Thursday, March 29, 2012

Strange OOBE

I am a bit reluctant to discuss my own experiences--preferring, instead, to debunk those of others--but I guess that when I critique the paranormal, I do so from my few experiences. I know from experience what is real, and I have a gut-level sense of what is fabrication.

But today I stayed home from a migraine. I took my migraine medicine, which gradually puts me to sleep. As I floated between sleep and awake, I vividly felt something, like a small animal, or a hand, forcefully pressing down on my right leg. I was startled and struggled to wake up. While this was happening, I could see, and I saw nothing unusual in the room. I didn't feel a presence, but I definitely felt something pressing on me. When I was awake, the pressure was gone. I analyzed the experience. I didn't sense anything malevolent; I didn't see anything strange. But I definitely *felt* something.

I drifted back to sleep again, and immediately the sensation returned. This time, the pressure, like a hand pressing in me, was moving up my back. I forced myself awake. I thought about the situation. It certainly seemed like "something" was trying to get at me while I was asleep, and this seemed slightly menacing, but I was as curious as I was alarmed. And I wanted to go to sleep.

So I tried again. This time, the pressure, whatever it was, had transformed into the familiar "vibration," the precursor to an OOBE, that enveloped me. I gradually moved into a definite OOBE, which I don't recall very well, except it had the usual features--conscious awareness, swift movement through the physical environment (I tried to visit someone, as I usually do), and I was definitely aware that this was a daytime OOBE--everything was vivid and colorful.

Taken by itself, this experience can easily be explained away as a hypnagogic hallucination, or, as some commentators have defined it, as a "dream." But I've had a lifetime of these experiences, which I have recorded, and I've read extensively in OOBE literature (including what I think of as a related phenomenon, the NDE). So I know the markers, the common elements that suggest that what I'm experiencing is "real" rather than a "dream."

Scientific efforts to debunk the OOBE or NDE proceed from the assumption that consciousness is physically-based; consciousness is a byproduct of matter and so cannot exist independent of the body. (Although a book that I read years ago, which had a big impact on me--"The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"--featured one scientist who was willing to consider the possibility that consciousness might not be centered in the brain.) The OOBE experiencer knows--experientially--that consciousness can travel quite a distance from the physical body and can interact with an external environment that seems real.

Personally, I think that those who ask, "Is consciousness based in the physical body?" are asking the wrong question. What I've come to believe is that, yes, consciousness depends on the physical body: Physical consciousness, that is. But we have other "consciousnesses" that are melded with a physical one. We also have a non-physical (the so-called "astral") body that is largely a replica of the physical one, with its own consciousness. That reality hit me this morning. When I was half-asleep, I definitely felt something quite physical, several times, but the sensation vanished when I became physically conscious. I realized that what I was feeling was in my nonphysical body, which mirrors the physical one.

This dual-awareness can explain quite a number of paranormal phenomena, particularly of some UFO "abductions." It can explain many cases of spirit contact and manifestations, which appear quite real but leave no physical trace. It certainly explains death-bed visions, which have been documented for centuries. It can explain a wide assortment of "paranormal" phenomena that is perceived as very real by the experiencer, but leaves no physical trace and resists investigation. It is a simple, elegant idea--as of now, scientifically unsubstantiated, but I think that, one day, will be.

As a side note: I've had a lifetime of these "twilight" experiences, where I've been pushed or pulled, always involuntarily, from my body. Sometimes I sense a presence, sometimes I don't. This experience has occasionally happened quite abruptly: I am "zapped," drained of all energy, paralyzed, and pulled from my body. My childhood experiences were particularly vivid and frightening. I went through a phase where I was convinced that I was a UFO abductee, since I recognized in many abductee accounts elements of my own experience. I'm now convinced that my experiences, and those of many others, are an unexplained part of a larger reality that is most likely common, natural, and, hopefully, benign.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft, or, the Southern Television broadcast interruption hoax

Per the Wikipedia write-up... This is the supposed extraterrestrial broadcast interruption in England in 1977. The message, from "Asteron" (Ashtar?) warns Earthlings to destroy their "weapons of evil." While this is a laudable admonition--whoever it's from--I had an "ah ha" moment today... It reminded me of the Klaatu song that came out a few months earlier (which I taped off of a college radio station in early '77): Klaatu's "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft." I really liked Klaatu's song. Those not of my generation will have no idea of what I'm talking about, but this song created a minor buzz, since a rumor was allowed to spread implying that Klaatu was really the Beatles (think, Green Day and their several anonymous bands). So I'm thinking that the Southern Television anomaly was likely a spoof of the Klaatu song (which the Carpenters covered, not very well).

