Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Review: Man Outside Himself

Review: Man Outside Himself

by H.F.Prevost Battersby

Today I'm reviewing the book Man Outside Himself: The Methods of Astral Projection by H.F. Prevost Battersby. The copyright is from 1969. The book has a second subtitle: The Facts About People Who Leave Their Bodies and Travel At Will; And How They Do It. The book is very hard to find in print, but can be easily downloaded (I think for free).

Since I started investigating astral projection/out-of-body experiences in 1979, this was one of the first ten books I bought, but it didn't have much advice for learning to induce OBEs. There are several casual mentions like, "When asked how he did it, John said he didn't know." Not real helpful. There were a few scant mentions of techniques, but it's all pretty basic stuff: calm and focus your mind and relax your body, and so on. The best set of instructions was this:

"The essential points for study are: The power to concentrate one's thoughts on a single object without being distracted by outside stimuli; the practice of rhythmic breathing; nervous and muscular relaxation; and, finally, the ability to suspend thought completely." (pg. 89)

I agree with all that, but it's still very basic.

The book does have a lot of OBE narratives and if you follow my blog, you know how much I love narratives.

Battersby also has a lot of really cool out-of-body history in the book. He talks about the earliest reports of astral projection/OBEs in modern times, and some of the most verifiable. The study of astral projection in modern times began when Ralph Shirley wrote articles for a periodical called The Occult Review in 1907. In 1920 Shirley published a narrative from one of the earliest pioneers of the subject, Oliver Fox. Eventually in 1938 Shirley published a book titled The Mystery of the Human Double. Battersby talks about Fox, Sylvan Muldoon, Yram, Charles Lancelin, and many of the other early astral projectors. He also talks about the Theosophists like H.P.Blavatsky and A.E.Powell, and about mystics like Emanuel Swedenborg.

Many of the OBE narratives quoted in the book are excerpts from another famous book, Phantasms of the Living, written by three founding members of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR): Edmund Gurney, Frederic Myers and Frank Podmore. In many cases the apparition of a living person was seen by someone else. Not all of them were out-of-body experiences: some were cases of autoscopy (dopelganger), and Battersby addresses that subject in the book as well.

Here's one of my favorites: In 1891, a woman named Mrs. Butler was living in Ireland with her husband, but for years she kept "dreaming" she was in a beautiful house. It was quite literally her "dream house." Later, when the couple moved to London, they found the actual house. She said, "Why, this is the house of my dreams!" and they bought it. When the housekeeper saw Mrs. Butler the first time, she exclaimed, "Why, you're the ghost!" She then explained that the house had the reputation of being haunted and she had apparently seen the non-physical body of Mrs. Butler many times. (pg. 49) I absolutely love stories like this, and this book contains many like it.

In another case, a woman named Hermione P. Okeden claimed she could leave her body, so her friends challenged her to visit in the out-of-body state and describe the details of their homes. The friends tried several times to fool her, even rearranging furniture in the houses, changing clothes, and tried to confuse her in other ways, but her descriptions were always accurate. (pg. 64)

Battersby also talks about an often overlooked astral traveler, Vincent Turvey, whose out-of-body adventures were documented in the book, The Beginnings of Seership. (I loved that book, but haven't book reviewed it yet.) What makes Turvey unique is that he would travel out-of-body to visit spiritualist seances across town and use the spirit medium's body to do automatic writing, signing his own name. On at least one occasion he even claimed to take control of the medium's body, talk through his or her vocal cords, and so on. Turvey's book contains reluctantly signed testimonials of several eyewitnesses who were at the seance and saw it happen. Note that Turvey had medical conditions that made it virtually impossible for him to cheat or even attend the seances in-the-body.

I loved this book. On the plus side, most of Battersby's OBE narratives had third-party verification. It's pretty convincing stuff. On the minus side, the narratives are all pretty old, from the 1800s and early 1900s, which is often enough to make hardened skeptics like Susan Blackmore discount them completely. There aren't any solid astral projection techniques.

