandering where lights go,
Without the body load.
Once in the air, people who dare
Get a great respect in being.
(Astral traveller.)
Heavenly flight wondrous night
And all the sights worth seeing
Just believing
"Over the Mountains" by Ozzy Osbourne:
Over the mountains,
Take me across the sky
Something in my vision,
Something deep inside
Where did I wander?
Where'd you think I wandered to?
I've seen life's magic
Astral plane I travel through
Others are just implied (to me) like "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin:
I am a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been...
Baby, I've been flying, Ain't no denying.
Some are obviously about Lucid Dreaming, like "Lucid Dreamer" by Tarja:
You can do anything
when you feel it
burning at your wings
just look in the mirror
I'm a lucid dreamer

You can go everywhere
you can rise up, see me standing there
just look in the mirror
I'm a lucid dreamer
Or "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche:
...Commanding in another world
Suddenly, you hear and see
This magic new dimension

Many of these songs aren't about OBEs at all, but they still remind me of OBEs because their lyrics suggest OBEs to me.

"No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" by Yes
Step out in the night
When you're lonely
Listen for the sounds
That your ears don't hear
...
Dawn turns to day
And the dawning
Daytime, nighttime
And we still can't see
Why must we wait until the morning light
To wake up and be
Wake up and be
Wake up and be
"Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band:
I want to fly like an eagle, to the sea
Fly like an eagle, let my spirit carry me
"Lights" by Styx:
So many thoughts in my head
So many places to be
So many faces that I long to see
Standing in front of me
Tonight the Lights will take me where I long to be
Just like a thousand nights before
"The Wall" by Kansas may be about death, but I think of it as OBE:
To pass beyond is what I seek
I fear that I may be too weak
And those are few who've seen it through
To glimpse the other side
The promised land is waiting
Like a maiden that is soon to be a bride
"Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas:
Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high
"Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel" by Kansas:
Early in the morning sunlight
Soaring on the wings of dawn
Here I'll live and die with my wings in the sky
And I won't come down no more
...
Sail on, sail on
I will rise each day to meet the dawn
So high, so high
I've climbed the mountains of the sky
"The Answer" by Ashes of Ares is also about death or OBEs depending on your view:
Journey on, I will see you soon my friend
Beyond this plane your spirit shall ascend
Fly away, Fly away, Fly away...and find the answer
"Border of Reality" by Angel Dust:
Let me see - the border of reality
"Coming Home" by Angel Dust:
Then fellows and me
We tripped day by day
To visit the new world
For the old did decay...
My soul's flown away -
Left an empty space
I took a view into hell -
But I'm coming home alive

"Master of the Wind" by Manowar:
Fly away to a rainbow in the sky
Gold is at the end for each of us to find.
There the road begins where another one will end,
Here the four winds know who will brake and who will bend
All to be the Master of the wind.
"Mary Jane" by Megadeth:
Forgive me father, for I have sinned
I'm a child of the air, I'm a witch of the wind
Fingers gripped around my brain
No control, my mind is lame
I'm in the astral plane and I'll never be the same
Never, never, never, never, never, never...
"Fly by Night" by Rush:
Fly by night, away from here
Change my life again
Fly by night, goodbye my dear
My ship isn't coming and I just can't pretend
"Backwards Traveler" by Paul McCartney:
I am the backwards traveller
Ancient wool unraveller
Sailing songs, wailing on the moon
"Invisible" by (Ronnie James) Dio:
I can go away
I can leave here
I can be invisible
I go away
"Introduction" by Lunatica:
Infinity: What does it mean to you?
It can signify the point at which you leave reality behind
Or it may just be a mathematical expression to describe the size of our universe
"The Edge of Infinity" by Lunatica:
To the edge of infinity,
An invisible reality
Where the power of thoughts sets me free
On the journey to wonderland
I will hold the key in my own hands

"Into the Light" by Masterplan:

Now we climb up to a place, Where the beauty is everlasting
Our will as unshakable, As the rock beneath our naked feet
I hardly know you, Face to face
On the brink of the grave, I won't persuade you
Like the snowflake we will fly, A dying dance, a silent cry
We're at the peak now, Face to face
On the brink of the grave, Don't turn around now
To Step into the light
"Walking In The Air" has been remade many times, but my favorite is by Nightwish. The Celtic Woman version is good too.
We're walking in the air
We're floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly
"High Above of Me" by Timo Tolkki's Avalon:
Wake up, this is my dream
Just let me sleep
In my loneliness,
High above of me I fly
"Dreamweaver" by Gary Wright.
Fly me high through the starry skies
Maybe to an astral plane
Cross the highways of fantasy
Help me to forget today's pain
Since I'm a metal-head, I can't leave you with a sappy 70s song, so here: This one is progressive death metal, so it's a bit harsh for some people, but the video is fabulous. If you don't like the music, turn the volume down and just watch the video portion: "Astral Body" by Between the Buried and Me:
 Analyze my own matter from above

I created this youtube playlist if you want to hear them all: Click Here.

This obviously is not a complete list; it's just the ones I could remember offhand. There's also a lot I could have included that are slightly less OBE-esque, like "Bound for Infinity" by Renaissance, and "Rider of the Astral Fire" by Luca Turilli, but had to draw the line in the sand somewhere. I'm probably forgetting a bunch of them, but the list is already long, so I'll leave it at that.

If you have OBE-related songs to add to the list, please send me a link.

Bob Peterson
11 September 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: I Have Seen It Tomorrow by Iris Krst

Review: I Have Seen It Tomorrow

by Iris Krst


Today I'm reviewing the book "I Have Seen It Tomorrow" by Iris Krst, which is a pen name. The author is apparently a woman from Slovakia who is fluent in 5 languages.

Like the majority of OBE books, it's a mixture of good and bad.

