"Christos" ASC Induction Procedure
The "Christos" Procedure:
a Novel ASC Induction Technique
Systems, 1979, Vol.
3, pp. 377—392
Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Inc., 1979
in the United Kingdom
This paper summarises parapsychological research conducted into altered states of consciousness when I was an undergraduate at Aberdeen University. It was picked up on by Prof John Taylor of London University Department of Mathematics, who invited me to contribute this article to Psychoenergetic Systems of which he was then editor. It will be noticed that the paper retains a distinct undergraduate feel to it, but nevertheless, contains material that is interesting because it was recorded before the wealth of contemporary information about altered states of consciousness, such as OBEs, had become widely known and available. Note that this version may contain scanning errors.
December of 1974, Wildwood house Ltd. published a rather unusual book by the
well known Australian novelist, G. M. Glaskin. Entitled, “Windows of the Mind:
the Christos Experience,” it told how the author had come across a magazine
article written by Jacqueline Parkhurst of “Open Mind Publications” in
Western Australia. She had developed a method which accidentally became known as
the “Christos” procedure, to induce lucid
dreams in which it was claimed the subject might prima facie relive part of
an ostensible previous incarnation.
to his surprise, Glaskin had found that the technique actually worked with most
people. His two books on the matter — “World Within” having been published
by Wildwood in September 1976 — give accounts of fascinating lucid dream
sequences which he and many friends who were mostly good subjects have
the past two years I have carried out a large number of”Christos”
experiments on 20 subjects, half of each sex, most of whom were either
university students or staff. Additionally I have done some work with Glaskin
when he came to stay with us on the Isle of Lewis during his last visit to
Europe, and my research has been enriched through correspondence with him and
or not reincarnative-type dreams ensue from the procedure would seem to depend
upon what has been suggested to the subject beforehand. However, it does seem to
be a valuable method for inducing not only lucid dreams, but as I have found
through using appropriate supplementary techniques in selected subjects,
out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs) and sometimes “peak” experiences too.
this paper I shall give an account of the “Christos” induction procedure and
suggest why it may be effective, then go on to have a very brief look at the
three major categories of ASC which subjects have entered with its help.
THE INDUCTION METHOD
first sight this seems to consist of an assorted variety of bizarre mental
exercises. However, after giving a précis of Glaskin’s (1974, 1976) account
of the induction procedure, I shall try and make sense of it in terms of deautomazizazion
of perceptual and cognitive structures (Diekmann, 1966, in Tart 1969),
probably resulting largely from the use of a very powerful massage stimulus
which seems to bring about a condition in good
subjects such as resembles that of “one-pointed awareness” in contemplative
meditation (Ornstein, 1970).
subject is asked to lie flat on his back in a relaxed position with eyes closed,
while a helper gently massages the feet and ankles; shoes being removed
beforehand. Simultaneously the experimenter or “guide” uses the curved edge
of his hand to vigorously massage the lower centre forehead in a circular or
vibrant motion. In my experience this massage should be continued for a good
five minutes, by which time the subject may feel confused, disorientated, or
that his head is buzzing. As I have worked without assistance in general, it
has seldom been possible to give both massages simultaneously, so I have had
to alternate between head and feet, but concentrating exclusively on the head
after two or three minutes when the subject’s body was well relaxed. This
deviation may, as I shall try and show
later, have contributed towards some of my subjects’ ability to enter ASCs
other than the lucid dream.
the second stage the subject is given certain mental exercises to perform.
With eyes closed he is told to visualise his
feet (if not successful he should merely try and imagine them) and to “see”
them growing 2” longer from the soles. As this might take a minute or so to
complete, some initial encouragement may have to be offered. Once achieved, he
is asked to “shrink” back to normal length, and then repeat the exercise two
or three times. When this is easily performed, the 2” stretch is done from the
top of the head in the same manner, and then the distance may be increased to
1’ and finally 2’ — alternating from feet to head each time it is
extended. On his final 2’ head stretch the subject is told to hold his head
out in its (subjectively) elongated position, and to stretch out 2’ from the
soles of his feet as well, so that altogether he feels 4’ longer. Next he is
asked to expand outwards in all directions — as if being inflated like a
massive balloon. It is helpful to stress such analogies as the balloon,
particularly if any difficulties are encountered.
