I have practiced so-called astral projection. It's fun but, I think, ultimately explainable as a form of wake-induced lucid dreaming.
About a year and a half ago, a friend who lives across the country wrote a few numbers on a piece of paper and put it the top of his bookshelf. My plan was to travel to his apartment and attempt to decipher the numbers. Of course, it failed. He left the numbers up there for months.
Astral projection actually can be tested. I have heard stories about Edgar Cayce successfully performing the above experiment. But, so far as I can tell, they're just stories. Does anyone here know of any sound documentation of OBE testing? Perhaps I simply haven't found it. Moreover, I admit that we do not really know where dreams take place (perhaps on some metaphysical landscape), as kookie as that sounds.
I am convinced that the NDE phenomenon, apparently related to astral projection, has merit. My only problem with the data, however, arises out of the many different versions of the afterlife contained in experiencer testimony. Some claim to see heaven or hell, Jesus, demons, Satan, or angels. Others experience non-specific light beings, identifiable not as any traditional icon of world religion. Then too others meet friends, family, or strangers in bizarre landscapes. All of them cannot represent the truth of the afterlife, since most of them contain mutually exclusive ideas about what happens after death. These groups generally ignore similar experiences from other groups or else blame Satan as using the NDE to deceive non-believers. Clearly, someone is wrong here.
Most Holy Family Monastery, a group run by a number of wildly fanatical Catholics, provides an example of a religious group claiming that the NDE serves as evidence for the reality of Catholicism (read the story here: http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/condemned_to_hell.html
). What would happen if one asked the writer about atheists or Jews having experiences that exclude condemnation to hell? The fanatical maniac would undoubtedly claim that Satan was using the NDE to create confusion about the truth of Catholicism. To anyone who isn't a lunatic, however, the NDE cannot serve as any kind of evidence for the reality of this belief system or that, since the experiences are all so divergent.
How does one account for all of this if the NDE and OBE phenomenon does indeed represent some kind of metaphysical landscape?