Although the title doesn't say it, this book is about OBEs. Kind of. Although some of the information comes from Krst herself, it's mostly about her husband John and his OBEs. Unlike most OBE books out there, there are no OBE narratives.
In fact, there are no OBE techniques in the book either. It's mostly just "information" or claims made by John about reality, based on his OBE observations, and relayed to Krst second-hand, and to us third-hand. It's kind of the opposite of Clary G. Valentine's book An Adjacent Place because Valentine wrote about his friend's OBE observations and how closely they matched with reality. Krst's book is about John's OBE observations and how he sees reality, based on his observations. But most of John's observations about reality are "way out there" and unprovable.


Unlike some books that try to describe what the afterlife is like based on OBEs, this is more like John's "Big Toe" (theory of everything). How he thinks the physical Universe works, based on his OBEs.

I'll be the first to admit I'm highly skeptical about any paranormal claims unless I experience them for myself firsthand. So I always look at people's OBE claims with a certain degree of doubt and skepticism, even though I've had many myself. I'm sure reading Susan Blackmore's book Seeing Myself just prior didn't help; if anything, it made me look at things with a more critical eye. Still, I've had so many OBEs myself that I can't dismiss anyone's experiences offhand, no matter how wild.

When someone makes a claim about the "astral plane," or "other worlds," or "the afterlife," or "non-physical existence," I respect that because I've seen it firsthand: Things are different "over there" and I've seen enough to know how different it really is. But when someone starts to make claims about physical reality, we can match that against observations of science, so my skepticism kicks in.

The seeds of my doubt were planted immediately when I found out the first chapter is called "I was fully conscious during my birth." It's a remarkable claim, if true, but it's a pretty wild claim. I believe we're all "conscious" during birth, but our brains and memories aren't organized enough to process the information. It gets even more wild:
"I remember being in my mother's uterus." (pg. 11)
John also claims to remember his past lives too. One thing that bothered me was that Krst writes:
"John has his OBEs fully awake." (pg. 6)
Earlier, she stated:
"It is my understanding that out-of-body experiences that happen when one is fully awake are the highest types of out-of-body experiences which not that many people are able to attain." (pg. 6)
Say what? She goes on to explain that John spends more time out-of-body than he does inside his body. Either John is a very remarkable person, or he has a serious dissociative disorder.

Now granted, a lot of people claim to have OBEs while still able to narrate physically what's happening. Monroe Institute "Focus Level" experiences, for example. But my OBEs are never like that. I can't think of a more confusing state to be in than one where I'm having an OBE and yet still fully awake. To me it makes no sense. In my mind, that would be more like Remote Viewing. More claims about John:
"I have been exploring Mars among other places. There is running water there, which I have discovered a number of years ago." (pg. 12)
Okay, exploring Mars or another planet seems like a good use for OBEs. Ingo Swann did similar things, and made some wild observations that later turned out to be true, but that was under strict laboratory conditions. And again, Swann's "OBEs" were more like Remote Viewing (RV) or Focus Level experiences than true "My body is elsewhere" OBEs.

NASA just admitted (after I got Krst's book) they found evidence of liquid water in a lake on Mars, and that's remarkable. But it's buried beneath a really thick layer of ice, at the South Pole. So what exactly does John mean by "liquid water?" Bear in mind that Mars is a very cold place. A "hot summer day" on Mars may get up to 70F (20C) near the equator, if you're lucky, but at night the temperature plummets to about -100F (-73C). In the summer! Winter is much colder. And the poles are much colder. And the equator (and most of the planet) is desert and rocks. So all the liquid water must have frozen and stayed frozen hundreds of thousands of years ago. Nothing liquid about it. A few hours of 70F isn't going to melt much ice after that kind of cold. I'm from Minnesota, so I know from experience (the coldest I've seen is -76F / -60C) Was John talking about the ice-covered liquid lake on the South pole of Mars? He didn't say. He said liquid water, which isn't going to happen on the surface, as far as I know.

More claims:
"Furthermore, when out of body and returning back to body you go backward in time, so while out of body you are in the future, so to speak, when returning back to body you are returning back to the present." (pg. 18)
That just doesn't make sense to me. Especially since he claims elsewhere (as do a lot of other authors) that time doesn't really exist out-of-body. Here's another quote that didn't make sense:
"Where does the extra power created by the co-vibrational sympathetic resonance come from? The resonant cavity created in the three main cavities of our physical body - the torso, the chest, and head, represents what religion calls trinity or triunion." (pg. 26)
Er, no, I can't even imagine that. The physical body is just a vehicle of expression or consciousness.

John also talks about extraterrestrials, which he calls ITs. That's not unheard of in OBE literature. For example, Darryl Berry talks about them in his book Travel Far (which I loved). But John says things like:
"You have to understand that the ITs do not possess any free will. They are free will themselves." (pg. 29)
What? Krst also writes:
"When I was pregnant with my second child, it is my understanding that different ET factions were fighting over my fetus." (pg. 8)
This, too, seems a bit over the top. More claims that don't make sense to me:
"There are many spots in the ocean which serve as gateways to other dimensions." (pg. 37)
In my mind, "reality" is a homogeneous whole and doesn't need gateways to other dimensions. We can already travel out-of-body, so doesn't that make us all gateways to other dimensions? I don't know. It's just confusing. I found this interesting:
"It seems that John experiences his own future as a non-physical form out of body first. Only after he does, he will experience the same as a physical mass, in reality, in the physical body. Consequently, John lives in two different time horizons and realities. He can easily skip from timeline to timeline and can jump from the present to the future or the past...For him, everything comes from the future. Thus the future affects the present...Energy from the future precedes matter and shapes the present. Effect precedes the cause. The law of cause and effect is seemingly broken." (pg. 40)
Based on my own experiences, I believe we carefully plan our future from the out-of-body state. These later manifest in reality. William Buhlman (and others) also talk about how physical reality is shaped by pre-existing structures and "thought forms" you can witness when out-of-body. So I can see where John might interpret that same concept another way. Either that, or I have the wrong idea. But if energy from the future affects the past and the law of cause and effect are broken, well, I'd have to believe scientists would know about it, or at least theorize about it.