A side note: I bought the CD single of the Carpenters song in the early '90s at a record convention from the late David Hall, Nashville DJ and one of the greats. So this song is quite imprinted in my psyche.The year 1977 was quite abuzz with rumors of both a Beatles reunion, and, landings from interplanetary craft. Neither, to my knowledge, happened.

Klaatu has since been reincarnated and now survives as the band called "Beady Eye" (who's "Still Speeding" LP is fab).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Another book I can recommend...

Despite its New Agey title and surface premise, "Lessons From The Light" is a modest little book that contains quite a bit of wisdom. Written primarily by Myra Starr, with help from John Mulkey, it describes her out-of-body Shamanic initiation by various guides over several years following an NDE. As improbable as this might sound, Myra is fairly understated and modest as she unfolds the lessons she learns along her particular path, which corresponds to quite a bit that I've personally learned. It reminds me of a book that I read many moons ago, "Agartha." Myra's story is exceptionally well-told and is the perfect antidote to all of the "me-too" copycat drivel written by psychic celebrities--you know, the ones who charge you big bucks for assorted "readings." I searched high and low, but I can't find a website for Myra Starr--or, for co-writer. Her book is only $.99 for the Kindle version, so she's basically giving it away. So I am happy to endorse her work for any stoppers-by who are in the market for contemporary New Thought.

I'm finding that the best books along this line are either very inexpensive, or free. I have yet to spring the full $9.99 agency price for similar books by major publishers. Despite the problems in the publishing world, there are a surprising number of New Agey books out there at this price. Not that I'm against paying what something is worth... But I've sampled a few of 'em and am not very impressed with them. I think that this is where the ancient art of "discernment" comes in--something that I'm being forced to become more skilled at as continue my immersive reading in NDE literature.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snippet from The Weather Channel...

Forecast for tomorrow, March 2. Does this forecast qualify as extremely unusual weather?


Dannion Brinkley

While listening to an Art Bell "Somewhere In Time" interview with Dannion Brinkley from '96, I decided that this was a good time to do some more digging into the controversy of Brinkley's story. Currently I am doing my usual immersive reading involving NDEs, and since Brinkley has become the visible example of this phenomenon, he might serve as a litmus test of the perils of this research.

As a whole, I have noticed one aspect of the near-death experience that has been overlooked by researchers: the process and experience described in the "typical" NDE is generally inconsistent with "death" accounts found in a wide range of "channeled" or otherwise unofficially obtained accounts of the "death" experience. Specifically, in "death" experiences, there is no mention of a life review at the initial out-of-body stage; there are no references to transcendental spiritual awakenings at the moment of death; there are almost no encounters with religious beings; and reports of "tunnels" are de-emphasized. To me, this suggests two possibilities: First, the "experiencer" of the NDE, the personality that returns to "life," is not the primary survival personality or consciousness that becomes dominant in the death state. Second, and most likely, stereotypical NDEs are not really near-death experiences at all, but are rather transcendent spiritual experiences that are carefully orchestrated for personalities who are not meant to die (i.e., it is not their "time"). Either way, the NDE is a genuine phenomenon that can't be casually dismissed.

Researchers have found two areas of concern with Brinkley's story. The most vocal and circulated criticism concerns minor inconsistencies about Brinkley's initial NDE account... whether he actually "died" when struck by lightning, how long he lost consciousness, whether he woke up in the morge, etc. Brinkley himself has answered these criticisms, and I really don't see any merit in them.

The second, but more serious criticism (in my opinion), concerns Brinkley's account of his military service--a criticism that he has not answered, and apparently will not answer. He claims that he was a Marine Corp sniper in Vietnam and who also did freelance work for the CIA while back in the States. His military records, as cited in the book "Stolen Valor," contradict this; they indicate that he was a truck driver who never left the country. I did notice that in his "Somewhere In Time" '96 interview, Art Bell asked Brinkley point-blank whether he was an assassin for the CIA; Brinkley paused, then went on to describe his activities while pointedly refusing to acknowledge his affiliation with the CIA. This suggests that either Brinkley knew that he wasn't telling the truth, or, as he contends, that his activities in the military were covert and secret and should remain so.

This of course brings to mind the whole Phil Imbrogno controversy. While not exactly apples-to-apples--Brinkley has a bit more gravitas than Imbrogno--it is an unresolved issue of credibility. Had the Imbrogno controversy not happened, I might be inclined to give Brinkley the benefit of a doubt. However, as it stands now, this is the core, unresolved question about Dannion Brinkley's work, and until it's resolved, I have to suspend judgement on everything he's said and written--despite his association with high-profile researchers like Dr. Raymond Moody. I would invite interested supporters of Dannion Brinkley and his work to clarify this question, for the general benefit of NDE research.