Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
November 4, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 4, 1998
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
January 1, 1977
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210026-4.pdf736.72 KB
Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210026-4 By Joan Kron because it' has, implications for survival after death ..." On this past Halloween morning- after it dark and stormy night-4 saw the past, present, and future at the Waynesboro-Afton Holiday Inn, near Charlottesville, Virginia. A cow had somehow strayed onto U.S.. Highway 250 and was trotting along, unnerving motorists; in the inn's park- ing lot, a flotilla of Corvettes was lined up for a convention of Corvette own- ers; and in three adjoining rooms on the upper level, thirteen men and worn- en, including me, were lying in bed wearing earphones, trying to achieve an out-of-body experience-a phenomenon in which one feels one's consciousness is located outside the physical body. Out-of-body experience (OBE) could be the next body-control fad, a rival for fasting, yoga, TM, biofeedback, etc. But instead of being a means to control the body, OBE lets you escape the body. It's supposed to be a pleasant trip. And if you're looking for a mean- ingful experience, it couldn't be more so, for it poses questions about exis- tence and nonexistence. Parapsychologists are interested in the OBE for two reasons, says Univer. sity of California parapsychologist John Palmer; One, because "the OBE might be a state particularly conducive to ESP [extrasensory perception]" and two, be- cause "it would ~ ~a~g~s ~re w n th of survival after A?f sIC~]fiet~~a17i5rfu~r~9, s"' Parapsychologists are interested in out-of-body experience function outside the body before death might be able to function [outside] the body after death." No wonder people are beating a.path to Robert Monroe's door in Afton, Virginia. His M-5000 training program is a,pain- less, nontraumatic course in OBE using recorded speech and sound effects- and it's almost ready to go national. Some 600 pioneers have already tried it, and Monroe has a branch pro- gram in San Francisco. When I ar- ranged to join one of the weekend ses- sions, insiders warned me I'd be spend- ing a lot of time in bed. And Monroe warned me I couldn't expect to have an OBE on the first weekend. But I had high hopes for instant success. After all, I am an American. The $175 weekend (plus meals and motel room) did not attract the us- ual parapsychology crowd, although there were some in the group who knew their way around a seance table. There were three college students from Buffalo, a chiropractor from South Da- kota, a woman who had founded the Louisiana Society for Psychical Re- search, another who had recently lost her husband (and whose daughter is writing a book on ESP in dogs), an ac- countant whose hobby is religion and philosophy and who believes he's been works for Monroe, and an ordained minister. In addition; there were two young men-a hematologist from Wash- ington, D.C., and a professor of psy- chological counseling-who were re- ferred by Illinois psychiatrist Elisabeth KUbler-Ross, the cult figure of the death-and-dying movement and a Mon- roe booster. "Elisabeth Kdbler-Ross got out [of her body] both times she took the pro- gram," said one of the Monroe trainers. We were not so lucky. In the course of the three-day program no one claimed to have achieved liftoff. We had lain on our adjoining beds through three 45-minute tapes on Friday evening, nine 45-minute tapes on Saturday, and had about six to go on Sunday-and still nothing. The tapes evolved over a ten-year period. In 1973 Monroe took them- by invitation-to the Esalen Institute in Carmel for a tryout. In the M-5000 training-program jargon the tapes play combinations of sounds (using a pat- ented sleep-inducing method) with delta-theta pulsing, plus a binaural beat to help the left and right brain hemi- spheres get in sync. The voice-over in- struction-some barely audible-is a step-by-step buildup with each tape guiding you from relaxation to visual. sppy~}} a rcise to deeper relaxation to oM lQ iMQ i1niques for perceiv 444 I lu.Uatrd by 'l$ Approved or Release 2003/09/10 : - P96-00788R001700210026-4 `... x of C `astral flight,' claims Monroe, he visited the home o: a skeptical, woman friend and gave her an astral pinch . ." ? ing and controlling nonphysical energy and refocusing consciousness away from physical reality. But to me it sounded like ocean waves with a mesmerizing voice telling me, "Now you will conduct your