Then again, John almost seems to change his story and doesn't make sense:
"And time itself moves backward, as your consciousness extends into antimatter space. In this space, left is right and right is left, you see objects upside down, and the present is predetermined by the future." (pg. 42)
Antimatter space? Is that like dark matter he's talking about? Okay, I can see where John gets this idea too. I've been in OBEs in which I totally lost my sense of spacial orientation, where the ceiling (or a wall) appeared to be the floor, so yes, everything appeared upside down, or on its side. I can see how he can believe that the present is determined by the future because, as I said, we pre-plan the future in our sleep, so we often see it there first. (See my blog article about Deja Vu for more info). But to me it seemed like John was just confused about what is happening.

But hey, we can scientifically test that, right? Just have John return from a lottery drawing of choice and tell us the winning numbers. It should be easy, given his claims. By the way, that is exactly what OBE author Eddie Slasher tried to do, as described in his book Explorations Out of the Body, with the Georgia Pick 3 lottery. Although he got some interesting results, Slasher failed it every time, and I highly respect him for his honesty, integrity, and candor about the subject. (I've never written a review of Slasher's book). I'm sorry if I sound overly skeptical: Again, I'll blame Susan Blackmore's book for having jaded me just a bit.

Krst also says things like:
"Recently, according to John, a special child was born on Earth whose genetic code holds a special key. It will play an important role in the development of the human race tens of thousands of years in the future. In the future, the special key from the child's genes will be used to produce a child made of a special metal, in a laboratory. John used the word metal because there is no name for the material from which the child will be produced. Metal is the closest word to it." (pg. 45)
What am I to make of this? Well, maybe John's talking about genetic engineering, or human hybridization, or robots, or something...but it's really not OBE related. Again, how can anyone possibly know whether or not this is true?

And that's the main problem I have with this book. It's not really about the OBEs, or about the non-physical world, or astral planes, or the afterlife, or anything like that. It's just a bunch of claims about reality that are impossible to verify. I can't wrap my science-oriented head around most of what John claims. Is that John's limitation or mine? I can't say. But this is the same problem I had with Astral Projection as a Bridge to the Spiritual World by Luiz Roberto Mattos. Mattos' book made claims about the non-physical world that cannot be verified, but Krst's book makes claims about the physical world that cannot be verified. Some of the information was interesting, and fantastic, if true. But it left me with more questions than answers.

On the plus side, the writing is actually pretty good, especially considering Krst is a non-native speaker. As far as grammar and spelling, I only found a few mistakes in the book.

I'll give it two and a half stars. Too much of it didn't make sense to me. I may be an out-of-body experiencer, but I'm still too grounded in science. Or too jaded by Blackmore.

Bob Peterson
21 August 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Test

The Test

by Bob Peterson

For today's blog, I decided to re-publish one of my favorite chapters, 15, from my second book, Lessons Out of the Body. Few people have the book and I think it's out of print. Enjoy. Bear in mind that this was written around the year 2000, so my writing isn't as polished.
---------------------------------------------------------------
What's today's lesson? I asked my inner voice.
Today, wherever you go, imagine that you are
surrounded by angels who help you, guide you and protect you. 
They are really there, you know.

After getting a job and moving back to Minneapolis in October of 1996, I felt like I was back where I belonged. Once again, I resumed my OBE experiments. This time I was more daring. Here is an OBE from May 1999.

Kathy and I were at her mom’s cabin in northern Minnesota. After Kathy got up this morning, I decided to do some OBE stuff. I’ve been reading Sophy Burnham’s book The Ecstatic Journey and it made me want a transcendental God experience. I figured an OBE would be the perfect way to try it. I began to focus on swaying. I went deeper and deeper until I started getting hypnagogic images. One image was of a building, so I started focusing on the image of the building to the exclusion of everything else. As the image became clear, the swaying increased. The buzzing began, and I whooshed up and out of my body.
My first thought/intent was, “I want to experience God, enlightenment, etc.,” but I didn’t know exactly how to do that. My first attempt was an appeal to my oversoul/higher self or to any invisible entities who might be with me, and to God, but nothing happened.

So I started focusing on raising my vibrations, and as I did, I started floating up into the air. It was a beautiful, warm, spring day and the air smelled sweet and fresh. I felt alive, and I kept floating up. My heart filled with joy and love and I felt no restrictions, no limitations, no gravity. There was absolute clarity. I was very conscious, very aware, very alive.

Joyously, I whooshed from one far-away place to the next. With my new found freedom, I whooshed into Minneapolis buildings (75 miles away), through them, and out the other side. I whooshed into residential areas, into people’s houses and right through them. I remember pausing at the top of someone’s wall near a vaulted ceiling. I looked down to see the occupants inside. Then I whooshed on again.

At some point, I stopped and thought, “Too bad the government won’t pay me to do OBE work. I could spy on people, look for drug dealers or what not. I can fly into any home and any building. This is great!”

I whooshed through the side of an apartment building, and down through the hallway. I whooshed downstairs and saw a woman leaving the apartment building through the front door, and I whooshed right past her, passing her on her right side. Then I stopped and stood on the grass outside, looking at the beautiful spring day.

I believe that we are constantly surrounded by angels/astral helpers who are willing to assist us in our spiritual growth, whether we are in or out of the body.  In my OBEs they are almost always invisible. Many times, I’ve felt their gentle hands helping me out of my body after I had induced the proper state. Now I appealed to one of these invisible helpers for a Christ-consciousness experience, but nothing happened. Then suddenly my heart was filled with joy and I rose up into the sky. As I did, I thought about the problems I used to have with flying when I first started having OBEs (described in my first book.) I also wondered why I wasn’t getting a “God” experience. Then I heard a voice say, “First you must fully realize your freedom."

