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Parapsychological Theory

pic Parapsychological Theory Parapsychological Theory pic(imagination plus ESP)
Nothing Leaves the Body

The OBE might involve only imaginary traveling in a private imaginary world. According to this type of theory, nothing leaves the body in an OBE. The advantage of such a theory is that it avoids all the problems of the previous ones since it involves no astral worlds and other bodies. Certain parapsychologists have tried to incorporate the evidence that ESP occurs during OBEs by suggesting that the OBE is ‘imagination plus ESP’ or PK. For example, one of Tarts’s five theories is the ‘hallucination-plus- psi explanation.’ According to this theory, ‘For those cases of OBEs in which veridical information about distant events is obtained, it is postulated that ESP, which is well proved, works on a nonconscious level, and this information is used by the subconscious mind to arrange the hallucinatory or dream scene so that it corresponds to the reality scene’ .

Osis contrasts his ‘ecsomatic hypothesis’ with ‘traveling fantasy plus ESP’ and Morris compares the theory that ‘some tangible aspect of self can expand beyond the body’ with what he call the ‘psi- favorable state’ theory.

In parapsychology many states have been thought to be conducive to ESP. They include relaxation, the use of ganzfeld or unpatterned stimulation, and dreaming. There are many reasons why an OBE might be thought of as a psi-conductive state. Palmer suggested that it might induce attitudes and expectations consistent with psi, thereby facilitating its occurrence .

This sort of theory is not satisfying. It appears to avoid all the previous problems and yet to be able to cope with the paranormal aspects of the experience. According to Blackmore ‘Calling the OBE imagination or hallucination tells us very little, and adding the words ‘plus ESP’ adds nothing. We know little enough about ESP. It is defined negatively, and we cannot stop and start it or control it in any way.’