In response to comments on the blog I thought I’d write a brief post about some of the OBEs I came across in my research.
Although there is much documented research into OBEs from the 1960’s onwards it’s only in the past 25 years that research has been undertaken in hospitals. In theUS Dr Janice Holden undertook some veridicality OBE research in the 1980’s in hospital settings which was later followed by Dr Madelaine Lawrence.
In one of the rooms in one of the hospitals of Dr Pim Van Lommel’s study he placed an image that could only be seen from an out-of-body perspective. Targets were also used in Dr Parnia’s study, Dr Bruce Greyson’s study and my own.
In all there were 8 OBEs reported in my study. One of them was clearly a mind model constructed from residual sight, hearing and tactile stimulation as the lady was recovering from anaesthetic. The lady recalled seeing her face with a red tube in her mouth. She did have a tube in her mouth but the tube was blue not red. However, she was also having a blood transfusion at the time and the giving set was in her line of vision and obviously red in colour. So it seems that she could feel the tube in her mouth and see the blood transfusion as she was recovering from anaesthetic.
There was a very interesting case which was accurate but also had one aspect that was that was totally inaccurate. The lady reported events which had happened but she also reported viewing a piece of jewellery on her body which was definitely not there. The OBE occurred during surgery and strict checks are carried out prior to entry into the operating theatre – this certifies that no jewellery was present. However, this lady also reported hallucinations which she later rationalised as hallucinations. She was sedated for a few days after the event so this may in some way have interfered with recall of her experience. In fact, my research found that rather than the drugs creating these types of experience they had an inhibitory effect or turned them into confusional experiences. We need more anomalous cases like this to explore all possible explanations.
With the case of Patient 10 who reported a very accurate OBE that occurred while I was looking after him I’ve tried to explore this from all aspects. It is written up in full in the 16 page article published in the Winter edition of the Journal of Near Death Studies in 2006. I explored the possibility that he could have heard what was going on. He reported seeing the consultant shine a torch in his eyes and Patient 10 reported that consultant had said ‘There’s life in the eye’. The consultant didn’t actually use those words but they were a good description of what he meant. If hearing played such a big part then I would have expected him to accurately repeat the words of the consultant.
With regards to the hallucinations when I investigated what the patients reported it became apparent that they could hear the background noise and staff conversation and this was contributing to their hallucinations as their sedation was wearing off.
For example, one lady was convinced she was on theSwansea to Cork ferry. She could feel the boat swaying. All ITU patients are nursed on pressure relieving mattresses and if you lie on a bed it actually does feel as though you are on a boat, also as her sedation was wearing off she was being looked after by an Irish nurse with a very strong Irish accent.
I think this research is in it’s infancy and a lot more is needed to draw any firm conclusions. Other cases are needed to compare and get a bigger picture of what may be occurring.
The full details of what was reported in my study can be found in my book The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study.