Author(s): Susan Blackmore
A fully revised and updated edition of a seminal book looking at the science behind out-of-body experiences (OBEs). This is an open-minded exploration of the theories behind tunnel and near-death experiences from a scientist who had just such an experience herself aged 19 and spent much of her career determined to find out the truth behind it. About one person in ten claims to have had an OBE but there is very little in the way of critical analysis to support their experience. This book is a readable antidote to the occult lore that supposes that OBEs prove the existence of other worlds, higher planes and astral bodies, and teach that having an OBE means knowing you have a spirit that will survive death. Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and Zen practitioner who has spent years studying the nature of consciousness and the self. This book details her quest through spirituality, religion, philosophy and science to find an explanation for this bizarre phenomenon and is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand their own mind and to find a spiritual path that is compatible with science.
This accessible book brings Professor Blackmore's classic studies bang up to date to include the important advances made in the 21st century, when everything changed for OBEs. Quite by accident, a Swiss neurosurgeon discovered the spot in the brain that can induce and even control an OBE. The availability of fMRI scanning and transcranial magnetic stimulation can now unravel the truth and virtual reality headsets can allow convincing out-of-body illusions to be induced. In just a few years the OBE has moved from hovering at the very fringes of scientific acceptability to making a valuable contribution to the mysteries of the self and consciousness.
Susan J. Blackmore is a distinguished and influential psychologist, known for her books exploring consciousness, memetics, evolution and spirituality. Her first book Beyond the Body (1982) was hailed as a classic and forms the basis of this new edition. She is a Visiting Professor at The University of Plymouth but now mainly works freelance, giving lectures all over the world both at academic conferences and to the public.