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While John Michell has a brief break from this page,another living legend will be taking his place. Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and the author of The Sense of Being Stared at: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (Hutchinson, 17.99)
His website is Jonathan Cainer

Archive for Thursday 29th January 2004 - Out of the Body Experiences by Rupert Sheldrake

Out of Body image Some people have found themselves 'out of their bodies' as if their centre of consciousness has become detached from their physical body. Out of the body experiences often occur in moments of crisis, for example after accidents or during operations in hospitals.One man who was under general anaesthesia said: "Freely hovering and looking downwards from above, I saw my physical body lying on the operating table."

Usually people look down on their physical body from somewhere near the ceiling, and stay within the room. But sometimes they travel further. Shirley, in Broadstairs, told me: "I have felt myself step or float away from my body and have travelled at great speed outside of my body."

In some ways these experiences are similar to dreams, when we all have such experiences. While our physical bodies are asleep in bed, we have bodies in our dreams in which we can walk around, talk and even fly. The difference is that people enter 'out of the body' experiences from being awake, rather than asleep. The experiences seem clearer and more realistic than ordinary dreams.

Sometimes people travel out of the body and seem to see things that are really happening. Rachel, in London, said she found herself out of her body when she was critically ill in hospital. I decided to go home to see the family. I remembered what they were doing, and when they visited me the next day they confirmed my knowledge was accurate."

Many people are reluctant to talk about these experiences for fear of being thought strange. But out of the body experiences are commoner than most people think. Surveys have shown that about one person in five has had one. Some people can even induce such states at will, travelling wherever they like 'at the speed of thought'. But what is doing the travelling? Do we really have detachable minds, or is it 'all in the mind'?

Rupert Sheldrake would like to hear about 'out of the body' experiences. Email Rupert Sheldrake's researcher, with subject heading: Rupert Sheldrake.
Rupert's website:

Rupert Sheldrake

John Michell would love to hear about your experience of any unusual or unexplained phenomena.
If you have a favourite mystery subject - from spontaneous human combustion to ancient Celtic ritual sites, write to John, suggesting a theme. And if you have any answers or theories about the mysteries John will be highlighting, he would particularly like to hear from you.

Email mystery@cainer.comwith subject heading: John Michell
Please note, we regret that due to time restrictions personal replies may not be available.

John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you:

The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena
John Michell and Bob Rickard - A fascinating collection. Look up anything from urban legends to recorded unexplained phenomena - to the existance of ghosts. All presented in an organised, easy to follow manner, in related categories. A complete index and accompanying pictures with each entry. Excellent reference - excellent read.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
Was the most famous poet and writer of all time a fraud and a plagiarist? Was Shakespeare the "upstart crow" described by Greene as strutting in borrowed feathers, or Jonson's "Poet-Ape" who patched plays together from others' work? John Michell's witty investigation of the theories and claims reads like a series of detective stories. By the end of the book even the most faithful disciples of the Bard will find themselves asking, "Who Wrote Shakespeare?"

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