Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Out-of-Body Experiences by Janet Lee Mitchell

Review: Out-of-Body Experiences

by Janet Lee Mitchell

Today I'm reviewing the book Out-of-Body Experiences: How science is helping us to understand the experience of living beyond the body by Janet Lee Mitchell. The copyright is 1981. I'm proud to say that my copy is signed by the author. 

People who know me well know that I only have two heroes I idolize: Leonardo Da Vinci and Charles Tart. Both men attempted to bridge the gap between left brain and right brain, the spiritual and the scientific. Both were (or are) scientists, way ahead of their time. Both yearned to understand the relationship between the physical and the non-physical.

Da Vinci is best known for his priceless paintings, but in fact he was an inventor who wanted to invent and sell weapons, among other things. He only painted to make money.

Tart is famous for having done some of the earliest laboratory experiments on out-of-body experiences with the likes of Robert Monroe, and "Miss Z". As a pioneer in consciousness research, and author of famous books like Altered States of Consciousness, I was speechless when I first learned that Tart wrote the foreword to my first book.

Why do I bring this up? Because if I was pressed for a third name, I would have to list the author of this book, Janet Lee Mitchell, and for the same reasons. With a Ph.D. degree, Mitchell is also author of several books on consciousness, and she's conducted lab studies of out-of-body experiences with famous psychics like (the late) Ingo Swann and Alex Tanous. And that's what this book is all about. The book covers not only her own work, but similar studies done by other scientists (including Tart, Celia Green, and many others).

Regarding Swann, Mitchell writes:

"I was convinced of his ability after about six months of working closely with him 2 or 3 days a week." (pg. 4)

Mitchell notes that Swann could make his physical body speak, even when far away from it. She would send him out on missions to report on distant locations. Later, his targets were compared by impartial judges with double-blind standards. Many of Swann's amazing successes are documented in his book, To Kiss Earth Goodbye (which I haven't reviewed) including photos of some of the targets. It's pretty convincing stuff.

One of the first questions Mitchell had to ask was: Was Swann just using ESP, telepathy, or "remote viewing" to describe the targets, or was he "really there" during his out-of-body experiences? To answer that the scientists devised special optical devices that would display different images through different filters and mirrors. If Swann described the contents of the box, he should describe a bunch of discs, mirrors, prisms, wheels, and such. But if he described the image itself, in the proper color and in the proper quadrant of the device, he must be actually "seeing" the image as through the optical box, and therefore he's more likely to have actually "been there." Well, guess what? He described the images.

The book contains a lot more than stories about Ingo Swann. Mitchell writes about OBE author D. Scott Rogo, who had OBEs himself, and how he manipulated hypnagogic images to induce OBEs. In one example, Rogo saw a hypnagogic image in which he was driving a car, so he took conscious control of the image, intentionally crashed the car, and found himself out-of-body. She also says that Rogo's book, Mind Beyond the Body (which I also haven't reviewed) is required reading for anyone interested in OBEs.

Mitchell covers the history of OBEs, with valuable information, (much like Anthony Peake's book) citing some of the earliest OBE reports in modern times, and referencing OBE books I've never even heard of, like My Experiences While Out of My Body by Cora L.V. Richmond.

She also compares OBEs to other well-documented phenomena in psychology such as autoscopy, lucid dreaming, and various body-boundary disturbances. She also covers references of similar things in folklore like the doppelgänger, fylgje, and vardoger.

But much of the book is devoted to the science. Chapter 5 is Evidence from the Lab, and it's not only her lab but others as well. She spends considerable time analyzing the statistics from various studies done throughout the years. She talks about the studies done by Dr. Karlis Osis and Donna McCormick on Alex Tanous. She talks about the studies done on Stuart "Blue" (Keith) Harary in which they counted the meows of Harary's cat, Spirit. It turns out the cat meowed a lot less when Harary was visiting Spirit in an out-of-body state. The cat meowed 37 times during the eight control periods, and not once during Harary's out-of-body visit.

