Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Review: Amazing Astral Projection by Melissa Gomes

Amazing Astral Projection

by Melissa Gomes

Today I'm reviewing Amazing Astral Projection by Melissa Gomes. The subtitle is How To Astral Travel, Have Complete Lucid Control Over Your Celestial Body And Powerful Journeys Through Dreaming And Astroprojection.

Sigh. Where do I even begin?

This book, like many others I've complained about, is apparently written by someone who cranks out book after book, each of which has a captivating title, alluring cover photo, and hastily thrown-together information compiled from shoddy research, with no personal experience. Apparently her goal is to make as much money as she can by having a trickle of royalty income from dozens of books. In other words: It's bad. I've read worse, but it's bad.

First of all, the author, Melissa Gomes, gives the reader absolutely no information about her credentials: Where did she get her information? What's her level of experience? After reading it, I doubt whether she's had any out-of-body experiences herself. So it's all just book-learning, or worse, Internet-only research, at best echoing what other authors have said.

Second, the writing is immature, like a regurgitated high-school paper. Some chapters follow the familiar paper writing pattern taught in High School: Tell them what you're going to say, then say it, then tell them what you said.

Almost every sentence in the book is written in "passive voice," which drives me crazy and is very difficult to read.

Third, there's blatant misinformation in the book, which does everyone a disservice. I'll give you way too many examples below. For example, Gomes writes:

"Unconscious Projection is when you are unaware that you are projecting. This is the most dangerous projection level, as you can get lost in the astral plane and may not be able to find your way back to your body." (pg. 15)

That is complete nonsense; a fabrication that disagrees with almost every other astral projection book ever written. For the record: we all have unconscious projections every night, but because we're unconscious, we usually don't remember them. They are completely normal, natural, and harmless. It's impossible to not find your way back to your body.

Gomes has plenty of confused statements in the book, such as:

"When you astral project, you will be simultaneously aware of both your physical and spiritual bodies." (pg. 17)

This blanket statement displays Gomes' lack of personal experience. When I leave my body, I can sometimes have brief awareness of both my physical and nonphysical body, especially when I'm very close to the physical. But if I'm at least 15 feet (5 meters) away from the body, all my awareness is in my nonphysical body, and my physical body is, as I've said many times, "Just another inanimate object in the room."

Here's another example of Gomes' confusion:

"Lucid dreaming during an astral projection amplifies the experience." (pg. 19)

Sorry, but in my world, lucid dreaming and astral projection are two different things, and it depends on whether your experience is of some objective reality or a self-created hallucinated environment (the dream world.) You can transition from LD to OBE by dispelling the hallucination. You can transition from OBE to LD by using your imagination to play "what if" and fall back into the hallucinated environment, but you can't do both at the same time. For more information, see my article Are OBEs the Same as Lucid Dreams?.

Here's another example of Gomes' confusion and lack of research:

"You can also travel to locations you have seen before while dreaming or having lucid Out-of-body Experiences...This freedom is not limited to the astral plane either; it can also be used on the physical plane while you are awake through a process called lucid dreaming." (pg. 28)

What exactly is she trying to say here? That lucid dreaming is done in an "awake" state? Nonsense. You can visit the "physical plane" in a lucid dream? Whatever she meant to say, she missed the mark.

When describing the "Main Steps of Astral Projection" Gome writes that after "the body falls asleep":

"Now that your body is asleep, it's time for your conscious mind to take over. You'll still be aware of your surroundings and what's happening around you, but your physical body will be completely unresponsive." (pg. 42)

But she doesn't say how your conscious mind regains control. How exactly do you go from "You'll find yourself in a deep slumber" (end of page 41) to becoming conscious again? The reader is left clueless.

Here's some more misinformation:

"So if you want to visit a certain location or person, all you need to do is Picture [sic] it in your mind and you'll be transported there instantaneously." (pg. 43).

Readers of my first book may recall that I struggled with this a long time early on. I wanted to visit my friend Lisa, or her apartment, so after I left my body, I'd think of her, but nothing happened. I'd vividly visualize her, but nothing happened. I'd say her name, or demand, "Take me to Lisa!" but nothing would happen. I'd recall what it felt like to be with her. Nothing. I'd try to imagine her apartment. Nothing. On and on it went until years later when I finally learned the trick. For me it's never been as simple as Gome (or others) have said. It's hard to describe, but it's more like sending out a thread of awareness to the person (or place) and pulling yourself there.

More of Gomes' misinformation:

"It is important to focus on your third eye chakra to return to your physical body." (pg. 50)

Wrong. It has nothing to do with your third eye chakra. In fact, some people focus on their third eye chakra to induce the OBE state, not end it.

