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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review: Behind the Veil by Daniel Kelley

Behind the Veil

by  Daniel Kelley

Today I'm reviewing the book Behind the Veil: The Complete Guide to Conscious Sleep by Daniel Kelley. The author, Daniel Kelley, was kind enough to send me a copy of his book a couple months ago, and it's a good one. I put a lot of flags in the book, and that's a very good sign. The information is based on Kelley's twenty years of experience, so apparently he has good credentials.

Think of this book as the other side of the coin of my previous review. An Adjacent Place was all narratives and no techniques, whereas this one is all techniques and no narratives to speak of.

Kelley's goal is to teach you become a competent "Veiler." In other words, someone who lives life behind the veil. The theory is sound: most people spend 8 hours a day sleeping, so a third of their life is wasted. A true "Veiler" tries to squeeze 24 hours of consciousness, taking advantage of all stages of sleep.

So in one sense, this book isn't about Astral Projection or out-of-body experiences. It's about attaining conscious sleep. But it's a slow progression, and the ultimate result at the end is, in fact, astral projection.

The book is very systematic. It suggests a 120-day curriculum in which you learn new techniques every week, then put them into practice. Every week you become more proficient, and every lesson builds on the previous. So in that sense, the material is very well organized, concise, instructive, and even somewhat entertaining. Though I'm overly simplifying things, the progression goes something like this:
  • Learn about dreams and the different dream types.
  • Start keeping a dream journal.
  • Develop internal energy (Chi / Qi) to fuel awareness.
  • Make your dreams more vivid.
  • Develop lucidity and make your dreams lucid.
  • Develop conscious awareness during nREM sleep.
  • Progress from lucid dreaming to astral projection.
  • Progress from astral projection to astral travel.

Some of Kelley's techniques are fairly innovative and some are more traditional, but re-branded with a new name (or possibly an older name I'm not familiar with). It's almost like a movie with lots of twists and turns: It's very easy to miss things that are vitally important. For that reason, I actually recommend you read this book twice. The first time will give you a basic understanding, but you might get more benefit from the second reading where things may just "click" and make more sense.

Kelley won my heart right away. Early on, he states that he began practicing Tai Chi, and leaned toward Taoism, like I did in the early 1980s when I started having OBEs. I can't remember any other book in the genre that touts the virtues of Tai Chi. (Graham Nicholls teaches the "Push Hands" technique, and Robert Bruce teaches Taoist Chi / Qi circulation, so they're close).

Unlike most books in the genre, Kelley insists that not everyone is suited to be a Veiler. Like learning to play piano or any other skill, you can learn and practice the motions and techniques and make some accomplishments, but it really helps to have some level of built-in skill.

Throughout the book, he makes some very insightful observations. For example, he compares our consciousness to the weather. He writes:
"...the mind and it's [sic] objects are like the weather, whereas our overall consciousness is like the sky in which the changing weather occurs. The problem is that we tend to identify with the changing weather and forget that we're the unchanged sky." (pg. XX).
Kelley has obviously done a lot of research on consciousness, and presents a good amount of science regarding sleep. He talks about the details of brain waves, brain hormones, sleep cycles, and neuroplasticity: The ability of the brain to rewire itself. Kelley says:
"The take-home message is this: Unless you rewire yourself to make it happen, you won't succeed." (pg. XX)

He admits upfront that:
"Many of the methods offered here are pulled directly from the Taoist, Yogic, Tibetan, and Tantric traditions I've personally used in my own quest." (pg. XX)
He talks about Taoist meditation, embryonic breathing, Chi/Qi circulation; the same "microcosmic" and "grand circulation" orbits I learned in Tai Chi as an energy building exercise. He doesn't teach Tai Chi or Qi Gong per se, but he teaches the energy systems they use, and he goes into good detail about them.

He doesn't call out the WBTB (Wake Back To Bed) but he suggests a similar thing: wake up and practice at 4:00am.

