Interview with out of body (OBE) expert and author Robert Bruce explores extended consciousness as an open-minded skeptic.
Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Robert Bruce author of, Astral Dynamics: The Complete Book of Out-of-Body. During the interview Bruce discusses why out of body experience finding don’t generate scientific attention:
Alex Tsakiris: Recently journalist, Matt Baglio, published a book called, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. What he was go to Rome and went to the school where the Vatican instructs priests in how to perform exorcisms. He sat in on dozens and dozens of exorcisms and what he found was that, despite the modern perception, they weren’t just bringing people in to convert them to Christianity or convert them to Catholicism. They have licensed therapists there. They say 95% of these people are not demon possessed. But, surprisingly, they claim 5% of them are. And, they have very specific criteria that they use in determining that; and they have unbelievable stories that this journalist has gathered and that these exorcists can attest to.
So it seems that this is a phenomenon that is much more prevalent than I think most of us are willing to acknowledge or even look into. I think most people just won’t even examine the evidence for it.
Robert Bruce: You hit the nail on the head there. People don’t want it to be true. They don’t want to know. They avoid the information. Now, to be a true scientist you need to be an open-minded skeptic. I mean, open-minded skepticism is pure science. You’re open-minded and you’re skeptical. You look at the evidence and you examine the phenomena, or whatever it is, until you start to understand it. Now, I have that same approach and I approach this not just with my own experiences which made it real to me.
Anybody who doubts this, and they should doubt it until they see it for themselves or experience it for themselves — Heaven forbid. If you confront one demon or an evil spirit—even a poltergeist, a real one— you become a believer.
Interview with Andrew Paquette and Graham Nicholls explores experiences working with extended consciousness.
Play It (Interview With Robert Bruce):
Download MP3 (54 min.)
Today we welcome world-renowned out-of-body experience expert, Robert Bruce, to Skeptiko. Robert is the author of several best-selling books including the one he’s probably best-known for, Astral Dynamics, which is also the domain name where you’ll find his excellent website, www.astraldynamics.com. He holds seminars around the world on out-of-body experience travel and spirituality and other related topics.
It’s a pleasure to have you on, Robert. Thanks for joining me on Skeptiko.
Robert Bruce: Good day, Alex. It’s nice to be here at last.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes. Robert, you’re known as an expert on primarily out-of-body experience, what some people call astral projection. You also have quite a bit to say about spirituality in general. I read your first book, Astral Dynamics. I didn’t quite make it all the way through. It’s a pretty big, fat book. But I was very impressed. It’s very practical. A lot of step-by-step kinds of instructions. Down to earth but meaty, not like it’s light or anything like that. Packed with a lot of information.
Tell folks a little bit about how you got started with all this. I think it’s quite an interesting story and it is an Internet story, as well, isn’t it? Didn’t you really become kind of a forum/Internet sensation, if you will, within a small community and then it expanded out of there?
Robert Bruce: Yeah. Like many people similar to myself, everything I’ve written about, including Astral Dynamics and Practical Psychic Self Defense, Energy Work, all of my books, the things in them, are things I do myself and developed for myself over the years. The books are just my way of sharing with the world, sharing what I do.
I got started when I was about three or four years of age, when I started having out-of-body experiences. I used to float out of my body and float through the house and go outside and learning how to fly and working it out for myself. It seemed very natural. I was a very young lad and I progressed from there over the years until I started taking it more seriously about the age of 20, when I started sitting down and actually thinking about what I was doing and trying to do it more deliberately.
Yeah, I’ve just gone from there and eventually many, many years later I discovered the Internet and became friends with a lot of people. Eventually I somehow accidently became an author and an authority in this field.
Alex Tsakiris: Right, that’s how I heard the story. You were just trying to help people online and posting a lot of stuff and eventually kept posting more and more stuff and people were like, “Hey, can you put this together for me?”
Robert Bruce: Yeah, after Astral Dynamics, my first book, it originally started out as a fact in my Frequently Asked Questions. When I discovered the Internet in the early to mid-90s, I started hanging around out-of-body experience type groups. In those days it was all syntax-based, c-column, back slash, top left-hand corner, and they had newsgroups like alt.outofbody and alt.luciddreaming and various other things. They’re like forums are today. That was all syntax-based.
