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)
However:
"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

Click here to return to the index



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review: Astral Projection as a Bridge to the Spiriual World

Review:

Astral Projection as a Bridge to the Spiritual World

by Luiz Roberto Mattos

Today I'm reviewing the book Astral Projection as a Bridge to the Spiritual World by Luiz Roberto Mattos.

I received a copy of this book from a Facebook friend who thought I might like it. I'm going to be honest with you: I was disappointed. With a title like that, it had so much potential, but unfortunately, it didn't live up to it.

The premise is good: the author uses astral projection to visit the spirit world where there are unlimited opportunities to learn. On the back cover it says "This book is an autobiography..." so I expected some good OBE narratives.

It tells the story of how the author, Luis Roberto Mattos (nickname Beto) grew up in South America. He was influenced by the Spiritist religion (as in Allan Kardec), and studied metaphysics, yogic meditation, Rosicrucianism, and many spiritual traditions. Then he became interested in astral projection. He gave up eating meat, opting for very light evening meals. He gave up all his bad habits, alcohol, etc., and took up a spiritual life. Then he quit school to pursue his spiritual adventures full-time.

He meets a spiritual master named Sana Khan on the astral plane, who begins to teach him spiritual lessons. Unfortunately, the book quickly devolves into only that: the teachings of Sana Khan. Sana Khan teaches Beto lots of lessons about birth, life, sex, death, the afterlife, reincarnation, and how spirits interfere and influence the living. In a way it reminded me a lot of the movie Astral City, but from the perspective of someone who is still in-the-body.


For the most part, it's all pretty standard New Age teachings. Well, except for one or two things that contradict modern science. For example:
"There are four hundred million stars in the Milky Way, master," I said with some astonishment, demonstrating my awe at the immensity of our structure." (pg. 156)
According to google, there are 250 Billion stars (with a B) in the Milky Way Galaxy, give or take 150 billion. That's 940 times more. But who's counting?

Here are some other things I disagreed with: Mattos talks about how spirits need to be shrunk down in size in order to fit into the tiny human egg at the time of conception:
"And the Spirit will bind to the egg immediately after sperm penetration." (pg. 270)
I tend to favor what Jane Roberts / "Seth" says about the topic: That spirits heading toward birth only visit the womb from time to time. Mattos says the spirits are also affected with amnesia, and he talks about how abortion is a serious spiritual "outrage" (his word) like you're robbing a spirit of its incarnation and denying it an opportunity for spiritual growth. I prefer Seth's suggestion that all these things are carefully planned out in advance, including births, deaths, the lessons, and yes, even the abortions, at a "Higher Self" or "Oversoul" level.

The thing is: I didn't want New Age teachings. I already know all that stuff. I wanted to know about the author's astral projections: how he learned it, the techniques he used, the discoveries he made, what weird quirky things he encountered "over there." But the whole book was almost exclusively just discourse: Sana Khan took me to this place. He said this. He said that. The dialogue was flat; the author breaks up the dialogue by saying things like, "This is interesting, master."

It wasn't just that. It also lacked a feeling of authenticity. If you've had OBEs, you know what it's like. You can tell when someone is describing a real OBE: the strange otherworldly atmosphere, the foreign 360-degree eyesight, the strangeness of how gravity doesn't affect you, the fog floating around; all that "delicious eeriness" Michael Ross talks about. This book lacked all that. The author's OBEs all sounded too..."physical." Sure, he acknowledges the dialogues were telepathic instead of talking, but the dialog was too Earthly. The OBEs were too three-dimensional.

Maybe I'm being too critical. Maybe Mattos was just targeting an Earthly audience. Or maybe because he's from South America, it was just cultural differences (I thought the movie "Astral City" was too physical too, for example). Whatever it was, it didn't work for me.

Another problem is that the dialog was too long and detailed to have taken place in genuine OBEs. There's simply no way anyone (short of eidetic memory) would be able to remember and quote word for word what someone said in an entire half-hour lecture. Not even in real life, let alone from an OBE. I'm lucky if I remember just a few sentences.

