In my 20 years of dabbling in and writing about astral travel, or out-of-body experiences as I prefer to call them, I have received literally hundreds of e-mails and letters from people asking be all kinds of intriguing questions — and today I am going to share some of my answers right here on Unexplained Mysteries! So Let’s jump right into the OBE Mail Bag:
Question: What about drugs? Are there drugs that can help induce OBEs, and do you recommend using drugs to trigger an OBE?
Ken’s Answer: Can drugs trigger an out-of-body experience? The answer is clearly “yes.” The famous Robert Monroe, author of Journeys Out of Body and founder of the respected Monroe Institute, once induced an OBE by sniffing glue! And one has only to read books by Terence McKenna or Ram Das to find accounts of fabulous hallucinogenic experiences which include out-of-body experiences. (Please, though, do not sniff glue!!! It can easily cause permanent brain damage — even the first time!) Furthermore, I think using drugs to induce an OBE is an extremely poor idea. I don’t say that because drugs are so dangerous — which they are — or because I’m some kind of real square — which I’m not — but because drug-induced OBEs add a whole new element to your perceptions which you can never be certain about.
When you induce out-of-body experiences like I do — without the help of mind altering drugs — then you deal with only what you have encouraged your body to do within the realm of its natural chemistry. But if you introduce a foreign substance, then you have to ask yourself questions like, “Perhaps this particular molecule from the mushroom I ate bonded with this particular chemical in my brain and …” or “maybe when I was totally loaded on pot, my brain-body connection was severed and I had a kind of waking dream or hallucination…” You see? I’m not for a minute saying that a drug-induced OBE is any less valid than a non-drug induced OBE. I’m just saying it adds a lot of confusion to the event. Couple that with the facts that drugs are dangerous and unhealthy for the most part, and you have enough reason to avoid them as a method of astral travel.
Even so, I should tell you that I did have an out-of-body experience once after taking the prescription pain killer oxycodone, a narcotic more commonly known as Percodan. I received the drug from a doctor for extremely bad headaches, which have plagued me for years. After taking a Percodan tablet and lying down, I found that my headache was even worse 20 minutes later. I took a second Percodan and went back to bed. In about 15 minutes, the bed started swirling, the walls seemed to shift, and I was feeling terrific! My headache was gone, and soothing feelings of warmth and bliss flowed through my body as if I were bathing in a river from heaven.
At this point in my life, I had already been studying and practicing out-of-body travel quite intensely, so when I started to drift away from my heavily drugged body, I didn’t panic. I just let the experience happen. I rose directly upward from my physical form and then floated across my bedroom, all the while, feeling drugged and blissful.
I drifted through the wall and into the apartment of the guy who lived next door to me. I floated around in his room and saw him watching TV. I floated back into my bedroom and then out the window. I floated up and caught the top of a street light before some kind of solar wind seemed to catch me and send me sailing out across town. All the while, I was a bit out of it, but still lucid enough to command myself to stay awake and to stay with the experience, just as if I were on one of my regular OBE trips. I ended up in a park on the other side of town. It seems I became snagged in a large elm tree, and there I hung and swirled like a captured kite, all the while feeling giggly and wonderful.
I don’t remember how I got out of that tree, but my next memory is of being back in my room, still out-of-body and floating around like a lazy helium balloon. I floated out the window again and was shocked to find myself in a thick tropical jungle which definitely was not Minnesota. This kind of thing went on for three or four hours. I kept waking up and drifting out, falling asleep and finding myself here and there. To say the least, it was a great time.
Even so, I have never tried to induce a Percodan-based OBE again. For one thing, Percodan is a highly addictive drug, and even if I wanted to keep experimenting with it, I would have had to find a way to obtain more of it with or without a prescription. But more importantly, I have a strong personal commitment to practice out-of-body travel only from a standpoint of nonintoxication, and I strongly urge you to do the same. Still, many people have an almost religious devotion to certain hallucinogenic drugs, especially marijuana and mushrooms. I think this is fine for some people. I think what separates “good” hallucinogenic drug taking from “bad” hallucinogenic drug taking is the way in which a person takes the drugs, and for what purpose.
Question: Will a special diet, or taking certain vitamins help me achieve an out-of-body state more easily?
Ken’s answer: I really don’t think so. Some prominent books and authorities on astral travel swear that only people with a vegetarian diet can expect to have a successful OBE. This is simply not true. Although I generally favor a low-meat diet, I am not a vegetarian, and I have had many hundreds of OBEs. So, to all the people who say you must be a vegetarian to have an OBE, I would say, what about me? I’m not a vegetarian, and I can practice astral travel. Case closed.
