Over 2,000 bibliographic references to the out-of-body experience (OBE),
arranged by subject and author.
Includes references to the near-death experience (NDE).
Copyright © 2009 by Robert Bushman, compiler
Single copies with copyright notice are permitted for non-commercial use.
A Short, Selected Bibliography (about 30 titles)
Titles in Languages Other Than English (Arabic, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Thai)
A Comprehensive Bibliography (all of the above bibliographies in one list, arranged by author. File size: 958 KB)
The out-of-body experience is an extraordinary, mystifying, exhilarating, sometimes frightening, and often life-changing experience. It is a window of insight into our nature, our potential, and our place in the universe. I hope this bibliography will help unfold our understanding of these timeless and fundamental
The strength of the total body of evidence for OBE is overwhelming and impels us to stretch well beyond the comfort of our traditional worldview. It calls into question the validity of ordinary perception, our belief in form, physicality, time and space, our identity, and indeed, the nature of reality. Perhaps a more confident understanding of these
matters will follow a shift in our current, materialistic worldview. Perhaps a better understanding of OBE will promote that shift.
OBE awakens us to consciousness as the great frontier. In that awakening, we stand at a vast horizon of discovery that comprehends virtually all human concern.
Like a dream, the "out-of-body experience" is a subjective experience in an alternate state of consciousness. But unlike a dream, an OBE is experienced as real--often as even more real and vivid than normal waking consciousness. An understanding of OBE is elusive, and depends on one’s metaphysical perspective. The practical definition proposed by parapsychologist,
Charles Tart, is that it is simply a state in which one perceives from a point in space apart from one's physical body.
Out-of-body experiences are similar to visual, auditory, and tactile perceptions, but are not mediated by physical senses. Moreover, the types of OBE perceptions go beyond those we associate with the senses of our physical body. The experiencer seems to have unlimited mobility and thus may "travel" to any desired spatial location at unlimited speed, or even instantaneously. Some experience no limits in the time dimension. Direct communication with other life forms seems possible. Non-ordinary realities may be experienced, including locales associated with the “afterlife.” Some report access to the thoughts of others. In general, normal physical limitations do not apply.
Usually, an OBE occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly, though a few have been able to induce the state deliberately. The most commonly known practitioners of deliberate OBE are shamans and mystics of virtually all cultures worldwide. Spontaneous OBE is normal and occurs commonly in every population, but because of its extraordinary nature, it is not commonly recognized for what it is. Experiencers usually believe it is a vivid dream. Psychiatrists have established that is not a mental disorder, such as depersonalization, autoscopy (or phenomenon of the double or doppelganger), dissociation (multiple personality disorder), psychogenic amnesia, or psychogenic fugue.
Near-death experience (NDE) is a major type of OBE. NDE is usually induced by serious trauma, and has a distinctive phenomenology (subjective description). Of all that has been published on OBE, the NDE literature contains some of the most personally significant and transformative experience. Like any perceptions, NDEs are subject to various interpretations, and ordinary OBE provides a broader context for their interpretation.
"Astral projection" was the earlier common term for OBE. More recently, "out-of-body experience," was suggested by parapsychologist
Charles Tart and has become the standard term. Other terms include:
- altered mind-body perception
- astral elevation
- astral excursion
- astral travel
- autoscopic hallucination
- coat travel
- consciousness localized in space outside the body
- dissociation between body and mind
- dormiens vigila
- dream time
- dream travel
- dream walking
- ecsomatic experience
- ESP projection
- etheric projection
- ex-corporeal consciousness
- extrasensory travel
- extrasomatic localization
- false sight
- flight of the soul
- interdimensional traveling
- leaving the body
- little death
- mental projection
- mind projection
- mind traveling
- mystic death
- night travel
- projection of consciousness
- projection of the etheric body
- psychic navigation
- psychic travel
- psychological death
- sacred silence
- scrying in the spirit vision
- shamanic journey
- shamanic ecstasy
- slipping out
- soul travel
- spirit travel
- trance journey
- traveling clairvoyance
- traveling ESP
- traveling telepathy
- traveling spiritually
This bibliography includes titles of books; booklets; articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals; self-published works; audio and video tapes; and files from the Internet that deal with OBE. It includes any material dealing with the phenomenon, from subjective to objective, skeptical to speculative, and scientific to popular. Included are personal experiences, collections of case histories, phenomenologies (subjective descriptions), induction techniques, anthropological descriptions, psychological descriptions, population surveys, historical surveys, cross-cultural surveys, theoretical explorations, research methodologies, research reports, biography, popularizations, counter-hypotheses, and fiction. Most of the titles deal exclusively with OBE phenomena while many others are more general in scope and touch only lightly upon OBE.
