What Is An OBE (Out of Body Experience)? ARE OBEs Real?

Humans have been fascinated by OBEs for a very long time.

In the past, OBEs used to represent a bridge between the living and the dead, and even today, some people believe that there is more to OBEs than the eye beholds.

But what is an OBE and how is it connected to Astral Projection? Is there any proof that OBEs are real?

These are three questions we’re going to be answering today and much more!

What is an Out of Body Experience

Out of Body Experience

An OBE is a process by which the subject separates itself from its physical body, thereby allowing for the observance of the outside world, while technically still ‘asleep’.

Out of body experiences have long been tied to the paranormal, but newest research in the sphere of neuroscience has shown that OBEs can’t simply be labeled as hallucinations.

More on that later.

Robert Monroe, one of the pioneers of Astral Projection in the West, was one of the first people who adopted and used this term.

It has since been popularized and referenced in modern media through movies, books, comics, games…

An interesting study from 1984 has discovered that more than 10% of the global population have had an OBE some time during their lives.

What’s even more enticing is the fact that science confirms that some people can have OBEs deliberately, further giving legitimacy to Astral Projection.

Before we proceed, let’s first make a distinction between voluntary and involuntary OBEs.

Voluntary OBEs

As the name implies, these are OBEs that are induced on one’s own free will.


Illegal drugs, such as LSD, Ketamine and DMT (especially the latter) can help you have an OBE effortlessly.

As an example, a DMT experience doesn’t last for more than five to ten minutes in the real world, but to the subject going through the DMT trip, it will seem like hours have passed.

It’s similar to the time dilation experienced during Astral Projection.

This is a very enticing topic and if you’re interested in what science has to say about it, feel free to read this article.

Astral Projection

Through one of the various methods available, the subject separates himself from his physical body and enters the Astral Plane.

The person performing Astral Projection is trying to reach the Mind Awake – Body Asleep state, from which he is able to induce himself into the Astral Plane.

Astral Projection has been documented throughout the centuries and is recently surging in popularity.

It has not been scientifically disproven and continues to thrive, despite harsh criticism from the contemporary scientific community.

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats have been popularized by the Monroe Institute, the leading organization when it comes to researching human consciousness.

Two different tones are presented to the listener, which creates the illusion of a third tone.

It has been scientifically proven that binaural beats successfully change the brainwave patterns of our mind.

Sensory Deprivation

You might have heard of the anechoic chamber in Minneapolis, where the world record for staying in there alone is less than an hour long.

Humans go crazy when devoid of their senses for too long, but when it’s done with a purpose in mind, it can lead to OBEs.

Involuntary OBEs

On the contrary, involuntary OBEs are not intentional and they happen spontaneously, without the subject necessarily wanting them to occur.

NDE (Near-Death Experience)

NDEs are a type of OBE usually occurring during some form of neurological or physiological distress.

A large majority of subjects come out of NDEs as changed people, and this observation has been confirmed by science in multiple instances.

Most people report a change for the better; a bigger appreciation for life, higher empathy and a less materialistic view of the world.

However, a small minority of subjects become so enraptured by the experience that they end up having PTSD.

People have been describing NDEs since the dawn of time, and until recently, they were dismissed by science as nothing but mere hallucinations of the mind during distress.

However, this view is rapidly changing due to the works of Parnia and Van Lommel, which we will introduce in a later chapter.

Ring divided NDEs into five stages which have shown themselves consistent across cultural and socioeconomic sectors:

1. Peace

A feeling of bliss and tranquility experienced by the subject, eternal nothingness, rest.

2. Body Separation

The subject leaves its physical body behind. Consciousness is still present, despite the body being paralyzed.

3. Entering Darkness

The subject is deprived of any sensory input and travels towards the ‘light’.

4. Seeing The Light

The person sees a bright light emanating from above. The subject automatically follows the light and once it’s reached, the last stage ensues.

5. Entering Another Realm of Existence, Through The Light

In Astral Projection, this would be the path to the Astral Plane. However, in NDEs, this place is not defined, but is similar across all cultures.

It’s a place of bliss and oneness with the universe (or God), at least that’s how it is described by the subjects.

We can see many similarities between NDEs and Astral Projection, they are almost one and the same.

However, there are two distinctions, NDEs are: a) not intentional b) a lot more powerful than Astral Projection (hence the PTSD)

Obviously, Astral Projection is a lot safer than an NDE, which is always profound and groundbreaking, at least from the perspective of the subject.

Lastly, you cannot get PTSD from Astral Projection, and it is one of the safest OBEs out there.

I will proceed to name the rest of involuntary NDEs before moving on to the enticing research about NDEs and their connection to Astral Projection.

Sleep Paralysis

There is a huge connection between sleep paralysis and Astral Projection, since it’s closely tied to the hypnagogic state.

Some people report experiencing OBEs during sleep paralysis and that’s completely normal.

One notable thing about these instances is that the subjects DID NOT enter deep sleep during these occurrences.

Extreme Physical Strain

Long-distance runners and professional mountain climbers report a sense of dual vision, where they see themselves both from above and the ground.

