Friday, September 4, 2009

A book by Ralph Shirley

I have just read a book titled "The mystery of the human double" by Ralph Shirley. New York; University Books. 1965 originally published in 1938.

Ralph Shirley was born on 30/12/1865 and between 1892-1925 was director of the book publisher William Rider and Co. He published a number of books about OBEs as well as authoring this one.

My notes follow:

(1) The Society for Psychical research were impressed with "...the frequency of records of the apparent action of the human consciousness at a distance from the place where the physical form was at the time being located." p 15.

Examples are given of someone having been seen somewhere, when in fact they had died at about that time. However, my comment is, is this more along the lines of an apparition of the dead rather than an OBE. Still, I suppose that the title of the book is about the human double and not OBEs.

(2) There is a description of an incident which happened to someone called Goethe which I have read in several other places. "I saw myself coming to meet myself on the same road on horseback, but in clothes such as I have never worn." The author goes on to describe a number of cases where people have seen their own double. In Goethe's case he goes on to say that sometime later he did ride down that same road dressed in the clothes he had seen himself in during this unusual prior experience. This would seem to be a case of precognition-seeing the future?

(3) He then gives examples of what would be regarded as the more classic OBE in which the person saw things in the OBE that they had not previously know. pp71-74. These descriptions seem to indicate the author was suggesting that the astral form must have some awareness to transmit this to the mind back in the physical body of the individual experiencing the OBE. i.e. that the experience was in some sense "real."

(4) Chapter 5 is a recounting of the experiences of Sylvan Muldoon.

(5) "Another common cause leading to astral projection is the use of anaesthetics." p88.

(6) Describes experiences of Oliver Fox. p98.

All in all, the book covers a range of phenomenon which today might be decsribed as apparitions of the dead; precognition and autoscopy - seeing one's self.

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