exercise in resonant breathing as I guide you.... You will know you have reached the resonant point when you feel an intensive vibration and hear a roaring or hissing sound in your head or experience patterns of light...." And so it goes, hypnotically and some- what pretentiously; from C-One (your conscious physical waking state), to Fo- cus Ten (body asleep, mind awake), to Focus Twelve (state of expanded non- physical awareness), to exercises in re- mote viewing of, a six-digit number (no one guessed it right), to psychokinesis (trying to make a cotton ball rise-it didn't), to your energy bar tool (sort of a mental chinning bar), to Focus Fifteen (the state where time does not exist or is unimportant), to, it is hoped, the dis- crete out-of-body state. The woman from Louisiana kept falling asleep and someone else found himself swallowing a lot. "They were resisting," we were told. Some people in other sessions dropped out because "they might not be able to take the assault on their value structure." I had a brief moment when I felt I was flying over New York, but maybe that was what scientists call the "halo" effect- trying to please the teacher-except I didn't tell my teacher. "Why do I pursue this?" asked the physician from Washington, rhetorical. ly, in one of our walks around the deck between tapes. "Because I trust Kubler- Ross," he answered himself. "She says it happens, so I believe it happens." I know it happens. I have had many OBE's myself, years ago in the dentist's chair when nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was commonly used for anesthesia. On ,those occasions, I relished the sensa- tion of floating out of my body up to the ceiling, looking down on myself. It wasn't like dreaming, because I felt fully aware, present. I could even talk to my doctor. There was a dizzy Fan- tasia-like delirium about it that made me feel omnipotent. The only thing I disliked about those levitations was the smell of the gas. For years, I felt unique for having had those experiences. But now I've learned that untold thousands of ordi-? nary Americans have had OBE's. They can be triggered by therapeutic drugs, marijuana, LSD, anesthesia, hypnosis, with a wink, "I don't think they're put- ting everything that happens in it." The 61-year-old Monroe seems to need to legitimize his OBE's to prove that they're more than hallucinations or altered states of consciousness, so he's building an institute to go with them, complete with a "respectable" board of advisers (Kiibler-Ross is one), sci-fi jargon, and a hypothesis that ESP and OBE's are related to some kind of more Intelligent life on other planets. His explanation reads like a B-movie script. And it's expectable from a man who scripted a few episodes of The Shadow when he was a New York writer, producer, and programmer in radio's early days. Today Monroe sells the out-of-body trip the way Don Wil- son sold Jell-O. "The main thing is how do you feel about the Ten state? Can you feel the difference be- tween the Ten state and the Twelve state? You'll get to the 'I know' sys- tem--'I know I am something, other than physical matter.' That's the begin- ning stage. You don't need proof for that.... You must overcome the bar- rier of nonknowing. . You can't crash-program out of your body.. . . You must log a number of exercises. Our failure rate is zero [if you prac- tice]. Ten is simplistic. Twelve is the gateway. I won't begin to tell you the things you can do with it." Monroe's brochure claims his courses are good for almost anything: Heal- ing. Re-energizing yourself. Pain reduc- tion.Dehabituation from smoking, drugs, and overeating; concentration and decision-making techniques; accelerated data-learning; exploration and contact with other energy systems. "So have a good time, folks, up there in Twelve," says Monroe. "When you get into Twelve, you're on the fringe of space time." And "Thank you," joked our leader, Nancy, his stepdaughter, "for, flying Monroe-via." Though "flying" out of the body may be an intriguing diversion in itself, a prime concern of the OBE buffs is its relevance to life after death. Life-after-death (also called sur- vival) research isn't new. It started in the nineteenth century and got a tre- mendous boost in the late 1940s when prospector James Kidd bequeathed nearly $300,000 to anyone who could prove that the soul survives death. In 1972, after the "Great Soul Trial," Kidd's money was finally divided be- tween the American Society for Psychi- meditation, sensoryAlpp#eatbI,FwreR eleWw 2WOQ9/dOryCI DP"9"Eb78$FRORdsZAGg4QA2BI2b and the Psy- treme stress. '.. . keeping