OBEs and telepathy?

25 Jun

I get so many questions emailed to my website that it is almost impossible to reply to them all. Below are some questions (emailed to me in January) along with my responses.

 Question: I wonder if you might consider reviewing your NDE data to check how many patients recollect ‘seeing their own body’ during an OBE where there are no other persons present in the vicinity who can see them? I suspect that you will find few, if any.

 I’ve considered whether during an OBE, the patient might be seeing/hearing things from another person (or persons) current perception or memory of the event? Therefore virtually all OBEs are in fact the patient’s own brain attempting to sort out one (or more) conflicting broadcasts from medical staff etc. who are looking at, or around the patient, and that this takes place when the patient’s brain is in a particular state that enables it to more easily pick up such broadcasts. (i.e. telepathy). I think this accounts for the uncontrolled and odd floating movements/positions some patients recollect during their OBE.
 

My answer: I had thought about the possibility of telepathy while setting up the research. For this reason, the symbols that I hid around the Intensive Therapy Unit were placed in the various locations and it was unknown to me which symbol was placed in which location.

 All of the patients in my study who reported a NDE would have been observable by medical personnel within the vicinity. By nature of being in ITU, each patient has a nurse at the bedside 24 hours a day. Whether the patients were observed in a conscious way by the nurses or just from their peripheral vision while continuing with other tasks was not established as in some cases it was unknown exactly when the OBE occurred (some patients reported an OBE in the absence of cardiac arrest but during a period of unconsciousness).

 It was apparent from the research that patients even when unconscious pick up on staff conversation and actions even if they cannot respond.

 However, the things reported by the patients who had an OBE or NDE did not obviously appear to have come from the minds of those attending but, of course, this cannot be ruled out.

 Question: A review of the patient’s previous history of paranormal experiences might be revealing? Also a record of which medical staff were present at the time of the OBE, might show – through a process of elimination over time – that they more generally occur when certain medical staff are present, and generally don’t occur when these same medical staff are not present?

I seriously doubt you will ever have any success trying to prove that a patient’s own consciousness’ has actually left their body I’m not at all convinced that this is what occurs.

 My answer: I also asked the patients if they had any previous ‘paranormal’ type experiences and only one reported this in a very vague way.

 A record of all medical staff present was kept but there are so many different staff and the cardiac arrests of the different patients occurred over a time span of 5 years so it was evident that different members of staff were present for each resuscitation.

 I didn’t really set out to prove that anyone’s consciousness has left their body; my prime concern with undertaking the research was to have a greater understanding of death and the dying process so that the way that we care for dying patients and address their spiritual needs could be enhanced.

 I agree it is extremely hard to prove that consciousness can leave the body. With my research I found that even those who reported an OBE the quality of the experience was not conducive to viewing the hidden symbols as some didn’t ‘rise high enough’ above the body, some ‘floated’ in opposite directions to where the symbols were and the few with good quality OBEs were more concerned with what was going on around their body than looking above the cardiac monitor.

 

 

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10 Responses to “OBEs and telepathy?”

  1. Max_B July 18, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    “…the symbols that I hid around the Intensive Therapy Unit were placed in the various locations and it was unknown to me which symbol was placed in which location….”

    “….With my research I found that even those who reported an OBE the quality of the experience was not conducive to viewing the hidden symbols as some didn’t ‘rise high enough’ above the body, some ‘floated’ in opposite directions to where the symbols were and the few with good quality OBEs were more concerned with what was going on around their body than looking above the cardiac monitor.”

    Deliberately setting up the experimental conditions to exclude any possibilty of Telepathy produced zero results – none of the patients reporting an OBE saw your symbol cards. Therefore you can’t exclude Telepathy as a possible cause of these experiences.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 18, 2011 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Max, thanks for your comment. I agree telepathy cannot be completely excluded, however, there were only two out of body type experiences which were of the quality where the patients could view the symbols. Neither of these patients looked on top of the monitor.

      I was present while one of the patients was actually experiencing an OBE where he later correctly and accurately reported the actions of the doctor, myself and physiotherapist. He was so concerned with his body that he was not looking on top of the monitor to look for a hidden symbol (which he didn’t even know was there). However, I knew the symbol was there so if OBEs were due to telepathy then surely he would have in some way known the symbol was there?