As I continued to rise into the sky, I thought about my “master” experience (see Chapter 4) in which I was taken to a high church steeple and I understood that a major step in my spiritual progress would be to jump from that height with total confidence. That was the freedom the voice spoke about. The freedom from “what ifs” and fear. As long as I held on to my doubts, I wouldn’t be free enough to experience God. I would be tethered by my own self-imposed leash. I needed to let go. I vowed to work on it.

By now, I was several thousand feet in the air and I stopped and let myself drop with total confidence. I whooshed to the ground, flying joyously once more.  There were no doubts or fears. When I landed, I didn’t know where I was. Was it some unfamiliar part of Minneapolis or a different city? I broadcasted a thought to these invisible helpers, “Okay, I want to learn my freedom.”

Just then, an invisible helper gently took hold of my feet. I was pulled backwards by my feet, then lifted tens of thousands of feet into the sky, feet up and head down. Although I was hanging by my feet at least twice as high as the average passenger jet, I wasn’t afraid; I was playful. “Sure. Now you’re going to just drop me, right?” I joked toward the helper. And it did! Head down, I started plunging to the Earth at high speed. Ironically, as I fell from the sky, I remembered an obscure song, “High Speed Dirt,” by the heavy metal band Megadeth:
"Do it if you dare, Leaping from the sky
Hurling thru the air, Exhilarating high
See the Earth below, Soon to make a crater
Blue sky, black death, I'm off to meet my maker!"
There was no fear; I was completely confident.

Then, as I plunged, I wondered if I had been away from my body too long. As I thought of my body, I was refocused there and came to. I didn’t end the OBE out of fear. I had passed the test.
---
Bob Peterson
07 Aug 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

When All Else Fails: A Formula for OBE Success

When All Else Fails: A Formula for OBE Success

by Bob Peterson

Over the years, I’ve noticed a fun and unexpected scenario in which I consistently induce OBEs, even during a slump. I’d like to share it with you on the hope that you can do this too when all else fails. This technique involves the cooperation of friends or family, for reasons that will soon become apparent. Here's what I do:
  1. Throughout the week, I obsess on having an OBE. I ingrain it firmly in my subconscious. I firmly set an intention to have an OBE and reinforce it with affirmations, then stop to remind myself often throughout each day.
  2. On Saturday, I take a break from thinking about OBEs and give my subconscious time off. I go to a friend or relative’s house for a party. It’s upbeat and there’s no stress. I eat a few too many snacks and have a few alcoholic drinks in the early evening (often it’s slowing sipping a glass of white wine, but I usually don’t drink beer), but about 7:00pm (19:00) I quit snacking and switch to water or a can of soda with caffeine.
  3. All evening long I engage in lively conversation. We joke, laugh, and play games late into the night; card games like five hundred, golf (the card game), cribbage, canasta, hand and foot, “oh hell,” or strategy games like Dominion, Puerto Rico, and Tigris and Euphrates. In other words, my brain does overtime interpreting language, and playing games.
  4. I stay up well past my bedtime playing games. I go to bed sometime between midnight and 1:00am instead of my usual 10:30pm (22:30). I make my way to the guest bedroom, which is pitch black due to having no windows, thick curtains, or in the wintertime when it’s extra dark outside.
  5. Since the bed is not my own, I’m just slightly uncomfortable. It’s smaller than my normal bed, so I don’t roll around or move much during the night. Nonetheless, I sleep well.
  6. Sunday morning I may get up to pee, but return to bed. There are no deadlines, so I stay in bed and focus on an OBE. I roll to my back and make my first OBE attempt. I imagine floating inside my body and narrow my consciousness to a single-minded focus. I’m often unsuccessful the first try: I’m too tired. I give up, roll to my side, and allow myself to fall asleep again.
  7. After that sleep cycle, I wake up totally relaxed, content, and refreshed, but I stay in bed. I roll to my back, but otherwise don’t move much. I immediately try again for an OBE, starting with imagined floating and all. Now it’s mid-morning; a couple hours past when I normally get up. On a normal weekday, I’d be up about 5:30am, but now it’s 7:30am or 8:30am.
  8. This time I imagine my entire body is swinging, rushing forward and backward, like I’m sitting up in bed, then lying back, then sitting up again. Either that or I visualize a swinging object or grab a hypnopompic object and take control of it, causing it to swing. As I do this, I simultaneously eliminate all thoughts and narrow my focus as much as possible. I don’t think about anything; I’m totally focused on imagining my body swaying or the object swinging.
  9. After several minutes, the imagined sensations of bowing or swinging my body becomes very real, and I feel weightless. I let the momentum of the motion swing me fully out-of-body, until I’m at least 15 feet (5 meters) away from it. Then I open my (non-physical) eyes. I’m in an OBE and free to go where I want. That’s it.
I’m not sure why this always seems to work for me. Perhaps it’s the unfamiliar bed. Perhaps it’s a combination of overtaxing my brain the night before, then “over-laundering” it in the morning with too much sleep. I suspect it’s the combination of many of the factors I talked about earlier in the book. Regardless, it almost always works for me.

If you’re struggling to achieve an OBE, try this formula and it may work for you too.
Bob Peterson
24 July 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Nightmares, Grizzlys and Marilyn Monroe

Nightmares, Grizzlys and Marilyn Monroe

by Robert Peterson
10 July 2018

When you start exploring OBEs, it's natural to be afraid: afraid of the unknown, afraid of death, of getting lost, possession, monsters, demons and spirits. Your best defense (or, if you're British, defence) is to not be afraid. And the ideal way to do that is to confront your fears directly. The following is is a true story about me confronting my fears. This is a somewhat longer (and lightly edited) version of an article that was published in the Lake Country Journal magazine a few years ago.
* * *
As I drove to Garrison, Minnesota, my wife, Kathy, told me the unusual circumstances. A man had been transporting a bear and stopped at Dairy Queen (DQ) for a quick bite to eat. After lunch, he had driven away, unaware that the bear chewed through its cage, climbed out the window of the trailer, and escaped.