People kept asking me the same questions over and over again and so I got tired of writing the same replies and so I wrote up canned answers for them on the most common things. Eventually I put them together into collections. Over the years it evolved and evolved and evolved until eventually I wrote Astral Dynamics. It’s now in its second edition, which is much, much better because I was almost teaching myself how to write while I wrote my first edition of Astral Dynamics, which is pretty good but I tightened it up a lot and added new content in the second edition, which we released in 2009 as a 10th year anniversary edition.
Alex Tsakiris: Excellent. So, Robert, you seem very skilled at what you do. You’re an excellent teacher, good communicator, and you’re very generous with the information you give away. If I remember this correctly, you actually even give away the original version of Astral Dynamics in PDF form. Is that still available for a download?
Robert Bruce: I was giving it away for some time because the first edition went out of print. The second edition is now available. I had it up as a free download for a while but I took it offline at my publisher’s request.
Alex Tsakiris: Sure, sure. You give away a lot of stuff, a lot of e-books and other materials for free. I’ve got to say, I have to ask this question and I don’t want to poke at you here, but if somebody visits www.astraldynamics.com expecting a lot of soft, fluffy, New Age soft-sell, they’re going to be surprised because you’ve definitely developed this Internet-oriented, direct-selling style of marketing your material. You don’t shy away from provocative titles like The Truth About “Vampire-Demons” and How to Protect Yourself From Their Evil Attacks, No Matter How Strong They Are. And this one I like, too, URGENT VIDEO MESSAGE: I’m About To Do Something That I SWORE I Would Never Do….
Now, look, I want to know about vampire-demons and how to protect yourself. I really do. I think that’s a fascinating topic to talk about. But in order to get past that, tell us a little bit about this marketing style. I’m sure that’s a little off-putting for some people.
Robert Bruce: I have a marketing manager, my partner-in-crime, Timothy, who lives in Pennsylvania. He’s an awesome guy and his life-long passion is Internet marketing. We collaborate on a newsletter. He is—I wouldn’t say responsible—but guilty of the titles because he’s a marketing expert. They’re designed to attract attention because most people are asleep and it’s difficult to get people’s attention.
Alex Tsakiris: Fair enough. So let’s jump right into that title because I have to say, if one gets past that provocative title, you have some good information. I mean, it’s really out there on the edge for someone who’s coming at this from a mainstream standpoint. But if you jump into the reality of out-of-body experience—and I say reality, it is pretty firmly established at this point. I mean, historically this has been reported for a long, long time, across cultures. People have said they’ve had this ability. I don’t know why we would be so doubtful of it. And I don’t know why we’d be especially doubtful of your claims.
So we’re here to listen and to learn and then to assess whether or not we think it’s true. What about that? What is the truth about vampire-demons and how to protect yourself? I know it’s a topic you’ve spent a good deal of time covering.
Robert Bruce: Okay. In my book, The Practical Psychic Self-Defense Handbook, which is a very practical guide to psychic self-defense and even defense against vampire-demons as you want to call them, in the book I generally call them “negs” for negative entities, negative spirits that have an adverse reaction. I downplay the name a little bit because when you start using terms like “demon” and “evil spirit,” it tends to upset people, particularly New Age people because it goes against the grain.
I mean, the information in that book came from my own quest for survival because I came under horrendous attacks myself in my early 30s, including full demonic attack and full possession. I was demonically possessed for several weeks and I am the only person I know of ever who released themselves completely under their own steam. I mean, nobody would help me. Everybody considered that if you have a genuine problem then you obviously have a psychological disorder. They didn’t realize that it was real.
But when the teachers and healers I went to realized it was genuine, they stopped returning my calls. They asked me to leave; they didn’t want me there because they don’t have anything in their arsenals or even in their belief systems to accommodate that. So you end up being ostracized by anybody who could possibly understand or help you.
Alex Tsakiris: Explain to folks how you came about being possessed. We’re just going to accept that for a second and then let’s deconstruct it a little bit with some more questions. How did that happen?
Robert Bruce: Well, I was giving healing. I’ve worked as a healer for many years. I was giving healing to a 5-year-old boy that had a serious possession problem. Now, at the time even though I saw that and I saw all the phenomena and this kid’s life was in turmoil around him, even though I saw that I never really connected to it. Like most people in the New Age/spiritual type movement, whether you call yourself that or not, I had never experienced it myself. I’d worked as a healer; I’d had lots of people come to me regularly who had that type of problem, but I had very little by way of frame of reference to it or to connect to that until it happened to me.
Looking back on it now, I can see it was a brilliant learning experience and it completely changed my reality. You can say it took me firmly into the greater reality. It’s like being a child and your father throwing you into the deep end of the swimming pool as your first swimming lesson and saying, “You swim or you drown.” It was like that.