Here's another tip-off: the author's story takes place over the course of several weeks, but night after night, without fail, he just effortlessly pops right out of his body to have his nightly lesson with Sana Khan. Anyone who's studied OBEs knows it's just not that easy; not even for the most proficient OBE experts: not William Buhlman, not Robert Bruce, not Akhena, not anyone. It was just too effortless. If Mattos wrote about struggling to achieve the proper focus, or occasionally losing focus during the process of separation, or getting sucked back into his body prematurely and having to leave it again, or having a cat jump on his body while he was out, it would be more believable.


There's enough content; just not enough OBE-related content. The book is 325 pages, each of which is a decent size. The font is somewhat big, so it's an average-sized book.

Except for the preface (not by the author) the writing was pretty good, but it needed weeks of serious editing and proof-reading. The book was obviously scanned in from an older printed manuscript. It's obvious because there were lots of mistakes that would be caught by any human proof-reader, but not by a computer spellchecker. For example, instead of the pronoun "I" the text had, in many places, the number "1." Or "he" instead of "The". Another example: anytime the original text had "rn" it was converted to an "m". So the word "modern" was printed as "modem" (like the old computer modulator-demodulator device). These are the hallmarks of OCR (optical character recognition) from a scanner to a document that was never proof-read. There were glaring mistakes on almost every page.

I'm sorry, but I can only give this book 2 stars out of 5. Most of the New Age teachings aren't bad, but this isn't an OBE book as much as it is New Age 101. There are no OBE tips, techniques, or pointers, except for eating light vegetarian meals.

If it was titled "The Lessons of Master Sana Khan" it would live up to its title. But really, it has almost nothing to do with astral projection.

Bob Peterson
27 March 2018

Click here to return to the OBE Book Review index.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Using OBE to Contact Dead Loved Ones

Using OBE to Contact Dead Loved Ones

by Bob Peterson

Sooner or later we all experience the death of a loved one. Often, people desperately search for ways to contact the dearly departed, and that's what leads them to discover OBEs. So a lot of people ask me, "Can I use an OBE to talk to my dead husband/wife/child, or other dead loved one?"

The answer is yes, but it's not easy.

Surprisingly, encounters with the dead are rare in OBE literature. In his book Vistas of Infinity, author Jurgen Ziewe talks about meetings with the dead, including his own deceased mother. The meetings are somewhat matter-of-fact and unemotional, at least compared to Ziewe's other OBEs.

Another encounter is described in the book, Astral Projections, by Michael Ross  who used OBEs to contact his dead son, Murray, who had committed suicide. This was a much more emotional encounter than Ziewe's.

Rodrigo Montenegro's book The Out-of-Body Experience: An Experiential Anthology also has an encounter with the dead. Also, Preston Dennett's book Out-of-Body Exploring has an OBE in which he meets his dead mother. The late French OBE expert, Akhena, also described encounters with dead people she knew, in her book Out of Body Experiences.

I've had my own encounters too. In chapter 19 ("The Mind During OBEs") of my first book, I wrote about an OBE from 1982 in which I saw and spoke to my dead father. I wasn't trying; it just kind of happened spontaneously. Like Ziewe, the encounter was meaningful, but a bit unemotional.

In the year 2000, my wife Kathy's best friend, Pam, died under some really strange circumstances that I described in an article on my website called The Spirit Carries On. Her death was particularly tragic because she was still in her 30s and had two young kids. After her death, I decided to use my OBEs to try to contact Pam and see if she wanted me to convey any messages to Kathy or her devastated husband, Al.

In my first book, I described how I had trouble traveling to specific locations, but thankfully, I had long since learned the trick and knew how to travel pretty well. It's not easy to describe in Earthly terms, but basically you "feel" for the distant location or person, then mentally "pull yourself there" along that connection. So finding Pam should be easy, I told myself, right? Wrong.

For a full year, I spent every OBE trying to find Pam. Despite that, I just couldn't seem to contact her. It felt like there was nothing to grasp on the other end. It was like I was being blocked by some unseen force. Eventually, I gave up and decided Pam just wasn't ready to talk.

