The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

The Blowhard

https://thelivesofthedead.wordpress.com

Ar

I used to think I knew everything. I was a famous man, and people listened to what I had to say, as if I were a credible conveyor of All Truth. In my defense, I have to say I did know quite a lot. I had a very sharp intellect and piercing wit. People paid to hear me speak and I expounded freely. How I loved having an audience! I believed I was better, smarter and understood more truth than anyone else.

I had no respect for anyone who didn’t agree with me. They were either blind or stupid.

Only now do I understand how little I actually knew. Here, I can see the absolute vastness of all I do not know or understand. Perhaps my soul never will.

I hope I’m not so insufferable the next time.

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The Aging Heiress

glamorous vintage woman

La

I was vain, it is true. And my vanity caused many others to suffer. I was vain about things I had no right to claim as my own – my looks, my status (which was inherited, and then enhanced by marriage.)

In my 20’s, I was known as a great beauty. I was invited to all the right parties. Men desired me.

As I got older, I took care of myself as best I could, to maintain the illusion of youth as long as possible. After a certain number of years, however, age just catches up. A woman loses her sexual power over men. If this is all she has, if she’s put all her eggs in this particular basket, she ends up with nothing.

I had four husbands and excellent lawyers,  but even money doesn’t fill that void, although I worked hard to prove that statement incorrect.   Still, it was better to have money than not.

At 79, I was still elegant; still invited to all the right parties. My last companion was 53.   It was obvious to everyone except me that he was playing me. I wanted to believe that I still had enough wit, charm, and charisma to attract such a witty, charming, charismatic man.

When I died, he and my children (with whom I was never particularly close), got into a protracted legal suit over my estate. From where I was, I didn’t care who won. I could see how utterly pointless their battle was. The loser, in the end, was the real winner, although it took a while for that understanding to sink in.

 

***

note:

Today I was out for a walk and ran into two women I haven’t really spoken to in over a year.   The first woman is a neighbor, and though we usually have a quick hello when we see each other on the street,  today we ended up yakking for an hour.Mostly, she talked a lot about her mother, who had passed the previous year.  There was nothing unusual in that.  It made perfect sense in the context of the conversation we were having, although it was the longest conversation we’ve had, probably in two or three years.

From there, I went to the supermarket.  Right on front of me in line,  was someone who’d worked for me very briefly over a year ago.  We have not been in touch.    I asked her how she was doing, making light conversation.  She told me her mother had just passed away. While waiting to check out, she started telling me all about her mom,  her history, her days as an organizer.

I didn’t think anything odd about either of these encounters at the time. Later, however, I wondered if there wasn’t something a bit more than coincidence here.   They hadn’t simply informed that their mother’s had recently passed. That’s  normal “news” you might share under such circumstances.  It was that they both spontaneously told me their mother’s story,  as if it were important for me to know.  In neither case was it at all in keeping with the very casual kind of relationship we had.

The Merchant Marine

merchant marine poster

 

Ro

I was 26 when my mother died.   I felt at once bereft because there was nobody left in the world who really loved me. At the same time, I felt liberated – I was no longer responsible for anyone’s needs or expectations. I was free to go anywhere, do anything without worrying that I would be a disappointment to the one person who counted on me.

I joined the Merchant Marines and got a job on a freighter that traveled between the Gulf of Oman and Marseilles.

Sometimes, I’d meet a woman in a port bar – either a prostitute or a lonely, desperate, over-the-hill drunk who just wanted to be held and made to feel desired for just a few hours.

I never saw any of them again and that suited me fine. No bonds, no expectations, no one to answer to or disappoint. I was truly free.

It wasn’t until I retired at age 53, that I began to notice my loneliness. I wasn’t too easy for a grizzled old man like me to attract a decent woman. I had no idea how to be with a woman more than a few hours at a time. I didn’t understand how their brains functioned; what made them tick.   They confused and frightened me, these alien creatures. I kept my distance. And soon, I, too, became a pathetic, lonely old drunk whose entire social life was passed in the pub down the road from my tiny flat.

I’d watch the games on TV with the rest of the drunks. Some were married but came down to escape their wives and screaming kids for a few hours. There were a few widow and widowers, who missed the familiar companionship of their spouses and sought a cheap substitute in virtual strangers. There were quite a few divorced men. It was hard to know if they were divorced because they drank or if they drank because they were divorced.

The women tended to wear their desperation more openly, and I, for one, didn’t want to drown in their messy emotional soup. I preferred to pay a pro and have it be neat and uncomplicated. Better than having some drunken old broad clinging to me as she cried in her beer.