He also stresses that:
"It's your consistent and firm intention to step behind the Veil that unlocks the mysteries behind it!" (pg. XX)
"When trying to grasp the Trance state it helps to know that intention isn't the same thing as effort. An intention carries it's [sic] own energy and that energy has a movement all its own. Effort, on the other hand, is a form of tension.  Obviously, there's a place where effort is needed, but when it comes to the attaining of Trance, manipulating Qi, or going Astral, it only gets in the way." (pg. XX)
Kelley has some very unique ideas that are not found in other books in the genre. Here a some examples of unique ideas from this book:
  • He says the ideal position is keeping the upper body at a 45-degree angle, much like a hospital bed. Too often, we're pre-programmed to fall asleep whenever we're lying down, so this helps to retain consciousness.
  • Unlike other books in the genre, Kelley talks about the different veils. He says lucid dreaming is related to the "Veil of Dreams" whereas the veil related to astral projection is "The Veil of Ghosts." Cool name, but unfortunately he doesn't go into much detail about these labels.
  • I have my own theory about the four OBE states, but Kelley sees awareness mostly as a progression of states. For example, he says the Physical has more in common with the Etheric, and the Dream has more in common with the astral.
  • He recommends you completely ignore exit-symptoms. He says to pay no attention whatsoever to the vibrations, voices, or visions.
  • He talks about "The Psychic Mote" which is a psychological wall that forms between the part of us that perceives subtle-realm experiences and the part that interprets those perceptions.
  • He talks about how many people have simple blockages or bad habits that keep them from OBEs, such as drinking too much coffee, consuming too much alcohol, or eating too close to bedtime.
  • He talks about neurotropic supplements like Huperzine, L-Theanine, etc.: a subject sorely lacking in most OBE books.
  • He introduces an exercise called "Channeling Intensity" which is kind of like intensifying your awareness, feelings and raw emotions, so that you feel everything more deeply.
  • Sharpening your imagination, trying to create a sense of realism. For example, don't just imagine a scene. Imagine you're staring into the scene.
  • Working on intensifying your imagination one sense at a time: focusing on sight one time, sound another time, touch another time, etc.
  • He talks about three different levels of lucid dreaming, LD-1, LD-2, LD-3.
  • He talks about four different levels of pellucid dreaming: PD-1 thru 4.
  • He talks about training the dissociative reflex.
Another thing that won my heart: In Week 6, he gives a technique that's basically the same as my technique of manipulating hypnagogic images.

Another thing I liked: In my first book, I described childhood experiences in which my consciousness would shrink to an incredibly small size, which terrified me: I remember watching a single grain of salt tower over me. Kelley described a similar thing:
"The image of a huge boulder rolling over a toothpick comes to mind, but that's not quite it. It's as if your very soul is rapidly shrinking to the point where at any moment it'll be extinguished. In its place grows a terrifying feeling of fear and amnesia followed by blackouts and a pervasive sense of danger." (pg. XXX).

The book is fairly big. I can't tell you exactly how many pages because--and this is the book's only shortcoming--it has no page numbers! But bear in mind I got a pre-release copy; the book has since been professionally edited. So I expect that to have changed. The book is about a half-inch (1.25 cm) thick, but wider and taller than most books. The footprint is about the same as Nanci Trivellato's book, but not as thick. So there's a good amount of content.

The writing is very good. Mature. The grammar, spelling and organization are almost professional quality. Only a few cases of "its" versus "it's" that should hopefully be fixed in the final version. Kelley obviously took a lot of time and care with this book.

I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. It's a great book, very innovative, and well worth the money.

Bob Peterson
29 May 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Robert Monroe’s “Lines of Force” Technique

Robert Monroe’s “Lines of Force” Technique

by Bob Peterson

If you've been following my Facebook posts, you may have heard that I've been working hard on my fifth book. I'm about 97 percent done now, and hope to wrap it up and send it to my publisher this summer. (Don't be surprised if it takes another two years after that to be published). I don't have a tentative title, but the entire book is all OBE induction techniques. In this blog article, I'm giving you chapter 3: my interpretation of Robert Monroe's "Lines of Force" technique.