It’s very interesting stuff and if you want to learn more about it, this paper should pave the way!

Clinical Studies on OBEs – Proof That Astral Projection Is Real?

As previously mentioned, contemporary science is quite leery of Astral Projection, NDEs and other types of OBEs.

Until recently, it has all been dismissed as a pseudoscience and proclaimed as sensory and auditory hallucinations induced due to high stress factors.

However, research in OBEs is progressing and what we have today is good evidence that there is something more to it.

We’ll present five studies in total, and by the end of it, you’ll be able to reach your own conclusions on whether it’s real or not.

The First Steps

Green made the first step in trying to scientifically uncover what was going on with subjects during OBEs.

Her 1968 book lists a compilation of 400 individual experiences on OBE, and she was completely impartial to the stories told to her by the subjects.

This is important because it meant that she was one of the first researchers that didn’t immediately dismiss the experiences as something fictional.

Her main goal was to categorize OBEs and provide a better understanding of the different experiences people went through during such an episode.

Her paper later helped Ring to identify and divide NDEs into five different stages, which we have already covered above.

Delving Deeper

Blanke discovered that it is possible to induce OBEs in healthy patients by tampering with two brain regions: The temporal lobe and the parietal lobe.

This is important because it showcases that brain activity changes during OBEs in these two regions, and not in areas usually associated with hallucinations.

The scientists concluded that these two regions are very important for controlling our sense of Self and when they are ‘disturbed’, an OBE arises.

I don’t particularly like the wording used by the researchers, but it’s a step in the right direction towards proving that OBEs aren’t just pseudoscience.

Sings of Veracity

Van Lommel studied more than 300 people who have suffered a cardiac arrest and that have been resuscitated in one of ten selected Dutch hospitals. Some patients had to be resuscitated multiple times, tallying the total number to over 500.

There were two groups mentioned in the research paper: Subjects who claimed to have experienced an NDE during resuscitation and subjects that claimed no extrasensory perception during resuscitation.

The latter were used as a control group, and their experiences were compared to the first group at the two and eight-year mark.

Most of the subjects didn’t experience an OBE (82%), but one particular case continues to fascinate scientists until today.

A 44-year old comatose man is admitted to the hospital, an important thing to note for later is that he had dentures in his mouth. They are removed and the hospital staff proceed with the resuscitation.

His prognosis was very bad and there was a high chance of him dying during the process.

One week later, after a successful recovery, the head doctor meets up with the patient to give him his medication.

The man proceeds to tell the doctor every little detail about the procedure and he even talks about his dentures being put on a car.

The staff is baffled by these words, as the patient was in a coma during the procedure.

There was no way he could know about these things!

‘’I’m no longer afraid of death.’’

These were his last words, before leaving the hospital a completely healthy man.

The paper ends with Van Lommel asking the broader scientific community to open up to the idea that consciousness might exist outside the body.

I especially like this quote of his which I’m going to share with you:

‘’NDE pushes at the limits of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind-brain relation.’’

AWAreness During REsuscitation (the AWARE study)

This is one of the most important pieces of scientific research on OBEs conducted in the 21st century.

This study was actually a follow up on Van Lommel’s research and its aim was to investigate whether patients WITHOUT a heartbeat can have OBEs and if they are experiencing consciousness.

The study started in 2008, with 25 hospitals from First World countries participating in the research.

Shelves containing images were installed in places not visible to hospital staff, so no outside interference could impede the research.

These shelves were installed in crisis units, where cardiac arrest is more likely to occur.

Funnily enough, most cardiac arrests happened outside of these units (78%) during the six years the research was ongoing, but enough data was still collected.

Out of 2060 patients, only 330 survived the attack and only 2% claimed to have had extrasensory perception during cardiac arrest.

Those cases were studied thoroughly.

The most interesting patient was a 57-year old man who accurately described the events that unfolded during his resuscitation.

The researchers concluded that he was aware of his surroundings for around three minutes, even though his heart completely stopped beating at one point!


While the previous study had many limitations, especially considering how much data was missed out on, this study is supposed to be a lot more accurate.

Recruitment started in 2014 and research is still on-going. The study was supposed to end in 2017, but has since been extended.

Four years later and we still don’t have much data on AWARE 2, probably because of the virus and the restrictions imposed by many hospitals.

A live conference was held in 2019, but didn’t yield a lot of data.


OBEs are a fascinating field of study, but more research is needed to find definitive proof of consciousness outside the physical body.

While we have some proof that OBEs are real (the two patients from the Van Lommel and Parnia study), it’s still not enough.

Research into consciousness takes a lot of time and resources. 

Considering how slow things are progressing, we can expect to have more answers in a decade, maybe two.

I will let you draw your own conclusions on whether OBEs are real or not, but I think one thing is pretty clear to anyone reading this:

There is something to it!

If you’re on the fence, the best way to convince yourself is to try it out!

It doesn’t have to be anything as mind-blowing as a full-on NDE, you can safely experience OBEs through Astral Projection.

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