      This just highlights that there is still so much that we don’t understand about these experiences and that the research that has been carried out to date is just scratching the surface and highlighting ways to improve future research.

  2. Max_B July 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    “…I knew the symbol was there so if OBEs were due to telepathy then surely he would have in some way known the symbol was there?”

    In a telepathic OBE, the ‘receiver’ is only seeing what the ‘transmitter’ is visualising…

    If in the example you gave above, the patient actually saw ‘you’, the ‘doctor’ and ‘physiotherapist’ together in one go. Then, one or more other persons should have been present at the same time. One of these other persons would have been the transmitter.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      HI Max, thanks for your interesting and helpful comments.

      From memory (the whole case has been written up in the 2006 Winter edition of The Journal of Near-Death Studies) things that the patient reported occurred in succession during a time when he was unconscious. Although other people had been present when he first lost consciousness, they left the bed area when he was safely back in the bed. The events he reported viewing occurred after those other staff members had left.

      The screens were pulled around the bed area leaving myself and the doctor with the patient. What the patient reported seeing was the doctor examining him – I was present for this too but was also multi-tasking and doing other things at the same time such as recording his vital signs on his chart. When his condition stabilised the doctor left and I cleaned the patient’s mouth – he later accurately reported the way in which I had cleaned his mouth. Throughout this time the physio kept intermittently poking her head around the screens to check on his condition – the patient’s eyes were closed during this time and he remained unconscious. This occurred at a very busy time with emergencies occurring in another part of the intensive care unit. There wasn’t anyone else present for very long as I only recall one of my colleagues very briefly popping behind the screens for a few seconds and this was after the events that the patient had later reported viewing. Would this have been long enough for my colleague to have been a transmitter?

      Thanks Max, your comments are very helpful and valid and I will think more about what you have mentioned.

  3. Max_B July 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Thanks for the details of your paper which I’ve now read. I do think it’s neccessary distinguish between OBE’s and NDE’s.

    In your paper, where the patient recalls seeing the his deceased father, an unknown gentleman, and his deceased mother-in-law – all from the waist up, without legs, this is classic NDE territory, and is clearly not Telepathy.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 18, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      Hi Max,
      Yes, there is a distinction between NDEs and OBEs but some NDEs do have the OBE component which is primarily what I am researching. However, when he had his OBE he only ‘viewed’ events which were occurring at the time in the intensive therapy unit.

      The whole point of the prospective research studies is to study the NDE and any OBE component in the clinical area as they spontaneously occur – this way we can examine if the NDE / OBE occurs only when certain drugs are administered, or if the patient is anoxic etc and we can also investigate if it was due to a mind model constructed from residual sight, sounds or tactile stimulation.

      I don’t have all of the answers, all I can do is report what I have found with my research. However, I remain open minded about possible explanations so welcome all comments that can further this kind of research.

  4. Max_B September 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Hameroff’s work is interesting. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he and Penrose have come up with, but his theory on Microtubules formed from Tubulin, their hydrophobic pockets which could be sensitive to drugs and anesthetics; Bandyopadhyay’s recent work on artificial microtubules, and more and more data showing long periods of Quantum coherence in biological organisms is looking very promising indeed.

    It is looking like I might see a ‘quantum’ shift in our understanding of reality and consciousness within my own lifetime…

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 28, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      HI Max,

      Yes, both Hameroff and Penrose’s work are interesting (and complex!). I wasn’t aware of Bandyopadhyay’s work on artificial microtubules – I’ll look it up, thanks for pointing it out.

      I agree with you, I think that with such huge advances in our technology and the interest in consciousness, there is most likely going to be a huge quantum shift in our understanding of consciousness and reality very soon.

  5. Max_B September 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Bandyopadhyay gave a talk on the Japanese teams results at Google workshop towards the end of last year. Frankly its jaw dropping stuff, even if you don’t understand it all, the significance of their work is inescapable. Although I haven’t yet read the actual paper…

    Amongst a mass of highly significant results… microtubules can store and process bits without releasing or consuming heat.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Wow – this looks really interesting. Thanks for posting this Max, I’ll check it out.

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