• Paranormalia is written by Robert McLuhan, a journalist and author based in London. Please contact me at robertmcluhan@gmail.com

« Post-Traumatic Post-Mortem | Main | Medley »

May 20, 2014


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A 1960s OBE/Mystical Experience:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I think this posting may have gone unnoticed/commented on because its immediately below another new one so may be mistaken for an old one and go unread.

It was fascinating.

Not quite the same thing at all, but the description of " I saw a number of scenes of places of my childhood days— very rapidly" immediately caught my eye as in the last day or two I've been describing to a few people a peculiar night time post-sleeping/pre-waking mental imagery I get from time to time and am still not sure from responses whether its common, rare, or unique.

In the state described, and with eyes still closed, I occasionally see in my mind's eye an incredibly rapid slideshow of still images. Well not a slide show but one random image swapping for another. Think of a scene in many a movie where an advanced computer is searching its database for something, some match: its always depicted as hundreds of images flashing across the computer screen as it's doing its search of the memory banks. Well that's exactly what I see in my own minds eye. An incredibly rapid image search, which I can speed up, slow down or direct. It only lasts 20 or 30 seconds, but its happened half a dozen times.

I've never seen it as supernatural in any way..if anything, quite the opposite as it gives the impression of the brain as pure computer. But it is striking and odd. My question is, does everyone experience this and no one bothers to mention it?

Lawrence, what you describe sounds like hypnagogia (or hypnopompia), which I've read is quite common, but have rarely experienced myself, and not so vividly as you seem to.

A curious phenomenon!

I thought both forms of hynpadoodah were forms of conscious dreaming/hallucination...random flashes of images. Without knowingly experiencing either my perception may be wrong but my idea of it is quite different to what I'm describing.

I've just told anotehr friend about it, in relation to an incident the other night, and he was somewhat taken aback as he claims something very, if not entirely similar, at the start of hallucinatory/transcendental experience he apparently had after 3 days of complete insomnia "But anyway, in the run up to that main experience, I had a kind of overlay to my waking vision of rapidly changing images, like a flickerbook but moving so fast I couldn't tell what it was all about. After I'd fallen asleep later on and was having the big lucid experience, I did come to make sense of it but like I say it's a long and complicated thing."

Actually reading that back it sounds like he had his eyes open ("An overlay to my waking vision"), which again is different from what I experience. Though I suppose they're clearly related.

The experience I allude to the other night may well be worth reporting but I'm waiting for a reply from someone else to confirm some facts for me before I do.

It didn't quite happen this morning..nor would I expect it to..but a sort of embryonic version began, without the clear photographic images, and it confirmed somethng that occurred to me yesterday when mentally rehearsing it. The business of it going at great speed and being able to slow it down or speed it up seems to be directly related to rapid eye movement. Which is obviously a big clue. But clearly its not dreaming, not even the lucid kind, as speeding up or completely stopping the eye movement...akin to scanning the pages of a book like Superman.. is entirely in my conscious control and I'm ready to open my eyes at will,being essentially awake.

I should re-emphasise this experience has only been observed by me less than half a dozen times, and all in the last year or 18 months.

Lawrence, what you're describing is, indeed, 'hynpadoodah'. I get this every few days or so - usually when I'm doing my absent healing. I'm always relaxed, in a mild meditative state, but usually nowhere near sleep. I’ve found that, on occasions, I can bring it on – but not always. With me it's usually faces - sometimes in incredible 'hype-real' (to quote Dr Ian Rubenstein), 3D detail. However, I have to say that the visions are not always that clear – they sometimes have a flat, almost cartoon like quality to them. And the next grade down from that is cartoonlike and fuzzy. The visions are sometimes accompanied by noises – usually voices. Only rarely are they ever related to what I am thinking, I can only count faces I have recognised over the years one hand, and they have only been ‘veridical’, seemingly conveying information that I was not aware of, a couple of times.

I’ve met quite a few other people who get these visions too, none of whom are involved in any sort of meditative or psi related activity. The best example I can think of would be the elderly lady who had experienced seeing ‘the faces’ every night since childhood, just before sleep, and (with a nod to comments on Rob’s other post) had never told anyone other than her daughter about it for fear of ridicule.

Terming these experiences hypnogogic or hypnopompic ‘hallucinations’ is technically correct, of course. But, in my opinion this is a bit of a disingenuous cop-out, especially when the term is used in a pejorative sense by mainstream psychologists – as it always by skeptics. It is also rather unintelligent and lazy given that nobody has much of a clue as to how the brain (if, indeed, it IS down to the brain only) is able to produce these phenomena.