It was the very first OBE technique I ever learned, from his book, "Journeys Out of the Body." I didn't know what I was doing, so I just did what I thought he meant. He didn't provide a diagram in the book, so I plan to include diagrams in mine (unless they're cut by the editor). I'm not trying to paraphrase Monroe; I'm simply describing what I did.

Bob Peterson
15 May 2018

Chapter 3

In his first book, Journeys Out of the Body, author Robert Monroe gave an OBE induction procedure: his “Lines of Force” technique. It’s the first OBE induction technique I ever tried, and much to my surprise, I got immediate results. I don’t know if I interpreted Monroe’s instructions correctly (by all means, read it yourself), but I followed this procedure:
  1. Go to bed early, so you’re not tired.
  2. Lie down, face up, arms at your side or resting on your hips, with your eyes closed.
  3. Relax your body completely. If possible, relax to the point where you cannot feel your body.
  4. Allow yourself to drift down close to the boundary between waking and sleeping.
  5. Try to hold your mind as blank (empty—devoid of thoughts and emotions) as you can.
  6. Visualize two lines of force positioned slightly away from both temples (just outside your ears), that cross three feet (one meter) directly in front of your face, at eye level. (Fig. 1) Hold that steady for about 10 seconds.
    Fig. 1 – Lines of force cross at 3 feet (1m)
  7. Imagine the lines want to pull away from one another, so it requires force to keep them crossed.
  8. Once you visualize that clearly, extend the lines out so their crossing point is 6 feet (2 meters) in front of you. Since the intersection is farther out, they make a sharper angle. Imagine more force is needed to keep them crossed. Make sure to keep your body relaxed. Hold that for another 10 seconds. (Fig. 2)
    Fig. 2 – Lines of force cross at 6 feet (2m)
  9. When you can visualize that clearly in front of you, extend the lines from 6 feet to 9 feet (3 meters). Again, the force increases. Hold that for ten seconds too. (Fig. 3)
Fig. 3 – Lines of force cross at 9 feet (3m)
  1. At this point, visualize that the lines are simultaneously pulled away from your temples until they cross at a 90 degree angle. They still cross 9 feet (3 meters) in front of your eyes. (Fig. 4) Hold that for ten seconds.
    Fig. 4 – Lines of force cross at 90 degree angle
  1. Now visualize the lines are pushed out even further, but at the same time, draw them back over your head. In other words, they’re no longer in front of your eyes, but crowning the top of your head. If you don’t get any reaction, keep pushing them out farther away from your head, while still maintaining a 90 degree angle. (Fig. 5)
Fig. 5 – Lines of force are above your head
When I got to this point, I had been at it a long time and was just about to give up. Then I felt a heavy “twang” or “zap” in my head. It was an unusual sensation I’d never felt before. I suddenly became very alert, and it felt as if the lines of force had somehow become real and touched an electrical power line. To quote my first book:
“I thought, ‘Oops. Maybe this isn't such a good idea.’ I tried to pull myself back to normal consciousness by retracting my imaginary lines of force. I quickly pulled the lines of force back toward me, but much to my surprise, the ‘electricity’ I felt at the end of those lines was also being pulled toward me...A kind of electrical ‘vibration’ violently swept into my body, filling my body with an electric-like shock and a terrible roaring noise. I thought I was being electrocuted and my first reaction was sheer panic. I could hear my heart beating wildly in mad fear, but I was powerless to control it.
Somehow I could see through my closed eyelids. I looked up and I saw a blue ring of electrical fire flying right toward my head. It was about a foot in diameter, with the energy sparks about an inch-and-a-half thick, and it was bright blue. I instinctively tried to raise my arms to protect myself from the impact, but I found myself paralyzed and unable to move my arms. The ring of blue energy started to slip over my forehead and I looked away, afraid to see what would happen next. I started fighting wildly to regain control of my body and the ‘vibrations’ slowly smoothed down and died out. When the vibrations faded completely, I could move my body again.”
In other words, I panicked. I chickened out and aborted the experience. I did the exact opposite of what I should have done. What should I have done when the vibrations hit? That’s the subject of chapter 4.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: An Adjacent Place by Clary G. Valentine