When a woman came out and saw the hungry bear galloping at her, she dropped her food, ran to her car, and called 911. The authorities had soon recaptured it, and the sheriff called the only facility in Minnesota licensed to shelter bears: an animal rehabilitation center called Wild and Free, where Kathy volunteers. “Can you keep a grizzly bear for us a couple days while we track down the owner?”

Deb, the veterinarian who runs the place said, “Sure, but there aren't any grizzly bears in Minnesota. Maybe it's a cinnamon colored black bear.” Later, when she saw the bear, her jaw dropped. “Oh my gosh. It's a grizzly!”

The next day, the authorities located the bear's owner and arranged transport. It had made a mess in the cage, so Deb called volunteers for help, and naturally they called Kathy. Kathy volunteered me!

As we walked toward the building, my mind flooded with bad memories. All my life I'd had nightmares about bears. Night after night they chased me through the woods in my sleep. They got worse in 1986 when my friend Cindy told me how her best friend had been mauled to death in her sleep, unprovoked, by a grizzly at Yellowstone. Now I was about to meet one of these monsters face to face. I asked Kathy “Are you sure about this?” She reassured me. “Deb said it's just a cub, and it's used to people.” I was skeptical. “How old is this so-called cub?” She said, “Ten months.” Great, I grumbled to myself. An adult grizzly weighs 800 pounds. How big is a ten-month old?

I was nervous as we went inside. I remembered a meme on Facebook, a national park sign that read, “Please don't feed the Fears.” I repeated to myself, It's only a cub. It's only a cub.

Inside, we met another volunteer named Marilyn. As we chatted, I heard eerie moans and horrible scratching sounds from one of the rooms. Soon the vet arrived and handed us two bags of apples and a few bunches of grapes. She said, “I need to clean the cage. I'll let the bear out into the hallway. You guys keep it busy until I'm finished.”

“I'll take photos,” I said to Kathy, who took the bag from me, fearless.

I was filled with dread when the vet slid open the heavy steel door, and the bear stepped out into the hallway. It was four feet long, 150 pounds: quite a cub! Its fierce claws were long and sharp. They were also bloody, as if it had just mauled its latest victim. Showing her tender love for animals, Deb the vet said, “The poor thing. It's so desperate to get out, it hurt its paws.” Then she grabbed cleaning supplies and slipped inside the cage, leaving the three of us to entertain the bear.

I was grateful when the grizzly lumbered over to Marilyn first, leaving bloody paw prints as it walked. Timid, the poor woman quickly plucked an apple from her bag and pressed it toward the beast. The huge brown head opened its white fanged mouth and snapped. Marilyn yanked her hand back, dropping the apple. The bear snatched it from the floor and smashed it like a twig with one blow of its crushing jaws. Then it looked up, demanding more. She gave it more apples, but the bear became more insistent, inching ever closer. She tried to back away, but soon the bear was up on its hind legs, nearly climbing up her torso.

When Kathy saw Marilyn's distress, she lured the bear away with an apple. I heard another crunch as the apple exploded with a single bite. Kathy snapped her hand back and counted: All five fingers present and accounted for, but next time she'd be more careful!

Kathy fed the grizzly a couple more apples, but I wanted a photo. I said, "Turn and smile!" She turned and gave me a panic-stricken smile that said, What are you, crazy? You want me to look away while my fingers are inches away from a grizzly bear's mouth?
After a few more apples, Kathy turned to me and said, “Your turn.” She took the camera and left me holding the bag. I pulled a bunch of grapes from the bag and held it toward the bear. It wolfed them down greedily and came back for more.
I reached in and brought out an apple. With a thrust of its head, it brushed the apple aside and it fell to the floor. I tried another: same thing. Its mouth was open, hungry, but now it was tired of apples!
Alarmed, I pushed apples aside until I found my last bunch of grapes, then put it into the grizzly's mouth. It snapped it down, then chased down the grapes that had rolled away. It smacked its lips and came back toward me. Standing on its hind legs again, it put both its blood-soaked front paws on me. Its sharp claws dug into my hand and it seemed to be demanding, in William Buhlman fashion: Grapes. Now!

Kathy saw my distress and yelled into the cage. “How are you doing on that cage, Deb?” Deb's voice echoed from inside. “Almost done.”
The grapes were gone. I grabbed an apple and put it into the bear's mouth. It brushed it aside again. “Guys, I've got a problem. He's tired of apples and I'm out of grapes.” Deb yelled out, “Try dog food.”

The bear and I were locked in an uncomfortable tango as my lifelong nightmares returned. I retreated as he advanced, toothy mouth open. Then I looked in his eyes and it suddenly occurred to me: this is not the face of evil at all. I was dancing with a land-shark, a biological eating machine. And I had lost my only means of control.
Kathy disappeared down the hall. Then, an eternity of seconds later, reappeared with a bowl of dog food. She waved it in front of the bear, who got down and followed her into the cage. Soon Deb and Kathy came out and slid the door shut. My heart was pounding.
Marilyn said, “Can you email me pictures?” Kathy said, “Sure. I don't believe we've met. I'm Kathy Peterson. You said your name was Marilyn. What's your last name?” She said, “Monroe. Like the actress, but my mom named me before all that.”
I looked at Kathy. “I just hand-fed an uncaged grizzly bear with Marilyn Monroe. Do you know how crazy that sounds? Nobody's going to believe that.” She said, “Truth is stranger than fiction. Plus, you have proof,” she said, holding up the camera.
As we left the building and walked to our car, I heard a lonely wail from inside the building and it tore at my heart.