a diary, 'but,",, says Monroe chical Research Foundation (PRF) in "But the best way. to have an OBE," says University of California psychol- ogy professor Dr. Charles Tart, "is to almost die." Whether it's the best way for you to have one or not, it guarantees quick attention from doctors of varying spe- cialties who will want to debrief you for.their forthcoming books. And if you have OBE's often enough or can achieve them at will, you may be invited to Stanford Research Insti- tute in California, the Psychical Re- search Institute in Durham, North Car- olina, the American Society for Psychi- cal Research in New York City, or the Clarke Institute in Toronto, Canada- where you will be hooked up to brain- wave machines and tested on all sorts of neurological equipment to help sci- ence fathom the enigma of the ORE. The big question is, when it's not caused by body-chemistry alteration, fever, or trauma to the brain, what is the . OBE state's neurophysiology? Sci- entists are, fairly sure about what it's not. It's not a dream state; it's not a sleep state. The only consistent finding emerging from studies; says John Palm- er, "is a reduction of eye-movement activity during OBE's." Gifted OBEers are almost as rare as certifiable ghosts-the most notorious ones around are New York artist Ingo Swann, Maine psychic Alex Tanous, parapsychologist Stuart "Blue" Harary, who works at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center, and M-5000 entre- preneur Robert Monroe. They all claim that they can travel and/or project their consciousnesses, or"doubles," as they're called, to other locales. One of the aims of Monroe's program is to turn up gifted OBEers for his eight-per- son "explorer group." "We're really paying Monroe to be his guinea pigs, aren't we?" said the Louisiana woman in a flash of enlightenment. Monroe is the author of journeys Out of the Body, which chronicles his experi- ments with inhaling glue fumes, fol- lowed soon after by his first spontaneous OBE at age 43, and since then his con- tinuously recurring OBE's. On one "astral flight," Monroe claims. he visited the home of a skeptical woman friend and gave her an astral pinch. The result- ing black-and-blue mark is proof, say be- lievers, of his dual existence in the OBE state. Monroe claims he can now "fly" in tandem with his wife and that two of his "explorers," a husband and wife who live miles apart, visit each Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210026-4 ev. our heavenly new name... JVC America, Inc., 58.7 iUM s e1s toll-free outside N.Y. 800.221.750 ..Cana Thank you, ormaa meecli,for What would you call a schizophrenic little portable package that's partly a sensitive FM/AM/PSB radio, partly a mini TV set? You name it, you win it, we said, and we were hit with an avalanche of names for our Model 3050. But one caught our eye. Gemineye. So, thanks, Reverend Norman Kuck. We hope you enjoy your Gemineye as much as we like the name. Could it have been VC divine inspiration? Both organizations used the moncf to test the separate existence of the OBE- er's "double." It was hard to prove. Meanwhile, ASPR research director Dr. Karlis Osis, with some extra sup- port from Xerox inventor Chester Carl- son, also did a cross-cultural survey of deathbed visions as reported by doc- tors and nurses. According to Osis, many dying pa- tients insist they have glimpses of post- mortem existence, persons long dead, scenes of otherworldly beauty. Espe- cially common were apparitions of the patients' deceased mothers, spouses, and offspring, whom Osis calls "take- away figures," whose role was to take the dying patients to the other side. "The data," says Osis, "are more con- sistent with life after death than with death as total destruction. But it's not proven." Where the parapsychologist won't rush to conclusions, psychiatrist Elis- abeth KObler-Ross doesn't fear to tread. "I'm convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is life after death." she said in a recent newspaper interview. Her encounter with the ma- terialized persona of one of her de- ceased patients seems to be one of her proofs. Her other "proofs" of life after death are the out-of-body experiences of dying patients. God knows I'd like to believe in life after death. Like most survivors, I have yearned to be, even dreamed of being, united with my dead daughter. Sometimes when I put the key in the lock of my apartment door, I feel she is hovering over me in the hall. After she died, it was comforting to imagine her being taken care of by all those who had predeceased her-my grand- father, my father, my