My First Out-of-Body Experience

The morning of November 1, 1979, started out normal. I woke up around 7:00am, did my usual morning routine and caught a bus to the University of Minnesota. I got to the University at 9:00am, walked into my favorite computer lab and started programming. I worked furiously on a microcomputer game for several hours until it was time for my Thursday class. I hurried off to class, took copious notes during class, then hurried back to the computer lab.

This time I logged into the University's timesharing computer and started working on another game I wrote. A hockey game was playing on a radio in the back of the lab. I worked on that computer game until 10:00pm that night. After twelve hours of intense programming I started getting tired and hungry. I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I signed off the computer and caught the next bus home.

When I got home at 10:30pm, I was hungry. I looked in the refrigerator and found a big pan of lasagna. My mom must have made me a big lasagna dinner and I missed it by staying late at the University! I took out a big slice of lasagna, heated it and wolfed it down. Ordinarily I would have made my usual attempt to leave my body, but that night I was just too tired. I went to bed at 11:30pm and was asleep the minute my head hit the pillow.

I fell into a deep sleep and started dreaming a programmer's most hated and feared dream: the programming dream. The same dream plagued me for hours: I was sitting at a computer terminal, asking myself, "How can I make this program better?"

I put up with that dream for four annoying hours. That was all I could stand. I became so annoyed by this dream that I couldn't take any more. Slowly I turned my attention away from the dream. I slowly forced myself to become conscious, but as I did, I noticed the dream was still going on! Somehow I was awake and asleep at the same time!

What happened next is hard to describe. My consciousness was split into five parts. Each part was separate and unique, yet I was each of them simultaneously. Each was thinking its own thoughts, and communicating with the other four. All five of "me" were arguing about the computer game and how to make it better!

The feeling was beyond words: I was five personalities at the same time and I was talking to myself! One of my five selves asked, "Well, how can we make the spacewar game better?" Another "me" said, "Well, I think we should allow more interactive communication between space ships." Yet another "me" replied, "No, I think it's more important to improve the fighting ability of the computer-controlled opponent ships." One of my five selves was bored to tears watching this whole conversation and tried to force itself to consciousness. Now that "I" was conscious, I was fascinated at what was happening: I was conscious and split into five parts and each of them were taking turns talking.

At first I tried to follow the conversation, but something strange started happening. As I became more conscious, my four other selves seemed to speed up! I tried to keep up with the conversation, but the talking became faster and faster. Soon they sounded like a tape player in fast-forward mode, and I lost track of what they were saying. Meanwhile, the voices faded into the distance and seemed to disappear.

My consciousness was no longer split. I was completely awake and aware of my surroundings, but I knew something was not normal. My body felt unusual. It felt odd to be conscious and yet still asleep.

Just then, I got a strange feeling all over, like a shiver over my whole body. I listened to see if I could hear what caused the strange feeling. I heard what sounded like a hockey announcer in the background! I thought, "Now that's odd. Where could that be coming from?" I wondered if the sound could be coming from the bathroom where we kept a small radio. It sounded a little bit too loud for that; the radio had to be closer to my bedroom.

I wondered if a radio was playing in our dining room, which was next to my bedroom. That didn't make sense because there weren't any radios in that room. Besides, the radio seemed a bit too loud for that, too. I figured the radio must be in my bedroom somewhere.

I thought for a moment that my little alarm clock/radio might have turned on in the night, but it seemed too loud even for that. It was loud enough to be my stereo, but I remembered turning it off before going to bed. Besides, when I listened closer, the hockey announcer sounded even closer than my stereo.

As I listened, the sound of the hockey announcer's voice grew louder and louder as if someone were turning up the volume steadily. I started to worry as the sound became louder and louder, until finally my ears were hurting and I was ready to scream with the pain.

Suddenly it stopped and I experienced complete and total silence. Another strange feeling came over me: I felt like I was completely separate from my body, although I was still occupying the same space. I decided to try to get out.

I had read a few OBE books by then. Some of them had good techniques to separate the consciousness from the body, but none of them said what to do next! How could I get away from the body I was laying in? Since I was in my astral body, gravity didn't affect me, so I didn't just "fall" out of the body. My astral body could pass right through physical matter, so I didn't think I could grab onto anything to pull myself out. I didn't think I could push my way out either; what could I push against?

I thought about the problem for a few minutes. Then I examined my physical body and noticed that it seemed solid on the outside edges. The edges looked like a barrier of gray. My physical body seemed like a bottle; it was solid on the outside, but hollow on the inside. I was like the liquid inside the bottle, fluid and elastic, but there was no way out of the bottle!

