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Beyond the Body: An Investigation of out-of-the-Body Experiences Paperback – 15 Jul 1989

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 15 Jul 1989
£856.81 £29.07

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers (15 July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897333446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897333443
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,629,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"It is superbly written and researched.... a classic work." -- "Journal of Scientific Exploration"

About the Author

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, freelance writer, and lecturer. Previously Reader in Psychology at the University of the West of England, Bristol, she left in 2000 to write an undergraduate textbook on consciousness. The author of numerous scientific articles and book contributions, she writes for several magazines and newspapers and is a frequent contributor on radio and television, both in the UK and abroad. She has presented several television programs including a Channel 4 documentary on the intelligence of apes. She has been training in Zen for twenty years. Her books include an autobiography, In Search of the Light (1996), The Meme Machine (1999), Consciousness: An Introduction (2003), and Conversations about Consciousness (forthcoming in 2005).

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on 5 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
Out-of-the-body-experiences (OBEs) are among the most remarkable of psychological phenomena, challenging as they do our fundamental assumptions about reality and consciousness. Following a series of such experiences many years ago, I sought an explanation for them. I found references to them in texts from Plato to Aleister Crowley, but nowhere was there anything approaching a coherent, rational theory. There were – and to a regrettable extent still are – two opposing viewpoints: on the one hand you have the supernaturalists, with talk of "astral projection" and full of sound advice on how to deal with the demons you will encounter on the various "astral plains", and on the other, the orthodox scientific community, who find the whole subject rather embarrassing and would prefer not to be associated with it. I could find no author who understood the importance of OBEs and who approached them in a scientific manner. Until I discovered Blackmore's book. It is without question the definitive work on the subject. It is a model of scientific rigour, and the thoroughness of her research – in psychology, folklore, occult philosophy and more – is astounding.
The supreme philosophical and psychological quest of our time is for an explanation of consciousness. That will not be achieved without taking account of the anomalous ways in which consciousness can sometimes manifest itself, of which OBEs are the most striking examples. If you are lucky enough to have experienced them and you seek an explanation, or if you are just wondering what all the fuss is about, read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
disquieting book. it suggests that out of the body experiences are not proof of life after death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I looked forward to this book, hoping for an unbiased investigation of the phenomena of astral projection. Unfortunately I found it to be full of contradictions, leaning towards whichever argument suited the author's purpose. Despite her own startling experiences of astral projection(albeit whilst apparently under the influence of drugs), she seems to have decided from the outset that the phenomena does not exist and proceeds to use whatever arguments are necessary to prove it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d7630cc) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d1f8dbc) out of 5 stars The definitive book about the out-of-body experience. 13 Jan. 2001
By Lee Cooper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dr Susan Blackmore is the leading academic authority on the out-of-body experience or OBE, she has had obes herself and has seriously studied the phenomenon for many years. Her book begins with details of the OBE from the shamans of thousands of years ago right through to the modern day OBE which is often a part of the near-death experience. All of the major names in the field are mentioned like 'Sylvan Muldoon, Robert Monroe, Ingo Swann and Dr Charles tart, as well as all the academic research on the subject. Susan Blackmore brings the full weight and discipline of science to this subject. With great authority, and after considerable explanation she reveals the true nature of the phenomenon with great clarity and insight. This book is a must for all who are seriously interested in the subject.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d1687c8) out of 5 stars Beyond Excellent 8 Mar. 2004
By Peter Reeve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Out-of-the-body-experiences (OBEs) are among the most remarkable of psychological phenomena, challenging as they do our fundamental assumptions about reality and consciousness. Following a series of such experiences many years ago, I sought an explanation for them. I found references to them in texts from Plato to Aleister Crowley, but nowhere was there anything approaching a coherent, rational theory. There were - and to a regrettable extent still are - two opposing viewpoints: on the one hand you have the supernaturalists, with talk of "astral projection" and are full of advice on how to deal with the demons you will encounter on the various "astral plains", and on the other, the orthodox scientific community, who find the whole subject rather embarrassing and would prefer not to be associated with it. I could find no author who understood the importance of OBEs and who approached them in a scientific manner. Until I discovered Blackmore's book. It is without question the definitive work on the subject. It is a model of scientific rigor, and the thoroughness of her research - in psychology, folklore, occult philosophy and more - is astounding.

