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Out of Body, Roger

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I was there. But I, like, wasn't there. I was floating. I was looking at myself from outside of myself.

If it hasn't happened to you, it's likely happened to somebody you know. And whether or not you believe it, about one in ten people report having had one. "Out of body" experience, it's a dirty word in many circles. Which is perhaps why pilots call it "G-LOC" (gravity-induced loss of consciousness, pronounced "G-lock" not "glok"). Turns out this kind of experience (call it what you want) occurs quite frequently among fighter pilots. Producers Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler bring us the story. We'll hear from pilots Tim Sestak, and Col. Dan Fulgham on what it's like to lose yourself, unfortunately for us skiddish passenger-types, while flying a plane. Finally we'll hear from Dr. James Whinnery, who simulates G-LOC by placing pilots in giant centrifuges. His research monitors their brain activity as they accelerate to speeds inducing this loss of consciousness. But Doc Whinnery isn't just a scientist, he's a subject. And his research has taken him to some surprising places.

Comments [18]

Don Chapin from Talent, OR

I know I'm opening a can of worms and may be criticized heavily from this post, but I differ strongly with the premise (in a synopsis a friend sent me) that only 1/10 experience such phenomena, as Abraham Maslow's life-long investigative team found that a majority of people experience something similar, called "peak experiences"... that's also why I've posted my personal 50-some "peak experiences" at lprww.org and continue with my Healing Earth Team results/observations at lprww.com. Too many people have these experiences and simply pass them off as "weird," a "fever," or a physiological phenomena and dismiss any connection with them as "a normal human experience."

Dec. 06 2014 05:57 PM
Mark Bowers from Orlando, FL

We run a sensory deprivation center in Baldwin Park / Orlando Florida and regularly hear of all kinds of similar experiences from our 'floaters'. Our tanks have 1000 lbs of epsom salt and water solution at skin temperature; after a few minutes floating without gravity, in the dark, in water the same temperature of your skin, your brain begins to do all kinds of wonderful and unusual things as it no longer has to deal with the 'physical' side of reality. Most everyone comes out feeling incredible, some with very fascinating stories. I really enjoyed this podcast. It was interesting to hear the mind body relationship described as a conversation. Exploring your mind without the g-force required under the experiments in the podcast can be a life changing experience.

Dec. 06 2014 02:07 PM
CoasterMom

2 years ago, age 48, I took my 12 year old son to Kings Dominion to ride the Intimidator 305 G-Force rollercoaster. I'd always been a roller coaster lover and not afraid to binge ride. Upon the park opening, we ran to the 305 and rode it. We laugh and agreed it was awesome and went right back in line to ride again. Upon the conclusion of the 2nd ride, I told my son on one particular turn, I had actually "grayed out". This had never happened to me before and was, understandably, a bit disconcerting. We then proceeded to go on all the other coasters and "extreme thrill" rides in the park including the dead drop ride which simulates free falling for about 3-4 seconds (similar to skydiving before the shoot opens-also something I've done). We concluded our visit with one last ride on the 305. When approaching the aforementioned turn, I experience a full-fledged dreamlette where I was amongst my friends, partying, laughing and having a good ol' time. It felt like it lasted a solid 2 minutes and only when we banked the next turn, did I remember "Hey wait, I'm on a roller coaster." The next day, I couldn't go to work because I felt hung over as if I had drank copious amounts of alcohol the night before.
Something I theorized afterwards was that repeated gforces to the brain is cumulative and each exposure increases the length of the dreamlette period-similar to the pilot in your story and pondered if it has long-term deleterious effects on thinking or memory.

Dec. 04 2014 04:39 PM
Sarah Lee

Why does he keep interrupting the people being interviewed?! So annoying, stop finishing their sentence for them they can do it themselves. God.

Nov. 30 2014 11:24 AM
Barbara Appel from NY, NY

A brain viewing one's body from above and seeing it as very separate has often been cited by Holocaust (and other great trauma) survivors as a response to the trauma and/or as a way of coping with it.

Dec. 01 2013 08:16 PM
RAleksandr@gmail.com from US

The reports of sudden, intense dream-like states remind me of experiences people have on Salvia Divinorum. You're conscious, aware; then, blam, a feeling of being deeply asleep and dreaming, complete with physical movements. Seems those experiences and the out-of-body thing have some common links; would be interesting to find out what exactly.

Nov. 25 2013 05:31 AM
Leslie Cheek from Dallas, Texas

I thought out-of-body was common. ???