I’d been giving healing to this child for some time and many, many sessions. One session, in frustration I made a terrible mistake which I don’t recommend. I said to the entity that was you can say demonizing the child, “Take me and leave the child after the deal.” And it did, instantly. It was like being hit in the mouth by a boxer.
Now, it literally hit me in the mouth. I was paralyzed. I felt a blow in the mouth, particularly the lower lip on the right and a swelling came up. I was paralyzed in my chair for several minutes. I can only say it was like being tortured. It was like my body was in a mechanical vise, being crushed. After that I collapsed on the floor and that swelling in my lip was still there like I’d actually been punched. I had a fat lip.
Over the next few days that quickly hardened into a literal lump about the size of a shelled peanut in my lip. The long story short—it takes me about an hour to tell this story properly, to do it justice—because nobody could help me, the only option I had was to go and get myself medicated and locked up because I was about to become something like an axe murderer. I was progressively losing control of my body. My hand would lash out, pick something up, and throw it against the wall. My foot would lash out and kick my beloved Labrador, Blue Boy.
Things like that were happening until they got incredibly serious and I actually had some complete losses of control where I was pushed half-way out of my body. Fully aware of what’s happening but powerless. It’s like freewheeling, you know? It’s like floating in the water and trying to walk. Your body and legs move but you don’t walk. You don’t move. There’s no traction.
It picked up my baby, my son James who was about nine months old at the time, and marched him to the edge of a roof story car park that was about 10 floors up and was going to throw the baby off the roof. I managed to break out of that just before we got to the edge.
Then I didn’t trust myself anymore. I moved to my mother’s old place and stayed there on my own. I had no choice. I had to connect with the greater reality, my higher self, right now. I had no time to wait; I had to do it right now. Right on that day. So I started trying to work with the impressions I was getting. I got this crazy impression. I promised to follow it no matter what came into my head. I got this impression to walk into the storm. There was a thunderstorm at the time.
I walked off into the storm for half an hour and nearly froze to death. Somehow I found this scrap of paper which I thought was like a message. I’m trying to work here. The message just had a few words on it. It guided me to a place in the wilderness here called Gerudo, which is very, very harsh scrub a bit like the Kalahari. No ground water. I went out there for a week. Not camping; just sleeping on the ground. I had no food. I was fasting. I ran out of water on the second day and that was crucial. I nearly died of thirst. I had to make a decision to not go back and get water—a few miles back it would have been—but to stay there and see it through even if I died.
To tell a long story short, there were a lot of phenomena around me. A lot of manifestations. Then on the fourth or fifth day, once I woke up in the morning, the possession just lifted. It was just on dawn and I was walking down to this tiny little spring I’d found to get some water and at the first rays of the sun hit me, this thing completely left me. I felt this huge weight come off me. But as it came off of me, that thing in my mouth exploded, literally. It burst in my mouth and hundreds of pieces of like blasted gristle left a big hole in my lip.
Now, years later after releasing myself like that, I put it all together and the primary factor, you could say, involved in my release there was the fact that I was sleeping on top of an underground spring. There was an underground stream coming out of the hills going to that little stream I’d found with was about 80 yards from where I’d been sleeping down the hill. So I was right on top of it.
Over the years later, more coincidences led me to the realization that the earthbound type spirits, whatever you want to call them, are literally bound to the surface of the Earth and they cannot cross running water. Running water is extremely disruptive to them, damaging to them, and it will also, if you expose yourself enough to those types of energies, which includes electrical earthing, you will release yourself from that type of entity. That led me to write the book on it eventually. There was a poignant saga leading to my discovery of these things. That’s why the book is called, Practical Psychic Self-Defense. It’s very practical. The techniques in there work; they’re very effective.
For example, I’ve learned that if you come under an attack of any kind, even the most horrific demonic attack, vampire-demon attack, that you could possibly get, if you jump in the shower you will break it instantly. You break the attack. But if you don’t know that and you just go back to bed or go and sleep on the couch and put up with the attack, it will infiltrate your energy body and the possession will become progressively more and more dangerous and controlling. There are ways to break it if you know the signs of what to look for and what to do about it.
Alex Tsakiris: That story, of course, to anyone who isn’t well into this stuff is going to sound very strange, very far out there. One of the things I like to do is connect all my guests, including former guests I’ve had on, and other events that are happening in the news.
