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Fabulous detective work, Michael. I wasn't familiar with this book at all. Bravo.

Not often do I disagree with points u make Michael,I consider you've written another interesting article that could open a nice discussion in the comments,but since I cannot resist sharing my point of view I will quote you.

>>>It appears, then, that the tunnel phenomenon is not easily explained as a neurological quirk. Neurology might explain the experience of the tunnel in NDEs, when the brain is presumably shutting down. It does not explain the tunnel imagery in more routine out-of-body experiences, such as astral projection experiments, when there is no physical damage to the brain<<<

My first question is,what is the difference between out of body experiences and astral projections?

When I used to keep a dreamjournal and routinely practiced lucid dreaming I remember this came up,To me astral projection as i've understood is is done while being in some sort of concious "meditation",now I won't form an opinion about this one considering I have no experience with it.

However the second kind,called the out of body experience or obe in short is mostly to my knowledge experienced when an individual is asleep.Ive had more then 10 out of body experiences of this kind,now I dont mean to say that I can prove this scientifically,that would be rather hard to do.But in every one I experienced it seemed they were just like an advanced lucid dream state,now lucid dreaming means concious dreaming and obe goes hand in hand with it after one manages to learn how to do the wake initiated lucid dream which is basically falling asleep and staying consious during the process,after all the hypnogogic flashes and the sleep paralysis out of body tends to occur.

Now for me it was most certainly *everytime* a dream.I can't say for sure they are all just a dream,but it at least makes me more sceptical into sleep initiated obe's.

The only thing that got me thinking was the following:are lucid dreams and out of body experiences "ethereal" of nature or are they just a reality formed in the brain?

At the moment because of my experiences with those states I will not even try to categorize sleep initiated obe's as 'ethereal" because to me they're nothin but advanced lucid dreams states.

Now,another one of my questions is this,does the dreamland exist on the borderline of the afterlife?

I find this review on Moody's book to be slightly amusing.

"As someone who had an NDE I wish Moody would have interviewed me. I was racing on my motorcycle and flew over the handlebars and landed on my head to which I was unaware of my surroundings and a fellow rider picked me up and got me to stagger home. I do not remember anything for the estimated 20 minutes after the crash except waking up. To think you had an experience otherwise is a hallucination or the mind being deprived of a sufficient level of oxygen." -Mark S

I see three problems here.

- That's not a NDE, you
- That last sentence is so egregious that it's not even worth the second it took me to read it
- "I didn't experience it, so it's obviously not true!"

Talk about egocentric and uneducated.

I guess it cut off a part of the last comment. Probably was interpreted as HTML. It should say:

- That's not a NDE, you [insert insult here]

Sorry about that!

Bryan, "astral projection" is usually treated as an older term for OBE. I use the terms synonymously.

Lucid dreaming is a different phenomenon. It is certainly possible to confuse lucid dreams with OBEs. For instance, I suspect that many of Robert Monroe's alleged OBEs were actually lucid dreams, as I discuss here.

Another comment on the motorbike rider who had the "NDE". Well, when did he die? Wasn't he just knocked out for 20 minutes? His friend managed to get him to 'stagger home'. So why would he have an NDE?

>Fabulous detective work, Michael.

Thanks for the kudos, but actually the detective work was done by one of our commenters, whose screen name is vogt. Vogt recommended the Crookall book to me. I hadn't heard of it, though I had read one or two other books by that author.

I've been an admirer of Raymond Moody's book for many years. It's good to read about it here.

Madame Monet
Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

>Lucid dreaming is a different phenomenon. It is certainly possible to confuse lucid dreams with OBEs. For instance, I suspect that many of Robert Monroe's alleged OBEs were actually lucid dreams....

I have also had some experience in lucid dreaming and self induce OBE. They seem to be on the same continuum, blending into each other. If Bob Monroe's OBE's were dreams, then all OBE's are probably some form of lucid dreaming, possibly with ESP thrown in.
Bryan's comment as to dreamland existing on the border of the afterlife is both interesting and valid.

