Denis Purcell: My Veridical OBE and Analysis

My out-of-body experience took place in the spring of 1965 when I was 19 years old. I had returned one afternoon from the local junior college in Redding, CA and I decided to take a nap. I awoke consciously in my still-sleeping body shortly thereafter and heard a sound that seemed to be moving up my spine increasing in frequency as it did so. As it moved up my spine, it seemed to pull the essence of my body with it. When I got to my head, I was very frightened and had a vision of an escalator – out of control – moving up rapidly and I imagined trying to grab the hand railings to keep from flying off the top; however, it was moving too rapidly and I flew off the top and exited my body through the top of my head.

As soon as I was outside my body, the fear vanished and was replaced by a sense of well being. I thought this must be the way it felt to die when there were no traumatic circumstances involved. Upon discovering that my “guide” was hovering near me, I asked him what I was. He said to me, “You are a seat of consciousness.” I said next, “Well, what is my shape?” He replied to me, “Roughly spherical.” Then I said, “Well then, why can’t I see in a full 360 degree circle if I’m just a sphere of consciousness and don’t need eyes to see?” He replied, “It takes about 2 weeks to become deconditioned to the customary modalities of perception.” I marveled at the clarity of mind I was experiencing – having previously thought that if the mind could operate independently of the brain, it would experience a diminished intellectual capacity. I next moved through the wall of my bedroom, out over the dichondra in our front yard.

I found myself hovering about 5 or 6 feet over the dichondra and could see all around me perfectly without glasses which I must wear when in my body. I next asked my guide, “What is my method of propulsion?” He said, “Will power.” So I said, “Okay, I’m going to will myself to move 1 foot forward and then come back 1 foot.” As I did this, I moved 1 foot forward over the dichondra and then moved back to my original location. I “probed” my guide and learned that he had been an M.D. during life. I felt like a small child exploring the world for the first time and everything was “bright and new and shiney.” I then had access to all the memories of my life up until the age of 4 that I had since forgotten.

I remembered being a child up until the age of 4 and leaving my body like this virtually every night, but forgetting the experience when I awoke in the morning. A lady then appeared on a field of clouds and informed me that I had been there with her before my birth and I briefly remembered being briefed by her about my life to come and suggestions given on how to respond to major events that would occur in this life. I then returned to my position above the dichondra and asked my guide what was different about my sense of my surroundings than if I had been physically standing there. He directed my attention to the high-tension wires across the street and I noticed that I could hear a sound coming from them that sounded like the auditory equivalent of a square wave on an oscilloscope – as if people were cutting in and out of the electrical currents running through them. I then asked my guide what I could do next.

He said, “You can go anywhere and do anything.” So I went up in the air about 100 feet over my house; however, it felt cold up there and I decided I didn’t want to get too far from my body in my bedroom. Thus, I came back down. He volunteered that, “You can separate your analogous modalities of perception from your seat of consciousness and experience at a distance while staying right there. I had always wanted to climb Mt. Bally across the Sacramento Valley from my then current position; so, I projected my sense of hearing to the snowline on Mt Bally while maintaining my seat of consciousness over the dichondra. I could hear the snow melting into a puddle. I thought that that was great and I then recollected my analogous modality of hearing with my seat of consciousness.

At this time, my father pulled up in his pickup and I decided to collect data that would be inaccessible to my body. He pulled the truck into the driveway and I mentally noted that the front tire was about 6 inches behind the third stake on the side of the driveway. That was datum number 1. He then got out of the truck and I suddenly realized that all the disagreements we had had recently were just a phase I was going through of late adolescence and that I loved him very much and had known him for hundreds of years. I remembered before I was born, hovering near him as he slogged through the mud of Germany during World War II. He had all of his children call him by his first name; so, I said, “Hi, Dale” and waved at him with my arm that appeared when I wanted to wave. However, he didn’t see me. I next followed him into the house through the front door.

When he got inside, he tossed his hat on a little table in the living room and I mentally “photographed” the angle of the bill of the hat to the table. That was datum number 2. I next used what I had learned earlier and separated my analogous visual modality of perception to follow him down the hall to the master bedroom where he flopped down on the bed after a tiring day at work. I mentally photographed the angles his arms and legs made with the bed. That was datum number 3. I then recollected myself in the living room.

I was hovering over the floor of the living room feeling great and my mother was behind a wall in the kitchen whistling as she prepared dinner. At that time, the wall opened up into an aperture through which I could see a lady sitting on a field of clouds with her legs crossed in a lotus posture looking at someone out of my field of vision. She floated forward and I started to go towards her. Then she said to the person with her, “Oh, these beginners!” Not knowing what I was getting into, I headed for my body in my bedroom.

When I got back to my body, it was like being in a “cold brick.” I couldn’t even move my eyelids. So, I asked my guide what was the matter. He said, “It takes a little while to get control of the nerve endings. So, I took my time and I started to wakeup. As I was coming to waking consciousness in my body, I started to forget the whole experience. I immediately said to my guide with whom I could still communicate, “I don’t want to forget!” He said, “OK, backup a little bit and create a replica of your memories in your physical brain; so, that they will be accessible to waking consciousness.” I did as instructed and then awoke physically with a complete memory of the entire experience.

I felt fantastic as I got up – as if I had “turned over in my body.” I next checked my dad, walked down the hall and checked his hat, and went outside and checked the truck in the driveway. All the data points agreed with my physical sight observances. From that time on, I knew I was a spirit temporarily occupying a body.

I have subsequently come to three conclusions about this experience which are relevant to science and medicine. First, individual consciousness can separate from the brain and be present outside the body as some sort of energy field. If this were not the case, I would not have had the “data” I collected confirmed exactly. Second, there is a neuronal interface between consciousness and the body which can probably be investigated scientifically. This would explain why my “guide” said, “It takes a little while to get control of the nerve endings.” Finally, there must be a duality of memory location – survival-oriented memory stored in the physical brain and memories prior to birth and of early childhood stored outside the brain in the energy-field of consciousness and not generally accessible in the waking state. This would explain the need to “download” the experience to the brain for waking-state access. This final conclusion could explain why so many people come physically close to death but don’t recall anything from the interval. They may have failed to download the experience. In which case, it might still be accessible in an altered state of consciousness.


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