The Case For Out-Of-Body Experiences ~ Part II

OBE-II-main-2-postby Preston Dennett

Joan Hartmann

In 1999, Joan Hartmann (2001) of Florida spontaneously experienced a typical OBE during which she floated about her room. She found the experience very pleasant and decided to try it again. A few days later, Hartmann attempted to initiate an OBE. She was successful and allegedly her attempts also resulted in a physical levitation episode.

I had an out-of-body experience. I spontaneously popped out of my body and hung out up in a corner of the bedroom but didn’t know what to do, so I just looked down at my body and that of my sleeping husband. After about fifteen seconds, I snapped back into my body. I thought this was really cool and tried to repeat it. A few days later, it happened again, only this time, I watched my body actually levitate off the bed before I snapped right back.


The ability of the astral body to manipulate the physical environment is illustrated dramatically in a case presented by dream researcher, David Ryback (1988). While collecting psychic dreams for his book, ‘Dreams that Come True’, Ryback received a letter from a nurse in Central Islip, New York, who reported a very unusual experience. The nurse worked part-time at a local hospital. One evening she dreamed she was at the hospital walking down the corridor. She saw that the nurses’ station was empty, and there was a call-light above the door of room 254.

In the dream, the nurse walked into the patient’s room and saw a man who she recognised as the patient in the room. The man told her that he spilled his urinal.

“No problem”, she told him. “I’ll change your bed”.

The nurse explains:

My eyes search the room, and on the shelf is a stack of linens. I am surprised at my lack of strength, for it takes extended effort to bring the sheets down and change the bed, but somehow I manage it. I want to rub his back but find I can’t open his bedside cabinet for the lotion.

The patient asked for pain medication. The nurse searched her pockets for the keys to the narcotics cabinet, but finding them empty, decided that another nurse had the keys. Even though the patient was a double-amputee missing both his legs, she told him to go to the nurse station himself. She had just enough energy, in the dream, to gather the soiled linens and carry them to the laundry basket outside the room.

At this point, she woke up in her bedroom. “It was about 4 am”, explains the nurse, “and I felt as though I had been worked over with a rubber hose. In the morning, totally exhausted, I told my husband about the dream and remarked how funny the sleeping mind is”.

When she returned to work, she received an incredible shock. The nurse describes what happened next:

One of the night nurses stopped me to tell me of a complaint from Mr. X, the patient in Room 254. She assured me that, while Mr. X thought me very gentle and kind in general, he was in a rage because I had told him he had to go to the nurses’ station for his pain medication after I had changed his bed.

Confused, she told the night nurse that she hadn’t worked that night, and quickly left. Ryback writes:

How I wish I could check somehow to see if that bed had really been changed! The fact that the patient saw and heard the nurse make the unreasonable request to go down the hall demonstrates that the dreamer had come psychically from her domain into his.

Robert Monroe

Perhaps the most astounding cases of physical manifestations come from well-known OBEr Robert Monroe. On several occasions, Monroe has been able to affect the physical environment while out-of-body in astounding ways.

On October 10, 1962, Monroe decided to visit R. W., a skeptical friend. He went out-of-body to her home and saw her sitting in a chair, reading. He hovered back and forth before her trying to get her attention. Suddenly she seemed to notice him and become frightened. He tried to talk to her but was pulled back into the physical realm. The next day R. W. asked Monroe where he was the night before and said:

I was sitting in the living room after supper reading the paper. Something made me look up, and there on the other side of the room was something waving in the air…It was like a filmy piece of gray chiffon. I could see the wall and chair behind it, and it started to come toward me. I was frightened and I thought it might be you.

She called out ‘Bob’s’ name, but the apparition responded only by moving back and forth. She became more frightened and told ‘it’ to leave. Monroe told her that, yes, he had visited her. She told him, “Well, next time, say something so I’ll be sure it’s you. Then I won’t be so scared”.

Ten months later, on August 15, 1963, Monroe ’exteriorised’ and went again to see if he could locate R. W.; Monroe found her seated in a room with two other women. He tried to get her to notice him. When that failed, he tried more extensive measures.Monroe writes:

I reached over and tried to pinch her, gently, I thought. I pinched her on the side, just above the hips and below the ribcage. She let out a good loud ‘ow’, and I backed up, because I was somewhat surprised. I really hadn’t expected to be able to actually pinch her.

Monroe noted the details and left, returning to his body. Later he talked to R. W. and confirmed that the details he had observed were correct. Then he asked her about the pinch.

Monroe: “A look of complete astonishment crossed her face”.