Battersby has done a ton of research here. The writing is professional and the book is 100 pages, with tight margins and a very small font, so there's a good amount of content. But the information is very old, and you won't find any OBE techniques in there. I'm giving the book 3 and a 1/2 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
21 December 2021

If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Harley Davidson's OBE Secrets

Harley Davidson's OBE Secrets

by Bob Peterson

Like many of my blog articles, this one is about learning to induce out-of-body experiences/astral projection, but there's a story that goes with it, so bear with me.

Buying a Harley Davidson

I had some PTO to use before the end of the year. With cheap airfare, Kathy and I flew to Colorado to do some sightseeing and visit relatives in Arvada (home of author Vicky Short--Hi Vicky!).

One day, while Kathy toured a historic hotel in Georgetown, Colorado, I went to the public library and surfed the Internet. I've owned and ridden many motorcycles in my life, and in late August, 2021 I decided to buy a Harley. So I did some searches to see if used Harleys were cheaper in Colorado. They were! I found a good deal on a particular bike in Fort Collins, so we drove up there and bought it. But then I had to get it back to Minnesota.

Road trip!

A few weeks later, we took another cheap one-way flight back to Colorado to pick up the motorcycle and drive it home. Since the vast majority of motorcycle accidents happen in the first 100 miles of ownership, we decided to take it easy, avoid freeways, only drive 4 or 5 hours a day, and avoid driving in the dark when possible.

We didn't have a charger for our wireless helmet headsets (the manufacturer didn't include a power brick--what kind of crap is that?) so were pretty much out of battery life on our first day. They also had an old level of firmware, which was buggy, and caused annoyingly loud feedback. To make matters worse, the Harley had very loud exhaust pipes (which I've since changed out). Bottom line: I couldn't hear Kathy, the radio, or the GPS even when they did work, so I didn't even try. So although Kathy was right behind me, we didn't talk. I was alone with my thoughts. I tried to avoid "highway hypnosis" by shifting my attention from item to item: traffic, rear-view mirrors, gas gauge, GPS map, handlebars, and occasionally the lyrics of obscure songs that came to mind. There was plenty of time for introspection and talking with my "inner voice."

One night, a few days into the trip, I'd just spent five hours driving down rural highways, past cow pastures and an occasional cow, alone with my thoughts and the constant rumble of the Harley. Tired, we checked into a hotel in the middle of rural Nebraska. It was late, and the room had two separate Queen-size beds. I changed into pajamas (or if you're British, pyjamas--I love that spelling!) and climbed into bed.


As my head sunk into the pillow and I began to relax, I thought about the low rumbling noise of the Harley, and almost immediately I was inundated by "The vibrations" that precede some of my out-of-body experiences. They swept suddenly and intensely into my head and then throughout my body.

After 42 years of out-of-body experiences I don't get the vibrations much anymore, but once in a while they still come before my OBEs, and usually they're pretty mild. This time they hit so hard, fast, and intense that it startled me. These were the fastest OBE vibrations I've ever had. I was so shocked I snapped right back out of it, unable to convert it into an OBE. Doh!

The next day, as we continued our trek back to Minnesota, I reflected on what was so different from "normal" days in my life. What had caused this sudden, intense vibrations?

What it wasn't

I was certain it wasn't caused by the unfamiliarity of the hotel. In past articles I've written about "Harnessing Unfamiliarity For OBEs" and how staying in strange hotel rooms can often trigger OBEs. But that sense of "Sleep with one eye open" (to quote Metallica) wasn't with me that night. My head had barely touched the pillow! This hotel room was nothing special; an ordinary room in the middle of no where Nebraska.

Contributing factors

So what was different about that day?

Alone with my thoughts

That day, and the few days prior, I was mostly left alone with my thoughts. I had a lot of time for quiet introspection. In other words, I exercised my Default Mode Network (DMN), focusing on inner events more than outer events. I had also been away from work, a welcome break from the analytical thinking required for my job.

Little communication

Throughout the day, Kathy and I talked at gas stations and meal time, but other than that, there was very little opportunity to talk.

Just water (and coffee) to drink 

In an average day, I often consume a variety of drinks: almond milk with cereal at breakfast, a self-made coffee drink, water, maybe some juice. On this day it was straight coffee with coffee creamer in the morning and water the rest of the day.