friend's son. The theory of evolution notwith- standing, belief in "the other side" is almost a reflex action, Miracles are programmed into us from the begin- ning-through our religions, our my- thology, and our fairy tales. "If you be- lieve in fairies," says Peter Pan, "Tin- ker Bell will live." And If you don't be- lieve in fairies, Tinker Bell will die. Following that line of reasoning, if you believe in life after death, you will find it-and if you don't, you won't. So we skeptics hunger for proof. It's no surprise, then, that Dr. Ray- mond Moody's book, Life After Life, embellished with a foreword by KObler- Ross, is a best-seller. There was a favorable reaction from all religious denominations,' and sales of the book went out of sight. Members of the thanatology commu- nity (who study death), however, had 1~ ~j~ U 11 fits. After working for years to con- e 419PA a P I ~ 01i1-1t4(i$"026 t the psychology of at JVC Electronics of Canada, Ltd., Scarborough, Ont. death and dying was a worthy. sub- The personal portable Approved For Release 2003/09/10: CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210026-4 ...`,, ust because she heard them say she was dead doesn't mean she was dead. Maybe it was. a lousy diagnosis,' said Blacher. . ject for scientific study, one of their as dying. Flying to San Francisco is not cination or a religious experience. We own members, Kubler-Ross (who was the same as San Francisco. Just because need to reassure patients they are not already getting flak from her colleagues the patient heard the doctor say she [crazy]." for her . stages-of-dying theory), was was dead doesn't mean she was dead. But apparently no one ever needs now steering thanatology into spiritual- , .. Maybe it was a lousy diagnosis." to reassure them again about dying. ist waters. "1 admire Elisabeth tremen- Even Moody admits, "I certainly "People who have survived this expe- dously," said one colleague, "but I don't. think that a logical conclusion rience are no longer afraid to die," says don't believe in mixing one's religious can be drawn that these are life-after- Moody. ' beliefs with science." "I have left in- death experiences," thereby contradict- Must you almost.die to conquer your structions," said another, "not to let ing his own book title and book jacket. fear of dying? that woman within a mile of my death- So why did Moody, a man the Ban- According to parapsychologist John bed." tam P.R. person says has "this integrity Palmer (in a paper entitled "Conscious- But most of the critical blasts are thing," call his book Lite After Life? ness Localized in Space Outside the aimed at the 32-year-old Moody, a psy- "I didn't pick the title," Moody told Body," published in Osteopathic Physi- chiatry resident, now on leave from the me. "But . . . I especially like it be- cian, April, 1974), "Many persons who University of Virginia to write a se- cause it doesn't say life after death." have had striking OBE's report that the quel to his best-seller. "As anecdotes,' And why does his Bantam paper- experience convinced them of survival I'd give the book B-minus," says Uni- back bear the subhead "Actual case after death and eliminated their fear versity of California professor of histories that reveal there is life after of death. Whether or not this con- thanatology and suicide expert Dr. death"? clusion is objectively valid, it does Edwin Shneidman, "and as research, "It's hard to trust the copy on the suggest therapeutic possibilities for the I'd give it D-minus." covers of books," says Moody. Then he OBE.... [It] may help persons engaged Life After Life is based on interviews adds, "Just as it's impossible to infer in high-risk occupations... where fear... with 50 people who came close to death there is survival after bodily death, may adversely affect . . . performance. through accident, illness, or injury-as there is no way to assume that there is (It] might also provide comfort to pa- well as some who were judged or pro- not." tients in certain stages of terminal pounced clinically dead and were resus- The "clinical death" cases in his illness." citated. Nowhere in the book, however, book refer to people whose heartbeat Kubler-Ross, who once said she "ex- does Moody state exactly how many of and respiration had stopped, who had pected tb die fighting and not accept- his subjects were pronounced dead, or no blood pressure, and whom the phy- ing," is now an adviser to Robert Mon- how many had a spiritualist orientation. sician had considered dead. "Cardiac or roe on his Star System program-an Moody says merely that he himself has even i resp ratory