of whether or not the “balloon expansion” exercise was successful, the
guide proceeds with the third stage of induction, which involves teaching the
subject to visualise clearly. He is asked to imagine himself standing outside
his front door, and is told to describe what he can visualise in as much detail
as possible. Questions should be asked to stimulate detailed visualisation, and
often his success in so doing is indicated by REM which suggests he is
effectively experiencing a controlled lucid dream about the front door. Next he
describes the view from the house roof, and finally is made to “float” up to
about 1000’ above the house, where turning round slowly in a circle he tells
the guide what the environment looks like from the unusual angle.
promote greater ease of visualisation, and help the subject feel more fully
integrated into a dream environment, the guide should ask questions such as,
“what time of day is it?” “what is the weather like?” etc. If he sees
his environment as if it were day time, he is asked to imagine that the sun is
setting and it becomes dark, or vice versa if he is in darkness at 1000’. The
subject is then told to forget about the familiar surroundings down below, and
just to feel suspended in space while alternating a change from light —dark
— light several times.
final stage is one which according to the original authoress will carry the
subject back into a “past incarnation.” He is told to forget all preconceived
notions about what might be down below, and feel himself moving down into what
may be a totally alien environment. Usually the subject will find himself
“coming in to land” as if in a helicopter, being able to hover about until a
suitable place to touch down is located. Once landed, he is asked to describe
his body starting with the feet, then continue to describe the surroundings bit
by bit until a coherent picture has been built up. Frequently the subject will
quickly become involved in a spontaneously occuring lucid dream sequence, and
whether or not it is the case, he can be asked questions about the environment,
his name, age, the date etc., which will often differ from the current details
— particularly if engaged in a vivid dream sequence.
the fact that many people will soon be so well integrated into their dream
environments that they feel as if they are really there, a highly paradoxical
state of dual-consciousness as it is called, normally exists in the sense that a
subject will simultaneously remain partially or totally aware of his physical
body and surrounding environment, at least while lucid dreaming. This quality
adds greatly to the subject’s self-confidence and lack of apprehension, since
one can assure him that if the dream should become disturbing, he should
be able to “switch off’ and return to a NSC (normal state of
average time taken for subjects to complete these exercises is just over 20
minutes, and they appear to consist of five fairly distinct stages. In the
first, foot and forehead massage induces a pleasant feeling of wellbeing which
seems to be highly conducive to deep relaxation and feelings of peacefulness.
Then when, as with my adaptation of the original procedure, the foot massage is
ceased, the subject is confronted with only a powerful and compelling stimulus
on his forehead. The effect of this may be similar to that of concentration upon
an auditory, visual or tactile stimulus in contemplative meditation, only more
potent since the forehead massage presents a tremendously compelling stimulus
(unlike most mantra repitition or mandala gazing).
In accordance with the writings of Diekmann and Ornstein (op. cit.), one would expect this to produce a state like that of
“one-pointed awareness,” resulting from which “deautomatization” or
temporary breakdown of perceptual and cognitive structures may take place.
Given this “cleansing of the doors of perception,” Diekmann considers we
have a basis with which to explain most of the percepto-cognitive alterations by
which mystic experience and certain other ASCs are characterised.
I shall present some of the evidence from my subjects’ experiences which
support the hypothesis that partial deautomatization may result in some of them,
but meanwhile let us assume this has started happening during massage, and go on
to analyse the second stage (Stretching Exercises etc.) from such a perspective.
the subject engages in an exercise which requires further concentration,
starts to develop the ability to visualise, and perhaps most important of all,
creates a fluid body image which may help him feel the imagination is freed from
normal physical restraints. We might note that changes of body image are
sometimes reported during psychedelic ASCs (Masters and Housten, 1966, et
a!.) where phenomena associated with deautomatization are chemically
induced. Also attempting to alter the body image through imagining one is
stretching, shrinking, expanding, vaporising etc. (see especially Crookall,
1964), is often prescribed by OBE percipients when suggesting techniques to
induce this ASC.
the third stage (describing his house etc.) the subject uses a progressively
more difficult exercise, to learn how to visualise with vivid clarity. Some
subjects don’t get much further than this, staying in a kind of hypnopompic,
free-associating state, which can be quite revealing in itself.