So when people ask me if they can use OBEs to contact a dead loved one, I tell them yes, but the dead person needs to be receptive to it and cooperate. It has to be a mutual decision between you and the dead person.

By far the biggest problem with contacting a dead loved one is that the goal tends to kill your focus. To induce an OBE, you need to be very focused and single-minded. If you're distracted by thoughts of your dead loved one, it will probably distract you enough to keep you from inducing the OBE state. You need to learn to set aside your goal and focus only on achieving the OBE itself. Once you're safely in the out-of-body state, then focus on your goal.

So now you may be wondering: Have I had any other encounters with the dead since I wrote my OBE books? The answer is yes. I've seen my mother on more than one occasion after she died. It was a long and very emotionally charged series of events that shook me to the core. It's hard for me to talk about it and I've only shared it with my wife, my sister and her husband. Someday I may write a book about it, but that's all I want to say about it now.

Let's just say that contact with the dead is not an easy road. You've got to have a lot of patience with yourself, and with your dead loved one.

Bob Peterson
13 March 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review: Vibrational State and Energy Resonance

Vibrational State and Energy Resonance

by Nanci Trivellato


Many OBE authors, such as Robert Bruce, talk about the manipulation of non-physical energy as an important component for inducing OBEs and other altered states of consciousness. It's not a new concept: The Chinese call it "Chi" or "Qi" and have done exercises like Qi Gong and T'ai Chi Chuan for thousands of years. Yogis in India they have other exercises to cultivate it, such as Kundalini Yoga.

Most of us also know that OBEs are often preceded by "The Vibrations" but what do we really know about them? What's the relationship between the Chi manipulation and the vibrations, and how do they fit together? Author/teacher Nanci Trivellato of the IAC (International Academy of Consciousness, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the scientific study of consciousness) tries to answer these questions in her book Vibrational State and Energy Resonance.

Last Spring, the author was kind enough to send me a copy of her book. Why haven't I reviewed it until now? Partly because (as I said in my last book review) I didn't spend much time reading last summer, but mostly, because it's huge. How big? It's almost 500 pages, and each page is larger than average. There's a LOT of information. That's not a bad thing, except it's highly technical and difficult to read, so I could only digest ten or fifteen pages at a time. In fact, it's so big, I may split this review up like I've done in the past.

I feel conflicted about this book. (I guess I say that a lot, don't I?) On the one hand, this book contains a lot of very useful information. On the other hand, it's so technical that it's difficult to read. I told one guy it's like reading a car shop manual from cover to cover. Better yet, it's like reading a technical computer manual. (Believe me, I've read a lot of computer manuals cover to cover. Like the CDC Compass 6400 Assembly Language reference manual. Or the Pascal Language reference manual. They were highly entertaining to me back in 1979. Until I discovered OBEs. But I digress.) So this book is like a technical manual. Trivellato tries to take a very scientific approach. That's good. Unless you're a layman, or expect the book to entertain you. So you should go into it with the right expectations.

A lot of the book is about VELO, an IAC acronym that stands for Voluntary Energetic Longitudinal Oscillation, which is a non-physical energy exercise designed to induce "The Vibrations," which they call the VS (short for the Vibrational State).

How does it compare to other metaphysical energy systems?

With Kundalini Yoga, you draw energy up through the spine to activate each of the chakras, and the Chi energizes and exits through the crown chakra at the top of the head. (Bob starts humming the song Serpent Is Rising by Styx, "Serpent is rising, uncoiling in your spine, bringing you light from the depths of your mind".)

Robert Bruce, author of Astral Dynamics, condones a system much like the one taught in T'ai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong, where energy starts at the Tan Tien (the belly-button energy center/chakra, two inches below the navel) and is circulated down to the root chakra, then up the spine, over the top of the head, and back down through the third eye chakra, the heart chakra, and back to the Tan Tien to make a complete circle.

Akhena (The "William Buhlman of France"), author of Out-of-Body Experiences recommends alternating the focus of the Chi between the root chakra ("The Fire") and the third eye chakra ("The Diamond").