An Adjacent Place

by Clary G. Valentine

Today I'm reviewing the book An Adjacent Place by Clary G. Valentine.

I received a copy of this book from the author way back in July of 2017, but I never found time to read it until now. (I'm still working through my backlog!)
I love love love this book! I'm getting goosebumps just writing about it.

At the end of March, I reviewed a book called Astral Projection as a Bridge to the Spiritual World, and at the time I complained that the title was misleading: I had hoped for a book that used out-of-body experiences to visit the spirit world and bringing back information. Well, An Adjacent Place, gave me all that, and much more.

Why is the book titled "An Adjacent Place"? Many OBE authors talk about the "Real Time Zone" or the "Shadow World" or something similar; a place that's almost like Earth, but not quite. Many of the experiences in the book seem to have taken place there.

Just to make it clear: There are really no OBE tips or techniques in this book. It's pretty much autobiographical, all narratives, and supposedly all true. To protect their identities, the author changed the names of everyone in the book, including his own: He's writing under a pen name.

At the start of the book, it's February, 2014. The author, Mr. Valentine, is a Englishman living in the Philippines and he learns that his good friend, a Filipino woman whom he calls April has started to have "clear dreams." He's not sure at the time whether these are lucid dreams, out-of-body experiences, or something else, but they seem to be incredibly vivid to her. These experiences are preceded by a rushing energy sensation that starts are her feet and sweeps through her whole body. 

Valentine seems to be fairly skeptical (or sceptical, if you're British) and level-headed about April's experiences, but he takes them seriously and documents them. And he's smart enough to ask for lots of details from April.

April is a simple woman with a very basic education, a charming innocence, an almost photographic (or near-eidetic) memory, and above average artistic talent. So she's not only able to describe her experiences in vivid detail; she can actually draw them with reasonable accuracy.

Early in the book, April is taken out of her body and meets an old woman who introduces herself as Clarissa. Clarissa explains that she is April's maternal grandmother. April never knew her grandmother because her mother had a major rift or falling-out and they had become estranged. Naturally, April calls her mother and asks her grandma's name, what she looked like, etc. She's surprised to learn her grandmother's name was Clarissa, and looked exactly as her mother described. Hm. That's an interesting coincidence, right?

Soon, April is having "clear dreams" almost every night, and usually her grandma, Clarissa, is there to greet her and take her on out-of-body journeys. She introduces April to several more of her relatives she had never known. Her maternal grandfather, Ben. Her great aunt, Merissa. Merissa's elder daughter, Mely, and many others. She learns from her mother that these were also all real people who had passed on. Valentine figures that April must be dredging all this information up from her subconscious: things she had heard from her mother as a child.

Clarissa takes April on OBEs around the world to places she's never visited, like Clarissa's home town of Iloilo. They visit various homes, churches and landmarks and meet various people along the way. At Valentine's suggestion, April comes back with specific names, dates, and addresses. He's then able to verify that yes, these places do exist (or once existed), and these people were real people. What's more, April spends an hour or two drawing a church or landmark in great detail (the book's cover is one) and Valentine verifies the accuracy. Valentine takes more precautions, like checking web browser history and such, but apparently there's been no cheating.

Often, April doesn't know where she's going, and can't really pronounce the names of these places, so she gets Clarissa to spell them out. For example, they visit the town of Dyrehavsbakken, a place neither of them had heard of. Valentine is shocked to find out it's the name of a real place, and all the details of April's visit seem to match.

