Neuroscientists can recreate an OBE by simulating the stimuli to the brain during an OBE.
Dr Michael Persinger‘s God helmet, an adapted crash helmet with a number of electrodes on the inside, is used to disrupt the senses, mimicking trauma to the brain in a safe, controlled environment.
The idea is that if the results are similar to the Near Death Experience, with its feelings of calm and the visual elements like a tunnel of light, then the spiritual aspects of the NDE may have been effectively explained away.
This sort of experiment is NOT something that an OBEer should feel hostile about.
The more that is understood about these types of experience the better for the human race, but particularly for practitioners of Astral Projection!
How it works:
Sensory and visual centers of the brain in the right hemisphere are stimulated using electromagnetic fields.
The stimuli are safe, and of a lower power than, say, a hair dryer.
The subject needs to be in a state of a certain level of sensory deprivation. There needs to be no outside disturbances, and a covering over the eyes is part of the experiment.
Results certainly differed from person to person, with creative people such as artists and musicians having by far the most encouraging results.
However, it was realized that the best proof of the God Helmet making an effective recreation of a Near Death Experience was to find subjects who had clinically died, and had experienced an OBE.
Genuine experiencers of NDE were sought, to try the God Helmet and directly compare the two.
If the real and induced experiences were similar, it may mean that the entire experience of OBEs is simply unusual brain activity!
[I still struggle to understand how a person who is clinically dead can create brain activity and form memories, but that’s another question.]
Subjects who have experienced both Persinger’s God Helmet and a Bona Fide NDE speak of the similarities between the two, but the mechanically- induced version is far more muted.
The images they see are notably more random, and there is no sensation of movement from the body.
It has been described as like an OBE, but with less intensity, and without the “Out of Body” bit! Aspects of the OBE are touched upon, but in a much less profound way. Maybe the induced experience is just the first step of many!
That science can even start to look into such questions is truly amazing. But it still doesn’t answer the question of what happens when we die.
It seems that the God Helmet is a pale imitation of the real thing; but there does appear to be enough similarity for us to wonder if science is getting quite close indeed to unlocking the secrets of what goes on during death!