Siberian shaman. To possess their extraordinary powers, notably that of "decorporating", these men have to suffer an "initiatic illness" still inexplicable today.

For there to be a scientific law about anything, the phenomenon must be able to be repeated at will, a great number of times, in a laboratory.  This is what is called, in scientific jargon, the rule of “repeatable correlations”.  Many scholars have tried to do this.  Myers, Charles Richet, and others, including Luisa E. Rhine of Duke University.

What should be retained about this is that, without leaving the domain of witness reports, they studied such a great number of them (several thousands) with such objective methods and attitudes, that it would be absurd to drag their work down to the level of folklore or literature.


In the case of Rame, the “out-of-body experiences” are submitted to his will, therefore, they are repeatable.  The experiment to which he is submitted by Doctor Puharich offers all the guarantees of scientific experimentation…

Its repeatability does not interest Puharich as much as the study of the “substance” of Rame’s hallucination and this is in fact at the heart of the problem.


These “out-of-body experiences” or “decorporations” have been repeated under scientific control many times by other scholars, notably by Doctors Gordon and Valentina Wasson.  Embedded in an Indian tribe, the Mixtecs, in the South of Mexico, they observed, over a period of weeks, that the shaman, this tribe’s sorcerer, is capable of describing, in a state of trance, phenomena which are unfolding several tens of kilometres away…  To avoid all subterfuge, they even push the experiment to its limit:  their son Peter has remained in the United States, thousands of kilometres from there.  They ask the shaman to describe to them what he is doing, how he is dressed, etc.  By then contacting their son, they realize that all that the shaman had described is rigorously exact.  Their observations are now universally known and accepted.


Dr Puharich is totally convinced that the experiences of “decorporation”, reported for thousands of years by the shamans, are really within the possibilities of the human machine.


Aime Michel was able to observe a young woman, Madame B., who “left” her body and was able to move freely in space over great distances.

It was enough for her to hold an object in her hand, for example a little piece of white, blank cardboard, sent by a correspondent faraway, to smell it, to press it to her lips or her forehead, to be able to describe with great precision, what was happening at the home of the person who had sent it.


During their moments of apparent meditation, certain yogis leave their bodies and go to places often very faraway from the place where they can be seen immobile with closed eyes.

Let us now return to the examination of what could be called the “heart” of the problem, which consists of giving more precisions – if possible – on the “substance”, that is to say on the physical nature of the phenomenon of decorporation.

Let us start by admitting, along with millions of people in the past and many of today’s scholars, that “something” can leave man’s body and return to it.  That there is proof of the physical reality of this something.  We must insist on the word “physical”.  We are not talking about the soul here, otherwise it would be a “soul” with a sense of dimensions, distances, colours, up and down, etc.  In any case, this is not the definition given to the soul in treatises, the soul being in essence “immaterial”.  This “something” is, on the contrary, of a “material” essence, for only matter is capable of holding the electromagnetic rays which tell us of the existence of Pat and her dress, for example.

In other words, this “something” that Pat, Rame, Parsus, Mme B., the shaman and many others, project outside themselves is necessarily a physical object.  For, only a “material body” can receive and transform into elements of perception, a wave of a given length, without which Pat’s dress would have neither colour nor existence, nor would Pat herself, for that matter…


No complete scientific theory has yet been formulated.

We are entering here into the domain of psychological consciousness which brings us to another fundamental mystery:  we know roughly how we think but we are no more capable than the cavemen of knowing how we know that we think.  Because we are for the moment totally incapable of integrating this consciousness into the system of knowledge that we have of the material universe…  when it gives us certain proof of its existence through every instant of our everyday life experiences.


Let us not forget that all modern physics, including the more subtle one that can be drawn from relativity equations, repose on the postulation that there is no simultaneity at a distance…

If physicists manage to give birth to a new theory on matter and space, there would be a very animated debate, not to mention disputes, about it.  In fact, they have already started…


I should like to add a personal note to Louis Pauwels’ text.  I am certain that I sometimes experience out-of-body travelling while I am asleep.  However, I do not try to do it on purpose and have no control over where I go, which is usually to places to which I have never been, where I see people who are unknown to me.

While awake, I have twice been outside my body, both times onstage.  The first time, I was eleven and was dancing a solo.  The second time, I was eighteen and was acting in a play.

Both times, my main concern was re-integrating my body.  This is impossible when you try to do it by walking towards it, because you are still connected to it.  So, when you take a step towards it, it takes a step forward too.  The trick is to “think” yourself into it, without trying to physically approach it.

I noticed that, on both of these occasions, I considered my body to be outside the “real” me.  For example, the second time, I kept saying to myself, “I have to get back inside.  She’s going to forget her lines.”

During these two waking experiences, I didn’t do any flying around.  I just stayed a couple of metres behind my body until I managed to enter it again.

During the sleeping experiences, which still occur, I do not remember any “flying”.  I just suddenly find myself somewhere else.  However, I am able to “think” myself back home when I’ve had enough of where I am.

To my knowledge, I was not seen outside my body onstage.  During the sleeping excursions, I mostly just observe, but occasionally talk to people who do not always answer me.  I do not know whether I am visible to them or not.