One thing I’d point to here is recently journalist, Matt Baglio, published a book called, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. What he did is he went to Rome and actually went to the school where the Vatican instructs priests in how to perform exorcisms. He sat in on dozens and dozens of exorcisms and what he found was really that despite the modern perception that they’re just bringing people in to convert them to Christianity or convert them to Catholicism that wasn’t the case. They have licensed therapists there. They say 95% of these people are not demon possessed but 5% of them are. They have very specific criteria that they use. They have unbelievable stories that this journalist has gathered and that these exorcists can attest to.
So this is a phenomenon that is much more—I don’t want to say well-known, but much more prevalent than I think most of us are willing to acknowledge or even look into. I think most people just won’t even examine the evidence for it.
Robert Bruce: You hit the nail on the head there. People don’t want it to be true. They don’t want to know. They avoid the information. Now, to be a true scientist you need to be an open-minded skeptic. I mean, open-minded skepticism is pure science. You’re open-minded and you’re skeptical and you look at the evidence and you examine the phenomena or whatever it is until you start to understand it. Now, I have that same approach and I approach this not just with my own experience which made it real to me. You need that ounce of experience.
Anybody who doubts this, they should doubt it until they see it for themselves or experience it for themselves. Heaven forbid. You confront one demon or an evil spirit—even a poltergeist, a real one—and you become a believer. But you have to have personal experience with it. Until then, I advise everybody to have open-minded skepticism but I also advise people that my book, because it is so practical, The Practical Psychic Self-Defense Handbook, that should be taught in primary school around Grade 5.
Alex Tsakiris: I agree with you. I mean, it sure wouldn’t hurt to have that information in the back of your mind even if you don’t believe it, to know that it’s there if you need it.
I want to take this in a different direction because I’ve had a couple of out-of-body experience travelers also authors, very qualified people as near as I can tell, on the show and one of the things that troubles me all the time are the discrepancies. Maybe they’re not discrepancies. Maybe that’s the wrong word. But there’s some variation in approach, variations in worldview that I want to bounce off of you and see if we can figure out what’s going on.
One of the persons I had on who I really like, I was very impressed with, is a woman named Marilyn Hughes. She runs something called the Out-Of-Body Experience Institute. Marilyn actually came on the show as part of an on-air experiment we were doing on mediumship. She said, “Well, I’m not a medium. I’m an out-of-body experience traveler but I’ll help you with your experiment.”
We had a woman who had lost a daughter who was away at college. She was suffering greatly. I served as the proxy sitter for this woman and Marilyn did this reading. Marilyn’s explanation of what she does is that she goes to these other realms and she feels like it’s her mission in particular to help souls or spirits that are in a bad place in this other realm and help them transition. That’s her claim. But I have to say—and anyone can go back and listen to this episode—she was spot-on and she gave a tremendous reading and gave, more importantly, a real sense of relief and closure to this mom who had lost her daughter.
Now, here’s the interesting thing about Marilyn. Marilyn is a Christian. She’s very oriented towards a Christian outlook towards Jesus and Angels helping her and guiding her. She’s not closed to other religions but again, her primary focus is Christianity.
I noticed in the account that you gave, one thing I think was conspicuously absent for a lot of people would be any mention on your part of any kind of religious figure or even Angelic or divine figure in that equation at all. Sort that out for us. What’s your best understanding of how that aspect of this works.
Robert Bruce: The out-of-body experience, you’ll find people like that lady you describe there, they have this phenomena occurring, out-of-body experience, often from a child. Their religious training is different and doesn’t allow for this. What they do is they bend their belief system, Christianity if you like, and they wrap it around it to include these phenomena but you’ll find the question of bias will affect the experience. You will tend to have more of a Christian type theme, if you like, applied to it.
You’re in a very fluid, subtle environment when you’re out-of-body which is affected by your beliefs and your thoughts. Your mind is very, very powerful in the out-of-body environment and you can create things there. You can influence the environment.
Now depending on which type of experience you have, there’s a gradient of experiences from hard, real-time astral projection where you are like a ghost in the real world up to the higher astral planes where the environment you’re in bears no resemblance to normal physical reality. But there is a gradient of them.
That explains the differences in the experience in the sense of the environment as being different. I liken it to this: if you imagine pure astral projection, it’s a projection of the flesh of your body, of the substance of your body. This is supported by the many years of work, the thousands of people I’ve worked with, and my own experience where when you are coming out of your body during a conscious astral projection exit, during the separation you will sometimes find you are stuck in one part of your body. You might be stuck at the left wrist or the hand; you might be stuck at the mouth, the head, the stomach, or maybe a leg.
