Who looks through your eyes?
“That’s the one with the beard,” Katie told her mother.
Katie was only 7 when she drowned in a swimming pool in 1982. No-one knew how long she had been underwater, but she was no longer breathing when she was eventually noticed and rushed to a nearby hospital.
Based on the report by ambulance personnel, she had been clinically dead for at least fifteen minutes. Probably more.
Fifteen minutes! Clinically dead!
A CAT scan revealed massive swelling to Katie’s brain. With no gag reflex and an artificial lung machine to breathe for her, no-one expected her to survive, least of all the young paediatrician who attended her, Dr. Melvin Morse.
Remarkably, Katie made a full recovery within three days. Even more remarkably, she was able to recall a number of events that had occurred throughout the period of her ‘death’.
On meeting Dr. Morse for the first time, she told her mother: “That’s the one with the beard. First there was this tall doctor who didn’t have a beard, and then he came in.”
Morse confirmed this, and agreed that subsequent statements made by Katie were also uncannily accurate.
How is this possible?
We all look at the world through our physical eyes. We take this for granted, but evidential accounts like Katie’s – and there are thousands – suggest that our eyes are merely a camera lens, a tool we use to view this dimension.
Neuroscience tells us that our brain interprets what we see with our eyes. But if the brain dies with the body – and we know it does – how do those who have NDEs interpret what they see through eyes they no longer have, by a brain that is physically dead?
Who or what is looking out through our eyes?
The strange experiences of New York radio broadcasting president, Robert Monroe, may provide some clues.
In 1958, Monroe developed a strange malady. Whenever he tried to sleep, his body began to shake and vibrate for about five minutes. He subjected himself to a series of medical tests, all of which proved he was perfectly healthy.
Confused but relieved, he took his doctor’s advice to “stop trying to resist it and see what happens.”
These vibrations continued intermittently for several months until one night, while waiting for them to pass, he tried to distract himself by thinking about his hobby. An avid glider, Monroe was looking forward to an upcoming gliding trip and imagined himself soaring through the skies.
Lost in these thoughts, he felt something pressing against his shoulder. He reached behind and felt a smooth surface. Had he fallen out of bed? Looking around, he noticed there was no furniture surrounding him.
It wasn’t the floor!
Monroe looked down (which he initially thought was up!) and saw his bed. He was bouncing gently against the ceiling! To his horror, he noticed another man in bed with his wife! He willed himself to zoom in and take a closer look.
The ‘other man’ was himself!
Monroe insisted on a second series of tests, but again these revealed nothing abnormal. He sought the advice of a psychologist friend, Dr. Bradshaw, who suggested he repeat the experiment if possible.
Shocked, Monroe declared that he wasn’t ready to die.
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll do that,” Bradshaw stated calmly. “Some of the fellows who practice yoga and those Eastern religions claim they can do it whenever they want to.”
Monroe wondered why anyone would voluntarily choose to have such terrifying experiences. He asked his friend what “it” was.
“Get out of the physical body for a while.” Bradshaw explained. “They claim they can go all over the place. You ought to try it.”
Still concerned he may have a mental illness, Monroe searched libraries and bookshops for information. The only books he could find on the subject were religious. These advised him to “pray, meditate, fast, go to church, and absolve sins.”
This merely added to his confusion. Did he qualify for sainthood, or was this the work of the devil?
The next time it happened, Monroe later wrote: “I smoothly floated up over the bed, and when I willed myself to stop, I did, floating in mid-air. After a few seconds I thought myself downward, and a moment later found myself in bed again.”
Finding he had some control, Monroe began experimenting, and took notes after each experience. His book (see below) became a multi-reprinted best-seller and is now considered a classic. It contains numerous verified examples of his travels, along with his efforts – usually successful – to validate each experience.
Monroe (and many more like him) did not have to die to experience this phenomenon, but Burris Jenkins did. Following an explosion on his cruiser in 1957, Jenkins was rushed to hospital. He promptly left his body, looked back at the person occupying his bed, and was most indignant that “the patient tried to identify himself as me!”
“I shuddered away from the thought and ignored it.” He later stated.
This is a common reaction by NDErs when viewing the body from beyond it. An accident victim told Dr. Moody: “I could see my own body all tangled up in the car … I knew it was my body but I had no feelings for it.” (Life After Life)
When Dr. Wiltse died of typhoid fever in 1889, his doctor declared him to have been clinically dead for half an hour and was “as fully as I ever supposed anyone to be dead.”
Remarkably, Wiltse recovered and later recalled that during his ‘time-out’: “the body and I no longer had any interests in common.”
As a medical doctor himself, Wiltse paid close attention to the process of leaving his body, and I’ll be including many of his insights in my upcoming book, Heaven Knows.
The experiences of Dr. Wiltse and others again prompts the question: if we are not our bodies, then who are we?
In an effort to find answers, Robert Monroe collaborated with consciousness researchers including Stanislov Grof, Edgar Mitchell (the 6th man to walk on the moon) and Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and in the early 1970’s employed professionally qualified scientific and engineering people to help him conduct research acceptable to other scientists.
As a result, the Monroe Institute was established as a non-profit education and research organization. During its first thirty years, over 20,000 people attended its residential program. These included a group that one might not immediately equate with consciousness research – the US military!
The former director of the Intelligence and Security Command of the US Army confirmed in the Wall Street Journal in 1994 that they had sent officers to the Monroe Institute in 1978 and 1983 for out-of-body experience training
The purpose of this would later become known as Remote Viewing – a form of distant surveillance.
Today, the Monroe Institute comprises several buildings in Virginia (US) where it continues to research non-physical realities, out-of-body experiences, and human consciousness.
Perhaps one day we will all recognize that we are not our bodies, but that we merely occupy them in the same way a deep sea diver occupies a diving suit.
Have you had a validated out-of-body experience? If so, I would love to hear about it.
Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse, 1990
Journeys Out of the Body, Robert A. Monroe, 1971