Both Vogt and Michael are to be commended, all the same. The dates corresponding with the quotes also does us the service of eliminating a "meme" as an explanation for the tunnel aspect of NDEs. Such an explanation has been glibly offered in the same manner as "oxygen starvation" and "hallucination" when attempting to account for the tunnel phenomenon.Media mavens love the "meme" in the same way that many 20th century intellectuals embraced "deconstructionism" in philosophy, as trends of the moment, akin to "body mods" in the arena of social display behavior today. In the case of oxygen starvation, the condition fails to account for NDEs, though it has been feebly offered time and again (for example, see Blackmore, Troscianko and Woerlee, Skeptical Inquirer May 2004). Too many attending physicians record blood oxygen levels being at normal or above at the time those patients have reported NDEs, patients who have experienced BOTH NDEs and oxygen starvation in separate incidents tell of manifestly different perceptions, and those who've known oxygen starvation report very confused mental states far from the consistant experiences of NDEs. The catch-all offering of "hallucination" seems to be the penultimate explanation by materialists for everything from NDEs to UFOs to political affiliations, the final resort being a charge of "insanity". In politics? Can't imagine where THAT came from...;-)

I am also reading the supreme adventure. Have not got to the tunnel part yet and I am up to page 50. It appears to me that those that die and come back through a medium do not experience the tunnel experience but those that have an NDE often report this tunnel experience.

Note the above was written last night before I read on to the section called itemized statements of the total death experience. There in itemized statement number nine he talks about the tunnel experience. It is interesting to me that he did not talk about the tunnel experience until page 60 but has all of those quotes from people talking about their death experience.

I have been under the impression that the tunnel experience was part of the NDE experience but not part of the death experience. But it appears that some may have this tunnel experience and then come back to tell about it through a medium. He refers to Brunton describing a man as stating that irresistible forces drew him through a long tunnel.

A word about Paul Brunton. This man spent his adult life seeking into the meaning of life and traveled the world to find people such as enlightened Hindu masters to that end. He was able to find tremendous peace doing meditation after many years in the Swiss Alps.

I highly recommend his books not as absolutes truths but as great insights into the mysteries of life. Hope someday some of his books will be reviewed on this blog. Take note that many of his books were written after his death from his notes.

William: check out pp. 15-16.

From your well written article:

"Crookall writes,

A common symbol used in describing the act of shedding ... the Physical Body is that of passing through a 'tunnel' (or a 'door', 'passage', 'tube', 'shaft', 'hole', 'funnel', etc.)..."

that is just an opinion of the writer and in my opinion the tunnel effect could just as well be a passage to another dimension and have nothing to do with with act of shedding the mortal body. I think that too many writers try to pin down things that can in no way be pinned down.

The thought is interesting of course and fun to speculate about.

