I am coming to realise that there are at least two types of books about OBEs. Firstly, there are the ones written by individuals who have experienced a number of OBEs and have experimented with them, e.g. Oliver Fox. Then there are studies of collections of OBE accounts, e.g. Celia Green.
The Theosophical Society's Radcliffe Library has another of the former type. I am in the process of reading "Journey's out of the body" by Robert A Monroe. Published in New York by Doubleday & Co in 1971. Monroe's institute featured in another book I read recently about Project Stargate, the US military's exploration of remote viewing in the 1980's to 1990's.
It was in 1958 that Robert Monroe's experiences began. He was lying on a couch when what he described as a beam of light came from the sky and struck his body. His body shook violently. He thought at first that it was epilepsy, or a brain tumor, then perhaps hallucinatory. He forced himself to move. He stood up and walked around. The clock showed that only a few seconds had passed. He had not closed his eyes. "I was utterly powerless to move." p 22.
"Within the following six weeks, the same peculiar condition manifested itself nine times." p23. "...The only common factor was that it began just after I had laid down to rest or sleep."
Page 24 gives another example. He lay down to sleep and two minutes later a "feeling" swept his entire body. He tried to remain calm. He could see the room and heard a roaring sound caused by the vibrations. After five minutes the sensation ceased.
One night he was lying in bed and it seemed as if during the vibrations, his hand went through the floor. He was wide awake, lying in bed with an arm through the floor. He pulled the arm back out of the floor. He got up, turned on the light and saw that there was no hole in the floor. He saw his wife sleeping in bed. p 25.
Four weeks later he again experienced vibrations while lying in bed before sleep. He felt something pressing against his shoulder. He touched it and it seemed to be a wall. He then realised that this wall was in fact the ceiling. He looked back at the bed and there were two figures in the bed. His wife and he. He "swooped down to my body and dove in." He opened his eyes and found he was back in bed. p28.
He later spoke to a psychologist and a psychiatrist about his experiences.
Monroe conducted some research and "Simply, I was performing 'astral projection.'"He found out about Oliver Fox and Sylvan Muldoon' books. p40.
He experimented with this OBE state and astrally visited someone; described the events to those he visited and confirmed his observations. You can see why the US military thought that there might be some use in this methodology when it undertook remote viewing experiments.
Monroe's extensive self experimentation with this OBE state led him to describe three locales or worlds in which he could find himself. These were:
Locale 1 - "Here-Now." People and places which exist. "Get out of the physical and into the second, then go visit George and make contact, come back into the physical and report." pp60-61.
Locale 2 - Non material environment.
Local3 - Physical matter world almost the same as our. No electrical devices.
Chapter 5 is about "sexuality in the second state." "It is mentioned here only because the most consistent physical reaction noted when returning from the second state is a penile erection."
To me this is a very interesting observation as it is well known that during REM (rapid eye movement) or dream sleep, in the human male there is a penile erection. This would seem to me to indicate that the OBE was occurring in REM sleep, i.e. he was asleep and dreaming at the time of the experience.
Chapter 6 describes how to have an experience.
1. Relaxation - by auto or self hypnosis; "Borderland sleep state" between sleep and wakefulness; induction by drugs. Then let go of rigid hold on borderland sleep sate. p207.
2. State of vibration. Body along North-South axis, head to magnetic north. Relax. Begin breathing through half open mouth. p210. Look into the darkness. Move your point of concentration further away from you. "From there, turn the point 90 degree upward, on a line parallel to the axis and reaching above the head. Reach for the vibrations at that spot. When you feel them, mentally pull them back into your head." p212.
3. Control the vibrations -get used to the vibrations, your body shakes, pulse them mentally. p213.
(a) Think of getting lighter, of floating. (b) Rotational technique-slowly try to turn over-rotate 180 degree face your own face then think of floating off. p216.
More notes later.