When I was 61, I started to lose my memory. At first, it was only small things, which I told myself was just normal forgetfulness for a man my age. Soon, however, it became obvious even to the others that something was seriously wrong, although I lived in denial for a long time.   Of course, as my dementia progressed, it was nearly impossible for me to see for myself how bad it was. I was often confused.  Usually, after a night of drinking, one of the other men walked me home because I tended to get lost, even in the familiar streets I should have known so well.

One night, in the dead of winter, in the middle of the night, I went out for a walk in my underwear. I froze to death along the river in the spot where my mother had taken me on a picnic when I was seven years old.

Freddy the Farmhand

 

Freddy (I get his name, and I see him in overalls, farm work clothes.  I’m standing with him in the hayloft of a barn)

I was rather dim-witted then; functionally retarded you could say. This absolved me of having to think. I went through this life only feeling, without the wits to understand or analyze. My brain was a dull instrument, not sharp enough to dissect the motivations of others. I was never able to understand why others wanted to hurt me or treat me badly. Often, I mistook their mocking laughter for friendship and acceptance.

One afternoon, the younger boys were teasing me. One of them pushed me out of the hayloft into those large bales of hay down there. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He was just teasing me. It should have been a soft landing, but I fell on a sharp piece of baling wire and it pierced my thigh.  I cleaned the wound with soap and water, and wrapped it in bandages I tore from an old work shirt. Of course, it needed more medical attention than that.   It became infected and it hurt badly, but I hid it from everyone because I didn’t want to get the boys in trouble. I wanted them to like me. The boss or the doctor would have asked how it happened, and I would be compelled to tell them because I didn’t know how to lie.

I didn’t understand how serious the infection had become. Even when the pain became almost unbearable and I was raging with fever, I said nothing. And nobody paid enough attention to me to notice my condition.

Eventually the wound became septic and my illness could no longer be concealed. By the time I received proper medical attention, it was too late. I died a few weeks later. I was 26.

Gen

 

Woke up this morning with a “story” in my head, demanding to get out. I “wasn’t allowed” to eat or get dressed or turn on my computer until I’d written this down, long-hand, in the notebook beside my bed.  I’m still not sure if I’m “writing” or “channeling” them. Either way, I have decided to keep a journal as they come to me.

The nature of the stories is changing. Previously,  I was shown a scene and was imparted with information about how the person died.   Now, I am getting feelings and translating them into words.

Most of these “narrators” do not tell me their names, and I don’t ask.  I like the idea that they could have lived almost anywhere in the worldThis makes their stories more universal.  However,  going forward,  in order to be able to distinguish  one narrator from another,   I have given each a one syllable name.  I have made the names purposefully vague and cryptic so they do not imply any geography or ethnicity.   They are indicative of nothing.  Please do not read anything into them.

From time to time, however, I am given a name or other identifying information. In those cases,  I include that with their story.

*******

argueing couple

Gen 

I debated writing down my feelings when he finally left me and the boys, but by that point, I had no feelings left.

I suppose if I felt anything, it was relief. I was exhausted from trying to make it work. Years and years of forgiveness and sacrificing my own needs to the needs of the relationship. I knew it was going to be a long, hard slog, raising two young boys on my own, but at least we’d all be pulling as one unit, in the same direction,   instead of working against each other, draining each other of happiness, sucking each other dry.

In the long run, the boys would be happier, too.  Br was an angry and selfish man. The boys saw him in the clear pure way that children always see the obvious truth. Their dad was an insecure bully and though the kids had no respect for him, he was their father and he still had the power to hurt them. He wasn’t worthy of their respect, but they still wanted his. They thought, in their innocent way, that if he could just stop the anger in his head long enough to really see them for the terrific little people they were, he’d realize what he stood to lose. Then he’d change and everything would be OK.

Maybe I hoped for that, too.

Br  was very good with words. He was a real poet when it came to asking for forgiveness. An irresistible force.   But no matter how many times he promised to do better for us, no matter how many times I reached deeper into my soul to find a little more love for him, he would invariably disappoint us and hurt us again.

It was better apart. He would no longer have to face, on a daily basis, what an utter failure he was as a husband, as a father, as a functional human being. He just didn’t have the energy any more to try and be someone better.   I thought my love, our love, would be enough to change him,  but none of it did any good.

The kindest, most loving thing he ever did was to leave us so we could forge the bonds of love, stronger, among the three of us.