“Was that you?” she asked him. Then she took him aside, lifted her sweater and showed him where he had pinched her. Monroe writes, “There were two brown and blue marks at exactly the spot where I pinched her”. R. W.:

I was sitting there, talking to the girls when all of a sudden I felt this terrible pinch. I must have jumped a foot. I thought my brother-in-law had come back and sneaked up behind me. I turned around, but there was no one there…It hurt!

In one early experiment, Monroe allowed himself to be studied while inducing an OBE by psychiatrist Stuart Twemlow and Fowler Jones of the Kansas University Medical Center. Twemlow and Jones were able to observe Monroe while he was hooked up to a brainwave monitor. Twemlow:

We observed him through a one-way mirror over a thirty minute time period. Most striking was his slow rate of breathing … at about the same time as a technician entered the room to tell us that the brain wave tracings were changing, Dr. Jones and I simultaneously had the impression of a heat-wave-like distortion of Monroe’s upper body while the lower part of his body was clearly in focus to us. This distortion lasted until approximately two minutes before the termination of the experiment.

Twemlow also examined Monroe for physiological abnormalities after the experiment. Twemlow recorded a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) which was highly unusual. Twemlow noted that “Monroe had demonstrated his ability to move needles of sensitive voltmeters by waving his hand over them”. Like other advanced OBErs, Monroe has also experienced physical levitation. Monroe:

In our house at Whistlefield Farm, there was a screened in porch off the living room. To get to the porch, one had to go through two double doors and down a series of flagstone steps that led to the porch at a lower level. These steps were quite steep, the difference in floor height being approximately four feet…One morning, with my arms full of books and papers, I walked out the entrance to the porch and stumbled. My left foot crossed over in front of my right, and I dove headlong in the direction of the flagstone floor of the porch. As I fell I was unable to get my arms out in front of me. I remember thinking, ‘Well, this will certainly end up with a fractured skull or a broken neck’.

About six inches from the floor, my fall was suddenly arrested and I landed on my head and shoulders very lightly on the flagstone floor, no heavier than if I had simply put my head down very carefully. The rest of my body then draped down afterward, drifting as gently as a feather. I lay there for a moment wondering what had happened. I felt my head and my shoulders and there was no pain, no mark, no bruise, nothing. I stood up, picked up my books and papers, looked at the place from where I had fallen, and tried to figure some answer. Something had cushioned my fall, but I certainly was not consciously aware of what it was.

Monroe was unable to account for the levitation, but he was absolutely convinced it was unusual. His feelings were confirmed when it happened again.

Some months later in the middle of winter, a similar event took place. I was walking down the front steps, which had been reportedly cleaned after a snow, slipped and started to fall. This time I was not quite so surprised when I again landed very lightly.

Monroe then knew that he hadn’t imagined the levitation. Whatever the cause of the experience, he knew it was real. And yet, he was reluctant to experiment. As he says, “There have been only two such events, and I don’t think I will deliberately try to fall experimentally. Just another one of those ‘as yet’ unexplained moments”.

This demonstrates once more that perhaps the after-effects of OBEs might contain the hidden clues as to the interaction between physical and non-physical worlds. In particular, those effects appear to relate to certain exceptional mind abilities and psi potentials that seem to carry over, as it were, into physical manifestations.

The Durville Experiments

Early French psychic investigator, Hector Durville (1849-1923) became interested in proving the reality of OBEs after discovering that he was able to hypnotise his patients and verbally guide them into an OBE.

After Durville succeeded in leading his patients out-of-body, he decided to see if the astral body could physically affect the environment. He first instructed his patients to attempt to make a rapping noise in the OBE-state. To his amazement, the experiment succeeded and heard raps immediately after instructing the patient to do so. Furthermore, the patients were able to return to a waking state and report their own perceptions.

He was then able to get his patients to move out of body and try to move the needle of a sthenometer, a device invented by Paul Joire. The needle of the device could be moved by placing one’s hands next to it. Durville wondered if an astral body could affect the device. To his delight, his patients successfully moved the needle while out-of-body on multiple occasions. On a few occasions, he claims to have successfully instructed his patients to move out-of-body and manipulate physical objects.

Perhaps Durville’s most noteworthy success came from a single remarkable experiment. In that experiment Durville set up screens covered with calcium sulphide. He then hypnotised his patients and guided them out of their bodies, and then instructed them to walk through the calcium sulphide screens. Amazingly, on each occasion that he instructed his patient to go out-of-body and walk through the screens, the screens would glow brilliantly.

Durville concluded: “Projection of the astral body is a certain fact, capable of being demonstrated by means of direct experiment”. Durville documented his research in a series of books published in French. Although, as far as we know, limited replication of Durville’s experiments has been carried out to date.