however, will successfully employ the fourth stage, which involves forgetting
about the familiar home environment, and making their surroundings alternate
from light to dark while feeling they are suspended in space. I think the value
of this is it teaches them to feel as if outwith the familiar surroundings, so
creating a convenient vacuum in which the dream world can develop, probably in
accordance with dictates from the unconscious. Sometimes I add a further
abstract visualisation exercise, such as getting the subject to visualise a
beautiful flower, then make its colour start changing.
the start of the final stage then, the subject should have a blank mind, and
perhaps aided by partial deautomatization, a substantially increased capacity to
visualise, reduced association of self with the body and physical environment,
and in certain people an increased capacity to shift states of consciousness. It
is now an easy matter for a spontaneous dream to occur when he “lands” back
down on earth, even though he is lucid (i.e. aware that he is dreaming, making
it particularly vivid in many instances, as conscious
attention can be fully directed on to it).
PHENOMENA INDICATIVE OF
“ONE-POINTEDNESS” AND DEAUTOMATIZATION
to support the theory that the Christos procedure is primarily a deautomatizing
technique associated with states of one-pointed awareness, came during various
different ASCs with a number of subjects. Two, for example, who had not been told to concentrate on
massage stimuli and body image alterations, discovered for themselves that the
feeling of entering a different SoC increased in proportion to the degree with
which they concentrated on something.
two, who happened to be amongst my very best subjects, experienced what I
called “selective auditory perception” — a state in which irrelevant
sounds were excluded from consciousness. One girl could hear only
my voice which was “crystal clear,” while I had fairly loud music
playing in the room. The other on one occasion, could hear my voice and gentle
Indian music playing somewhere in the building — against a background din of
several other record players’ output, and the sound of a football often
hitting the door as a game was played in the corridor; all of which she was
totally unaware and almost disbelieving when I played back the session’s
tape-recording. Both these examples point to states which could broadly speaking
be classed under the heading of “one-pointed awareness,” or at least of
awareness which had been restricted to relevant matters only, such as a special
stimulus, or my voice.
The latter of these two subjects, a girl called “Ann” who is my best
subject and has experienced 17 Christos “runs” to date, sometimes reported
psychedelic-like perceptual changes. Music would often be felt as vibrating air on her body and in her head, rather than heard
(synesthesia). At othertimes its effect would be enhanced, bring forward a flood
of associations such as probably remain below the threshold of consciousness in
the NSC. Here is an example of the latter, recorded as I played her the climax
of part one of Mike Oldfield’s”Ommadawn,” while she was in a mystical peak
state during her 15th run:
= Ann, G = Guide, i.e. me,)
“What’s your impression of this music I’ve just put on?”
“I think it’s terrific! It expresses a blade of grass, life and
death, a big circle; (it’s as if) the whole world’s in my arm. ... Planets
going round; world going round — time.”
“Showing it’s timeless. It’s hard to put into words.”
“Is Ommadawn usually like this when you listen to it?”
“No. This is tremendous!”
subject, also in a peak state, found her mood constantly changing with music as
it was played, and finally experienced herself bursting into lines of frenzied
colour as the composition reached its climatic end.
lack of distinction between what is self and non-self is a tangible example of
the kind of phenomena which result in ego-reduced deautomatized states. In
fact an excellent way of measuring the degree of deautomatization (with
resultant ASCs) which have taken place in any subject, is, I find, to determine
her concept of self-identity or “state of being” as it might be called. Four
such states might be delimited on a continuum, each respectively pertaining
most strongly to, the NSC, lucid dreams, OBEs, and the more transcendent peak
experiences. These stages I have called, (1) egocentric identity; (2) a. loss
of identity, and/or b. confused identity; (3) being identity; (4) transpersonal
identity. They result out of a progression from ego states to ego-less or what
are apparently best described as “being” states, and we shall discuss them
more fully later on when considering criteria with which to distinguish
Glaskin gives many accounts of these in both his books on the subject, I shall
only take a very quick look at some of my subjects’ dreams here. Basically
these could be described under three categories, with considerable overlap
between each: dreams of psychological significance to the subject; dreams of a
clearly evident symbolic nature; and dreams ostensibly relating to a previous
incarnation. As yet we have encountered no ostensibly precognitive dreams such
as Glaskin (in books and a recent letter) considers he has.
