Survey results - preliminary study (2017)

Disclaimer: This is a preliminary study which was not officially affiliated with any institution or academic supervision (although I closely followed my institution's code of ethics). The aim of this survey was to explore the characteristics of out-of-body experiences (OBEs), prior to starting my undergraduate dissertation and to help me narrow my focus.

I added several questions (noted where applicable) and removed some which I felt were irrelevant or uninsightful over the course of the survey. There were between 25-34 respondents for each question unless noted otherwise. Please excuse the rough presentation of data, but I hope it stimulates ideas especially among other out-of-body experiencers!

Jump to question:

​Preliminary Questions

1) Approximately how many OBEs have you had?

2-5: 18%

5-10: 18%

10-20: 9%

20-30: 12%

30-50: 9%

50-75: 0%

75-100: 9%

100+: 12%

300+: 18%

Summary

35% of respondents have had 10 or fewer OBEs

26% have had 100+ OBEs

21% have had between 10-30 OBEs

18% have had 30-100 OBEs 

 

 

2) Have any other family members also had an out-of-body experience?*

Yes, maternal side: 12%

Yes, paternal side: 3%

Yes, both sides: 15%

Yes, sibling(s): 29%

Unsure: 26%

No: 23%

*Note: This is highly dependent on: a) family communication, and b) understanding of what an OBE is. Siblings may talk about these things more, and some may dismiss an OBE as merely a strange dream.

#s of OBEs

Family members who have had an OBE

"I was flying in a street and I started to spot a guy walking. He did not know I was there. I tried to 'manipulate' him energetically before realising it was not ok and stopping. The guy kept walking as if nothing happened."

The Out-of-Body Environment

1) If your sleeping place is visible, is your physical body also usually visible from an out-of-body state?

Visible: 47%

Not visible: 18%

Equally both: 18%

Unsure: 15%

I haven’t seen my sleeping place: 3%

 

2) If there are others sleeping in the same area as you, are their physical bodies visible to you?*

Visible: 60%**

Not visible: 15%

Equally both: 12%

Unsure: 12%

* 9 N/A as question added to the survey late. (25 respondents in total.)

** 2 of those who responded 'yes' also said that they hadn't seen their sleeping place (deleted question), leading me to wonder about the nature of their experience.

Physical body visible?

Physical body of others' visible?

The Second Body

1) Do you recall seeing or sensing any attachment between your physical and ‘second’ bodies? If so, what part of the body was it attached to and what did it look and/or feel like?

Yes, seen: 23%

Yes, felt: 9%*

No: 59%

No, but seen on others in same bed: 3%

No, didn't care about physical body or seemed irrelevant: 12%

* Two others (not included in these statistics) responded that they felt 1. 'heavy, like being pulled' and 2. 'only sensations of pulling or stretching as 'separation' process happening'.

 

Attachment/cord

"There is a real serenity and a kind of quiet detachment with the physical world. I can also feel like I am soaring very fast sometimes. It feels fun and playful. That would scare me in the physical."

2) If you answered yes to the above question, what purpose do you think this cord/attachment serves? Why do you think so?

Responses from people who have had 75 OBEs or less

  • "​To keep you in your body."

  • "Potentially so that you can return to your body if you stray too far? Just a theory!"

  • "Maybe it acts as a bind for our physical and not physical selves. This way we can have more control over leaving or staying in the physical."

  • "I think it's a metaphor and not always present. It depends on your beliefs. I never attached any importance as I think that all our 'bodies' are just different focus points on reality. My metaphor is different, kind of a 'conscious connection without any cord', like WIFI."

  • "Not sure. Perhaps it was that my energy was close between bodies as I was very close to my physical body. In fact my legs were still in."

Responses from people who have had more than 75 OBEs

  • "Thought form created by projector to ease fear of losing body."

  • "Maybe to psychologically support those who have fear of not returning."

  • "To keep the soul with the body. To stop me going further than I'm ready to go now."

  • "I actually think the cord acts as a safety rope to stop inexperienced travelers from going too far. If you can get to the point where you no longer need the cord, you are free to see what is behind the astral."

  • "Higher energies are manifesting physical body."

  • "I believe it's a psychological construct only; I believe it serves no astral function."

  • "I think there is some sort of energy attachment that 'feeds' our physical body with the necessary energy we need to be 'alive' in the physical body on Earth. Once we die, cord severed. Logically there has to be some sort of connection from the beyond to the physical."

Purpose of attachment/cord

Navigating the OBE

1) Have you ever felt as though you were being pulled out of your body by someone or something else?

Yes, often: 6%

Yes, sometimes: 44%

No: 48%

 

2) Have you ever felt as though someone or something else was directing your OBEs (e.g. from location to location, etc.?)