The Monroe Institute Experiments

While Robert Monroe had his own experiences with the objective and physical reality of OBEs, he was also inspired to conduct more formal research in this field. At the Monroe Institute, Monroe and his OBE students of the ’Gateway Program‘ experimented to see if the ’mental energy‘ of twenty-four participants could be made to physically manifest in a certain predetermined location. The chosen location was above the motel where they were all staying. Monroe:

Four of us went outside and looked up into the darkness. We had plenty of chance to accustom our eyes to the darkness beforehand, so when the signal came at the proper time, we looked very eagerly. None of us saw anything.

Then somebody called out, “Look higher, look higher!”

We did. Most of us had been looking just above the roof of the motel. We now looked far up into the sky in astonishment. Against the starlit night there were soft, red, neon-like waves. They resembled nothing as much as trickling water moving across an arc of the sky directly atop the roof of the motel. At exactly the time the exercise called for the light to shut off, it suddenly disappeared. Three minutes later the exercise was repeated … and the red waving rivulets appeared against and shut off at the appropriate signal. All four of us observed it and were tremendously excited by the result.

Later Monroe and his team repeated the experiment. Monroe hoped to not only see a physical manifestation, but to photograph it. The experiment was repeated. Six people, including Monroe, stood outside looking for the light. Unfortunately, they saw nothing. They took pictures regardless and were surprised at what they found. The control pictures showed nothing unusual. The others showed something very interesting. Monroe:

The two taken during the exercise itself showed a round ball with a marbleized effect much like the earth seen from a distance. Why the Polaroid picked up a picture and we could not has been explained by several physicists and photographers. The film can ‘see’ light frequencies our eyes cannot.

Monroe has also written briefly about other profound physical effects. In certain experiments, OBErs at the Monroe Institute were able to effect magnetic instruments. Monroe:

There are indications that a magnetic field is generated of a type with which our science is unfamiliar. One of the results of this is to set up magnetic fields in nearby electrical loops as well as audio cables. Another is to affect nearby magnetic tape to such an extent that a ‘print-through’ takes place from one layer of tape to another.

Monroe documented further evidence of the ability of OBErs to affect machines. This occurred when Monroe and his team noticed that the cars parked closest to the isolation booths where the OBE experiments took place began to exhibit a curious symptom.

One night, when we got into our cars parked outside some twenty feet from booth 2, we found the batteries were dead in all three cars…Thus we learned we had better not park too close to booth 2 during certain experiments with specific Explorers. Exactly why this took place–and still does so–we don’t know.

Other Cases

Many other instances of the astral body affecting the physical environment have been recorded. Visual OBE apparition cases number well into the hundreds. Much rarer are apparitions which can be heard and felt. Pioneering OBE researcher Robert Crookall (1890-1981) wrote about several such accounts.

A typical example is Mr Rose, who attempted to project his ’astral double’ to visit a distantly lady friend. He saw himself approach the house and ring the doorbell. At the time, his female friend lay in bed with her daughter. They both awoke feeling strangely anxious. The maid then rushed in to say that the door bell had just rung. On another occasion, Mr Rose repeated the experiment. This time the mother saw a “luminous cloud” while the daughter heard footsteps in the corridor.

In the early 1950s, an anonymous gentleman went out-of-body and attempted to visit his friend Stella. To his amazement, he was successful and found himself on her doorstep. Not realising that he could have simply walked through the door, he attempted to knock and announce his presence. The gentleman:

…I knocked. No result. I tried again and this time there was a feeble tapping not likely to be heard within. With a concentrated effort, I knocked once more and this time was rewarded by a very startling crash. Stella’s sister opened the door, looked this way and that, evidently saw no one and retired perplexed.

Later the gentleman visited the residence and inquired if they had heard the front door knock at the prescribed time. Stella replied, yes, they had heard first a faint tapping noise, and then “a tremendous bang”.

In October of 1960, Mrs Schreiber of London was sitting in her kitchen when she became unaccountably anxious about her daughter who – at the time – was sailing on the Queen Mary to New York. The feeling grew until suddenly Schreiber felt herself being flung out of her body, flying over the ocean and approaching the ship. Mrs Schreiber:

I went down to one of the cabins and I saw my daughter lying in her bunk, looking very sick. I sat on the edge of her bunk, took her hand, and asked what was wrong? She answered that she had been very sea-sick and had been sending her thought out to me asking for help.

Schreiber told her, “Don’t worry. You are all right. Just get up, have a wash, get dressed and go up and deck, and you will be quite well!”. Schreiber then felt herself leave the cabin and fly back home to her kitchen. A few days later she received a letter from her daughter describing how Schreiber had appeared to her physically:

She described how I had sat on her bunk, the words I spoke, and also that she had done as I had told her to do and went on deck and felt quite well and enjoyed the rest of the voyage, without further sickness.