A fine example from the psychological significance group, would be one
dream in which a female student during her only Christos run, found herself as a
little girl of about six years old, who had come home to the village with white
cottages in which she thought she lived, only to find that the whole place was
deserted. For about 15 minutes she wandered around the village, crying (not
physically), and wondering where her parents had gone to without her. When no
further developments in the dream sequence seemed to be forthcoming, I asked her
to come back to the NSC, and I questioned her with a friend who was also
turned out that at the age of about six, the girl had been through a very
upsetting phase when her parents had gone away to Switzerland for a
fortnight’s holiday. She missed them so much that she wrote letters every day,
and when they returned, she was shown photographs of the picturesque little
village with white cottages in which they had stayed. We concluded that her
dream could reasonably be viewed as a re-enactment of her childhood traumatic
experience, and she too agreed that this seemed a likely explanation.
symbolic dreams, one subject frequently had short dreams concerning what might
be called “spiritual” motifs, which she saw in symbols which accord with
Jungian thought. An example of a dream fitting into the Freudian schema, is one
in which the subject found herself in space, surrounded by hundreds of other
women, all dancing, with a strong feeling of empathy between them. Gradually the
subject (a strong advocate of woman’s-lib [Oh dear … should I now edit that
out!!! A.I.M, 2000]), realised they were all dancing round a great marble
pillar, on top of which was a horn — in fact a unicorn. Having studied some
psychology she realised the dream’s phallic nature, and consequently was a
little embarassed on returning to the NSC.
which on the surface seemed best explained by reincarnation were quite common,
but I think that in general this was merely due to some element of suggestion
providing a theme round which a dream of psychological significance could
develop. One of my best subjects however, had a dream which displayed such an
affective element that it was hard to account for in most ordinary ways. Certain
elements however suggested the presence of symbolism, and from this I would
consider the best alternative interpretation to reincarnation, would be to
view it as a birth trauma re-enactment, such as another subject has actually
experienced but without any symbolism to confuse matters.
The subject who I shall call “Mary,” dreamt she was transfixed in
the stained glass window of a church, surrounded by spears, one of which
penetrated her body as it was represented in the glass. After she had given a
full description of the early English church, I asked her to describe how she
got into this strange position. She proceeded to tell me how she was a knight on
horseback during some battle, getting gradually surrounded by more and more of
the enemy, until she was dismounted and stabbed below the sternum with a
spear. As she described this, her respiration rate shot up, and she tossed about
and cried out in front of me, as if she really was being killed there and then.
then followed a period of blissful peace, as she returned to the stained glass
window with the beautiful feeling of, “having a new physical being.” She
told me that her name was “Laurence,” and that written by her feet was a
Latin inscription saying “pro nobis,” meaning,
[she thought], “on our behalf.”
started to ply her with more questions about the battle, and quickly she
returned to its scene, and lived through it again even more realistically. Pulse
rate shot up to just over 100, she lost lucidity, being unaware of my attempts
to communicate, and finally ended up lying in the foetal position. After a while
she spoke, having become aware of peaceful music I had put on, and requested
that she should return to the NSC to avoid going back to the battle for a third
time, and experiencing all its horror, fear and pain as if real.
she and a flatmate assured me that such vivid dreams were not unusual for her,
and in retrospect she saw it as no more than an unpleasant and very peculiar
nightmare; one bad experience out of several other very good and beautiful ones.
enough, Mary and other subjects who could enter OBE states, tended to experience
many of the sensations associated with OBEs during the induction procedure
before the dream began. This kind of evidence has led some ASC theorists —
Crookall in particular — to suggest that lucid dreams are in fact OBEs taking
place at a level where consciousness is restricted due to physical or
quasi-physical attachments. Obviously, the degree to which such a working
hypothesis is acceptable depends heavily on one’s position in the
objective/symbolic “double” controversy (i.e. the debate concerning whether
or not an OBE subject really does leave his physical body in some kind of a
superphysical “double,” or not). I think the experiences of some half-dozen
of my Christos subjects do, on balance, go a long way to support the Crookalian
outlook, and some of the most important pros and cons will be looked at in this
next section — though not in the depth deserved for such an important topic
and the mass of data I have accumulated and discussed fully elsewhere
As Green (1968) et a!. point
out, there is considerable difficulty in distinguishing between lucid dreams
and certain types of OBE. Tart’s definition would probably be the most widely
acceptable for an OBE (OOBE), when he states that, “an OOBE occurs when one
finds himself at a location that isclearly different from where his physical
body is located (given that the usual ideas of a space-time framework and being
located within it hold). He feels disconnected from his physical body and is
unable to sense it, although his state of consciousness seems perfectly clear
and normal.” (brackets ~ his footnote).
