My latest book, tentatively titled THE SECRETS WE KEEP, deals with a girl who has an out-of-body-experience, or OBE. During this OBE Lyndsay, my main character, sees old Mr. Jenkins, her neighbor and head janitor at her high school, moving a dead body. The next morning she gets proof what she witnessed wasn’t a dream. And thus begins the mystery – did he or didn’t he commit murder? And if he did, can she prove it? So I thought it would be fun to do a post on what an out of body experience actually is.

An out-of-body-experience typically involves the sensation of floating outside of one’s body and, in most cases, being able to perceive this separation from the physical body. Stories of out-of-body-experiences, also called astral projections or bi-location, have been around for centuries. Events of bi-location involving several Saints and other religious figures have even been recognized by the Catholic Church. OBEs have been reported across all cultures, belief systems and social classes.

Scientists estimate one in ten people has an out-of-body-experience once, or more commonly, several times in his or her life. The perceived phenomenon can occur spontaneously as a result of physical or mental trauma, dehydration, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, or the use of dissociative drugs to induce an OBE. Some scientists believe an OBE may be a natural defense mechanism of our bodies, designed to deal with turmoil, the threat of physical harm, or even death. In addition, some researchers believe this defense mechanism may also be triggered accidentally for any of the reasons I just listed above. For example, a large percentage of reported OBE cases occur in situations where sleep was not particularly deep due to illness, over-tiredness, emotional stress, or noises in other rooms. Other cases seem to be experienced when the person has been near-death, such as during a drowning, heart attack, coma, major surgery, or some similar physical peril.

Whether it is our mind, our energy, or our ‘soul’ that detaches from our physical body has been the subject of serious debate. No matter what your belief on the matter though, the perceived phenomenon is quite fascinating and was even the subject of the recent book and movie, If I Stay.

So are they fact or fiction? Can they be proven scientifically? While the scientific jury is still out on a definitive answer, the research they’ve uncovered may astound you. I’ve included two recent articles below that you may find intriguing.



In addition, it is interesting to note that our own US government spent more than twenty million dollars between the 1970’s and 1995 to investigate the possibility of using OBEs for both domestic and military applications. The project, conducted by the CIA and US Defense Intelligence Agency, was called Stargate, a Remote Viewing Military Intelligence Program. The theory being that if we could induce an out-of-body-experience in a subject, we might be able to use them to remote view, events, sites, or information, from a great distance. In other words, use it as a spy technique.

Still think it’s a lot of baloney? Well, consider this. Synesthesia — the condition in which people hear colors or smell sounds — which was once thought of as “out there” has become widely accepted in the last few decades.

Who knows, what we think of as science fiction may one day be recognized as science fact. So, do you think you’ve ever had an out-of-body-experience? And if so, what did you see?

10 thoughts on “What is an OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE?

  1. I’m fascinated by this topic. Can’t “say” I’ve ever had an out-of-body experience, but I’ve certainly seen more than my fair share of weird shi*t. THE SECRETS WE KEEP just shot to the top of my reading list. Thanks for letting us know about this, Marlo!!!

    • The research I had to do for this book was definitely interesting. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great post, Marlo! Well-written and well researched. I love the premise of your book!
    As a shaman, I often use astral projection in my healing work. As a fellow YA author, I incorporated the out of body experience/shamanic journeying in my fourth book, Spell For Sophia. Thank you for spreading the word on OBE. ~Ariella Moon

    • Hi Ariella! Spell for Sophia sounds cool. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for your kind words about my post and for stopping by!

  3. Very interesting topic! I had an OBE once. I was on a medication with codeine and I distinctly remember floating to the ceiling of the room I was in looking down on myself. I didn’t leave the room or anything. All in all it was rather uneventful.

    • Thanks for sharing, RoseAnn! Still a cool experience, even if it was uneventful. The research I looked at said it seems to happen to children quite a bit. For instance, in the medical community there are stories of very young children in hospitals who were extremely ill and told stories of floating to other parts of the hospital and seeing things there’s no way they could’ve seen. Really makes one wonder, especially since small children are often truthful and would have no reason to make up such a story. I actually think it may have happened to me a few times when I was small (especially one year when I was sick with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), except I didn’t know what it was at the time and I thought everyone could do it. I would fall asleep and then walk or float around my house or the neighborhood. Now, it is quite possible I was dreaming, however, I felt all the classic symptoms of it being an OBE – seeing myself in bed, the feeling of wandering but still being tethered, getting pulled back (sometimes which would make me nauseous), pins and needles in my hands and feet, etc. I only figured out they might’ve been OBEs when I was older and came across the term. To this day, it still makes me wonder. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

    • Thank you, Tina! It really is some cool stuff. I’m always fascinated by all the mysteries out there that we haven’t solved yet. They sure make for good story fodder!

  4. Hi Marlo! No out-of-body experiences for me so far, but I’ve always believed in them!
    It’s so nice to know that you’ve written about it in The Secrets We Keep. I’ll have to get a copy and read it! Best wishes.


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