The supreme philosophical and psychological quest of our time is for an explanation of consciousness. That will not be achieved without taking account of the anomalous ways in which consciousness can sometimes manifest itself, of which OBEs are the most striking examples. If you are lucky enough to have experienced them and seek an explanation, or if you are just wondering what all the fuss is about, read this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d3c6930) out of 5 stars THE NOTEWORTHY SKEPTIC'S FIRST BOOK, WHEN SHE STILL "BELIEVED" 22 April 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Susan Jane Blackmore (born 1951) is an English freelance writer and broadcaster on psychology and the paranormal. Interestingly, although she earned her Ph.D. in psychology and physiology with a thesis on, "Extrasensory Perception as a Cognitive Process," and herself had an out-of-body experience, she has since become a skeptic, and prominent member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). She has written other books such as Dying to Live, The Adventures of a Parapsychologist, Conversations on Consciousness: What the Best Minds Think about the Brain, Free Will, and What It Means to Be Human, etc.

This book, however, was written BEFORE she became a skeptic---although one can perhaps perceive seeds of her future doubts in some passages. She said in the Introduction to this 1982 book, "with an apology for egocentricity, I shall describe my own first OBE. It happened ... in my first term at the university. I was already interested in psychical research... Is there any way to account for the OBE? Personally, my aim is to be able to understand what happened in those few hours ten years ago... In this book I shall survey what the [Society for Psychical Research] and others have learned in those 100 years." (Pg. 1, 8)

She admits about OBEs, "This is a clear example of something we shall meet again and again: the frustrating mixture of right and wrong information. It is always tempting to feel that everything must either be right or not; that the person must either be 'out of his body' and therefore seeing things correctly, or not 'out' and seeing them wrongly. It is also tempting to think that if the details are correct this 'proves' he was 'out.' ... producing the right information is no proof that the person was 'out.' One the other hand it is clear from the evidence ... that information gained in an OBE is rarely ALL correct." (Pg. 42)

She says, "There are two reasons for associating lucid dreams with OBEs. First... many practised astral travellers also have lucid dreams. Second... it is hard to know where to draw the line between an OBE and a lucid dream." (Pg. 107) Later, she argues, "If we do have souls I don't think they are what travels in an OBE. Moreover, there is already the evidence that what is seen in an OBE is not, in any case, the physical world." (Pg. 231) She adds, "I find the evidence for paranormal events during the OBE limited and unconvincing... I think it is possible that all the claims for ESP and PK in OBEs are groundless." (Pg. 242)

Blackmore's book will be of considerable interest not only to those interested in psychical research, but also to skeptics.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d1fa1f8) out of 5 stars Best book on out of body research thru the 70s 7 Jun. 2014
By D. N. Washburn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Blackmore got her undergrad degree in psych and physiology from Oxford and has a PhD in parapsychology. She does a complete and professional review of the relevant literature into the early 80s and applies an incisive, critical, and creative mind to theories about OBE experience. A really excellent book. There is another edition with some updated material dated '92, but the one I have is the '82 version.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d1fa9d8) out of 5 stars IT'S ALL IN YOUR BRAIN 17 Sept. 2010
By James L. Park - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Susan Blackmore
Beyond the Body:
An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences

(London: Heinemann, 1982)
(Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1992
--reprint of the 1982 edition with a new postscript)

Dream-like experiences in which the self seems to travel
while the body remains in bed are reported in many cultures,
with different interpretations in each culture.
Careful analysis shows that these experience are dreams,
because they are conceptual in nature.
As in all dreaming, these experiences recombine elements
of thought and memory already present in the brain of the dreamer.
No alleged out-of-the-body experience has ever been able to discover
some fact of the 'place' to which the dreamer believes
he or she has traveled that was not already known to the dreamer.
Out-of-the-body experiences move quickly thru time and space
because thoughts can change more quickly than bodies can move.
Reading this book will take you out of your body.
But when you put the book down, there you are,
back in your body, returned from your mental trip.
This book is a must read for everyone interested
in alleged out-of-the-body experiences.

To discover other books critical of paranormal claims,
search the Internet for the following exact expression:
"OCCULTISM AND SCIENCE".

James Leonard Park, skeptic.
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