It is blindingly obvious to me that these ‘visions’ and the auditory phenomena that sometimes accompany them, when they are experienced by those who claim to be mediumistic or psychic, are exactly the same thing as ‘clairvoyance’ and ‘clairaudience’ in the Spiritualist/Spiritist sense, rather than the subtly different definition of those terms as framed by academic parapsychology.

A few other observations: -

1) The apparitions that I’ve seen over the years (including the one veridical example) are very similar to the best examples of these visions, but ‘exteriorised’ as if they have been superimposed over objective reality in a way that usually matches the context of lighting conditions etc…although usually not EXACTLY, almost as if the mind/brain cannot QUITE get it right.

2) The lower grade, two dimensional, visions resemble, very strongly photographs of some ‘materialisations’ I have seen. I’m thinking particularly of photo’s taken by Schrenk Notzing in his work with the medium Eva C.

3) The auditory phenomena, particularly the voices, sometimes sound like the very few believable (grade A) evp’s I have heard i.e. slightly faster than is natural, very short, and somehow ‘clipped’.

There's a phenomenon that I experience quite regularly - sometimes at will if I concentrate - where, as I'm about to drift off to sleep, I imagine a cinema screen before my closed eyes. Many times I've been astonished by the 'reality' of the faces and images that I see on that screen; and yet I never seem to recognize them.

That's it, Julie - exactly the same as me and the lady I mentioned. And it does actually look like a cinema screen - dark, but as if faintly illuminated from behind, sometimes with the usual patches of random luminosity that one perceives with ones eyes shut. The healer Harry Edwards described it as a mental mirror upon which clairvoyant images are projected.

I've seen faces I've recognised 3 or 4 times (out of hundreds). Only in two cases was I aware that the people concerned were deceased, and one of those (a child whose passing I'd witnessed a few days before) displayed veridical information, of which I had no knowledge, that was later confirmed.

All the other times they are completely different and unknown to me - from toothless old men to fresh faced children. Sometimes animated, sometimes not.

Steve, we must be kindred spirits! I can't tell you how refreshing it is when I describe my more anomalous experiences and understand, from your descriptions, that you have experienced exactly the same thing.

Julie, what has amazed me over the years is just how common these experiences are. I've lost count of the number of times that 'ordinary' people have volunteered information like that - often people (like the lady I mentioned earlier) who have never had any contact with the psi community, for want of a better term. That is refreshing, indeed, because like most, I started off thinking that these experiences were either rare or unique to myself. As you've mentioned, whatever these experiences actually mean (there is ample room for civilised debate there), it can be harmful, in many ways, to just keep quiet about this sort of stuff.

I don't think anyone else wrote that this exact story is in Andrew Mackenzie's excellent book; "Frontiers of the Unknown" the copy I have published 1968. all of Mackenzie's books are extremely good, (IMHO)
This one , and " Adventures in Time"; Encounters with the Past, which deals with amazing cases of retrocognition, are 2 of my absolute top recomendations for PSI books.

Which story is that, Sage? The subject of Rob's post, or the hypno vision stuff we were talking about?

Sorry, should have been more clear..I meant the subject of Rob's post...the experience of 'Peter Davidson' and his sister, after the death of their mother, in 1966. I had never read anything like it..and I hadn't read all the comments, just zipped to the end to add mine. Now I'll read all the comments, as it sounds like others have had experiences in a similer vein.

OK - thanks Sage.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • ‘A brisk, bracing look at this continuing controversy, exhaustively researched .. a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in parapsychology and its critics.’
  • ‘‘Packed with accurate information while at the same time surprisingly engaging and fun to read.’
  • ‘‘This is one book that gives a completely objective review of skeptical debunking, and spells out in detail a clear pattern of chicanery which pervades a well-funded and organized campaign against all psi research.’

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • ‘These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in.’ Alan Turing, computer scientist.

  • ‘I have noticed that if a small group of intelligent people, not supposed to be impressed by psychic research, get together and such matters are mentioned, and all feel that they are in safe and sane company, usually from a third to a half of them begin to relate exceptions. That is to say, each opens a little residual closet and takes out some incident which happened to them or to some member of their family, or to some friend whom they trust and which they think odd and extremely puzzling.’ Walter Prince, psychic researcher.

  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Arthur C. Clarke

  • ‘Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.’ Thomas Henry Huxley

  • We can always immunize a theory against refutation. There are many such immunizing tactics; and if nothing better occurs to us, we can always deny the objectivity – or even the existence – of the refuting observation. Those intellectuals who are more interested in being right than in learning something interesting but unexpected are by no means rare exceptions. Karl Popper, on the defenders of materialism.

  • If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. Arthur C. Clarke.

Become a Fan