Is astral projection or an out-of-body experience (OOBE) merely a form of hallucination? This is what some neuroscientists in Canada think, after watching what is happening in the brain of a young woman who is able to induce OOBE at will.
The case, which has gained considerable attention on the Internet, was separately reported by Don Butler and Jordan Kushins, based on the studies of Claude Messier, a psychology professor, and Andra Smith, associate professor at the University of Ottawa in 2012, but only recently published in "Frontiers in Human Neuroscience."
This Canadian woman claimed she had been able to trigger conscious astral projection since she was 4 or 5 years old, especially when she was bored during sleep time in preschool. She has been doing it ever since. She considers her ability normal and natural, with nothing supernatural, pathological or abnormal about it. In fact, she thought everybody could do it.
According to her, she was able to see herself rotating in the air above her body, lying flat, and rolling along with the horizontal plane. She reported sometimes watching herself move from above, but remained aware of her unmoving rigid body. The subject reported no particular emotions linked to the experience.
According to the article by Jordan Kushins, the researchers found that something dramatic and consistent with her account was happening in her brain. "The MRI showed a strong deactivation of the visual cortex while activating the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery, which includes mental imagery of bodily movement. This is the part of the brain that makes it possible for us to interact with the world. It is what makes you feel where your body is in relation to the world."
So, is astral projection or out-of-body experience real? Does the astral body or soul go out of the physical body during astral projection? The Ottawa University researchers did not think so.
"The brain scans show that she's going through what she is claiming, but that does not mean her 'soul' is getting out of her body. This is not an astral trip described by mystics. There is no paranormal activity of any kind… Scientists believe that these out-of-body experiences are a type of hallucination triggered by some neurological mechanism. This neurological mechanism may be present in other people, too, and some people, like this woman, may train themselves to activate it."
It is amazing how scientists can conclude that the soul or astral body does not go out of the physical body during an out-of-body experience and that there is nothing paranormal in this activity based on just one case study. It is entirely possible that, in the case of this woman, the astral body or "soul" never left her physical body, but other cases that I have come across seem to indicate otherwise.
What if, for instance, the projected astral body is seen by another person from afar?
During a remote viewing exercise I conducted in my ESP seminar, in which I asked each participant to go mentally to the house of his partner whom he has not met before, the sister of one participant saw somebody peeping from outside their gate. When the sister was asked to describe who she saw and about what time she saw the man at the gate, she replied, "He had a round face, crew-cut hair, eyeglasses, a blue shirt and black pants."
The description fit the partner of my participant perfectly. This participant was not aware that he had projected his astral body out of his physical body, and was seen at home by the sister of his partner.
The other case was related to me by the father of two teenaged daughters in Parañaque City. The sisters had developed the skill of going out of their bodies at will, so the father decided to conduct impromptu experiments with them.
In one experiment, the father told one daughter to go to a forested place. As she was walking there in her astral body, her left shoulder was pricked by a thorn from a plant, and it hurt. So she shot right back to her body. When she came back, her left shoulder had the scratch marks of a thorn.
The other daughter, who also projected herself to a place where there were plenty of trees, reported seeing papaya trees with ripe papaya fruits. The father asked her to take a bite of one of the fruits. When she came back to her physical body, she had a piece of papaya in her mouth.
Now, how would scientists explain such cases with their theory that astral projection is merely "hallucination triggered by some neurological mechanism?"