As far as vitamins or diet supplements are concerned, I have heard that increased doses of vitamin C and especially niacin are conducive to more OBEs. While taking a bit more vitamin C will probably be good for you in general, I doubt it will make much difference in your ability to have an OBE, nor will any other supplement. I have seen studies which show that taking a massive dose of the vitamin niacin will cause you to have truly explosive dreams — but it works only once — for biochemical reasons I won’t go into here. But again, I don’t recommend for anyone to take a massive dose of niacin.
Jane Roberts, author of the Seth books, and psychic explorer D. Scott Rogo both talk about special diets and food in their books which are more conducive to astral travel. I have personally tried these diets and have had no improved results from them. If you want to try them, however, you will find ingredients for such a diet in Rogo’s book, “Leaving the Body,” published by Prentice Hall Press (1983).
Question: What about astral sex? I’ve heard it is unbelievable. What can you tell me about astral sex and how to have it?
Ken’s answer: When it comes to astral sex, I have a don’t ask don’t tell policy.
Question: I have heard that there is a “doorway” at the top of the head, which provides an easy way for you to slip out of your body. Have you had an experience with this?
Ken’s answer: I have heard of the doorway at the top of the head, too, and I know a person who says she is able to get out of her body this way easily, and all the time. The great Jane Roberts also reported that slipping out through the top of your head was an excellent way to get out. I have no doubt that this is a valid experience. Personally, I can’t for the life of me find my own doorway in my head, although I’ve tried. My OBEs are direct exits out of my whole body, as if a duplicate of myself were rising up and out. But usually, I enter the OBE state from the lucid dream state.
Question: Do you need someone to watch over your body while you are out? Isn’t your body vulnerable and unprotected while your are away — and can’t “evil spirits” possess your empty body?
Ken’s answer: In a word: No. You do not need someone to watch over your body, and your body is not subject to attack by evil spirits or anything else. First, of all, the fact that you are out of your body does not mean that all communication between you and “it” has been severed. For example, once I was in an OBE in New York City, but I could still hear my body breathing while it was back in Minnesota. Also, as I have said elsewhere, even the slightest disturbance to your body, such as a sudden noise in the room, or a foot falling asleep, abruptly ends the OBE, and you wind up back where you started. So even when you are out, you maintain intimate contact with your body at all times. And consider the fact that during the OBE you may not be going away at all in an objective sense, but rather are traveling “inward” to the astral world, to parallel universes, or wherever.
Question: Ken, sometimes you seem rather flippant about out-of-body travel. Isn’t this a spiritual practice that should be treated with respect, holiness or reverence?
Ken’s answer: If you want to approach astral travel with a serious or religious attitude, that’s okay with me. Personally, I am not a very serious person, I’m not religious, so naturally I bring that attitude with me to my practice. I truly believe that NOT taking astral travel too seriously is conducive to more OBEs and better success with them. But if you want to treat it as a reverent act, that may be the right approach for you.
Question: I have heard that certain times of the year are not conducive to OBEs, especially the wintertime, which some people call “the Dead Time” of the year. Also, many people say you should only astral travel when the moon is waxing and not waning. Is that true?
Ken’s answer: I doubt it. I have a strong tendency to disbelieve that wintertime or periods during the waxing moon have any affect on astral travel. To me this sounds like questionable folklore, although there are always some grains of truth in most folklore. It has been proven, for example, that less sunlight in the wintertime affects the body chemistry of many people, and actually produces illness and depression in those people. Such a disease is called SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. So if the amount of sunlight we get can change our body chemistry, it could also affect our ability to astral travel, I suppose. Personally, I do notice that summertime seems to be more conducive to my successful out-of-body travels, although I have had successful out-of-body trips in every month of the year and during every moon phase.
Question: I attended your astral travel lecture last May in Minneapolis. When I was hanging out after the lecture, I noticed that the host handed you a roll of $20 bills, which I assume was your speaking fee. It made me think: This guy is just doing all this for the money. Why do you accept money just to talk about astral travel? Shouldn’t you offer this amazing information for free?
Ken’s Answer: I get this question all the time. Look, do doctors and nurses make money for healing the sick? Do school teachers make money for instructing children? Does, say, a Lutheran minister, get paid for ministering to his congregation? Do social workers get paid for helping the poor? Of course they do. Why shouldn’t I make money for doing something that I love and has value to other people? The fact that I make money by selling articles and lecturing doesn’t make me a fake. Have you ever heard that saying: “Do what you love and the money will follow?” That’s the way I look at being paid to write or talk about astral travel.