In one case, April thinks she's in the Philippines near an active volcano. She asks Clarissa to spell out the name of the place, and Clarissa spells out "G-U-A-T-E-M-A-L-A". It turns out they are near the Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala! Valentine has no idea where April is getting this information, but he starts to take more precautions to make sure she's not using her cell phone to look things up in the middle of the night.

Valentine decides to ask April to do some experiments and she agrees, just for the fun of it. He asks April to determine something neither of them knew: the name of Pluto's moon. He fully expects her to fail, but in the morning, he finds she had sprawled two things on her note pad in the middle of the night: "Charon 1978". He looked it up on the Internet and found out one of Pluto's moons is named Charon. It turns out 1978 was the year of its discovery! This is getting so good it's absurd. Okay, maybe she had heard it once and buried it in her subconscious.

He tasks her to find out the moons of Jupiter, and she comes up with the four largest moons: Europa, Io, Callisto, and Ganymede!

Soon she's visiting strange buildings in strange countries and coming back with very specific information, and in many cases, she makes detailed drawings. And Valentine finds out that, as far as he can tell, it's all factual. For example, in an OBE, she's taken to a building in some city neither of them know. She's introduced to a man who gives her many details about his life: his full name, the year he was born, the year he died, his wife's name, his children's names, etc., and it all ends up checking out. Then she sits down and draws an amazingly accurate rendition of the building from memory.

In many cases, Valentine thinks the information she gets is wrong, but further research later proves it's not. For example, she visits a royal palace in England, and does a beautiful drawing. Since it doesn't match any of the royal palaces Valentine knew, he thinks it's incorrect. But further research proves it to be an actual royal palace after all.

She visits royalty, talks to servants, and gets loads of stunning details, all verified.

This book is not some strange man making fantastic claims about his astral escapades, and their significance, from a position of superiority. He's not pushing an agenda nor selling anything. This is a level-headed ordinary guy who's absolutely incredulous and dumbfounded at what's happening to his dear friend.

The book kept me fascinated and I found it very hard to put down. Almost every page I thought to myself, "Wow, this is fantastic!" and it just kept getting better til the end. Several times throughout the book, I got chills up my spine.

The book is very well written. Valentine's writing style is very British, which means it's prim, and proper, and yet very approachable. Every sentence is well thought out and expertly crafted.

The book is 240 pages, with a smallish font and slim margins, which means there's a satisfying amount of content. I found only two small mistakes in the book, so the editing was professional quality.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it 4 1/2 stars.

Valentine tells me April has been having experiences since the book was published, and he now has enough material to write a sequel. I can't wait.

Bob Peterson
24 April 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: The Secret Life of an Astral Traveler

The Secret Life of an Astral Traveler

by Luna Star Van Atta

First of all, I want to give a big shout out to Grace Osora Erhart and Dale Ann Litalien, who led an awesome workshop Kathy and I attended last Saturday on drumming and active dreaming in the style of author Robert Moss. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was cool to actually meet someone who reads my blog! <3

Today I'm reviewing the book The Secret Life of an Astral Traveler by Luna Star Van Atta.

A few weeks ago, Kathy and I were driving through Sedona, Arizona, a haven for New Age people. As I drove past a shop called Sacred Light, I got the urge to go in. I turned around, drove back to their parking lot and went in.

Inside the shop, I noticed a sign that talked about an Astral Projection class! I thought, "Isn't it wonderful how the Universe always guides us to where we're supposed to be?"

I asked the woman behind the counter about it. She said, "The class is still going on. It should be almost over by now. If you want, you can just wait a while until the class is over."

Wait, I thought, the class is almost over? Maybe the Universe steered me in here too late after all. I said, "Crap! I wish I had known about this class; I would have signed up. Where do you find out about these things? I checked Kudos and meetup.com and never saw it." I never did get a good answer.