For the elucidation of the questions of the survival of bodily death and the nature of the soul in general, I think that it is good that Robert Crookall's The Supreme Adventure gets some of the attention it deserves. In my estimation this is an extremely important work. By relating accounts one by one of the transition from this world to the next Crookall places before us a pattern. Each account is independent from and uncoordinated in its origin with the others. This gives the pattern that emerges a claim to "objectivity," (whatever that term may ultimately mean). This approach leaves the skeptic with a vexatious and, to my mind, an insoluble problem.
Michael has drawn our attention to "the tunnel" as a common feature of the experience of casting aside the physical body in the accounts that were recorded before the publication of Raymond Moody's well-known book in 1975. Moody's book in effect called up witnesses who were ordinary people to confirm what had been expressed much earlier by mediums--i.e., extraordinary people.
I would like to call attention to another facet of Crookall's book, his distinction between the experiences of those who died a natural death (in old age) and those who died what Crookall calls an "enforced" death, i.e., violently, at a relatively young age. The accounts that Crookall cites consistently show that in the cases of those who die of natural causes in old age a "call" goes out from the dying person and someone--a loved one, friend, relative, or what Crookall calls a "deliverer"--comes to meet the dying person to assist them in their transition. In the accounts of those who meet their death suddenly, in accidents, or especially in war, nothing like this happens, or if it does it is later in the process. They often find themselves wandering alone in a fog, not realizing in many cases that they are dead. The experiences of the two groups are quite different. Without belaboring the point, the question is: Why would all of these stories agree on this distinction if they were works of imagination? The consistency of this line of demarcation buttresses the view that we are dealing here with a reality of some sort.
And one final point. Crookall's study casts a bright light on the brain/mind problem. Firstly, in many cases the dying persons experience a dual consciousness, being aware both of the surroundings where their physical body is located and also of a new environment toward which they are headed. It is as if there are two minds operating simultaneously. Secondly, once death has become irreversible there is a great expansion of consciousness. Thought has much greater range and clarity once the physical body, and its brain, are cast off. If we take these accounts seriously, this indicates (at least to me) that those who look upon the brain as a limiting, filtering device designed to help us survive in a dangerous and unpredictable world, are correct. The brain, as someone said--I think it was William James--is like unto a reducing valve.
I think anyone who gives Crookall's book some serious attention will find it to be a gold mine.

>It appears to me that those that die and come back through a medium do not experience the tunnel experience

All of these quotes (listed in the post) are from mediumistic communications:

"I remember a curious opening, as if one had passed through subterranean passages and found oneself near the mouth of the cave... The light was much stronger outside."

An alleged discarnate who said he helped people make the transition said he tried "to make this passage through the tunnel as happy as possible." (1931)

Another communicator said he traveled through a "dark tunnel" while leaving his body. Yet another spoke of "traveling down a tunnel".

A 1926 communicator said: "I saw in front of me a dark tunnel. I stepped out of the tunnel into a new world."

Hi all,

The 'meme' explanation was thoroughly squashed by "Historical Perspectives on Near-Death Episodes and Experiences", by John R. Audette (article, not book). He cites:

* Albert Heim's work on NDEs in people who survived life-threatening situations (such as falling climbers). Heim mentioned the 'quickening of thought', past-life review, and incidentally - for those that have ready my essay in Darklore, or Rogo's books on transcental music - that they often heard beautiful music.

* The near-drowning of Admiral Francis Beaufort in 1795. Again, the quickening of thought, and the life review ("the whole period of my existence seemed to be placed placed before me in a kind of panoramic review, and each act of it to be accompanied by a consciousness of right or wrong").

* Catholic priest Louis Tucker's NDE (occurred in 1909, but was published in 1943): "The sensation was not quite like anything earthly; the nearest familiar thing to it is passing through a short tunnel on a train. I emerged into a place where people were being met by friends. It was quiet and full of light, and Father was waiting for me.

And so on: besides tunnels and life reviews, other things that pop up are the 'telepathic' nature of communication in the otherworld, and also the 'crossing of a border'. He also cites Crookall's work as evidence of NDEs before Moody's book came out. I should mention too that Mike Tymn wrote up an early NDE on his blog a little while back.

The question in relation to correspondences with mediumistic communications, which I talked to Michael about via email, is whether these things were known at the time or in the occult literature. e.g. where does the saying "his life passed before his eyes" originate, how much was known about 'astral travel' etc. Myers wrote about the past life review in 1895, so it was at least in the literature - and would therefore be difficult to use as hard evidence that mediumistic communication is backed up by NDEs.

Kind regards,

In case you might be interested, I would like to relate some experiences that I had during a time of physical distress. This happened over a period of months and was many years ago. There were no drugs of any kind involved with these experiences (except some aspirin).