There are several other subject areas, such as death survival, lucid dreaming (LD), spiritualism, shamanism, and mediumship, that are related to OBE for which titles are not included except as they touch on OBE.
I have made no attempt to evaluate or restrict titles, and the inclusion of a title does not reflect a position I hold about its content nor its reliability.
Please submit other titles for this bibliography, corrections of errors, and annotations. You can reach me by sending email to RobertBushman at comcast dot net. (I have written my address in this way to elude spammers. To use it, adjust it to the standard format.)
Because it may be difficult to find the titles you want from the comprehensive list, which is quite long, I have classified the titles into shorter lists by subject. I have also included a short, selected list that contains what I hope are the best, frequently cited titles, classic first-hand experiences, and other quality titles offering good overview treatments by the major writers.
The major works have, of course, been reviewed in other publications. Those reviews are listed along with other titles, and are also listed under the titles reviewed on the comprehensive list.
The subject lists are arranged by publication date. The Selected and Comprehensive lists are arranged by author.
In my format of bibliographic citation, the name of the publisher is followed by the place of publication. Articles appearing in serial publications are shown with volume, issue number (if any), and page number(s). For example, “15(3):121-128” means that the article cited appears in volume 15, issue number 3, on pages 121 through 128. When works are published by more than one publisher, the original publisher is usually shown first, as are first edition dates, as many titles have been republished and show later publication dates.
bibl includes a bibliography
cf see, in particular
ff and those related pages which follow
illus includes illustration(s)
index includes an index
nd no date
p length of work in pages
pp located at the following page numbers
refs includes references to sources
Only a few items of this bibliography are now in print. The classics get reprinted, like those by Monroe, Fox, and Muldoon, but most others fade quickly into the vast ephemera. It is difficult to find many titles even in large research libraries. Interlibrary loan is helpful. The best libraries to search are those that specialize in the paranormal, like the libraries of the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) at
; the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), and the Parapsychology Foundation in Virginia Beach, Virginia New York City. Currently, the publishers of the most in-print OBE titles are Hampton Roads in and Llewellyn Publications in Charlottesville, Virginia . St. Paul, Minnesota
Used book dealers can frequently find out-of-print OBE titles, and there are excellent resources for searching for them on the web, such as Abebooks and Bookfinder.
Many thanks to those who have contributed items to this bibliography:
Carlos Alvarado of the Parapsychology Foundation, Bruce Greyson of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Melissa Jager, Fowler Jones, Andy Kolovos of the ASPR Library, Joanne McMahon of the Parapsychology Foundation's library, Bob Peterson, Angela Thompson Smith, Rhea White of the Exceptional Human Experience Network, Giulia De Vivo (Italian titles), and Ruth White of the ARE Library. Special thanks to Linda Henkel for her editing. I alone am responsible for the errors, omissions, and mis-classifications.
I would like to hear from those who can have OBEs deliberately and who may be interested using that ability in cooperation with others to develop useful information and technologies. To contact me, send an email to RobertBushman at comcast dot net. (I have written my address in this way to elude spammers. To use it, adjust it to the standard format.)