After Kathy and I waited in the store, looking at crystals and such, the cashier looked at her watch and said, "The class is probably over now, so you can go back and talk to Luna. But be careful not to interrupt the class if it's still going on."

We proceeded down the long hallway. When we got to the classroom in the back, the class had ended and the students were hugging and saying goodbyes. I introduced myself to the class instructor, Luna Star Van Atta, and gave her my business card. I explained that I had a blog about astral projection and did out-of-body experience book reviews, had done more than 70 of them, and if she gave me a copy of her book, I'd review hers too. She was happy to do it.

As we drove away, I wondered: Who is Luna Star Van Atta and why haven't I heard about her before? Why has her book escaped my attention? Still, the book is pretty new--copyright 2016--so I cut myself some slack.

The book opens with a bang: Chapter 1 is the very emotional, touching, and well written story about the death of the author's husband and soulmate, Michael Van Atta, from cancer. Then the book rewinds back to an earlier time.

Chapter 2 tells the story of Van Atta's near-death experience (NDE) and how it opened her up as a psychic and healer. It also inspired her to try to seek more out-of-body experiences, to try to reconnect to Source/God/Whatever label you want to give it. First she turned to J.H. Brennan's Astral Projection Workbook, then to other sources.

Finally she takes a class on remote viewing (RV) where she meets the RV teacher, Michael Van Atta, a student of David Morehouse. She states:
"Although he was teaching Remote Viewing, which is a military application of astral travel, he did not focus on the rigid military protocols." (pg. 36)
From then on she seems to treat OBEs as a form of remove viewing. I disagree. I wrote about this in other places, such as my review of the book Out-of-Body Workbook: The Ultimate 5-Step Guide to the Astral Projection Experience by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler. When I'm in an OBE, my physical body is just another inanimate object in the room. With remote viewing, I'm completely in control of my physical body. A bit further on, she says basically the same thing:
"Remote Viewing is basically a military term for a type of astral travel." (pg. 88)
On the next page she writes:
 "Morehouse defines Remote Viewing as: 'The learned ability to transcend space and time, to view persons, places or things remove in space-time; to gather and report information on the same." (pg. 89)
"There are only small differences between Remote Viewing and astral travel as far as I am concerned." (pg. 89)
I guess I shouldn't be so black and white. After all, it's all a matter of how much conscious awareness you place "there" versus "here" right? It's variable.

After a few more chapters it dawned on me: What Van Atta is describing are basically "Focus Level" experiences like the Monroe Institute teaches, but she's calling it astral projection.

At the RV class, Michael and Luna hit it off right away. There's just one small problem: Both she and Michael were married to other people. Ooops!

Luna finds out that she's actually pretty good at Remote Viewing, and so is Michael. So they basically start seeing each other--a love affair--in an agreed-upon location they designed in the astral plane!

Were they just fantasizing about each other? Maybe, but in many cases, they corroborated each other's stories of what they saw and what happened.

Eventually, after a lot of time passes, they divorce their respective spouses and marry each other. Then the real adventure begins.

That leads to some lively tales of psychic marriage, true intimacy, relationship building, astral romance, astral sex, remote healing, mediumship, and even using remote viewing to help the police solve murders and other crimes. (It helps when you get information directly from dead murder victims.)

Though the book is anchored in New Age philosophy,  there's a certain reverence, acknowledgment, and head-nods to God throughout.

There are no tips or techniques for achieving out-of-body experiences, or even remote viewing, so it's mostly just narratives. But the stories are good.

The book is average size, 199 pages, and decent font, so you won't feel short changed on content. The writing is very good, and I found very few typos and grammar issues.

I'm giving this book 3 stars out of 5. The book is entertaining and the stories are amusing, although the lines are too blurred between astral projection and remote viewing for my taste (but I'm a stickler for such things.)

Bob Peterson
10 April 2018

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