The Projection of the Astral Body
by Sylvan Muldoon
Bob Peterson, 2012 Nov 14
A few days ago, I finished re-reading one of the great classics of out-of-body experience literature: "The Projection of the Astral Body" by Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington. It's been about 30 years since I first read it, so I thought it was time to revisit the book, and I hope you do too.
The book was first published in 1929. At that time, information about OBEs (or astral projection as it was known) was scarce. The phenomenon was known in both psychology and occult circles, but very few had really studied it before. It was usually treated lightly, and that's because nobody knew much about it.
It wasn't just the spiritualists and spiritists who started teaching and making claims about OBEs at that time. There was also a wave of occultists who took their beliefs from much older teachings, morphed them and called them their own. The prime example of this was the Theosophists like A.E. Powell and C.W. Leadbeater.
Along side all these believers came the skeptics to dispute their claims. And to try to settle the disputes were waves of parapsychologists to study the claims.
As a result of all this chaos, there was scant information circulated about out-of-body experience, but it was mostly unreliable. For example, some people claimed OBEs were more likely when you were healthy while others said they were more likely when you were sick. And because the subject was non-physical by its very nature, it was nearly impossible to separate facts from rumor, superstition or outright fiction.
Most of the information was lore passed down from ages past. "It must be true because my teacher told me so, and his teacher told him, and on and on." Amidst all this rampant conjecture came a voice of reason: Sylvan Muldoon.
Muldoon was a boy of twelve when he had his first OBE. You might say he was born with a natural ability, which gave him the opportunity to study it his whole life.
Like a scientist, he wasn't content to take somebody's word on it. He induced hundreds of OBEs and learned about them from his own first-hand experience.
He also studied what others wrote about the topic. One day he read an article about OBEs by prominent parapsychologist and author Hereward Carrington. The article talked about an OBE author, a Frenchman named M. Lancelin and his experiences. Bordering on outrage, Muldoon wrote a letter to Carrington telling him he (Muldoon) "...can write a book on the things that Lancelin does not know!...I have been wondering whether M. Lancelin is in fact a conscious projector. From what you have given, I have concluded either that Lancelin does not project at all, or that his subjects are not in the clear conscious state while exteriorized". Translation: "This guy (Lancelin) doesn't know what the hell he's talking about."
Intrigued, Carrington called Muldoon's bluff and tasked him with writing a book on the subject. Armed with his vast experience, Muldoon laid it all on the line: what worked, what didn't and what he actually found during his OBEs. And with Carrington's help, the book was born.
In my opinion, some of Muldoon's most important observations were as follows: (1) That the most important key to leaving the body is motivating your subconscious mind to do so, (2) the subject of "cord activity range": If you're too near the physical body, you will have no end of problems; getting stuck, getting sucked back in, being encumbered. The lesson: Once you're in the out-of-body state, the most important thing to do is immediately get at least 15 feet (5 meters) away from the body. Only then will you have true freedom to think and act independently, without encountering lots of problems.
I didn't realize how much of an impact Muldoon had on my own development. My first book, "Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect" is philosophically very similar to Muldoon's. Like Muldoon, I felt the need to dispel some of the misinformation and tell people what I had learned through personal experience. And like Muldoon, I've spent my whole life trying to study the OBE and pass that on to others. I owe him (as well as Robert Monroe) a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.
If I had had a daughter, I would probably have named her Sylvia. If I had had a son, maybe Sylvan, but that would be harder to get past Kathy. We never had kids, so I guess it's a moot point.
Robert Peterson, 14 Nov 2012