And so we did. We were bound in a way that I suppose many single-mother families are.

I could now devote my full emotional attention to my boys. They’d always craved more of me. They were happy and relieved to finally have it. They healed me, they did, with their humor and insight and childlike wisdom that so often brought things into perspective when I felt as if I were spinning out of control.

When my youngest was in the second grade, I forgot to attend his school play.  I knew it was coming up, but forgot about it the day of.   I was overwhelmed at work. I’d been working 12 hr days for the past few weeks and had barely gotten to see the kids. My mom sometimes watched them. Some nights, they went home with friends. Sometimes I paid for a babysitter — a girl who lived down the street.

When I came home that evening and realized what I’d done, I was horrified, sick and full of shame. I could barely look at myself in the mirror.

The play was on a Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, I came down to breakfast, eyes swollen from crying at the mess I was making raising my kids; feeling sorry for myself because of all the pressure on me.

I sat my baby down with the intention of begging forgiveness, as his daddy had done of me so many times. It was a scene that my kids had witnessed too often in their short lives.

“I’m soooo sorry, baby…” I began.

And in the sweetest, most loving voice, that little boy said to me, “It’s OK, Mommy. I know you feel bad about my play. I know you are worried that I think you don’t love me, but I do know how much you love us because I can see how hard you work to take care of us. A school play is just one day but a job is every day.”

I can barely describe the relief and love I felt at that moment! Just seven years old and he already had more love, more understanding, more wisdom than most adults.

Maybe that’s a stereotype – kids of divorced parents growing up, emotionally, very quickly.  It’s a kind of Hollywood trope that such kids are preternaturally wise beyond their years. But it does seem to happen that way in real life quite a lot. Now I know the reason why.

They are literally old souls, or perhaps more accurately “more connected souls”,   born to people like me who need some spiritual guidance. They are the spiritual adult to their biological parent.

In those days, I had no time to think about spiritual matters. I was working long hours, topped off by parental responsibilities. In the very early days, there was the additional stress and nastiness of a messy divorce.

Br had started drinking again, in earnest now and without brakes. When we were together, he would fall off the wagon from time to time, and that was bad enough, but now he wasn’t even trying to stay sober.   On several occasions, he didn’t make it to the lawyer’s office for meetings. When he did, he was usually at least partly drunk or hung over.

Whereas in the past, I might have tried to reach in and “save” him or at least make the effort to understand the psychic pain he was trying to self-medicate away, I no longer felt him as a part of me. He wasn’t my emotional responsibility anymore. If he drank himself to an early grave, I wasn’t even sure I’d feel sorry.   I simply had no emotional energy left for him. He’d frittered away all my concern and love for him.  If and when he ever needed it again, there would be nothing left in reserve.

Ironically, when I died years later, he was still alive, albeit not so well. The boys were already grown. My oldest was married with a new baby girl, who I was so happy to get to meet before I left.

My husband came to my funeral and sat in the back. He was sober then, but years of alcoholism had taken their toll. He looked 87 not 57.

Our youngest child was the first to speak to him.  He was moved by his father’s genuine tears.

“Your mother was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he told him. “but I wasn’t good enough for her. I had to leave, otherwise I would have destroyed all of you.”

He was right of course, and I was glad that he understood it.   My boy nodded and gave his dad a hug, because he knew it, too.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Fall to Their Death

It’s the late afternoon and I am so exhausted, I lay down for a nap but I do not fall asleep. I have the same experience as before – the sense of being in a place and being shown a story.

***

I am on a large outdoor dining patio, outside a restaurant near or at a national park or state monument. It’s not a fancy place; just a casual dining area where families come for lunch after seeing the sights. The patio is cantilevered out over the side of a deep ravine or chasm, and offers an incredible view of whatever monument people have come to see. I try to see what that is, exactly, but it never becomes clear to me.  My area of sight is limited to just the
patio, the railing, the chasm below.

I kept trying to figure out where I am.  The railing and drop remind me of Snoqualmie Falls, WA.   The patio reminds me of Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal.  But it’s neither of those places. I sense it’s in the USA. Mentally I am running through the names of very parks and national site I can think of,   to see if I get a positive feeling about any of them.  It’s as if I’m mentally asking, “Is this is?  Is this it? What about this?”  But none of them return a strong “yes.”

Then I sense the presence of a woman.   She wants me to know something.   I know this entity is female but I have no sense what she looks like — not her age,  race, height, weight, hair color.    She “tells” me that many years ago, she was here on vacation with her family.   They were taking photos. As  she leaned back against the railing, it gave way. She plummeted hundreds of feet to her death on the rocks below.