standstill does not, OBE course for the terminally ill that never been interested in spiritualism however, automatically mean the onset has certain similarities to earlier stud- and that many of his subjects were doc- of clinical death," it says in the 1976 ies using LSD for the terminally ill. tors and nurses, from which, presuma- Encyclopaedia Britannica section on "'It's a program to help the dying get bly, we are to infer that they are totally death authored by Elisabeth Kubler- a foothold on the other side," says Mon- objective about their experiences. Ross. "The pronouncement of death is roe. "If there is a great beyond, there's In a recent lecture at Columbia- much more problematical and contro- a place for out-of-body. Given three Presbyterian Medical Center, Moody versial than most people realize," says months, we can easily train a person said that fifteen elements crop up again medical ethicist Dr. Robert Veatch. to achieve out-of-body experience and' and again in the experiences of his sub- "When a person says, 'I died for change his concept of death and estab- jects: "There was an alarming audi- three minutes and had this experi- lish a beachhead where he's going." tory sensation, like a swarm of bees- ence,' this person was not dead. He Encouraging the dying to believe in this is referred to as the' moment of or she transiently ceased respiration an afterlife isn't new. "I don't dis- death. Many people said they heard and heartbeat but not all brain func- courage a belief in life after death," the doctor pronounce them dead. Then tion. Key brain function had to be says Philadelphia hematologist Dr. J. there was a feeling of being drawn there or the person couldn't come Lawrence Naiman, who works with leu- down a tunnel, valley, or sewer, then back." Even Moody concedes the "re- kemic children, "It's a strong element the sensation of looking at their body turn" to life of these people was "no providing comfort in dying children from outside of it, of floating on the physiological miracle . . . something and their families." The Monroe, pro- ceiling. They feel they can't get through was going on in those bodies in order gram doesn't discourage it either. to their doctors and nurses. They often for them to be resuscitated." But what During the M-5000 weekend, the lead= feel someone who has died before accounts for the out-of-body visions of er casually mentioned that "one woman them is there to meet them. They have these near-death experiences? As Moody took the course to try to reach her son flashes of their life or a panoramic re- admits in Life After Life, they might who had died." My pulse quickened. view of it-in 3-D, all at once, not se- be attributed to drugs, isolation, or (I have never tried to communicate with quentially. And they see a being of , cerebral anoxia. When oxygen levels my daughter. I do have, a friend who light, a loving, warm, accepting being are tampered with, you can get all prearranged all sorts of signals with her that most of them called 'he' or Christ sorts of subjective visions and dissoci- husband when he was dying, but after or the Supreme Being or the angel." ative effects like OBE's, his death she never received a message "It's fascinating as near-death experi- But please don't call it hallucination, or sign.) The next day I asked non- ence," said Boston psychiatrist Richard as if comparing these patients to, psy- chalantly if that woman had. ever Blacher. "The trouble lies in the subtle chotics. Man of these extrapolation that t11~~ ~ y people, says reached her dead son. A lot of people sffno curred after dying. %e t t r?Rel.ct that their a ience 9 hallu 8 0 dya d ' No6tt diuringtthe hat train- A ppt'ovecl Faw Releaee.20,031..09/10 -, CIA-RDP067QUz88.RQP17.0021QA26-4_..,_... .'Our own death is unimaginable,' says .." Dr. Noyes, `so .we, become observers'. Ultimate masterpiece of a hotel where you can get.lost Hideaway far away from the crowd. Stroll together along sun-washed beaches. Ride for miles over wind-swept dunes. Relax in the Spa; There are Intimate candlelit dinners. Dancing Into the nice: Mni K VK and you. (~ The service Is truly gracious, \\\\ At.,reet so as not to Intr de u on Star Island WE CAN TEACH ANYONE TO DANCE. JUST FOR DANCING offers a new series of LATIN HUSTLE CLASSES Starting Jan, 3, 1977 ? 16 hours - Beginners ? ' 16 hours - Intermediate ? 