As I drove home, I reflected on what had happened. Somehow, after my surreal dance with the grizzly, my fear had been replaced by love, awe, and pity. I felt sorry for the cub. The poor guy was alone again, caged, condemned a slave for the rest of his life, subjugated to keepers and gawkers when it should be out in the woods. Unlike Deb's other patients, it would never be wild and free. And I had been complicit. I felt ashamed to be a human. Still, I was grateful for the encounter.
Wild and Free is non-profit 501(C)3 organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of sick, injured, and orphaned animals. They rely solely on volunteers and donations. Their website is: http://www.wildandfree.org/
 

12 December 2014

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Seeing Myself

Seeing Myself

by Susan J. Blackmore

Today I'm reviewing the 2017 book Seeing Myself by Susan J. Blackmore.

I've studied the brain and neuroscience as a hobby for many years now, and I have a lot to share. As you may have heard, I've been working on my fifth book, which is almost complete. I don't have a final title, but the subtitle right now is "The Science of OBE Induction." In other words, I use insights gained from science--what we know from neuroscience and the brain--to induce OBEs.

So when Susan Blackmore came out with Seeing Myself with its intriguing subtitle, The new science of out-of-body experiences, I knew I had to buy it and read it before I could finish my book in good conscience. I had to know: What wondrous new scientific insights does she disclose that I hadn't already talked about in my book? Unfortunately, not much. That's both a relief and a disappointment. Relief because I didn't need to revise my book "much" out of ignorance. Disappointment, because I so hoped it would bring me new insight.

Don't get me wrong: Seeing Myself is chock full of excellent scientific information regarding OBEs. It's just that I already knew most of the material.

First, some background.

I've followed the work of Susan Blackmore for many years, and I've read several of her books. I loved her 1982 classic Beyond the Body: An investigation of out-of-the-body experiences (which I've not yet reviewed). I like her approach and I like the way she thinks: like a scientist.

As the story goes, one night in 1970, when she was still in college, Blackmore was with a group of friends. Stressed out and sleep deprived, she decided to smoke some marijuana / cannabis / weed, and she had a very long-lasting and incredibly convincing out-of-body experience. Like many people, it changed her life. Seeing was believing. She embarked on a journey to find out exactly what OBEs are. She decided to become a parapsychologist and dedicated the rest of her life to studying the subject of consciousness. Not just scientifically; she also began meditating and has done that for more than 40 years. She earned her PhD and became a professor. Now she's a distinguished and influential psychologist, parapsychologist, visiting professor at the University of Plymouth, freelance writer, lecturer, and academic. She has rock solid credentials.

Over the years, she's done a lot of research, performed many experiments, written many scientific papers, and...get this: become a hardened skeptic. For decades, she set up randomly chosen targets in her kitchen and tried to get OBErs to identify them. Everyone who tried has failed. (I never tried because I never knew about them.) Finally she quit and gave up, convinced it's all just hallucinations.

She's squared off in radio interviews against professional OBE teachers like Graham Nicholls. But her skeptical beliefs are not unsubstantiated: she's done her homework, and done the research and hard work. Unlike many OBE books, she makes no wild or unsubstantiated claims. She backs up literally everything she says with solid scientific references and research. And she's fair. She gives serious attention to many of the ideas she's skeptical about. She doesn't poo-poo it or pay it lip service. In fact, I'd go so far as to say she knows more about OBEs than almost anyone on the planet, present company included. That's why I love her work and keep buying her books; even the non-OBE related ones.

Besides, skepticism is good. It's healthy. It keeps us from being too gullible and falling for crap that doesn't make sense.

Blackmore spends a fair amount of this book presenting evidence from OBEs that might suggest OBEs are "real" (veridical). She talks about the famous Wilmot case, and shoots holes in it. That's not surprising, since it's from the 1800s. She talks about Charles Tart's experiment with "Miss Z" and shoots holes in it too. She presents a few other cases and shoots holes in them too.

The problem I have is: In my opinion, the book doesn't present (and refute) enough of these claims. She could have given a hundred or more pages of claims, but doesn't. For example, on the "evidence for" side:
  • She talked about Tart's experiments with Robert Monroe, and correctly mentions that he didn't identify the target of the experiment, but she failed to mention that Monroe came back with some pretty convincing veridical evidence of what one of the experimenters was doing. (For more information, read the chapter I wrote in Alexander De Foe's free ebook "Consciousness Beyond the Body").
  • She talked about Eben Alexander's claims, but doesn't even attempt to explain how he could "experience" his NDE without a functioning brain neocortex.
  • She failed to mention Akhena's many veridical OBE claims.
  • She failed to mention Graham Nicholls' many veridical OBE claims.
  • She failed to mention Preston Dennett's veridical OBE claims.
  • She failed to mention the veridical claims in Rodrigo Montenegro's book.
  • She failed to mention my own evidence from my first when my roommate, John ("JT"), perceived my non-physical body during one of my OBEs. 
  • She talked a little bit about evidence from famous psychics like Ingo Swann, Blue Harary, and Alex Tanous, but she didn't give it enough attention, in my opinion.
  • Now, of course, we can add Clary Valentine's book to the growing pile of evidence.
  • The list goes on and on. Everyone who starts having OBEs tries to prove it to him/herself, and writes about it.
She doesn't really even present much of the "evidence against" that supports her position, such as:
  • She didn't talk about Eddie Slasher's failed attempts at verification.
  • She didn't talk about Frederick Aardema's failed attempts at verification either.
I would have thought these last two would especially have fueled her skeptical fire. So if her goal was to refute these claims, I think it fell short.

There's one more thing that bothered me. My previous article was about the recent joint conference of SSE (Society for Scientific Exploration) and IRVA International Remote Viewing Association where numerous presentations were given by serious scientists who are studying things like non-localized consciousness. While it's not directly related to OBEs, Blackmore is a parapsychologist examining the evidence of the non-physical, but she doesn't talk about that evidence at all. For example, she doesn't really say anything about the many Remote Viewing experiments. She doesn't talk about the experiments, meta-analysis and theories of Dean Radin, such as his classic book Entangled Minds. Oh, boy! Now that would be an outstanding new Blackmore book! To me, Radin's evidence for remote perception and remote influence are a lot more convincing than Blackmore's reductionism.

