04 February 2008

Astral Projection and Other Forms of Cheap Travel

Here's a concept that is vastly fascinating: astral projection. Now, while I've never been able to put this theory into practice myself, my father claimed to have been able to do so on several occasions.

The first time he left his body, he'd been lying in bed waiting to fall asleep while staring at an imaginary white dot on the ceiling. He described the dot as getting larger at it grew ever closer, until he passed through it. The next thing he saw was a man and woman in bed. It wasn't until the man looked up that he realized he looked down on himself. He said it scared him so badly he immediately hit his body with a jerk. It was so violent, it woke my mother who wanted to know what the hell was wrong with him.

Now, I can't say for sure if dear old dad actually traveled out of his body, but he believed he did, so I'll take him at his word.

While reading up on astral projection—or more accurately out-of-body experiences—the OBE is classified as a psi, but not necessarily a paranormal event. Or so says Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experiences. Instead, it describes it as a "mental exercise in an altered state of consciousness." All right, I'll go with that. But if you break down all paranormal experiences aren't they in some part an extension of an altered state?

Near-death experiences, psychic readings, and channeling all have that commonality of being in an altered state. Hynopsis would qualify as well, but I'm not so keen on including that unless it's pared down to self-hynopsis alone. With each of these scenarios there is some sort of traveling involved, even if it's just to "read" impressions left on an object.

So, what's the interest in astral projection? Well, I've always been a person who likes to explore how far the mind can take us. There is so much untapped potential in our brains, it should be possible not only to travel to distant places, but take extended vacations should we so choose. I really like what Harper's says about this type of psychic movement. It reads: "A phenomenon in which a person feels separated from his or her physical body and seems to be able to travel to distant locations on Earth or nonworldly realms."

Nonworldly realms. That's right up my alley!

I have several stories brewing that use some type of astral projection or OBE as the basis for the paranormal plot. One is about a woman who dreams nightly of walking the streets of Gettysburgh, searching for something she can't seem to find. When she travels there, the locals look to her as if they've seen a ghost...and truely they have. For while she's sleeping, she's actually traveling and is mistaken in her astral body for one of the ghosts of Gettysburg. Of course there will be some reason she's pulled there nightly, a mystery to solve, a real ghost to put to sleep, or some such like that...

...hmmmm, maybe I'll try booking passage on the mind train and go do some research.

-Kat
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