There are also fabulous OBE narratives. One of my favorites is this:

"Sometimes a person will not only be able to see from another location in space but will actually be able to create an effect at a distance, if we can believe the numerous claims. The Landau case is one of the best examples of this. A Mr. Landau reports that in 1955 his wife-to-be often told him about her OBEs. One night he gave her his diary weighing 38 grams and ask her to transport it to his room in her next OBE. Early dawn the next day he awoke and followed her apparition, which backed out of his room across a landing to her room. There he saw her body asleep in bed and then watched the apparition vanish. When he returned to his room he found her rubber toy dog, which weighed 107.5 grams, lying beside his bed. He had last seen it on a chest of drawers in her room. She said the dog was easier for her to transport despite its additional weight, because she had been taught, as a child, never to handle other people's letters or diaries." (pgs. 45-46)

Best of all, Mitchell cites references. At the end of every chapter, she provides a list of references to back up what she says. This is not fluff. This is science. 

She also goes into a little of the philosophy behind the scientific findings. For example, she questions: if most scientists are convinced that we're nothing but our physical bodies, why do we speak as if our bodies are our possessions? Why, she asks, do we say things like "My head hurts" rather than "I hurt up here"?

One of my favorite quotes from the book is about the potential dangers of OBEs. I remembered this from when I first read the book in the 1980s:

"My parents did not keep me from walking or tell me I couldn't, even though they knew I might accidentally walk in front of a moving vehicle; they did teach me how to cross the street safely." (pg. 84)

Another poignant quote is a solid counter to the question, "Why in the world would you want to have OBE?"

"If our only experience is in a body, we may well continue to believe that we are a body. If one were born and raised entirely in an automobile, it might have its advantages, but one would never know the joys of being outdoors and feeling the cool grass or warm sunlight directly on the skin. It seems certain that granted the ability to get out of the car just once, one would want to do it again and again to exercise new-found experiences and freedom." (pg. 87)

The book is 128 pages, and is professionally written and edited.

I give the book four and a half stars. It's a must read for anyone interested in the scientific study of out-of-body experiences. Unfortunately, it's probably out-of-print and hard to find. I think I wrote to the editor to get my copy, and that was a long time ago.

Bob Peterson
26 July 2022


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, July 12, 2022

Eliminating OBE Roadblocks

Eliminating OBE Roadblocks

by Bob Peterson

Even if you're fairly skilled at astral projection and inducing out-of-body experiences (inward focus, relaxation, visualization, maintaining consciousness while your body falls asleep, etc.) your OBE attempts can be completely undermined and scuttled by roadblocks.

In this article I want to talk about OBE / Astral Projection roadblocks: the little things--known or unknown to you--that may be preventing you from leaving your body, and how to eliminate them.

Limiting Beliefs

This is a biggie. According to Rick Stack, author of Out-of-Body Adventures, the most important thing about inducing an OBE is your belief system. As a student of Jane Roberts (who channeled "Seth"), Stack teaches that "Your beliefs create your reality." I concur and I'm not alone. Many OBE authors and teachers agree.

You don't need to believe OBEs are real and you don't need to believe you can induce an OBE. All you need is suspension of disbelief. When I first started on my OBE adventures, I didn't believe: I thought it was mostly self-deception or misinterpretation of ordinary (or lucid) dreams. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Challenging my beliefs, I said, "I'll give it a try and I'll see for myself." In other words, I had my doubts, but I took it seriously.

The bottom line is this: If you believe you cannot induce OBEs--for whatever reason--that can be enough to keep you body-bound. So change your belief system, not necessarily to believe in OBEs, but to believe it can happen to you, at least if the circumstances are right. Affirmations are a good place to start.

Not enough sleep

This is a tough one. Some OBEs are caused by over-tiredness, often coupled with too much stress. But that end of the spectrum isn't very effective for me.