Oct. 11 2013 08:32 AM
Martine Courville from Sudbury Ontario Canada

My name is

MARTINE COURVILLE

I LIVE AT 1960-A. #205
PARIS ST
SUDBURY, ONTARIO, CANADA
705-562-5523
Send me a Facebook friend request
Make a list of questions
Much easier to explain written than oral

THE CITY OF SUDBURY IS UNDER NASA EXPERIMENT

IT WORKS WITH MUSIC
ALL MUSIC SOUNDS GOOD UNTIL YOU READ THE LYRICS

ALL RADIO COMMERCIALS
ADVERTISE IT SECRETLY

ALL SONGS ARE PROJECT
READ LYRICS
SOMEONE HAS TAPPED INTO NASA SCREEN PROJECT
PROJECT UMBRELLA
AND HAS TURNED IT SEXUAL

SONGS ARE PROJECT PEOPLE ARGUING ON AIR

PEOPLE WALK IN SYNC
LIKE PUPPETS ON A STRING
IN SUDBURY

MAIN EXPERIMENT IS 1960
PARIS ST FORMERLY KNOWN AS RUMBALL TERRACE

IT'S A MIND CONTROL PROJECT VIA SATELLITE
IN A NASA COMPUTER ROOM

THERE ARE LOOK A LIKES OF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE CITY

THERE IS A PATTERN IN CARS

SUDBURY IS MAGNETIZED BY UNDERGROUND MINES

OUT HEALTH CENTRE IS MAGNETIZED

I SEE FLASHES/ GLITCHES IN MY BRAIN ALL DAY LONG

NASA COMBINES SOLAR,WIND, RAIN, LIGHTNING ENERGY TO PRODUCE CONDUCTIVITY ALONGSIDE COMPUTER PROGRAM TO MAKE THIS WORK

THE SKY IS A 3D PROJECTION

THERE IS A LAYER /SCREEN UNDERNEATH THE NON- EXISTING OZONE LAYER TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THE SUN

THE SUN HAS AN ECLIPSE TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE
IT ALSO CREATES MAGNETISM

THE EARTH ROTATION HAS BEEN TAMPERED
CHANGE OF SEASONS
THE MAGNETISM OF UPPER EARTH HAS DISRUPTED THE CORE MAGNETISM

YOU CAN'T SEND MAN BEYOND BLACKHOLE
SO YOU MAKE ROBOTS TO SEND TO FERTILIZE HUMANS IN VITRO
THESE ROBOTS
ONE RIGHT NOW
LEARNS TO REACT BY DOWNLOADING EMOTION
FROM MY BRAIN

IT DOWNLOADS KNOWLEDGE FROM ALL OF OUR CHILDREN
MAINLY ALEX CONRAD LAFONTAINE

THIS FIRST ROBOT IS UNISEX

THERE IS A FEMALE AND A MALE PROGRAM

TWO COMPUTER PROGRAMS
EACH CONNECTED TO ONE PERSON

ONE MAN
ONE WOMAN-ME

I HEAR HIM
I SEE HIM
I HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH HIM

BOTH COMPUTER PROGRAMS COPY OUR CONVERSATIONS
WE BARELY HAVE TO SPEAK ANYMORE
THE COMPUTER SENDS EACH OF US EACH OTHERS MESSAGES ACCORDING TO OUR THOUGHTS

I AM AN EXPERIMENT
THE FIRST TWO WAY
FEMALE

HE IS THE FIRST TWO- WAY
MALE

CONNECTED TOGETHER VIA SATELLITE VIA INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

THE FEED TO MY BRAIN IS RECEIVED AT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

THERE ARE 4 FEEDS

YOUR PROJECT IS A FAIL

READ LYRICS OF TOP 30 HIP HOP COUNTDOWN

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Aug. 04 2013 10:50 AM
Vinicius from Rio de Janeiro

How can a brain see itself from a place out of its own body?

Without eyes, brain cannot see anything.

Feb. 13 2013 08:10 AM
Jim in Fremont from Seattle, WA

Wow. I thought this was a fluke. I have a disorder "Neurocardiogenic Synchope" whereby I occassionally loose conciousness due to a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up on a tilt table at a 70 degree angle. It is very similar to the effect on pilots and I was told NASA may be studying it. One day I had a very similar "out of body" experience where I found myself floating in space. Completely aware of the stars, planets etc. but, unlike a normal dream, completely unaware of my sense of self or the passage of time. I was completely at peace and since then I've had this sense that I'm not afraid of what lies beyond death. It was profound. I'd be curious if these researchers are looking into this disorder and if any studys have been done related to Lucid Dreaming. Similar states have been reported as part of certain lucid dream states. I'd like to hear more on these topics. Fascinating and now I don't feel I'm crazy or alone in having had such an experience.