At first I tried to twist myself inside the physical body so I could climb out the stomach. I wiggled my astral arms out of the physical arms, like taking off a tight sweater. Then I squirmed until I was under the rib-cage. I reached my astral arms up, and tried to claw my way through the stomach. I clawed and clawed, but some barrier, some force-field, was holding me back. The harder I struggled against the barrier, the more impossible it seemed to move. I managed to inch my way for a little while but gave up and lay down again.

I decided to try another way out. I lifted my legs over my head, and did a backward somersault over my head and out of my body.

I felt free and weightless. I wanted to float slowly up to the ceiling. With that thought, I started to float gently up. Then I looked up and thought about my destination, the top of the ceiling. Suddenly, I whooshed up to the ceiling. I looked around the room with a sense of delight.

I looked straight down at my body. It was under the bed covers, but from what I could see it looked like it had just collapsed and was out cold. I thought, "Gee, what if I fall from up here?" As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I came crashing down into my physical body and rejoined. I went right into a short, dreamless sleep. In a minute or two I woke up in my physical body. Being a skeptic, I asked myself, "Was that a hallucination? Did I dream it all?" No way. It was real beyond my wildest expectations of real.

I rolled over and looked at the time. It was 3:45am in the morning.

I recalled the whole incident three or four times in my mind, so I wouldn't forget to write down any of the details later. During the experience I was perfectly cool, calm and collected. That is, until I crashed into my body. Now that I was safely in my body I felt the full realization of what had happened: I had literally been outside my body. The more I thought about it, the more scary it seemed. My heart was still pounding with excitement. However, I was more tired than I was afraid, so I managed to calm myself down enough to drift back to sleep.

The next thing I knew, the computer conversation dream started again! This time I realized right away what was happening and I was immediately "zapped" out of my physical body again. Like before, I was separate from my body, but still laying inside it. I was too cautious to get up and walk around outside my body, but I didn't want to waste the opportunity to explore. I decided to do some experiments while still laying inside my body.

The first experiment was a simple one: I wanted to see if I could lift my astral arms and look at them. If I could see them, what would they look like?

I bent my astral arms at the elbow and looked at the arms. They looked and felt perfectly normal and natural. They seemed so normal that after shaking them a few times I convinced myself I was back inside my body! I thought, "There's nothing unusual about this; I'm perfectly fine. I'm not out of my body--how silly of me." I tried to lower my arms, but I couldn't! It seemed as if held in some kind of force-field! I pushed and pushed, trying to force my arms down to their normal position, but the harder I tried the more resistance I felt: I could only move them two inches in a circle at best. Then I really panicked! I drew up as much strength as I could to use it against the force-field. With all the energy I could muster, I forcefully slammed my arms back into place.

I blacked out for a second and went back to full body consciousness. Again I asked myself, "Was it real?" It was so real that I convinced myself I was inside my body! Why did my arms get stuck? I'm not sure. Perhaps I was so sure I was in the physical body that I became part physical and part astral, and my arms were held in limbo.

As I thought about the experience over and over, I wondered, "Why don't the OBE books mention anything about this?"

My first two out-of-body experiences were achieved by becoming conscious during a dream. This is known in today's literature as Lucid Dreaming. This method of leaving the body was documented in the early 1900s in books and articles by Oliver Fox (a pen name for Hugh Calloway) and Yram (a pen name for Marcel Louis Forhan). I hadn't read those books until after my first experiences. At that point I thought the only way to have an OBE was through conscious effort. I will say more about lucid dreams in chapters 12 and 26.


Imaginary Vibrations

Many people have described the out-of-body exit as a raising of vibrations. In The Projection of the Astral Body, Muldoon and Carrington wrote:

Yes, you are using your astral body even now; it is tuned down, we might say, to harmonize with the vibrations common to material substance. Now there are factors which hold it down, and there are factors which tune it up. The powers which can be exerted to disharmonize the attunement are the powers which will cause the astral to move out of the physical. (Pg. 48)

If this is true, your soul is vibrating a few orders of magnitude higher than your body, but the two are in sync. It is as if you and your body are experiencing the same musical note, but in different octaves. This exercise will help you to raise your vibrations.

The exercise is as follows: Lay down, close your eyes, and relax completely. Imagine that you are separate from the body, and laying inside the body-shell. Imagine that your physical body is vibrating slowly, and your astral body is vibrating at a faster rate. Pretend you can both hear and feel the vibrations throughout your astral body as if you were standing in front of nine-foot speakers.

Next, imagine the vibration of the astral body increases in pitch gradually, getting higher and higher. As the pitch gets higher, the two notes go out of sync and a certain resonance gets stronger and stronger.

Repeat this exercise several times. This simple exercise can actually produce the vibrations which can separate you from your body. It also might help to try to listen intently for any sounds "inside" your head at various points in the exercise.

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