Editor’s Introduction

Arthur Ellison (real name) is trained in electrical engineering, in which he earned a Ph.D. and the higher British D.Sc. He has worked as a Professor at the University of London. Professor Ellison has written widely used textbooks in his field as well as a dozen professional books and more than a hundred technical articles, and is listed in the British Who’s Who.

This experience occurred in the 1950s in Warwickshire, England when Arthur Ellison was in his early 30s.

This experience differs from many submitted to these archives in that Professor Ellison deliberately attempted to induce an unusual experience.

Professor Ellison has died since his contribution was published although, as a friend of his remarked, knowing Arthur he will be trying to get his email from the other side…

Trying to Leave My Body: Did I Really Get Out?
Arthur Ellison

I have not had significant spiritual/transpersonal experiences (though I have meditated for many years), but I have had out-of-body experiences by following for one month the methods in the Muldoon/Carrington book (Muldoon, S. J. & Carrington, H., 1929, The Projection of the Astral Body.London: Rider), and I have had a number of lucid dreams by following the LaBerge and Rheingold book (LaBerge, S. & Rheingold, H., 1990, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. New York: Ballantine).

Muldoon’s techniques involved (in my case) going along temporarily with the belief that I had an “astral body,” imagining it a bit bigger than the physical body, and doing mental exercises to loosen its attachment to the physical. These involved such things as looking at the ceiling, then at the right wall, then at the floor, then at the left wall, and back to the ceiling again. I can still imagine myself revolving several times within the still physical body. Other techniques he recommended, such as not drinking so that thirst would drag you in the other body to go and get a drink, I did not use. I also did not use what is really an induction of a lucid dream – going into a dream of an elevator and suggesting that one would wake up on reaching the top – into an astral projection according to Muldoon, and into a lucid dream according to Stephen LaBerge.

My most impressive OBE[1] Lay down on my bed with the light on and used the Muldoon/Carrington (The Projection of the Astral Body) methods for a month for one hour per evening. Finally found myself cataleptic. Willed/imagined (more imagined than willed) myself to float upwards. Felt as though embedded in mud at the bottom of a river and the water gradually reduced the viscosity of the mud until I slowly began to float upwards. Rose above the physical body, approached the ceiling and remember well the little cracks in the plaster I could see when near. Floated through it into the darkness of the roof space. Carried on through the roof tiles. Was cataleptic[2] also in the ‘other body’ I had imagined. Velocity increased and I well remember the whoosh! as I shot up into the cloudy night sky. Did not lose consciousness for one moment from lying down.

[1] Editor’s note: OBE = Out of Body Experience, the more modern phenomenological term for the experience of mind being experienced as both clear and temporarily located somewhere other than where the physical body is.

[2] Editor’s note: catalepsy is a feeling of total paralysis.


Decided this was a waste of time, as any sensible person would say I had dreamed the whole thing. Intended next time to go off into the nearby town and get some information I could check the following day.

The next experience took me two or three more hours. Similar experience. But when half a meter above the body changed the direction of imagining and floated towards the window. Intended to descend to the lawn behind the house to a distance outside Muldoon’s “cord activity range” – when he said in the book that the catalepsy would go and I would be free to walk about.

Floated through the window frame and about to make the descent to the lawn (still cataleptic) when what felt like two hands grabbed my head over the ears and I was bodily moved back into the room and replaced in the body. I have no explanation for the latter experience.

I left the experiments then for a while as I needed the sleep and have only recently started experimental work again.

I feel fairly sure that I was cataleptic because Muldoon had said so. I may have been in an autohypnotic trance. I heard no “roaring” or other sounds (which are often reported). All occurred exactly as I described.

Contributor’s Comments on the Experience

I was trying Muldoon’s techniques to produce “astral projection” because I wanted to have the experience and thought naively (it was a long time ago!) that it would prove survival. It has not affected my doing ‘normal science’ at all. But I did occasionally have questioning guilt feelings when I sent a student back to the lab to do an experiment again because he had not got the “right answer’.” Now I am “retired” my early experiences have caused me to devote a lot of time to research into consciousness via personal experience, with a number of others.