A lot of the book was dedicated to brain science with regard to OBEs. One by one, she goes through the features of typical OBEs and NDEs (Seeing tunnels and bright lights that don't hurt your eyes, life reviews, seeing the room from a different perspective, seeing your own body, silver cords, etc.) and explains how these things can be explained away by what scientists know about the brain. For example, she talks about the way the brain and eyes handle visual data in the V1 area of the visual cortex, and how science can explain the claims of seeing a bright light that doesn't hurt the eyes. She talks about hormones, brain chemicals, and how you can explain the accompanying feelings of euphoria and wonder. She talks about hellish NDEs and how you can explain that too with neuroscience. She talks about experiences of astral bodies, body images, body schema, and how our brains construct a working model of our experience, all with good scientific evidence.

When it comes right down to it: Science can explain just about any OBE feature using what we know about the brain. For example, she points out that science has never found any hard evidence of an "astral body" but it has found ample evidence for a detailed "body schema" inside the brain.

Blackmore's done the research. She's spent her whole life on it, and not short-changed it. So the theme in this book seems to be "I really wanted to believe, but I see no evidence to back up any claims of the non-physical." While at the same time, she argues that all these things can be explained away, given enough science.

I have two counterpoints to that:

First, you can't just discount and dismiss everything without an exhaustive examination of all the evidence. I firmly believe in the principle of the "White Crow": All it takes is one white crow to prove they exist, but no amount of evidence can prove they do not. Maybe she has examined all these cases I just mentioned, but just failed to address them? Even just a mention might have satisfied me.

If you can scientifically demonstrate non-localized transfer of information, such as the countless experiments done on remote viewing, telepathy, clairvoyance, remote healing, etc., then you can't dismiss the existence of a principle that extends beyond the physical body.

Second, I believe (as many scientists do) in Occam's Razor: If there are multiple explanations for something, the simplest is usually the correct one. In the case of OBEs, Blackmore's explanations rely on, in my opinion, a very complicated interaction between dozens of functions of neuroscience and brain function: the culmination of lots of different brain anomalies. To me it seems like a scientific house of cards. And yes, maybe the pieces can be made to fit together in some kind of intricate puzzle, but it's not the simplest explanation. The simple explanation is that "it is what it appears to be," namely, an experience of another level of reality, non-physical existence, or non-local consciousness.

I think one of her goals was to explain away her own dramatic first OBE--the one that resulted from smoking marijuana--in terms of science. But marijuana is a mild hallucinogen (as per Tart's classic book Altered States of Consciousness), so how can you trust your perceptions and experience under the influence? If you see a giant white rabbit while high on a hallucinogen, should you give it any more credence than any other hallucination? If it had happened to me, I'd write it off: regardless of how realistic it may have seemed, the simplest explanation is that it was just a hallucination caused by the drug.

But the glory of OBEs is that they usually happen to normal healthy people of every age, race, color, creed, and gender, as even Blackmore admits in the book (as per Gabbard and Twemlow's classic book With the Eyes of the Mind). Most OBEs do not occur under the influence of a drug. Even if you have an OBE after taking a hallucinogen, it doesn't mean OBEs are hallucinations.

She even spends some time arguing whether or not there may multiple types of OBEs, some of which may be hallucinations and others of which may be "real." In my opinion, she doesn't give serious enough attention to this argument. Especially since I've personally experienced more than one type!

The book is a bit of a downer because Blackmore seems to be saying "I've given up searching for evidence." She tries to put a positive spin on it. There's some amount of relief and acceptance in giving up. It's like the stages of grief. But it's still a downer.

Don't get me wrong. I love Blackmore's work, and I love all her books, including this one. It's very grounding for someone who doesn't know much about brain science. If you're a serious scientific researcher and want to know more about OBEs, this is an excellent place to start.

While this book tries to be the definitive answer on whether OBEs are "real" I think it falls short. In the end, no amount of contrary evidence will convince a true believer to switch sides. Likewise, no amount of veridical evidence from OBEs will convince a hardened skeptic. One thing's for sure: There's not enough evidence for either side to reach a definitive answer. More evidence is needed. Still, the science is great. It's a great summary of what science knows about OBEs.

The writing and editing are professional. I didn't find a single mistake in the book. The scientific references were over-the-top good. I'll give the book 4 stars.

Bob Peterson
26 June 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trip Report: SSE / IRVA Conference 2018

Trip Report: SSE / IRVA Conference 2018

by Bob Peterson

About a month ago, in early May, Kathy and I were in Las Vegas. We had been invited by her parents to stay at their timeshare, and it wasn't too far out of the way for us as we drove home from Arizona.

At one point I was standing in the middle of South Point Casino, waiting for her parents to arrive, and decided to check my Facebook. That's when I found out one of my friends, Nelson Abreu, was planning to attend a conference that looked very interesting: Right up my alley. It was hosted jointly by the SSE (Society for Scientific Exploration) and IRVA (International Remote Viewing Association). So I checked out the invited speakers. When I read that Hal Puthoff would be speaking, I said something like, "Wow" and Kathy asked why. I told her about the conference. She hasn't read many books on parapsychology, so she wasn't familiar with Dr. Puthoff or his work.

Kathy asked, "Where is the conference?" I looked it up. "South Point Casino. The same casino we're standing in right now." She asked, "When is it?" "About a month from now."

When I read further down the conference schedule, I said "Wow, Stanley Krippner is speaking there too!" Then, like a one-two punch, I said "Oh my God, Janet Mitchell is going to be there too!"