Different experiences:

-> Lying in bed and a buzzing vibration would be felt rather than actually heard although I am not sure that it wasn't "heard" in the brain. When the buzzing became so intense that I couldn't stand it any longer, I would feel my body slide out of bed and begin moving away. Being alarmed by the feeling of "leaving" my body, I would immediately feel a sudden reverse movement accompanied by a clicking sound that seemed to me to be a reconnection". I had this experience many times and would immediately know what the buzzing vibration presaged.

-> Several times when suffering from sleep deprivation, I would seem to fall asleep physically but not "soulfully" (I don't know how to put it into words). My physical body would be asleep and my "self" could sit up and turn around and look at "me" sleeping. When this happened there was an instant when I could experience how the physical mind was working and the physical mind was seeing a series of still pictures like a slide show but I don't remember what the pictures were about. I thought of this as my body falling asleep before my spirit could follow it. Weird, huh?

-> The only NDE type of thing to occur was once when I felt or dreamed (or whatever it was) that I had died. I was quite calm and ok with that but then suddenly had a terrible claustrophobic feeling like I was trapped in a shell. When that feeling seemed to become too intense, I felt as though I burst or exploded out of my "shell" and was then moving at an immense speed in an exceptionally bright light. The defining characteristic of that experience was that I was overwhelmed by the most wonderfully perfect love and joy and that I did not want the experience to end. I think that is what death is like and I will welcome it when it comes someday-- it was that wonderful.

I never did experience a tunnel or cave or anything like that. I am not entirely sure those experiences were even real, however they seemed perfectly real and not at all like dreaming. I think when you experience the tunnel then you are traveling from "here" to "there".

Thanks, Steve. Those are very interesting experiences.

While interesting, Steve, I can't help but feel your experiences are probably best explained as hallucination or some other similar phenomena.

michael your blog will not let me post. keep getting a message about anti spam or something.

According to the index tunnel is listed on pages 15, 60, and 104. I missed or forget the one on page 15. Little of my research to date that I can remember has talked much about the tunnel experience except during an NDE. But then my memory is suspect at this stage of my life.

It appears to me that passing through a doorway is mentioned more than passing thru a tunnel in this book but it appears that when one experiences an NDE passing through a tunnel is the most popular explanation of the transitional stage. I always wondered why an NDE would be different than those that cross over, communicate thru a medium, and don’t speak about the tunnel experience.

The last paragraph on page 55 is a worthwhile read concerning how or why mediums are able to produce ectoplasm and how sitters may be able to enhance this ectoplasm output. This appears to be the case, as it seems that sitters do influence the output of the medium. Many mediums have suggested this causal correlation between the sitters and the mediums having an impact on the séance.

I think I have posted this before on here but it is worth repeating.

“It is because of the divine spirit within us that we seek truth: it is because of the divine spirit without us that their is truth to discover” Lily Dougall page 51

This quote pretty well sums up my 16 years of research into one sentence. Love it. Something to ponder. Who is “us” if the divine spirit exists without us?

We're sorry, your comment has not been published because TypePad's antispam filter has flagged it as potential comment spam. It has been held for review by the blog's author.

this is the message. guess the blog spirits think I am a spammer.


Tnx for relating your experiences,I had similar experiences but I am reluctant to share them considering I have them very detailed and it would amount to a post similar to that of MP.

I agree with John that they might be something else,but I don't think they were hallucinations.What I think is important is the perception that u have during the experience.For instance,did the environement constantly change?Did u try to touch an item and you could "feel" it,if that is the case those are characteristics of (lucid) dreams

The feelings are unique during sleep-obe's.
The environement not the feelings however is how u recognize if its (similar) to a dream.

This happens during or right after sleep paralysis(sometimes the SP can be skipped)

The terrible claustrophobic feeling is sleep paralysis.

Back on topic however.The tunnel experience is something I never heard about in sleep induced obe's.There are tons of other feelings however I know of during obe's that are not common at all to Near death experiences.

