Let me describe one of my first and most vivid OBE’s (Out of Body Experiences). It is probably so vivid to me because it was such a shock at the time. I was working at a night watchman in college and so I slept during the day. I was staying with my Aunt. My bedroom was in the basement of her home.
I was in the middle of a dream of some kind. I don’t remember exactly what the dream was about, but suddenly I “woke up” only to find myself floating in the kitchen on the first floor! The whole scene was real, but it was even more “real” than reality. Everything vibrated with an intense aliveness. All the colors glowed with crisp intensity. I realized that I must be having an OBE (I’d read a bit about them). With that realization, a kind of excited panic set in, and I found myself being pulled forcefully backwards, like a fish being rapidly reeled in. The pulling seemed to come from the middle of my body somewhere, as if I had a cable hooked to my back. Even though I started flying backwards rapidly, I had time to notice all sorts of interesting details. I noticed several new magazines lying on a table in the living room as I rushed past them. As I was pulled through a wall, I could literally feel the materials of the wall passing through me. I could sense the sheetrock, the grains in the wooden beams. I even remember seeing lettering on the electrical cable conduits in the walls. I was pulled downward into the basement and felt the fibers of the carpeting as I was pulled through the floor. I was then very rapidly pulled backwards onto my bed, and felt myself land on the bed, back into my body, with a sudden jolt, and was instantly wide awake.
I sprang out of bed and went upstairs to check out the details of the experience. Everything in my experience had been in the correct position, down to the new magazines on the coffee table. I did NOT rip open the sheetrock to check the lettering on the electrical conduit 😉
Obviously, this one anecdotal experience is not enough to be scientifically persuasive to an outsider. However, as the one who experienced it, it was real beyond a shadow of a doubt. It was, if anything, MORE real than ordinary consciousness. It was quite literally impossible to entertain any serious doubts about the experience.
Experienced OBEers will tell you that one of the difficulties with in validating the astral world to an objective observer is that the astral is a gateway to all sorts of other worlds that appear to be related to physical reality, but diverge from it to a greater or lesser degree. It appears to require intense concentration and practice to remain in that part of the astral world closest to the physical. If you pass through any windows, mirrors, doorways or walls, the difficulty increases. Each such passage allows you to transit off to some other reality. I have experienced this myself in other OBE’s. In one of the more interesting ones I saw my children downstairs watching a particular movie late at night. When I came back from the OBE, I checked and found all my children sleeping in bed. However, several nights later, they WERE downstairs watching that movie at about the same time (I hadn’t told them about the experience).
Robert Bruce (an experienced OBEer) has suggested that to validate the OBE experience objectively, a test should be designed so that the OBE practitioner can view a target without having to pass through any doors, walls or windows. Even then, only an experienced practitioner would be able to remain close enough to the physical world to read actual targets. So OBE’s are not terribly promising as a way to gather information about the physical world. Or perhaps more specifically, it’s difficult to know, based on an OBE, exactly WHAT world you are gathering information about.