Yes, often: 10%

Yes, sometimes: 35%

No: 55%

 

3) Have you ever gone into an OBE from a lucid dream?*

Yes, often: 15%

Yes, sometimes: 55%

No: 30%

*This was out of a pool of only 20 respondents due to late addition of this question.

 

4) Have you felt drawn repeatedly to specific people, places or times? If so, please describe, including any explanations for this:

Yes: 51%

No: 42%

Unclear: 7%

 

​Responses

  • "Shown the axis mundi (hadn't heard of it at time) while in labour."

  • "Other incarnations, and lower realms to help."

  • "Park-like place, but most random."

  • "Alien worlds"

  • "Underwater past life 3x"

  • "People"

  • "Future"

  • "Sometimes will 'know' I am outside of house of someone that I might have known before, but don't see or interact with them."

  • "To close friends"

Being pulled out of your body

 OBE seemed   directed  by other

Lucid dream --> OBE

Recurring OBEs

Interactions While Out-of-Body

1) Whilst out of body, have you ever been seen by a person, animal or other being which seemed NOT to be in the out-of-body state?*

Yes, human: 28%

Yes, animal: 20%

Yes, other beings: 36%

No: 40%

Unsure: 8%

*Among those who answered yes (13 out of 25 respondents), there was some overlap regarding what they had been seen by, as this was multiple choice. Out of these, 53% chose 'yes, human', 46% said 'yes, animal' and 77% said 'yes, other beings'. 31% chose all three, 8% chose both human and animal, and 8% chose both human and other beings. No respondents chose animals and other beings without also choosing humans.

If you answered yes to the above, what was their reaction to you?

  • "In-the-body people either completely ignore me. If not, they always avoid eye contact, 'talk' to me telepathically, and seem very distracted, as if I was talking to their subconscious mind only. Afterward, they never have recollection of the conversation. Animals often see my astral form and react to it."

  • "They were not surprised to see me. Took in in stride."

  • "A memorable one appeared to be terrified. I gave her a small pinch, and the reaction was one of horror."

 

2) Have you ever seen people, animals or other beings whilst out of body who COULDN’T see or hear you? Please select all that apply:

Yes, humans: 56%

Yes, animals: 15%

Yes, other beings: 12%

No: 18%

Unsure: 12%

(33 respondents)

Responses

  • "The most remembered is going to a mall and no one could see me."

  • "Many times I have tried to communicate with the physical, and I fail every time. Even when I know the people and can ask for confirmation later."

  • "I was flying in a street and I started to spot a guy walking. He did not know I was there. I tried to 'manipulate' him energetically before realising it was not ok and stopping. The guy kept walking as if nothing happened."

  • "I was a sphere of energy and guiding a man on a horse. He couldn't see me but I don't know about the horse."

  • "Floating over a couple in bed in a neighbouring house but they didn't see me."

  • "I've been out of body and my animals cannot see me."

  • "I was at a friend's house. I am a Reiki healer and saw my friend in his kitchen with his back towards me. Saw his whole aura, instantly started doing a healing session on him what I would call astral healing."

  • "They look right through me, walk through me, and generally ignore me."

  • "They spoke to me as if I was at the end of their bed in physical form, they acted as though all was normal and communicated by asking what I was doing for example. One witness spoke to me and when they realized it was not really me they became temporarily paralyzed in their bed, unable to move or utter another word until they saw me slowly fade away."

Being seen by someone not in OOB state

Not being seen by someone seemingly not in OOB state

The Mental/Emotional State

1) Do you find that your personality, behaviour, emotions or urges are different compared to your waking self?

Yes: 32%

Sometimes: 23%

No: 35%

Unsure: 9%

If you answered yes or sometimes to the above question, please describe:

  • "I am excited and happy and love everyone. I have no negativity or ego."

  • "A different focus. Priorities are different. The intellect isn't as sharp and emotion can be felt."

  • "Enhanced emotion, enhanced and inappropriate sex drive at times, as in feeling sexual attraction to someone that in waking life I am not."

  • "With a new-found freedom of projection, I am drawn to explore a realm I've had no previous connection to. I am interested in meeting a guide of some kind to help me."

  • "Really more conscious. My body is faster, more lightweight. Vivid and reactive. I can fly and jump into the void."

  • "I am a lot more courageous, less inhibited, wiser. I am aware of a lot more than when in my physical body and I am also less attached to life on Earth."

  • "If something really exciting to me is happening, I tend to get excited. We all know how that ends. Back in the body."

  • "Since there was no time, I never felt any limitations or any obligations. There was a sense of absolute freedom and even power."