Aug. 08 2012 01:12 PM
patricia from maple, wi

this is the first time i have heard rational people share their experiences about lights, tunnels, etc. without a religious explanation. this happened to me 54 years ago while experiencing a traumatic delivery of my son. i have never had anyone explain this absolutely real to me event. it included out of body as well as a rushing towards a light which resulted in a feeling of knowing the secrets of existence..i experienced pts sydrome for decades and now i can understand that my brain was confused about being separated from my body. i guess huge amounts of ether and other drugs probably played a part. it was a horrible way to experience a death, but bearable because i am here to remember it. thanks for this fascinating show.

Aug. 04 2012 05:46 PM
mark gross from portland, or

I believe what is happening is the under the blood stress the brains Bayesian predictor is running slower than real time and that effectively pulls you into an out of body experience.

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains.html

Our minds have a running reality simulation running all the time and its core to being coordinated and able to move well. We do a feedback loop that corrects the predicted reality against sensory input. If the feedback loop is out of sync by seconds we'll be confused and have out of body experiences. Under the blood starvation stress I believe this simulator is running out of sync (slower?) from real time.

pretty cool.

Feb. 18 2012 05:47 PM
dan elliott from northern california

I once experienced the light at the end of the
tunnel when i overdosed on drugs 30 years ago. They thought I had died of rabies i went
to the morgue but woke up Inside a soft
black tunnel where there was no sound and no pain It was tempting to stay there but
I knew it meant I would die. I saw a tunnel
with a light at the end and realized the
tunnel was my throat and my awareness
was below my throat and the light was
the light from the living world which I could
see through my mouth. It was an extremely
hard climb but I wanted to live.From there
I was taken to a mental hospital and I had
heavy hallucinations continuosly for 3 months. I liked your radio show its amazing
what our minds can do.

Sep. 03 2011 10:38 PM
Nate Turner

Joshua, I don't know of experiments done with traditional OOBEs, but I know experiments have been done with actual NDEs and have found no indication that people are actually 'outside their bodies.'

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine/HNDEs.html
I think this is the article (essay?); it's been awhile since I read it.

Jun. 17 2010 01:07 PM
Joshua Brown from Cleveland Ohio

Just listened to podcast. Loved the story. I can't believe you didn't ask this question though: Did Dr. James Whinnery do any tests to determine if there was an actual out of body experience or just the perception of it. In his actual experience he talks about seeing himself walking down the hall. Well the 1st thing I would do is have someone write something on the subjects back and see if the subject could say what it was. My assumption would be no, that the mind was only using the information it had to produce the sensation, but if they could actually see that would be quite the WOW factor. At the very least it would be an easy test for confirmation.

Feb. 16 2010 08:47 AM
Tom D Ford from Bend Oregon

I thought that “out of body” was normal to high performance athletes. I trained and alpine (snow) ski raced to a high enough level that I could push my speed to a level that surpassed my minds ability to be in constant command and control, and then I just trusted my body and muscles to do what they were trained to do and my mind watched from out of and behind my body, looking ahead for any chances coming up to go faster or need to slow down and then I would mentally reach inside my body and tell it to get ready to adjust to the upcoming change. That is to say, I trusted my body to do what it was trained to do and then put my “out of body” mind to work looking ahead in the race course for any need or opportunity to change what I wanted my body to do in the future.

And I just assumed that was the norm for athletes like martial arts fighters, ballet dancers, and everyone else who trains their body to a very high level. Train to trust the muscle memory and then the mind can look ahead and pay attention to what is coming in the near future.

Most people don’t have to think about walking, after they learn how, they just do it, and they put their mind to thinking about other things while they are walking, they trust their muscle memory to do the walking process. The mind and body are doing separate things, but now I wonder at what point a person becomes consciously aware of his mind being “out of body”, what makes that happen?!?

Apr. 18 2009 04:45 PM
John Kirby from Davis, Ca

I've just listened to this show via podcast, so I know I'm 6 months late. I'm curious if any of the neurologists interviewed have any thoughts about how so called dissociative anesthetics affect the brain/body interaction. A friend of mine has said that it is much most more out of body then numbness type of anesthesia.

Feb. 03 2008 11:28 PM
Spell Check Police

skiddish -> skittish

Jul. 23 2007 04:37 AM

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