A case from the early 1900s involves an Irish clergyman who found himself lost at night in an area riddled with abandoned mine-shafts. He moved slowly trying to avoid the dangerous terrain. He was about to step over a short wall when suddenly a small stone struck him on the centre of his back. He turned around and was shocked to see a young girl holding a lantern and beckoning him to follow.

Surprised to see a young girl out at night in such a dangerous area, the clergyman was also relieved to be rescued and he followed the girl to a small cottage, at which point she promptly disappeared. Shocked, the clergyman entered the cottage and inside found the young girl lying in bed, deathly ill. The girl told the clergyman, “I dreamed I fetched you here. You are just like the gentleman I saw in my sleep. You were about to step in Pember’s Shaft when I threw a stone to stop you”.

Conclusions and Afterthoughts

While many other cases of physical manifestations could be presented, as the reader can probably gather, the accounts would become quite repetitive over time. Important here is that in case after case, people who find themselves out-of-body have been able to successfully manipulate the environment in a wide variety of ways. People in their astral bodies have been able to make themselves seen, heard, and felt.

The implications of these types of cases are profound. The first obvious conclusion is that the astral body is not as non-physical as perhaps commonly believed. These cases show that in rare instances, the astral body has apparently all the abilities of the physical body, and maybe even more. If the OBEr can throw physical stones, or pinch somebody, or knock on a door, or change hospital bed sheets, or throw a heavy mattress and two occupants to the floor, then the possibilities to perform other kinds of physical activity are endless.

The real question is:  How can such cases occur? These cases boldly defy the common conception that OBErs are wispy ghosts, unable to affect the physical environment, not to mention the basic tenets of Newtonian physics.

The answer appears to lie with the density of the astral body. The above cases show us that when the astral body reaches a certain density, then moving physical objects is possible. In some cases, it appears to be related to the willpower and state of mind of the OBEr.

In cases of levitation, it appears that the astral body’s natural ability to fly is somehow carried over or translated into the physical state. Somehow the high energies of the astral body coincide with the physical body and cause a levitation event. Masaharu Naruse, a spiritually advance yogi in Japan, is one of the few acclaimed modern living levitators. When people have asked him how he claims to levitate, he states:

It is to use instantaneously prana, or vital energy permeating the universe. Place one’s consciousness on the destination point for floating. According as the amount of consciousness increases, existential reversal takes place and the physical self becomes evacuated. Then, the physical body gets attracted towards the consciousness which has been already shifted to the destination. One can thus levitate.

In not so many words, Naruse seems to suggest that levitation occurs as a result of an OBE; the astral body leaves the physical body, which can be drawn upwards with it.

The experiments of Hector Durville and of the Monroe Institute have provided compelling evidence for the existence of an astral body. They have shown that the astral body can move physical objects, effect electromagnetic instruments and can visibly manifest as an apparition.

Ultimately, the accounts in this chapter show that the dividing line between physical and non-physical is not easy to define, and that there appears a seeming bleed-through or overlap from the astral dimensions into the physical dimensions. This explanation fits nicely with the theory held by many OBErs, that the physical world is, in fact, a reflection of the astral world, identical in most respects except that the energy or vibrational level has been condensed or rarefied in some fashion. Again we are entering the realm of speculation here, but if the physical world is, in fact, a replica of the astral world, it would make sense that the two worlds are integrally and vitally connected in ways that we are only beginning to understand.


Crookall, R. (1964). More astral projections. Independent publication (Aquarian Press).
Fox, O. (1962). Astral projection: A record of out-of-the-body experiences. New York, NY: Citadel.
Hartmann, K. S. (2001). Enlightened through darkness: A true story of the exorcism of a 6-year-old boy. Shining Light Press.
Hughes, M. (2003). Medicine woman within a dream: Book 3 of the mysteries of the redemption series. Independent publication (Amazon CreateSpace).
Monroe, R. A. (1971). Journeys out of the body. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Monroe, R. A. (1987). Far journeys. New York, NY: Doubleday. Muldoon, S., & Carrington, H. (1929). The projection of the astral body. New York, NY: Samuel Weiser.
Peterson, R. (1997). Out-of-body experiences: How to have them and what to expect. Newburyport, MA: Hampton Roads Publishing.
Ryback, D., & Switzer, L. (1988). Dreams that come true: Their psychic and transforming powers. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Taylor, A. (1996). Soul traveler: A guide to out-of-body experiences and the wonders beyond. Covina, CA: Verity Press.
Yram (1972). Practical astral projection. New York, NY: Samuel Weiser.

Excerpt from Consciousness Beyond The Body: Evidence And Reflections

See Part I here.

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