You’re very aware of being out-of-body. You can see out-of-body, as well, see around you even though it’s dark. You might be stuck, say at the wrist. Now if you pull hard on that to try and finish this separation, it really hurts so you give up on that pretty quickly. But there’s something there stopping you. You get like a whole body vibration with real-time astral projection and it’s like that part hasn’t vibrated enough to generate the astral body in that area. But if you examine these areas where you’re stuck at, you will usually if not always find something different about it. The person’s wearing a bracelet or a watch or a ring that they haven’t had for very long.
They might have had, like in the case of being stuck at the mouth, consistently the first question I ask problem-solving things like that. Have you had any new dental work? Invariably the answer is yes. “I had a bridge put in a couple of weeks back.” Anything new in the body can take several weeks or even a few months for the body to acclimatize to it. Being stuck at the stomach is, of course, food content. What you ate and what your stomach content is has an effect on astral projection and can cause problems with that type of exit.
Astral projection, you could say, at the other end of the spectrum there is mental projection which relates to dreaming or lucid dreaming and awake-induced lucid dreaming which is where the conscious exits directly into what they call the dream environment. That is to me logically and obviously a mental projection which is then, you could say, a finer and more mental sort of realm. But then what you get typically is you have a gradient between awake-induced lucid dreaming which is probably the most powerful experience you can have and pure real-time astral projection.
There is a gradient and a mixture that has a percentage of the astral body in it and a percentage of the mental body in it. Depending on what that ratio is, the spirit is different. It can be slightly different. If you get a 50/50 mix you have a pretty typical astral projection in the astral planes. If you have more, like 25% astral and 75% mental, you’ll find you’ll be more in the mental planes. It’s more like lucid dreaming than it is astral projection. And the other way, 75% astral and 25% mental, you’ll find the experience is different again. It’s quite a physical reality.
Also you’ll find when you have more astral there it’s like you’ve left half your mind behind. You’ll forget any plans you had; you’ll find the experience itself is different, there’s less mind and it’s more difficult to remember, as well.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s great. This will give people a sense for the kind of very practical, down-to-earth information that you provide about this stuff. Where else are you going to hear that? If you’re wearing a watch you won’t be able to come out of your body physically and all the rest. I don’t know what to make of that but I guess there’s plenty of people who can vouch for that and your experience in working with thousands of people can really back that up. It’s great information.
I have to return, if I can, to this spiritual matter because I think that this is really troubling for people in this topic. I’m not so sure we can separate them so cleanly in terms of saying, “Here’s physically how you do it and you fly out and you fly back in.”
I guess I’ll maybe take it in a different direction and mix in another guest that we recently had on the show, Harvard neurosurgeon Eben Alexander. He’s a New York Times best-selling author as we speak. He came on the show and recounted his amazing near-death experience. Here’s a guy who was clinically dead, traveled outside of his body, went to this other realm that he understood as Heaven. Had this amazing experience. We don’t have to get into the details of it. But there was a definite divinity that he felt associated with that experience. This overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance which near-death experiencers report almost uniformly as being the most significant part of the experience.
They associate it with a higher spirit, a hierarchical spirit which—hey, that’s God, you know? You can call it what you will and intellectualize it but that’s really what they’re talking about. How are we supposed to sort that out? What about the God question? What about the Jesus question? What’s going on there?
Robert Bruce: Okay, theoretically just a concept of it, what you call God other people might call God. It can also be called Source or it can even be called your higher self. It’s like a gradient of consciousness from you to the entire universe if you imagine the entire universe is consciousness manifesting form. Now, I focus on the mechanics of the process.
That’s my forte and my interest but I’ve met Angels. I have had experiences which are very Christian-oriented. I’ve had experiences which are very, you could say, Islamic, very Hindu type. There seems to be different versions of the afterlife, the spiritual greater reality at the higher levels which seem to match up with the different root religions and others. And there is, yeah, when you get there there is this overwhelming feeling of love.
But also if you connect with your higher self personally in your own room, you find you are exposed to this whole different world and feeling of love and understanding, as well. That seems to permeate your reality. But all these things do exist but I’m a very open-minded skeptic. I don’t have any particular religious beliefs. I was raised, you could say, a light Christian, Protestant. I went to the Salvation Army for a couple of years in my teens. That’s about it. I’m an open-minded skeptic.