On her way down,  she explained,  she know what was going to happen, so she projected out of her body before she hit. She said she was actually able to watch herself crash on the rocks, but she felt nothing. No pain and no sadness.

I asked what year it this was. I “felt” it was sometime in the 1970s but can’t be sure.   I asked her age. No response.  She’d said she was there with her family, so I asked is she was mother or daughter.  I asked her name. I tried to get some kind of visual on her.  I got no feedback on any of those questions.   And then she was gone.

*****

I’m still not sure where these stories are coming from.  If I were writing them myself,   I would have given her a name; described her and her surroundings, made up a year and a place,    but the story  “resists” my input.  When I ask questions, it’s like trying to fit keys from a big pile, one by one, into a lock.   Sometimes,  they click.  Usually not.

****

The next day, another quick story passes through my head:  I “feel” a Jewish man from my grandfather’s generation. He is  originally from Kiev. Came to New York with his wife, before the war. They settled in the Bronx, and opened a butcher shop.  (I can see the store — it’s somewhat old-fashioned,  with clean, white display cases.)   He “tells me” he  died after a fall down the stairs into the basement of the store.   He hit his head and the next day,  died of complications from a concussion (which was shocking and mysterious to his family, because he hadn’t mentioned the fall to them. )

****

Well, these stories are certainly more interesting than just  a bunch of names, thank you very much!   I open myself to the possibility that they are, indeed, some kind of  spiritual communication from Il Mondo Beyondo, and invite more in.     And boy, do they come!

M says, there probably are not too many people alive who are willing to listen to the dead, so when a channel opens up,  they line up to tell their stories.  So I’m like, what?  The podium at a town hall meeting in the afterlife?

 

The Weirdness Continues

My husband, M, is already awake and having breakfast.  As usual, I’ve lingered in bed, drifting in and out of dreams.   But this is not a dream. Or, if it is, it’s an extremely lucid one.  It feels more like “imagining” and “seeing” than dreaming.

I am in the very musty attic of an old house somewhere in northern Europe; maybe Bruges or Antwerp or Groningen. A small window under the eaves looks out onto the street. I can make out the other houses across the way, looking as I imagine they have for hundreds of years.

The footprint of the room is fairly large but without a lot of usable space. The roof is low and steeply canted; parts of it are even too low for a small child to be able to stand up.   There is a strong smell of mildew and rot. It is quite dark inside  — the only light is coming from that tiny window. Still, I can just make out some kind of old broken discarded wooden equipment off to the side – perhaps a  spinning wheel or loom.  I can’t tell.

The room is not only unused but hasn’t been entered in a very long time. Decades at least. Maybe much longer. The people who now occupy the house below don’t seem know this room exists, but I don’t understand how that can be. The small window should be clearly visible from the street.  Most of the other houses are built roughly to the same plan,. They all must have attics. Wouldn’t the current owners assume this house has one, too?

I sense that at some time in the past, access has been sealed off and the doorway plastered over, in a very purposeful way. Still, with real estate everywhere being at such a premium, I find it strange that none of owners since, were curious enough to do some exploring. I cycle though possible logical explanations why that might be, but none make sense.

And then I start to get a story about this room. It pops into my head as fully-formed knowledge.

A long time ago a servant girl lived up here.  She was very young when she same to work, maybe 8 or 9.  She slept in a corner, on a mattress made of ratty ticking which had been taken from an old bed downstairs. It was stuffed with leaves, rags, old horsehair from discarded family mattresses – anything she could find or they would spare. It barely kept her tiny body off the cold floor. The roof leaked and her bedding was damp, smelly, moldy and very lumpy.

Another servant — an older female — was put in charge of her training, and taught her the basics of housework; instructed her in low-level chores such as cleaning, fetching firewood and coal, washing dishes.   The younger girl almost never interacted with the family. They left the managing of the girl to the older maid, who abused her charge.

This girl was terribly lonely. She had no friends, no family. The only person she came into contact with on a regular basis was the abusive maid.   She hadn’t had much love in her own home, but this was so much worse; never a kind word or comforting gesture. She was too numb to cry. What was the point, anyway? Nobody was going to help her. This was her life now.

She was fed once a day, a paltry meal of negligible sustenance. Sometimes, she managed to grab a scrap or two before it went to the dogs. In the summer, the attic was brutally hot and stuffy, and when the autumn came, it was cold and raw. There was a small stove in the corner of her room, but she was barely allowed any wood or coal. By the winter, the attic was freezing. Her breath plumed out in grayish puffs.