For those of you who don't know, Dr. Mitchell is a pioneer of the scientific study of psi phenomena, including OBEs. She's done scientific laboratory work on famous OBErs like the late great Ingo Swann. Her classic OBE book, "Out of Body Experiences: How science is helping us to understand the experience of living beyond the body" was one of the first OBE books I read (along with Monroe's), that wasn't occult in its approach. It made a big impact on my life because it immediately appealed to my logical/scientific mind. Back in the early 1980s, when I was first learning to do OBEs, I couldn't find a copy of her book, so I had written to her publisher. Many weeks later, I received a copy, signed by Dr. Mitchell herself. Her inscription read:
"To Bob Peterson, Realize your potential; express your abilities. Thanks for your support. Dr. Mitchell."
I was beyond thrilled. The only thing that ever came close again is when I found out that Charles Tart (Yes, THE Charles Tart) had written the introduction to my (first) book. I just about died. But I digress...

Kathy said, "I think we should go!" So we purchased a week from her mom and dad's timeshare for June, and went to the conference. It was outstanding. I just returned from Las Vegas yesterday, and I wanted to give my report.

The conference started on Wednesday June 6 and ran through Sunday, June 10, 2018.

I had just finished reading Susan Blackmore's latest book, "Seeing Myself: The New Science of OOBES" and I was a bit disheartened by her skepticism (I'll publish a book report on that in my next blog article). Blackmore was trying to explain away all OBE phenomena as strange anomalies of the physical brain. But suddenly I found myself at this conference, surrounded by nearly 400 engaged people, most of whom are dedicated scientists, and they're discussing OBEs, Remote Viewing, UFOs, Remote Healing and such like it's a given. For me it was like the Universe countered Blackmore's negativity with a huge 100X positive response. I've never before been in a room with such a large group of scientists and authors who are rationally discussing things like Chakras, Qi, and Remote Viewing. Not just discussing, but presenting scientific papers, data and statistics, methodologies, and analysis to back up their claims. Just unbelievable.

As you can imagine, many of the talks were related to remote viewing, but several others stand out in my mind. I didn't record any of this, so forgive me if I screw up some of the minor details:
  1. Gail Husick gave a presentation about a set of twin boys who had severe autism. What was shocking is the suspected (but unproven) link between dairy milk and autism. It turns out that today's dairy milk contains enormous amounts of female hormones like estrogen, and that may be confusing boys' physical bodies when they're developing. Some of this information was received through remote perception, but Gail's talk was mostly about how we can use tools like RV to gain insights like this.
  2. Hal Puthoff's talk was about how the United States Government kept researching UFOs long after the official termination of Project Blue Book. They didn't shutter the doors; they just went underground. In the name of national security, of course: "Are UFOs or their advanced technology a potential threat?" And of course, the Federal Government can't be publicly seen as dabbling in such things, so they funded private companies to do a lot of the work, which Puthoff has been deeply involved in. Lots of information has recently been declassified, and will be published soon. But some of the stuff already brought to light even in the past year is pretty amazing. Puthoff presented new evidence during his talk.
  3. Nelson Abreu's talk was about using biological sensors to quantify biofield strength. He measured the decay/decline of white carnation flowers to measure the effects of energy techniques. This is fascinating stuff, and very straightforward. He also showed some slides of brain waves during the "Vibrational State". He's apparently involved in a new company called I-ACT which apparently has ties to Nanci Trivellato, Wagner Alegretti and others from the IAC (International Academy of Consciousness) as well.
  4. Sean McNamera and a couple other people talked about psychokinesis (PK) both micro-effects (e.g. changing the values of true random number generators) and macro-effects (e.g. moving physical objects) with your mind. He had videos of PK that were awesome. I wanted to buy his book, because it's 100% teachable, but unfortunately, they didn't have any of his books to sell. I guess I'll go to amazon.
  5. Probably the most fascinating talk was given by SSE President Bill Bengston. He talked about laboratory experiments on healing mice of cancer. It turns out that when you inject a mouse with a certain type of cancer, they get cancer and die around 122 days, give or take 2 days. This is very reliable, predictable, and well documented. But Bengston and his team invented a very teachable technique of remote healing, and when applied, the mice are literally cured of the cancer, even quite late in the stages. This is all very well documented and done scientifically. Not only that, but the cure is permanent: If the healed mouse is injected with the same cancer again years later, they successfully fight it off. We're talking 100% success rate. The healing ability can be transferred to other mice too. Not only that, but they can actually "store" the healing intention and transfer it to a mouse remotely with objects, for example, a piece of cotton. This is really amazing stuff.
  6. And, of course, Dr. Janet Mitchell covered her long career of research with people like Alex Tanous, "Blue" Harary, and Ingo Swann. If you've never heard of Ingo Swann, look him up. Besides his OBEs, he had some amazing abilities, such as being able to heat up or cool down a thermistor (electric thermometer component) in a sealed and electromagnetically shielded chamber, from kilometers away.

Before the conference, I had posted a photo of Dr. Mitchell's inscription on my Facebook page, and author Graham Nicholls posted this:
"If you see her please give my regards, that book changed my life. I would love to connect with her actually."
I relayed Graham's message as well as my own thanks for her long and amazing career. After her talk, Kathy took the above photo of Nelson Abreu (left), Dr. Janet Mitchell (center) and me (right). Looks like I'm in heaven, right?

I enjoyed everyone's talks and, with few exceptions, was never bored, despite the highly technical scientific data.

Amazingly, probably half the talks referenced Ingo Swann. Several mentioned the work of another one of my heroes, Dean Radin. Several mentioned The Monroe Institute and their work. Several of the talks mentioned OBEs in general. Oh, and I met several people who actually read my blog! Now my head is spinning in so many directions. I want to go out and research so many of these findings. But where can I find the time?

Unfortunately, the conference was expensive. The airfare was expensive. The room was expensive (although much cheaper than a hotel). Membership to the SSE was expensive. The conference itself was expensive. But man, it was worth it. I definitely want to go back next year.

Bob Peterson
12 June 2018