I’m quite scientific about my approach to this because I’ve found that is the only way I could make any sense out of it is actually just to examine everything and hold it in hand and try to make sense out of it just by observing it. And particularly by staying in the question. I’ve found that if I categorize something and say, “Well, that’s astral projection and this is lucid dreaming and that’s dreaming and these are completely different things.” And maybe I say astral projection is superior to lucid dreaming and that’s just dreaming. Well, that’s not true. There is no superiority there. The experience is just different.
But back again to the deity sort of thing, I have encountered beings which appear to be like deities and particularly Angels. Angelic-type beings. I remember my first encounter with Angels. I had three Angels completely materialize in my bedroom when I was 14. I had this experience with them and over the years I don’t see them all the time but occasionally I will encounter an Angel or what you would call a spiritual master deity-type being.
Alex Tsakiris: But Robert, hold on one second. I really appreciate what you’re saying and I love the open-minded skeptic. I think most people who self-identify as skeptic would have a really hard time with that but I don’t. I think that’s wonderful that you can traverse this landscape that you’re in and maintain this skepticism. Awesome.
But I can’t quite square that with when you say Angel and ascended master. I don’t have any dog in this fight, either. I’m not Christian. I’m not particularly religious, but the evidence to me does point towards there being this hierarchy to this consciousness and then you can put any name you want on it—Source or God or whatever. But it seems to be going in only one direction and there does seem to be a moral imperative here. Your moral imperative that you talk about in your latest book is evolution and that we have to evolve. But I think related to that is this moral imperative maybe to do good. To learn. And how else would an Angel even exist or fit into this landscape if we don’t have those things?
Robert Bruce: I don’t know. And isn’t it wonderful that I don’t know? I know that they exist. I know they look like Angels. I know they behave like Angels. But I can’t pigeonhole all of this together and say, “That belongs there. That’s #5 on the list.” I mean, I’m just observing and staying in the question.
Now, anybody who is a close-minded skeptic, and there are a lot of closed-minded skeptics out there, they are no different to any enthusiastic Baptist or born-again type Pentecostal belief. You know, you get the very closed-minded Christians where everything’s according to the Bible and must fit the Bible or it’s rubbish or it doesn’t exist. Closed-minded skeptics are banned from my forums. I banned them years ago because they are painful. I would much rather have a very enthusiastic religious person there because that’s very unscientific.
Alex Tsakiris: We’ve made a point on my show to inviting those folks into the conversation and they’re very interesting conversations because I think the whole skepticism thing—I don’t want to get into it because there’s so many interesting topics I need to talk to you about—but I think you hit the nail on the head when you put them in the same lot as Fundamentalist Christian folks or any fundamentalist religion. It’s this fear, this need to have control, this need to know your doctrine and state your dogma and stick to it. I think it comes from that but I don’t like when people do cheap psychoanalysis on me so I shouldn’t do it on other people.
I tell you what, let me shift gears only slightly because one of the things I’ve found in one of your emails because I signed up quite a long time ago for your excellent email newsletter, packed with information. You get a good sales pitch in there but you always deliver some good information with it. It’s not like it’s just pure sales. You deliver good stuff.
Talk about the chalkboard experiment that you say instantly completely blows apart this materialistic science that insists that mind equals brain. Here’s the rub: I’m with you that materialistic science has been defeated just soundly so many different ways, yet it persists. That’s a whole question of how and why it persists. But the chalkboard experiment, Robert, why haven’t you done it? I’m close enough with enough parapsychologists who would jump into the chance to do the chalkboard experiment with any number of your students or you or anyone like that if it had any chance of moving this whole thing forward.
Tell us a little bit before I get too far along, what you describe as your chalkboard experiment and then tell me how we formalize that and get that done.
Robert Bruce: I have done that hundreds of times over the years for people and groups and things like that. I’ve got students of mine that are better than me at it. I mean, I have a student in Virginia. He’s an engineer. He gets an over 70% success rating with that.
You put a playing card face out on a window, on top of a wardrobe, and you go have an OB and go and read it. As an engineer, he does a data on it. His favorite saying is, “Show me the data.” There’s nothing scientific about it but it’s pointless. It’s pointless doing that experiment, particularly for skeptics. I wouldn’t even bother.
The whole Randi, Million Dollar Challenge, it’s fake. It’s a lie. I mean, even you fulfill the requirements and you 100% blow that test away, because of the way the contracts are written and the copyright there, it comes down to they’ll say, “I don’t know how you did it but I know you faked it because obviously, as a hard-nosed skeptic, the phenomenon is impossible. Therefore, if you succeed at this test you are somehow cheating and therefore you fail.” And that’s their approach.