observing quite a large number of people in OBE, lucid dream and peak states, I
think that continuum theories (Crookall, 1961, 1964,
et al.) fit the facts best, indeed perfectly, but that we can still draw
broad distinctions between these ASCs. Where OBEs are concerned, the location of
a subject’s centre of consciousness ostensibly in a place other than that in
which the physical body lies, seems to be only one possible feature (which might
or might not be manifest), of a level of
conscious being to which he has attained. Identifying a subject’s state of
being (through determining his concept of self-identity) is in practical terms
very much easier, and more meaningful, than trying to decide what his SoC is.
This is because from a certain state of being which has been induced, a
percipient appears to have the potential to
enter more than one type of SoC.
from the empirical evidence, lucid dreams generally take place in a confused
state of being close to the NSC, when the close association between ego and
awareness has been reduced, so allowing contact with contents of the (personal)
unconscious. In this muddled state of being, self-identity concepts are
occasionally NSC egocentric ones—e.g. “my name is X, age Y, and material
status, Z”; or all notion of identity may be lost so the subject doesn’t
know who or what he is — “a horrible existential void”; but most commonly
it is confused, even to the extent of associating ones identity with that of a
dream-created person — e.g. Mary as “Lawrence.” In this state of being
where parts of the unconscious are activated and made accessible, regression
phenomena frequently occur, adding to the subject’s confusion about his age.
dreams can be changed into experiences which fit most technical OBE criteria,
just by asking the subject to “return” from the dream, come “back into”
the room, and try to see her physical body as if outside it. However, the
technical criteria are inadequate: they do not take into account the
quantitative extent to which the experience seems, and shows characteristics of,
“realness.” This important quality tends to be a function of the third state
of being, which I have called “being identity,” and I would consider that
most induced experiences of seeing one’s physical body etc. while still in the
second stage of confused identity, should not be counted as OBEs.
Characteristics of “being identity” are that self-identity concepts
clarify once again, and become more concrete. The subject tends to find herself
as a pure centre or region of consciousness — the “real me” — and while
she may still be aware of egocentric identity concepts held in the NSC, they
will appear to be irrelevant and misleading from the higher perspective of inner
from feelings of bodily restraint and confusion of “self’ with egocentric
awareness, leads subjects to tremendous feelings of euphoria and liberty. One
male OBE/”being identity” subject described his mental state as one in
which, “All troubles are gone. It’s contentment; what everybody’s looking
for — paradise.” Unusual varieties of lucid dream may be experienced as
well as OBEs from the “being identity” state, and if the state of being can
be shifted to the fourth level of” transpersonal identity,” peak and
mystical experience will ensue as the subject feels his self merging with the
being of other things from which he normally feels separated or unaware, due to
the delimiting effect of ego boundaries.
in OBE states, four of my subjects have given information which seemed to
involve paranormal cognition. The best example of this was with my most
interesting subject, “Ann,” who ostensibly travelled along to a room on the
next floor up in the same Hall of Residence, and correctly described what was
happening and a subsequent event.
Several friends were present in our room, and as Ann did not know what one of
her other friends, Paula, would be doing at the time concerned, I asked her to
think hard of Paula, and see if she could locate her.
a pause, she stated that she was outside Paula’s window, and could look in as
the curtains were open, despite it being dark outside. Paula, she continued, was
sitting on her hard backed chair (wrong, she was on the bed, but the chair’s
position could have created this illusion as seen from the window), and talking
to somebody who Ann had never seen before. This female visitor had light reddish
hair down to her shoulders, a roundish freckled face, and she was about 5’4”
order to check this story out, I asked one of the other people present, Sarah,
to go up and see if anybody was in Paula’s room. After a couple of minutes,
Ann started giving a full physical description of somebody else entering the
room, then exclaimed with surprise, “Oh, it’s Sarah!” She claimed to have
been unaware that Sarah had left our room, and then she added, “all three of
them are killing themselves with laughter. They’re in hysterics!” A few
minutes later Sarah came back with an astounded Paula,. and a girl who did not
know Ann, and who perfectly fitted the description. All details (except that of
the chair mentioned above) had been correct; when Sarah had gone into the room
and seen this, she was so amazed that she started to laugh, and the other two
joined in wondering what the joke was —hence explaining Ann’s final
this case then, we have a fine example of an OBE percipient gathering data about
a contemporaneous situation. Most attempts to do this were inconclusive or even
outright failurs, but where Ann was concerned a couple of other very minor
events were sufficient for Paula to come and make me promise not to “send her
spying on me again.”