She died before spring came, from a disease which could have been easily prevented or cured if she’d been fed properly and kept warm through the brutal northern February.

***

Had I made the whole story up or had I been channeling something from The Great Beyond?  I honestly did/do not know.  I can only say that it did not feel like a normal daydream, nor was it anything like the process of creating a written story.   I felt, I saw, I  smelled that room.  I can still see it clearly in my head.

As a writer, I am happy to take inspiration from wherever it comes, so I wrote it down, then went to eat breakfast.  I assumed it was just a one-time experience.  Boy, was I wrong!

The Weirdness Begins

One afternoon,  not long after I gave up my quest for astral travel, I was working at my desk when a very unusual last name popped into my head. I’d never heard it before and had no idea where it came from, or what it meant.  Since I was already at my computer, I Googled it.

There was only one person with that name —  a doctor/teacher of metaphysics in Washington state.   How odd that of all the names I might have made up,   I was directed to somebody who could possibly help me on my spiritual quest.   [In fact,  she offers an on-line course on Metaphysics at a cost of $250. It was money perhaps better spent on more practical things, but both my husband and I agreed that her name came to me for a reason,  so I signed up. As of this writing, I have spoken to her and have her course material, but have not yet had time to begin the work. ]

The next morning,  lying in bed, another name popped into my head. It was not a particularly unusual name, but it came to me with an uncommon spelling.  I Googled her as well. The first thing that came up were a couple of old Amazon reviews she’d written for books on spiritual healing and life after death.   “Hmmm,” I thought, “another nudge in this direction.”

I was curious about the reviewer, herself, so I did a bit more research, and quickly managed to track her down.   She died in 2010, in Phoenix, after a long illness. (If she were still alive, she would have been just a couple of years older than I am.)    The thought did occur to me that this person, who had obviously been reading books on the afterlife as she was dying,  might be sending me a message.   But such an assumption was pretty “woo-woo” and I was not yet willing to ascribe anything more to it than bizarre coincidence or perhaps a random psychic thought.    (I’ve had many psychic experiences in my life;  known things about people or future events which I had no rational way of knowing except by extra-sensory perception. But as with the OBEs,  I’ve never be able to control my clairvoyant thoughts, nor do I know in the moment of thinking them if I’m receiving them telepathically or if I’m just making them up.  They feel the same in my head.   It’s not until they are later proven to be true, that I am able to identify them as having been received via ESP.   Perhaps this is just a matter of practice, awareness, training and trust in my own instincts.)

The following day, I got another name, this one even more unusual. (I am not including the names here out of respect for the families of the deceased. Besides, what would it prove?)    A quick search brought up several pages of recent obits. She was an elderly woman, from West Orange, NJ. She’d been quite active in local charities, hence the many write-ups about her passing. She’d died two months previous.

OK….NOW I’m starting to feel that something strange may be happening.

Over the next few days, other names popped into my head – most of them too unusual to have been merely made up on the spot.   (Not all names were unusual, but I ignored the ones that were not. What would be the point of looking up a common name? There would be too many of them to sort through. How could I know if I’d found the right person – assuming there was a right person to find?)

Over the course of a week, I received maybe six or seven distinctive names, all of whom I looked up. Every single time searched, the very first thing that came up was an obit; most of then deceased fairly recently.

Initially, this was intriguing in its strangeness. After a while, however,  it became kind of annoying.  What kind of a lame psychic power is this?  I could get the same names by reading a newspaper.  I hardly needed all this random info cluttering up my psychic airwaves!

I decided to have a stern talk to “them” (whoever “they” were.)     “Enough already! What am I supposed to do with this information? Should I call up your family and tell them you talked to me? And what am I supposed to say?”

Obviously that would have been pointless and cruel,  so what good were the names and obits?

After that, I got a couple more names but refused to look them up.   Take that, dead people!!  “If you want to use my brain,” I told them,  “you’re going to have to use it for something more interesting than this, because I’m not playing this game any more!”

I guess “they” got my message, because the names stopped and  sure enough,  something a lot more interesting started to happen…

Imagine What I Could Save on Airfare!

About six months ago, I picked up working on a novel I’d started writing about ten years ago. In it, the main character has spontaneous Out of Body Experiences (OBEs).  In order to write about them in more depth and with greater understanding, I began to research the subject.

The notion of Astral Projection has long fascinated me. Imagine! Being able to leave your body at will and travel anywhere in the world you want to go!   Screw you, American Airlines, with your $25 per bag handling fee!