There is a thin line between obe's, astral projections and lucid dreams.
From all the stuff I read and from my own experience I would describe it as followed:
Out of body experience: being out of body in the physical realm which makes it possible to check on friends and get some verifiable data from OBE's.

Astral Projection: out of body but projected to another realm/dimension/sphere/inner planes/afterlife whatever one wants to call it. Here beings etc, teachings can be experienced. But most of the time there is also some subconscious influence of how things are perceived like always.

Lucid dreaming: Out of body but totally in our own created world. Kind of like an astral projection with a huge amount of subconscious influence. Most of the time during LD's there isn't any communication with beings which are perceived other then pieces of ourselves.

Dreams: out of body but totally not self conscious and absorbed in our own drama play.

Anyhow I said there is a thin line because they can mix pretty easily with eachother.
During a lucid dream one can actually project from there to another plane. Or from an astral projection one could go back to the physical realm and actually
Kind of the same how a lucid dream can become a normal dream or how during a lucid dream there are gradations of self awareness...

I think the difference is felt in the athmosphere and the depth of the experience.
For people interested in learning how to have OBE's themselves checkout it's a free online book and gives a great introduction on the whole OBE thing.
Robert is a computer programmer and was a big sceptic himself untill the moment he started exploring it himself and couldn't deny his own experience. Real skepticism in action :)


"Dreams: out of body but totally not self conscious and absorbed in our own drama play.

Anyhow I said there is a thin line because they can mix pretty easily with eachother."

As I have often talked about on here I had a series of three dreams that were to me profound. the first two I learned later are called Summerland dreams. the last dream many call a visitation. to label these as just dreams even lucid dreams is a bit much.

Not many are as skeptical about dreams being anything other than our minds at work than myself, but it is one of those you have to experience it to appreciate it.

These dreams have only happened this one time 17 years ago and nothing like them since. There is so much we do not know about these types of dreams.

I suspect the other side uses dreams to contact us, as most of us are too materialistic and not sensitive enough to contact in an awakened state.

The description of passing through a dark tunnel towards light is exactly how i describe the memory of my birth which came back to me in the months following a violent trauma i experienced. The trauma seemed to have opened up some kind of door in my consciousness and i am now able to do automatic writing in a conscious state. Perhaps the birth process itself is a NDE, or the migration of the soul into 3D from another realm and in this way is similar to astral projection or NDEs.

I've had several experiences involving the tunnel of light but not associated with an NDE so my take on that aspect of interdimensional travel is a little different. My feeling is that a NDE brings on or opens a portal which is replicated in astral travel and certain shamanic drug experiences. One incident I had while visiting a friend in Paris occured when I came to a semi awake state and realized I was having an OBE and saw the tunnel of light next to my bed. I was standing next to my sleeping body when two being of light came out of it and proceeded to do an energetic healing on my body. They worked on both of my knees and they felt better the next morning. I had been having a lot of problems with my knees due to sports injuries and surgeries to repair a dislocation and torn cartiledge.
One other incident occurred when I drifted off to sleep after being up all night during an Ayahuasca ceremony in the jungles og Peru near Iquitos. Just as I felt I was drifting off to sleep the tunnel appeared next to my bed and I felt like I was sucked into it as I fell asleep.

paul brunton was mentioned in this book.

A word about Paul Brunton. This man spent his adult life seeking and writing about the meaning of life and traveled the world to find people such as enlightened Hindu masters to that end.

He was able to find tremendous peace doing meditation after many years in the Swiss Alps. I highly recommend his books not as absolute truths but as great insights into the mysteries of life.

Hope someday some of his books will be reviewed on this blog. Take note that many of his books were written after his death from his notes.

Yeah William,

Paul Brunton is great stuff.
I loved secret india and heremit in the himalaya. One of my favorite books.
I had his book secret india in my hands a few hours ago, gave it to a friend.
It would be cool to see a booklist of favorite books about spirituality from all the people here. I think some real gems could be uncovered for everybody.


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