That’s why I won’t talk to them. And I advise people not to talk to closed-minded skeptics. Talk to open-minded skeptics, sure. But with a closed-minded skeptic it’s a waste of time. To quote Rupert Sheldrake, a man I admire, he said, “Even when you present a really thorough piece of science in a peer-reviewed journal, impeccable work, a skeptic will glance at the paper. They won’t read the data and they’ll dump all over you about that. They’ll just see the title and maybe go onto the abstract and then they’ll dump on you and say it’s impossible.”
Because to them, it’s obviously impossible. It’s like saying I can levitate. Now, I levitate in front of you and the skeptics are there and under their control and I levitate in front of them. They even video it. And the end result is they say, “I don’t know how you did it but you must have put some hallucinogenic gas out and had the video rigged somehow.” You can’t win against that sort of thinking.
Alex Tsakiris: It’s funny, because just today I was having an email exchange with a friend of mine who’s an author and a blogger and he’s gotten into a public exchange about the Randi challenge. My take on it is you can’t go there because James Randi is a proven—there’s no really polite word for it—but he’s a proven liar. He’s been proven over and over again to intentionally misrepresent things. He’s on the record for suppressing data and he said, “We cannot let the mystics rejoice.”
He has an agenda that drives him towards dishonesty as part of his agenda. So that is the first prerequisite for science. So I think the whole discussion of the rules of the Randi challenge or the copyright or all that, it’s moot. He’s not honest and trustworthy so all is lost. I can sit here and make any claim I want about what I’ll do for you or how I’ll do it but if I’m not an honest person there really isn’t any point in proceeding.
I will say Rupert Sheldrake has been on this show a number of times. I admire him greatly. There are other well-known parapsychology researchers that have been on this show. I’m not big on experiments. I’ve kind of moved past that but I’ll tell you what, I would welcome the opportunity to hook up with some of your students and try and do a well-controlled experiment like that through a parapsychology department at a university. I’ll help fund it. I’ll help publicize it.
And it probably won’t make a bit of difference in the long run, but I think it needs to be out there because I think when open-minded people who are predisposed to be skeptical because that’s how our society churns people out, to deny all this stuff and to deny their own experience, deny their family’s experience, and yet they’re told, “No, that can’t be true.” Those people occasionally do wake up and they want the data. It is helpful, I think, for them to be able to go and say, “Huh. Here is a scientist, well-credentialed, that has put together an interesting survey, an interesting paper and published it.” If you’re willing to participate in that by maybe connecting me with some of your students, I’d love to pursue that.
Again, I went on there for a long time and didn’t explain the chalkboard experiment. It’s very simple. It’s what you just described. It’s traveling outside of your body, retrieving a simple bit of information that is unknown and hidden but is rather simple like a playing card or a number, and bringing it back in a waking state and telling it to someone.
Robert Bruce: The only issue with those sorts is that while it can be done is you can do it and I have done it like hundreds of times. You might affect one person occasionally because to really get it, for the penny to drop for anybody, you have to do it yourself. It’s very, very easy to do, to get some personal experience. All you’ve got to do is read a little bit about it, you know, five minutes, and sit down and do it.
When you have your own experience with it, all of a sudden then all of the pennies will drop and it’s real for you. I was advised many years ago by a master who manifested to me and explained to me how the system works, you can say. How the spiritual evolution system works on this planet and this reality, is probably a better word. He explained that you have to dismantle your belief system and you’ve got to create some lists. You have a core belief system which must be based on hard personal experience only. It’s very scientific.
And you have another list to the side which is all the things you used to believe in which are probably right. You’re just waiting for personal experience to connect them before you can take them into your core belief system. And you have another list which is possibles.
By analyzing, self-observation, and looking at yourself you purify your belief systems and you start a very practical approach to spirituality, spiritual development. This works. The logic here is impeccable if you perceive that way.
It told me that the system is designed this way. You cannot learn spirituality or spiritual development from a book. You can’t sit down and read a roomful of books and become a spiritual master. You cannot. You can pick up some interesting philosophy and some facts and figures and that, but it won’t be real to you. To be real in any shape, you have to do it yourself.
Alex Tsakiris: Sure, but Robert, as your own educational products attest, the process that people go through is varied. Someone will pick up Astral Dynamics and read one page and leave it on their bookshelf for three years and then pick it up again. So hey, it’s good that they picked it up and read those first three pages and then it sat there and then they read it again.
