(a non-physical double travels in the physical world)
Many theories have suggested that the double is not physical but non- physical, even though it travels in the physical world. Many occultists believe there to be a whole range of non-physical worlds of differing qualities. Let us look at some examples of this sort of theory to try to find out what is meant by it. Tart refers to it as the ‘natural’ explanation. He describes this theory of the OBE as follows ‘… in effect there is no need to explain it; it is just what it seems to be. Man has a non-physical soul of some sort that is capable, under certain conditions, of leaving the physical seat of consciousness.
While it is like an ordinary physical body in some ways, it is not subject to most of the physical laws of space and time and so is able to travel at will.’ The ‘theta aspect’ has been mentioned in connection with detection experiments. Morris et. al. explain that ‘… the OBE may be more than a special psi-conductive state; they hold that it may in fact be evidence of an aspect of the self which is capable of surviving bodily death. For convenience, such a hypothetical aspect of the self will hereafter be referred to as a Theta Aspect (T.A.).’
According to Osis and Mitchell it is possible that ‘… some part of the personality is temporarily out of the body,’ and many occult theories involve a non- physical astral double rather than a physical one. Blackmore criticizes this view . She claims if the ‘soul’ is to interact with the objects of the physical world so as to perceive them then it should not only be detectable, but all the other problems of previous theories arise. On the other hand, if this ‘soul’ does not interact with the physical, then it cannot possibly do what is expected of it in this theory, namely travel in the physical world. She sees no escape from the dilemma. Moreover, she claims there is already evidence that what is seen in an OBE is not, in any case, the phy
Of course this type of experience can be fitted in by saying that the experient’s astral vision was clouded, or the astral body or cord too fine to be seen, but these methods of attempting to account for actual experience begin to weaken the theory. Blackmore criticizes the complexity of the theory of astral projection as it tries to account for new facts. And this relates to the second problem, its ‘stretchability.’ In her opinion the theory is so complicated and flexible that almost anything can be stretched to fit it and it makes hard to draw definite predictions from the theory. If you don’t see the features you should, your astral vision is not clear enough, or memory was not passed on from higher levels. If you fail to make yourself visible to someone else then not enough etheric matter was involved and so on. In this way the ‘theory’ is in danger of explaining everything and nothing. Furthermore, any theory which is untestable is useless in scientific terms.