  • "Personality does not so much change, but emotions seem magnified."

  • "Feel very joyful especially when flying and immense love."

  • "There is a real serenity and a kind of quiet detachment with the physical world. I can also feel like I am soaring very fast sometimes. It feels fun and playful. That would scare me in the physical."

Personality in the OBE

Verification of Experience

1) Have you ever been able to verify any of your out-of-body experiences?

Yes: 59%

No: 38%

Unclear: 3%

 

2) Has anyone reported a dream similar to your OBE on the same day or night?

Yes: 35%

No: 61%

Unclear: 3%

 

If you answered yes to either of the above, please describe your experience and how it was verified.

  • "Use of a password system - we each gave a password to a course leader in total confidentiality, and agreed to exchange passwords with one another if we met each other in the out of body state. After the experience we shared our findings with the group. I obtained two passwords from people whilst in the OBE state."

  • "I viewed the roof of my home from the air and was able to verify what I saw upon awakening."

  • "I had a teacher who assisted me in this experiment and taught me something which would have taken a lot of time in the physical plane. Later I confirmed the knowledge from him."

  • "I was able to verify the first OBE I ever had...it was my only true spontaneous OBE without attempting an intentional projection. I was able to confirm who was downstairs, what they were doing, and even witnessed my mother coming up the stairs with a laundry basket, and came into my bedroom and walked in on me during a horrible episode of sleep paralysis. My eyes were wide open, I couldn't move, and it was how my first OBE ended. I thought I had died right then and there."

Veridical OBEs

Shared dream/OBE

​"I had a very vivid dream about a deer who had been hurt outside of my house but things looked different. I held the deer in my arms and it looked at me as if trying to tell me something. For some reason the 'dream' left me feeling disoriented and upset when I woke up. I told two members of my family straight away. As we sat on the sofa I had that feeling you get when someone is looking at you. I turned around and straight away I saw out of the window across the street a deer looking straight at me while both family members watched saying nothing more than 'That's weird'.The deer stood there for 10 minutes then walked away. Could give other examples but it would take a while. I don't like to talk about this much."

Other Experiences

1) Were you ever unsure whether your experience was an OBE or a lucid dream, and if so why?

Yes: 44%

No: 38%

Unclear: 18%

  • "Sometimes there is no possible doubt; sometimes it is not clear."

  • "Yes in the early days. LDs have hallucinated dream scenery which is not always obvious."

  • "No I thought it was normal because my mom has it too."

  • "No, I remember to see my body before leaving every time, to be sure."

2) Have you ever had a false awakening? If so, how was this different from an out-of-body experience?

Yes: 53%

No: 32%

Unclear: 15%

  • "It feels like unconscious projection, but fun powerful sensations come with a true OBE."

  • "Didn't feel vibrations or hear noises."

  • "The only difference from an OBE was that I was not lucid/aware."

  • "Not much different, might be out of body when this happens."

  • "It started from a dream state vs the swoosh feeling from an OBE."

  • "Both seem so real, but sometimes in an OBE I'm unsure if I'm awake."

 

3) Has anyone ever reported seeing, hearing or sensing you when you were not physically present (ie. doppelgänger experience?)? Please select all that apply.

Yes, seen me: 20%

Yes, heard me: 9%

Yes, sensed my presence: 18%

Yes, I’m often told that I feature in realistic dreams: 18%

No: 59%

If you answered yes to any of the above, please describe.

  • "I have appeared to at least two people in astral form that I know of. Once while I was talking on the phone."

  • "At the end of my mother's bed in an old Middle Eastern soldier's attire (I was in the Middle East at the time). Also a soldier I was in the room next door to witnessed me at the end of his bed, he froze and I disappeared but have no recollection of either event."

 

4) Have you ever had night terrors?

Yes: 47%

No: 53%

 

5) Have you ever had any strange sleep-related experiences that you couldn’t classify as an OBE or lucid dream? If so, please explain.

  • "I recall waking before dawn at age 1 or younger and experiencing a sharp consciousness that I can only describe as (this sounds weird!) if all the accumulated knowledge that I have now, or will ever have, was at my disposal. Later at around four I had a non sleep-related incident very similar. I was sitting on the lawn watching and listening to the drying late summer leaves of a tall oak rustle in the wind and completely lost a sense of self, merging with my environment and experiencing non-specific knowledge...later when in college Maslow's 'peak experience' concept rang the bell for me!"

 LD or OBE??

 False awakening vs OBE

 Doppelganger experiences

Night terrors

Other parasomnias

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Many thanks to all respondents, and to friends and researchers who shared this survey.

Anyone interested in this survey can contact me at 667777@soas.ac.uk

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