With the IAC's VELO exercise, the energy is rapidly and repeatedly moved up and down the entire length of the body, creating an energy resonance. In other words VELO makes a smooth continuous sweep of the entire area from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. It's almost like you envision your body enclosed in a big tube, and the energy flows like sound waves up and down through the entire tube. NOTE: Trivellato spends a lot of time describing the technique technically and accurately, so if you just follow my description, you'll probably get it wrong.


In my own OBE practice, I usually recommend you imagine your physical body is like an empty bottle with water sloshing back and forth. Except for the speed, this reminds me a lot of VELO, so VELO is not that different from my technique.


I was surprised to find Trivellato references the writings of Robert Monroe, author of Journeys Out of the Body, as well as Waldo Vieira, with regard to some of the earliest writings about the vibrations.

You can induce out-of-body experiences (something they call "Lucid Projections") through the VS, but that's only one of the many benefits of performing the VELO. So a lot of the book describes the benefits of using the VELO, the positive effects it has on personal energy and health, how to do it correctly, and so forth. Trivellato loves bulleted lists of everything, including benefits.

Like the other IAC books I've read, such as Luis Minero's book Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience, this book is overloaded with IAC terminology (lingo). Trivellato states:
"For the same critical reasons cited above, gratuitous creation of terminology is not appropriate." (pg. 36)
Despite that, this book contains more IAC lingo than ever before. I've complained about this in at least two other book reviews. To give you an idea, the book contains a glossary of terms that spans from page 409 through 447! That's 38 pages of glossary defining IAC terms like thosene (an acronym for Thought + Sentiment/Emotion + Energy), which is basically like an thought-form or energetic imprint.

Why do they need so many new terms? For starters, in the IAC world view, people have multiple vehicles of consciousness, similar to the teachings of Theosophy, but they call the physical body the "Soma," the astral body the "Psychosoma," the etheric body the "Energosoma," the mental body the "Mentalsoma," and so on. Put all of these vehicles of consciousness together and you get something they call the "Holosoma." Well, it's not quite that simple. Trivellato says that the Energosoma cannot be used as a vehicle of consciousness; that it's more or less an energy grid and foundation for the chakras and/or silver cord.

Thank goodness I had read other IAC books, so I could actually understand what I was reading, because the AIC terminology quickly leads to complex and hard-to-follow discussions of Intraconsciential restructuring, self-vibrostasiometry, Morphothosenes, Xenothosenes, Energometry, and a whole lot of other words you won't find in any English dictionary. So I hope you experience despertopolis and retain your holosoma rather than desoma after you exit the cosmoconscientiarium! Okay, I've made my point.


The book is all very technical. That does not mean it's bad, it's just not written for a layman. It is meant to be technical and informational, not entertaining.
Here's a good example of how technical the book gets:
"In other words, upon improving one's basal and/or inherent bioenergetic fluidity and one's condition in the current lifetime, by the same process of intervehicular transmission of information described above, this more balanced and fluid energy will reach the psychosoma with the ability to contribute, in some cases, to the gradual change of one's paragenetics and, consequently, to the liberation or improvement of the condition of one's manifestation." (pg. 53)
In other words, performing the VELO exercise helps you in many ways, including balancing your non-physical energies, protecting yourself from harmful energy influences, and so forth, presented like a technical manual.

But as Trivellato says:
"Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by the form in which information is transmitted. Use your discernment and see, beyond the words, the true content being communicated." (pg. 36)
If you can do that--ignore the terminology and find the message conveyed--then it is good information.

I do have a serious question, though: The IAC uses the prefix "para" to indicate the non-physical. So the astral body's brain is called the "parabrain." But the astral body itself is the "psychosoma." Why is that? Why don't they call it the parasoma? Or conversely, why don't they call the astral brain the "psychobrain?" I suppose that has too many bad connotations?