Over my lifetime, I’ve had several extremely detailed dreams in which I visited places which seemed and felt entirely real.   In a few cases, I later found myself in these places and recognized them from my dreams.  Had they  been spontaneous OBEs?

Back in junior high, I dreamed about a lake in the mountains. Overhead,  was an impossibly clear, high,  cerulean sky. Lavender-colored mountains, ringed with mossy green,  spilled into the purest aqua water!  The colors were so vivid, they were surreal; I’d even say emotional.  When I awoke  I felt compelled to sketch it out, in full color pastel chalks (which didn’t at all do it  justice. No artist’s medium could have captured the intensity.)    My drawing remained in my desk drawer for years as a “snapshot” of my trip.  (It may even still be with my old papers.)  I felt I had absolutely been there and seen it with my own eyes, even though I didn’t believe such a perfectly beautiful, beautifully perfect place could actually exist on this planet.

After college, I traveled for eight months around Europe and lived for a while with a man in Athens.  When I got home, we remained in touch, sending letters back and forth across the Atlantic (this was long before email.) Initially, the letters were weekly, then dwindled in frequency to monthly,  until finally, it had been nearly nine months since I’d heard from him.

One night, in a dream, I went to visit him in the tiny apartment in Ano Ilisia where we’d lived together.  I was “informed by neighbors”  he no longer lived there;  that he’d moved to a different neighborhood – an area where several of his friends lived and which we’d visited together on a couple of occasions.   I “flew” to the new neighb and tried to find him, without luck.

The very next day, I received a letter from him telling me he’d moved from Ano Ilisia to a new apartment, in the very area where I’d been looking for him in my dream!

In my mid-30’s, I traveled for a while in Tibet.   Most of the roads there are carved into the sides of mountains, with  a precipitous drop off the other  side.   One afternoon,  the bus I was traveling on came to a stop behind a long line of traffic. Way ahead of us, a truck had fallen halfway off the mountain! Other drivers (who seemed used to this kind of thing) had attached thick ropes to it, and were attempting to pull it back onto the road before it tumbled into the abyss.

Clearly, this was going to take several hours, so I (and others) got out of the bus to stretch our legs and have a little walk-about.  And there, just ahead, around a bend, was my lake, just as I’d pictured it!  In the thin air of the high altitude,  the colors shimmered with the same intense clarity they had in my dream!    It was very literally, a mystical experience because of the dream, because of my own journey, because of where I was (in the Himalaya, for god’s sake!!!) and because of the incredible intensity of the color.   The intensity was made even more jarring and poignant, by my having just spent half a week bouncing across the bleak, colorless landscape of the Tibetan plain. This lake was like a miraculous view of heaven; as if I’d been blind and suddenly were able to see again!

yamdrok-lake-tibet-scenery

I have always accepted these and other similar dreams as spontaneous OBEs but of course, I had no control over my itinerary.

At various times in my life, I’d made half-hearted attempts at Astral Projection without success, but finally, I felt I was spiritually mature enough to re-tackle my goal.

I read books and articles,  visited websites,  and I listened to recordings embedded with binaural tones at specific frequencies which were supposed to facilitate OBEs.  I spent many hours, over the course of a couple of months, attempting to fling my consciousness out of my corporeal form and into the ether.   I usually got as far as the pre-flight indicators — vibrations along my entire body; heart palpitations; a sense that my limbs were in different positions than they physically were —  but I don’t believe I ever achieved lift off.   Anything I saw or felt in that condition could easily have been explained as a fantasy or a dream.

On several occasions, while listening those recordings, it felt as if my conscious mind were separating from my body, but I could never get it to go anywhere.  Every time I tried to turn around and look back at myself on the bed, I still felt my consciousness inside my own head.   (No doubt I wasn’t separating at all but just in a hypnotic state.)

What I was expecting —  what I wanted –– was for my mind to travel at will, with control.  I wanted to visit a place far from home and witness things  which could later be verified (as had happened during my spontaneous travels).  Although I very much wanted to have a “real”  OBE,  my criterion for judging whether I’d actually had one was (and continues to be) very high.  If my experience  can be explained in a simple, logical, scientific or psychological way,  I am always inclined to accept this versus some mystical justification.  Still, I was always hoping for the mystical; hoping to have an experience which I could not explain in another way.

After a couple of months without lift-off, I gave up further attempts at OBE.  I assumed that would be the end of it.

But then some strange things began to happen…

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