Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Although there has been previous discussion about the use of suggestion to induce OBEs, the topic has not been followed up systematically in recent times. An exception is the article by Patrizio E. Tressoldi, Luciano Pederzoli, Patrizio Caini, Alessandro Ferrini, Simone Melloni, Elena Prati, Diana Richeldi, Florentina Richeldi, and Alice Trabucco, Hypnotically Induced Out-of-Body Experience: How Many Bodies Are There? Unexpected Discoveries About the Subtle Body and Psychic Body (Sage Open, 2015, DOI: 10.1177/2158244015615919). (Article available here)

Patrizio Tressoldi 5

Dr. Patrizio Tressoldi


Here is the abstract:

“The possibility to induce real out-of-body experiences (OBEs) using hypnotic inductions, with the opportunity to interview participants during their experience, permits to investigate in depth the characteristics of different aspects of this particular state of consciousness from a first-person point of view. In this article, six selected participants report the description of another “body” we named “subtle body,” identified as an intermediate entity between the physical body (Pb) and their “Self” or “I-identity” that was named “psychic body,” and their relationships and characteristics. The “subtle body” was described as a sort of white silvered cloud surrounding the Pb, with a particular enlargement of its hands and feet that could move quickly like flying from one place to another even if less easily than the “psychic body,” and a vague sense of attrition was perceived when passing through walls. Similar to the “psychic body,” the “subtle” one too could move forward and backward in time even if they did not seem perceiving the sense of time. The “subtle body” was referred to be connected with the physical one by a sort of white brilliant link sometimes described like a silvered string more or less visible, whereas no visible links were identified between the “subtle body” and the “psychic” one. These reports were compared with similar descriptions deriving from the Vedanta philosophy and Theosophical tradition.”

It was concluded:

“Only a few questions elicited overall agreement in the answers, regardless of participants’ previous knowledge of this subject, but there was agreement regarding the existence of at least two “bodies” other than the Pb [physical body], which we have called the Sb [subtle body] and Ψb [psychic body].”

“If necessary, the DPS [disembodied personal selfhood] can inhabit either of the two bodies, even though it prefers the Ψb, which is described as the overseer of the Sb and Pb, and probably exists eternally.”

“Although the perceptive and cognitive differences between the Sb and the Ψb have not been clearly defined, the differences in how they “move through space” were described the same way by all participants: The Ψb seems to travel at the speed of thought, or will, with no “friction” from solid materials. Similar, but less ideal, characteristics are described for the Sb, due to it having boundaries. Furthermore, all descriptions about the link between the Pb and the Sb were in agreement . . .”

“Bearing in mind the known uncertainties inherent in first-person phenomenological descriptions, the information given by our participants about their OBE experiences induced by an hypnotic induction can be used for the time being as a new source of description of this particular state of consciousness as a converging evidence to other sources obtained with different methods . . .”