The book is organized into multiple parts:Part 1 is "Foundations for the Study of the VS" and it basically gives you the basics of the AIC beliefs.
Part 2 is "The Vibrational State Phenomenon" and it talks about the VELO, the vibrations and the phenomena associated with them.
Part 3 is "The VELO Technique" and it's all about the subtleties of the VELO technique: How to do it properly, common mistakes, etc.
Part 4 is "Attributes of the VELO."
Part 5 is "Advanced Topics."
Part 6 is "Vibrostasiology."


On page 28 there is an interesting discussion of the IAC and how it all started with the teachings of prolific OBE author Waldo Vieira. The group of people who followed and tried to expand Vieira's work were more focused on out-of-body experiences (which they call "Projectiology"). Eventually the IAC's research, techniques and beliefs diverged from the other people who followed Vieira's work. I get the feeling the IAC is more science-based, and they're more focused on the study of consciousness and energy than the OBEs themselves.

The IAC paradigm is:
"Founded on the underlying assumption that the consciousness is a primary component of reality, independent from matter and energy." (pg. 41)
So what is the book trying to convey? According to Trivellato:
"The goal of this book is precisely to contribute to increasing the percentage of success when trying to produce the VS." (pg. 76)
The bottom line is: According to Trivellato, regular practice of the VELO technique will help you maintain good energetic health, increase your amount of loose or free energy, as well as inducing the Vibrational State.

So how does the VELO cause the Vibrational State? According the Trivellato:
"The vibrational state happens when there is a great bioenergetic activation and looseness, producing a clear, intense, pleasant, and distinct sensation of vibration throughout the entire body, resulting from the resonance of all energetic centers [chakras]. In other words, it happens when the activation of these centers reaches a level that produces a feedback or "contagion" effect between them, generating a chain reaction that produces a simultaneous condition of increased vibratory amplitude and activation in all of the energosoma." (pg. 72)

I would have liked a more in-depth discussion about how the Vibrational State leads to and triggers OBEs, but that's about all she says about it.

In my opinion, the biggest shortcoming of the book (besides all the technical lingo) is that it didn't spend enough time comparing the VELO to other metaphysical energy systems. Only a mention or two in passing.

For example, I've read stern warnings about the improper use of Kundalini yoga that can lead to all kinds of negative (or at least powerful) energy sensations, like pain shooting up your spine, neck, or the top of your head. My T'ai Chi master (Sifu) used to warn us students about energy loss (and other dangers) if the Chi isn't moved in a complete circle, and only stopping at the Tan Tien.

Robert Bruce similarly warns about energy conservation, storing the Chi there. I would have loved to read a nice long chapter about all that, but this book doesn't really say much about any of those things. It did, however, discuss the shortcomings of other offshoots of Waldo Vieira's work, and how VELO is a superior technique. That was a good discussion.

After reading this book, I tend to think that in terms of electricity, circulating Chi is like DC (Direct Current) whereas the VELO is more like AC (Alternating Current): The reason our electrical grids all use AC is because AC travels better and DC causes too much power loss for long distances (and you can thank Nicola Tesla for that). Perhaps it's the same with Chi and maybe someday Nanci Trivellato will go down in history as the Nicola Tesla of OBEs. Only time will tell.

Still, I guess I can't really argue with anything the author says, except her assertion that the energy body (what most people call the Etheric body, but the IAC calls the "energosoma") cannot be used as a vehicle of consciousness. But that's not a point worth arguing.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. In other words, if the VELO technique works, and doesn't cause negative energetic side-effects, then I'm all for it. I've been using it for a while now, and so far it's been beneficial, with no bad side-effects. I don't think I've used it long enough to give it a fair assessment.

So I applaud Nanci Trivellato and the IAC for their contributions in helping us understand metaphysical energy/Chi and how best to manipulate it.

The writing, organization, and grammar were outstanding. Top-notch professional. I really only found one mistake in the entire 494 pages. That's amazing.

I'll give the book 3 out of 5 stars. I would have enjoyed it more if it had been only 200 pages, presented in layman's terms, and a lot less technical. But as I said, the book was meant to inform, not entertain.

Bob Peterson
27 Feb 2018