Most astral projection authors agree: To return to your physical body, you only need to think about your physical body, or any body part. For example, William Buhlman says to think about moving your little (pinky) finger.

Better yet, try to prolong the experience as much as possible, because your body will pull you back automatically when you've been out too long. But Gome never says that.

I'm sorry, but I find it absurd when a book recommends procedures to end an out-of-body experience because to me it's like ending a roller coaster ride. Why would you want to end it in the middle and what would you gain by it? You're a hundred feet up in the air having the time of your life! Or better yet, it's like wanting to end an orgasm. The only times I've ever deliberately ended an OBE is when I've been out a long time and worry that I'll forget something. "I better get back before I forget all this." But I digress.

Gome describes all the things you can do from the out-of-body state. Unfortunately, she pretty much uses the same exact technique for all of them. For example, to find your higher self:

"To find your higher self, focus on your breath and imagine yourself surrounded by white light." (pg. 52)

To meet your animal guides:

"If an animal guide appears to you in the astral realm, simply focus on your breath and imagine yourself surrounded by white light." (pg. 53)

To explore past lives:

"Explore your past lives, focus on your breath, and imagine yourself surrounded by white light." (pg. 54)

And more. Here is how Gome describes "Transitioning into the Astral Realm":

"Continue to focus on this light while your thoughts slowly drift away into a state of deep relaxation. After some time, you will find yourself drifting out of your body and into the astral realm..." (pg. 51)

Really? You just magically find yourself drifting out of body? I think she missed a step. 

Another example of the author's confusion:

"Once you learn how to become relaxed in the physical world, then you can begin practicing relaxing your physical body." (pg. 59)

How in the world can I become relaxed in the physical world before I relax my physical body? Or is this just bad editing?

Here's some more blatant misinformation:

"On the one hand, having strong emotions can make it easier to leave your body and enter the astral plane. On the other hand, emotional turmoil can make it harder to focus and maintain concentration, two things essential for successful astral projection." (pg. 61)

Wrong wrong wrong.

Let me make myself perfectly clear: While it's true that desire is a powerful (some would say necessary) motivating factor, strong emotions make it harder, not easier, to leave your body. In all my books I've stressed the need to remain completely passive when leaving your body. That means no thoughts and no emotions. Quiesce your mind completely. Just be a watcher.

Gome also warns against sleep paralysis:

"You can do a few thing to reduce your risk of experiencing sleep paralysis: 1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get plenty of restful sleep..." (pg. 62)

This is more bad advice. Researchers know that broken sleep often causes out-of-body experiences. In fact, many authors leverage it with the Wake-Back-To-Bed technique. Also, in my experience, sleep paralysis is an excellent jumping board for out-of-body adventures, as per this article I wrote 22 years ago!

Gome clearly doesn't know what she's talking about, with statements like:

"A person in sleep paralysis suffers from the inability to move or speak while dreaming. This state can stimulate several REM periods during the night when a person is normally asleep, leading to vivid dreams." (pg. 65)

REM periods naturally occur to everyone, every night, during several normal sleep cycles. Sleep paralysis doesn't stimulate it.

Here's another dubious claim. Gome writes:

"For example, one study found that people who regularly astral projected  had lower levels of pain after surgery than those who didn't." (pg. 27)

Really? She doesn't cite the study or give any references, so am I supposed to just take her word for it? I don't think so. I'm too much of a critical thinker. If Dr. Charles Tart or Susan Blackmore made this claim I'd be more willing to accept it at face value. But they'd cite their reference, wouldn't they?

Here's another dubious claim:

"Studies suggest that Out-of-Body Experiences occur as a fringe of consciousness during dreams, and their ability to function while out of the body is dependent upon the depth of the dream experience." (pg. 66)

Again, Gome doesn't cite any of these supposed studies. Give me a reference or it's means absolutely nothing. On the contrary, the work of Charles Tart in a real sleep laboratory with Robert Monroe and "Miss Z" indicated that OBEs did not occur during dreams, as per measurements done with EEG machines and eyelid sensors. Their OBEs occurred in the hypnopompic state, after REM sleep, and were accompanied by strange theta brain waves.

More Gome misinformation:

"The most common type of Remote Viewing is probably telepathy, which is the ability to receive thoughts from another person without them having to verbalize those thoughts." (pg. 68)

Wrong. Remote Viewing is not Telepathy. They're two very different things.