8 hours -Advanced PLUS 4 Line Dance Classes 4 Practice Parties $4800/a series FOR YOUR FREE PRIVATE LESSON, CALL 365-5656 677 Fifth Ave. NevApWo For Ro ing-program weekend," we were told. cal extension of this experience oc- "She reached him after months of prac- curred almost exclusively in persons in tice at home." whom some alteration of cerebral funs- The search for reunion with the lost tioning might be presumed to have oc- love object, as C. Murray Parkes points curred-for example, cases of drown- out in his book Bereavement, is biolog- ing, where, it's implied, there might ical-an animal instinct. Similarly, the have been a lowered level of oxygen griever is drawn to reunion like the to the brain. And 47 percent of those moth to the flame. Many suicides are who believed death imminent had pan- reunion-bound. So I felt ambivalent oramic memories. Although much the about this possibility-attracted and at same symptoms are .found in deperson- the same time guilty for not wanting to alization brought on by marijuana in- leave life yet. Still, I was curious to toxication, says Noyes, the revival-of- talk to that woman. As it turned out, memories component appears to be she had never actually "been able to more closely associated with life-threat- contact" her son. However, since she ening circumstances, and bears a strik- had taken the Monroe course she had 'ing resemblance to a typical grief had a dream in which her son 'told her reaction, where memories of deceased not to. worry about him-he was not persons, resembling. lifelike presences, alone. are reported during the acute stages and Whether or not OBE can help sur- represent a bereaved person's clinging vivors, do we need an OBE rehearsal to and at the same time severing ties for dying? A paper by University of with the lost loved one. It could also Iowa psychiatrist Russell Noyes Jr. and explain Osis's "take-away figure." clinical psychologist Roy Kletti entitled What about the tunnel Moody's people "Depersonalization in the Face of Life- see? "I've heard of experiences like Threatening Danger: A Description" that but not very many," says Noyes. and a 'subsequent interpretive paper While there's no question that peo- could save you hours of practice with pie are concerned about the hereafter, earphones. Noyes and Kletti interviewed studies show that people don't fear 104 people who had had near-death death nearly as much as they fear experiences. dying. Will I be in pain, disfigured, "The accounts revealed the almost in. abandoned? These are the universal stantaneous development of depersonal- fears. "What does it feel like to die?" ization"-a cluster of reactions includ- is a question that's common to patients ing altered perception of time, lack of who know they are dying. emotion, feeling of unreality, altered at- Noyes's work, contrary to Moody's, tention, sense of detachment, loss of addresses these fears by explaining the control, panoramic memory, and the in- out-of-body experience and the accom- ability to describe it-"followed ... by panying phenomena as an automatic a separation of the observing from the component of dying rather than a pre- participating self [OBE].. . . Deper- sumption of being dead. "One may sonalization," write Noyes and Kletti, take comfort," says Noyes, "from the "... appears to be an almost universal fact that if suddenly confronted by [im- reaction to life-threatening danger. As minent] death, one might find within such it may be a basic adaptive pattern oneself the resources for coping with of the nervous -system...." that frightful prospect. In such an ur- "It's an emergency mechanism," pent moment, the strength may be Noyes told me, "a reflex action, if you found to effect a rescue, but failing like," which, as his article explains, that, to face life's end with serenity- "has been viewed psychologically as a even acceptance." defense against anxiety. Freud felt we Yes. I find that a tremendous com- tend to eliminate death from our lives fort. And it makes me suspect that it's by becoming ... detached observers. no more necessary to rehearse for dying Our own death is indeed unimaginable, than it is to learn to breathe. so we perceive that we really survive But don't let me ground you. The as spectators. Thus, in the face of mortal nonchenrical out-of-body trip may just danger, we find individuals becoming Possibly be-like meditation-a first- observers ... effectively removing them- class ticket to relaxation, selfactualiza- selves from danger." tion, and enlightenment. Noyes reports that 49 percent of the It may also be the quintessential vi- people he interviewed experienced de- carious experience for our plastic sur- tachment from body. A sense of harmony gery-prone, de-aging, death-denying I 2 b 1 90 - ~ ' I fin jeo le have. every su leas, an the au say t e mys - in ention o i in rover.