I've always had more OBEs when I over-sleep. I may wake up refreshed and ready to start my day, but I force myself back to sleep another cycle. Burning the candle at both ends, staying up late at night and getting up extra early in the morning can interfere with your ability to induce OBEs. At least they do for me. You've got to get out of the habit of thinking about what you need to get done when you wake up. When you wake up, turn off your mind and make the time to shut out the world and its distractions and practice, practice, practice. Try not to focus on the upcoming day and just let your mind drift in that state between waking and sleeping.

Too much light in the room

Thanks to a million years of evolution, the physical body's natural circadian rhythms are governed largely by the light of the sun. When it gets dark, the darkness triggers our brains to produce melatonin and we naturally become sleepy. When it gets light outside, a tiny bit of light shines through our closed eyelids and tells us to wake up. So one common roadblock is having too much light in your bedroom.

The tiniest bit of light in your bedroom can interfere with your sleep cycles. It can keep you from falling asleep naturally and it can interfere with your ability to induce an OBE in the morning when you first wake up. So minimize the artificial light in your bedroom at night:

  • Turn off the back-lighting on your cellphone or flip your phone face-down to shut off the back-lighting and/or ambient display.
  • Minimize the use of nightlights. I put strips of black electrical tape over some of my nightlights to minimize the amount of light they put out.
  • You can also cover up the tiny red dots that glow from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

In other words, make your bedroom as dark as possible. But most important of all: When the morning comes, if it's too bright in your bedroom you may not be able to oversleep.

  • Use dark dark shades or opaque curtains on windows if you can, to block out as much sunlight as possible.
  • If you can't block out the light from the windows consider wearing a sleep mask to block all the light from your eyes.

Exposing your (closed) eyes to almost no light in the morning can trick your brain into extending your body's sleep cycles into hours when you're more likely to be fully conscious, and thus, makes OBEs more likely.

This doesn't always apply to everybody. Some OBE authors claim they have better luck if they're in a dimly lit room, not a completely dark room. So you may need to experiment and find out what works best for you.

Staring into your phone or tablet's blue light

This is similar to the problems mentioned above. A lot of people, myself included, like to wind down at the end of the day by playing a game or two on your phone before bed. But the blue light emitted by your phone or tablet's display can mess with your body's generation of melatonin and keep you from sleeping properly. So consider playing the game earlier in the evening and minimize the use of unnatural light in the evening.

Another tip: whereas it's always a good idea to read an OBE book before bed, it's best to read printed (paper) books, not a tablet. A small reading light won't interfere significantly with sleep before bed; just make sure the light bulb has a "warm" color temperature that emits more red light and less blue light. Avoid those "Daylight" bulbs that emit a lot of blue light.

Watching too much television

I don't know about you, but when I watch television at night, it numbs my brain and I become a walking zombie. It's a bad combination of unnatural blue-light to your eyes coupled with turning off your analytical thinking, and it can interfere with your OBEs. If you're going to watch TV, do it earlier in the evening and allow ample recovery time before bedtime.

Not enough alone time

This is another common roadblock. The best advice I took from Marilynn Hughes's book Odysseys of Light is to spend at least one hour a day alone with yourself. I'd like to further suggest that it be spent on introspection or other "within" tasks such as:

  • Read a book
  • Meditate
  • Listen to music or binaural beats
  • Use your creative imagination
  • Create art or music
  • Play video games

Just don't stay up too late doing so.

Animals and other distractions

Out-of-body attempts can be spoiled if you have a dog, cat, or other animal that jumps on the bed or make lots of noise in the morning. Authors like Michael Raduga advise you to not move a muscle when you first wake up, and instead go right into your exit technique before you've used any of your muscles. If an animal wakes you it may ruin your entire attempt. So keep these distractions to a minimum.


You still need to make an effort, practice OBE techniques, and walk the edge of consciousness: the thin line between waking consciousness and sleep.

A big part of inducing an OBE is doing the right prep work, and that includes eliminating (or minimizing) the roadblocks that may interfere with the process. Who knows? You may be on the verge of an OBE breakthrough and just need to get some of these roadblocks out of your way.

Can you think of other roadblocks that prevent OBE? I'd love to hear about them.

Bob Peterson,
12 July 2022