So is there a positive side to this book? Well, kind of. To Melissa Gomes' credit, she does provide several astral projection techniques in chapter 8. Those include:

  1. The Rope Technique (which is given in most books in the genre) but like so many, she misses the point of it using "tactile imagination" (imagined touch) rather than visualization.
  2. Displaced Awareness (which is basically just imagining yourself floating, etc.)
  3. The Monroe Technique (which has nothing to do with Monroe' "Lines of Force" Technique I wrote about and used successfully.) She's mostly talking about using binaural beats.
  4. The Mirror Technique (which is an old Occult favorite).
  5. The REM Technique. Her description of this technique is very confused and unclear. Mostly she talks about using triggers for lucidity.
  6. Watching yourself sleep (which is in chapter 5 of my first book).

Chapter 9 is "Advanced Astral Projection Techniques", which are:

  1. Hypnosis (which is very old, but the best discussion about it is in Jerry Glaskin's book Windows of the Mind: the Christos Experience)
  2. Autogenic Training
  3. Guided Meditation / Guided Visualizations
  4. Affirmations (Intention setting, etc.)
  5. Breathwork
  6. Meditation
  7. Retrocognition Technique
  8. Eidetic Imagery Technique (which is very confused).
  9. Lucid Dreaming
    but again, she clearly doesn't understand it. She says:

"The experience of lucid dreaming is known as a hypnagogic illusion." (pg. 102)

Good lord. No, that is absolutely not what lucid dreaming is. Lucid dreams occur in REM sleep, and hypnagogic sleep is post-REM.

The book is 119 pages, with decent font and margins. The grammar and spelling are generally solid with only a few typos. I found a paragraph that just abruptly ended in the middle, another sentence that's repeated multiple times, and a few other nits. But the biggest problem, as I said before, it's almost all written in passive voice.

I'm giving this book 1 star out of 5. On the positive side, it has more techniques than some books, albeit copied from other sources, and not explained as well as those sources. On the negative side, there's way too much misinformation and redundancy.

I'm sorry, but I cannot recommend this book to any serious seeker.

Bob Peterson
26 March 2024


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, March 12, 2024

Ekstasy: Out-of-the-Body Experiences

Ekstasy: Out-of-the-Body Experiences

by David Black

Today I'm reviewing Ekstasy: Out-of-the-Body Experiences by David Black. The copyright is 1975.

David Black is a researcher who became interested in out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and did some very serious research on the topic in the early 1970s. After the obligatory introduction to the topic, he gives a detailed history of the OBE, which is as good as, if not better than, the one in Anthony Peake's more recent book The Out of Body Experience.

Black's research brought him literally to the doorsteps of some of the foremost scientists who studied it. Scientists like Dr. Janet Mitchell, whom I idolized in my Trip Report from the 2018 SSE/IRVA conference. One of my heroes, Charles Tart, Prescott Hall, Karlis Osis, Melvin Morris, Gertrude Schmeidler, Andrija Puharich. Big time name dropping. He explains the scientific tests that were done in various laboratories, what the conditions were like, and the outcomes.

He talks about some of the greatest adepts the subject ever had to offer. People like Stuart ("Blue" AKA Keith) Harary, Ingo Swann, and Alex Tanous. He met with Robert Monroe after Journeys Out of the Body was written, but before Far Journeys or Ultimate Journey, although he discussed other subjects with Monroe like "loosh." If you don't know what that is, it's too a long story for this blog.

What's great about this book is that Black shows a personal side to all the people he met during his research. I can't stress this enough. If you want to hear the personal side of these people, there's no better book. Black is all about the research and the people doing the research: both the scientists and the adepts.

He does his utmost to bring the reader into the lab and explain what was going on, in a personal way. For example, he talks about what the people looked like, the clothes they were wearing, their mannerisms, their outlook on the experiments, and other personal details.

For example, Chapter 8, "Blue," is dedicated to Harary, but he goes into great detail about who Blue was (at the time) and what he was like. He talks about how Harary grew up "on Long Island, East Meadow, out in Hempstead, near Levittown" as well as tidbits about his parents and his childhood. He also talks about the experiments done with Harary, such as the one with his two kittens, Spirit and Soul, who were part of an experiment when they were two and a half months old. I won't leave you guessing:

"During the control periods, the kitten ["Spirit"] continually ran around the cage and maeowed [British spelling] thirty-seven times. During the time Blue had the sensations of being out of his body, visiting the kitten, the animal stopped running around the cage, did not maeow once, and seemed to be attentive to a presence in the enclosure that no human in the room could perceive." (pg. 76)

In chapter 9 Black talks about another interesting experiment (different lab, different scientists) in which Harary was instructed to go out-of-body and visit a snake in a cage:

"When Blue visited the snake in his out-of-body state, it stopped its typical maneuvering around the cage and started literally to attack. It sort of bit at the air, viciously, for about twenty seconds. Twenty seconds which were right in the middle of the time Blue, without knowing what was going on in the laboratory, claimed to be out of his body and in the cage with the snake." (pg. 80)

Chapter 11 talks about another famous out-of-body adept, Ingo Swann, who was born on September 14, 1933, in Telluride, Colorado, as Ingo Swan and he added the second "n" himself. Swann had some very interesting and amazing lab experiments. For example, he could raise or lower the temperature at a distance:

"Swann sat about three feet in front of a Dynograph which was used to record the temperatures of four thermistors [sensitive scientific digital thermometers] that had been taped to pieces of either bakelite or graphite to facilitate his possible PK. Each thermistor recorded independently of the others, and all were extremely sensitive. All four were sealed within Thermos bottles so that there would be little likelihood of their being affected by any force other than Swann's apparent paranormal abilities."

"...Seven of Ingo's ten scores are statistically significant, and five are highly significant. . . .Each of the significant differences is in the direction specified by the instructions; that is, the recordings show more change to hotter temperature in the test periods with "Make it hotter" instructions than in the test periods with "Make it colder" instructions." (pgs. 95-96)

Another of Swann's interesting experiments is when he used his mind to visit a visual target in a lab:

"Swann, sketching what he saw on each side of the partition, achieved a perfect score: eight tries out of eight. The odds against this happening by chance are approximately 40,000 to 1." (pg. 97)

The scientists took a lot of care to try to determine if Swann was actually "seeing" visually at a distance or whether it was "just" ESP or clairvoyance. This also gets into long complex arguments about whether this was really just "Remote Viewing" or whether he was actually "out of body." According to David Black:

"Swann smoked cigars and sipped coffee while he was 'remote viewing.'" (pg. 115)

Later in the book, it talks about another amazing experiment with Swann done at Stanford Research Institute:

"In the preliminary work, using a shielded magnetometer, Mr. Swann apparently demonstrated an ability to increase and decrease at will the magnetic field within a superconducting magnetic shield." (pg. 112)

Black also talks about author D. Scott Rogo, who was both a researcher and an out-of-body experiencer, who was apparently influenced by the spirit medium, Mrs. Keeler, whom I recently referenced in my previous book reviews.

Next up, Black talks about another famous out-of-body adept, Alex Tanous. Again, he gives personal details like:

"Tanous, quietly mysterious, with hypnotic eyes, looked like an MGM mystic. Part of his magnetism was an appeal to vanity. He gazed at you with rapt attention, all the furrows in his brow tending down to a point about the bridge of his nose as though they were caused by a pulled drawstring...He was born in 1926 in Van Buren, Maine, a small town on the New Brunswick border." (pg. 101)

Tanous took place in experiments that involved optical targets, like Ingo Swann.

"According to [Karlis] Osis, Tanous's out-of-the-body consciousness appeared able to adjust to its environmental situation--in certain cases, for example, he had to move his point of view higher to peer into the window of the illusion box. This ability to interact with the world in a disembodied state would not be manifest if he were receiving information through ESP." (pg. 106)

You won't really find any OBE induction techniques in this book, but there are a few scattered hints. For example:

"The experience is hard to describe," said Andrija Puharich, "but it's certainly not a trance. It's like intense concentration. The essence of it is learning how to switch the body onto automatic pilot. You switch the heart system, the brain system, the respiratory system, all those systems that keep you from getting out of your body, onto automatic pilot, and you're free." (pgs 201-202)

Here's another hint:

"Most of the conditions that can induce the out-of-the-body experience seem to involve this typical movement from a state of greater to one of lesser excitement. Dick French tended to have his feelings of being out of the body when he lay down to rest after doing exhausting physical work." (pg. 203)

Black also echoes a key point of my own book Hacking the Out of Body Experience:

"And the conditions of sensory deprivation which [John C] Lilly used to spark his out-of-the-body episodes probably work in a similar way. The disorientation which results from blocking off sensory reference points prompts the subject to construct temporary reference points which mimic those usually given by the senses; and, since consciousness then begins operating in relation to those temporary points of reference, it feels, perhaps is, freed of the body, which it then objectifies." (pg. 204)

I loved this book, but then again, I've always loved the experiments and the science behind it. Some people might find it boring, but I loved how Black made the people and experiments come to life with every page. The down side is the lack of techniques.

The book is 243 pages, with good font and margins. There's plenty of good content. I give this book 4 and a half stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
12 March 2024


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