We can’t control—I’m speaking to the choir here; I’m sure you know this—the process that people go through, so having material out there and having resources in a form that people have comfort from in the way that you’re talking about it in terms of their probable belief system, it’s a fair and actually intelligent way for people to proceed. To say, “You know that guy, Rupert Sheldrake? That guy makes sense to me. I read his books, I trust him; I believe him.”
So when Rupert Sheldrake puts his stamp of approval on an experiment, I’m more open to looking into it and maybe investigating it than I would have been. That’s just the way it is. That’s the way we all are about everything, about listening to the news or getting any kind of information. So why wouldn’t we do it?
Robert Bruce: It’s not as simple as you think. A man who pushed the envelope on out-of-body experience was Robert Monroe. Years ago, when he started up the Monroe Institute and worked with Tom Campbell, a physicist and author of My Big TOE, and developed the binaural-beat, Hemi-Synch altered state induction system and that. Over the years, they really pushed the envelope on astral projection and they had a visit from people from the government who warned them to back off on astral projection, particularly in proving it to the general population. I have it on very good authority, personal authority. You won’t find that in print.
Alex Tsakiris: I’m sure that’s true but why? Now I’ve got to push this a little bit further because I’m a little bit baffled. Why wouldn’t we do this? That’s not enough of a reason unless you’re afraid of the government or I’m afraid of the government. We have two different governments. You’re in Australia and I’m in the United States. We can pick a researcher in Canada—there we go. We’ll triangulate it. Why not do this?
Robert Bruce: Anybody who’s not afraid of their government in the Western world needs to do a lot of alternative reading. I think there’s cause for concern there at the very least in this day and age. There was also the public’s thing. The vast majority of the population here is like 99% of the population is so programmed to disbelieve in things like that. It’s okay for people to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and other things they can believe in, but any kind of real phenomena really tends to shake people’s worlds up.
If you try to demonstrate that I think you unlock something inside of people that makes them feel nervous. It’s very disturbing for people if you prove that there is actually spiritual phenomena because linking back to what we first started talking about here, if you can prove that their phenomena does exist, it’s only a very short, short jump and you’re opening the door to allow the possibility that there are spirits and demons and all kinds of other things out there. The population is, by and large, in that sense very fear-driven so they generally prefer not to believe in that sort of thing and shy away from it.
That’s natural. Making progress to convince people that they are more than their physical bodies, much, much more, is a slight process of waking people up, one at a time.
Alex Tsakiris: You’ve really piqued my curiosity here, though. That’s what you’re all about. Go to www.astraldynamics.com , your website, and you’re all about teaching people to overcome that. It seems like a small step to say you’re going to publicly participate in those kinds of experiments.
The other out-of-body experience practitioner we’ve had on the show was a guy named Graham Nicholls from the UK, who is a friend of Rupert Sheldrake’s. They’ve tried to put together several out-of-body experience experiments like this. They’re difficult to do; I understand that. But I don’t see any real reason to not pursue that. I think the biggest worry would be that any results you get are going to be ignored either way, whether they’re positive or negative. I don’t think it’s going to change the world. Hey, you don’t want to do it, maybe you have your reasons.
Robert, tell us anything else we might have left out and tell us what people are going to find at www.astraldynamics.com.
Robert Bruce: Well, I am open to that. I did try and do a scientific experiment with astral projection several years ago. I worked with a scientist associated with the University of Virginia, a very nice man, and unfortunately the equipment that he used, the headpiece that he rigged me up with, this whole head-like helmet thing, was very uncomfortable and at the time I also had quite severe, life-threatening neck injuries. The combination was just too difficult to get through there. I think I had one OBE, a short OBE, in a period of a few days while working on this. So I am open to doing that but since then I haven’t had the opportunity.
I’m more on the philosophical side. I don’t think it would really make a great deal of difference in the world beyond being something interesting. I mean, Robert Monroe did some experiments. There have been people that have done this, but this sort of experiment needs to be done over and over again to really have any kind of an impact on it.
But yeah, I have two websites: www.astraldynamics.com which is my professional website. I have a community site with a big forum and lots of great information and that’s www.astraldynamics.org. That’s my free community site.
Alex Tsakiris: Great. Best of luck with all your work and thanks so much for joining me. It’s been a great conversation.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, thanks for having me, Alex. We’ll have to do it again one day.
Alex Tsakiris: I’ll look forward to it. That would be great.