Absolutely no artificial sweeteners

I've always maintained that my OBEs are more plentiful when I'm more trim. To lose weight in recent years I'd started using artificial sweeteners. I've always avoided aspartame (Nutrasweet) and Saccharin because I think they're not good for you. I avoid Stevia (Truvia) because I don't like the taste. But I still used sucralose (Splenda) and Monk Fruit. For example most of those "Mio" flavor squirts for water contain sucralose. However, on this trip our options were very limited. That morning I sweetened my coffee with a little real sugar, and hadn't consumed any artificial sweeteners for three days. Maybe artificial sweeteners are counterproductive to OBEs and had worked their way out of my body?

Wheat gluten every meal

I've written elsewhere that I believe wheat gluten can assist in out-of-body work. So I took note of the fact that I had eaten wheat gluten every meal that day. I hadn't planned it, but before we left the hotel in the morning I ate one of those hotel waffles (I love that Jade Shaw's dog is named Waffles--Hi Jade!). At lunch, I had eaten a sandwich with a bun. For dinner I had eaten a chicken sandwich or something. So maybe the vibrations were partly due to an accumulation of wheat gluten in my system.

Longer periods on an empty stomach

My job as a computer analyst requires intense brain work, and I find it easier to focus if I'm not distracted by hunger or rumbling in my stomach. Plus I think my body craves carbohydrates to bring more glucose to my brain. So between meals I often eat small snacks like a granola bar or a handful of cashews or almonds. However, on the day of the vibrations, I spent the whole day driving, which meant there was no time for snacking. I was held to three meals, nothing more. So my digestive system was on more of a roller-coaster--mini fasting between meals--rather than constantly processing food.


I've written elsewhere that a healthy gut microbiome (friendly gut bacteria that help us digest food) can make OBEs more likely. Conversely, OBEs can be harder with constipation. On the day of the vibrations, I had eaten a cup of yogurt for breakfast, which is known to be good for the gut microbiome, and no nuts.

Attention exhaustion

On a motorcycle you need to be especially cautious. Riding on the day of the vibrations, I had been staring straight ahead, eyes on the road, looking for deer and other animals that might jump out in front of the motorcycle. So my attention was intensely focused for hours, causing some attention exhaustion.


On that day I heard the rumbling of the motorcycle and felt the motorcycle's (physical) vibrations for hours. As I lay back, the memory of the sound-coupled with vibrations was fresh in my memory.

Not sleeping next to my wife

That night our hotel room didn't have a king-size bed; it had two queen beds. So I slept in a bed separate from Kathy. Many people (including author William Buhlman) say that it's harder to induce an OBE when someone's with you in bed. Buhlman told me he thought it was due to the overlapping of the people's auras. Regardless, it may have been a contributing factor.

Long-term sense of motion

I spent that day constantly in motion; driving down the road. That constant sense of motion may have been a contributing factor too.

No music

I'm a music lover and have been all my life. But in one of my early OBE journals I once made an observation that I'm more likely to have an OBE if I don't listen to music the entire day before. So I sometimes refrain from listening to music so OBEs are more likely. Since the Harley's radio was overpowered by the noise of the tailpipes, I didn't even try to listen to the radio that day or the day before.

Other differences

  • I had natural sleep cycles the night before: I hadn't been awoken by an alarm. 
  • That morning I had drank coffee, but only after I'd been awake a while.

All of these factors may have contributed to my entering the vibrations so instantly that particular evening. Then again, some of them might boil down to superstitions and beliefs: your belief creates your reality. So maybe I'm just conditioned to think that these things will help. But it never hurts to try, right?

Things to try

So if you want to induce OBEs, here are some things to try based on what I learned from my Harley Davidson road trip:
  • Eat at least a small amount of wheat gluten in your daily meals.
  • Eat conservatively: Don't snack between meals.
  • Be friendly to your gut microbiome: eat some yogurt or drink a small amount of kefir, and reduce your intake of foods that give you constipation, like nuts.
  • Don't listen to music the day before.
  • Sleep alone in bed.
  • Avoid all artificial sweeteners for at least three days.
  • Spend less time speaking with people and more time in introspection.
And if all else fails, take a motorcycle trip through rural Nebraska!
Of course, none of this will guarantee you an OBE. You still need to do the work. You should still practice the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Astral Travelers. All these things may help make OBEs more likely in your life.

Bob Peterson
07 December 2021