does not permit me to tell of other examples of ostensibly paranormal
cognition (with a male subject as well as all the good female ones mentioned),
except for one case which lends support to the view that such OBE phenomena are
not direct observations, but “super-ESP” incorporated into lucid dreams.
background to this anecdote which I call the Jill-lona case, was that my subject
“Jill’s” friend, lona, had bought~a green jumper several days earlier from
British Home Stores on Union St., Aberdeen. She had shown the jumper to some
friends, including Jill, and told then that she wasn’t too happy with the
style, although she hadn’t (as far as Jill could remember) said she was going
to return it.
an OBE, Jill decided to try and visit another friend, but on the way there
happened to arrive at Union St. and see Iona going into British Home Stores,
which she wrongly described as having automatic sliding doors. Once inside,
lona allegedly went up to the cash desk and spoke to the assistant. “It’s a
bit silly,” Jill continued, “because she’s taken a jumper out of her
shopping bag and changed it for another of the same colour which she had chosen
from the counter.” lona then apparently left the store, wearing her pink coat
and carrying a black bag which she seldom uses.
basic theme which runs through this is that at 4.25
p.m. Jill saw Iona in a Union Street departmental store, changing one green
jumper for another of the same colour. What actually happened is as follows:
Iona decided to change her jumper, so on the Saturday afternoon in question, she
put on her pink coat and set off to
the store with the unwanted garment in a black
bag. On arriving there at around 2.30
p.m. she looked on the counter for something of a better style, but was
unable to find anything more suitable. She then went up to the cash desk where
the assistant apparently accepted the unwanted jumper back. Next, she left the
shop, and went into another a little further up the Street where she purchased a
very similar green jumper, which was of a different style.
In this anecdote, the two hour anachronism with mixed fact and fiction,
rules out the theory that Jill was watching a contemporaneous state of affairs
while over Union St., in the postulated “double” (“astral body”). If we
consider that too much information was rendered to be accounted for by chance
and lucky guessing, it would appear that ESP data of a fragmentary nature, was
used as the nucleus for a lucid dream. We are then obliged to ask whether all
ostensible OBEs are not of this category; that is to say, does the
“super-ESP” hypothesis account for all OB phenomena, or is there still
convincing evidence to suggest that OBE precipients really do travel about as
centres of consciousness without the physical body, perhaps in some kind of
non-physical or quasi-physical vehicle of consciousness which it is not always
possible to perceive?
this stage of argument the “objective double” theorists’ position is saved
by the work of Dr. Robert Crookall (op.
cit. etc.), whose extensive research which involves corroborating hundreds
of OBE reports, provides what Prof. Hornell Hart described (JASPR 1962) as, “a
master-pattern into which can be fitted many of the data which have puzzled and
perplexed psychical researchers.” Crookall considers that of greater
importance than ESP phenomena manifesting in OBE states, is the most remarkable
similarity to be found in percipients’ detailed reports relating to all the
different stages and aspects of OBEs. If subjects’ are merely dreaming that
they have left their bodies, one would expect no more similarities between their
experiences, than might be found between different peoples’ nocturnal dreams,
and the lucid dreams of subjects normally incapable of entering anything close
to full OB conditions. However, using consensual validation Crookall has shown
that OBEs tend to occur with a number of universally occuring special
characteristics. The nature of these provide powerful empirical backing for
the “objective double” hypothesis, and suggest that the postulated
“double” has a composite (tripartite) composition with qualities which
account for many paranormal phenomena, including lucid dreams of the Jill-Iona
I started working with the Christos technique, I had not studied Crookall’s
research, but faithfully recorded most of the rather unusual sensations,
observations and experiences which subjects had. At a later date when better
read, I was astounded to find how so much diverse data which had accumulated,
fitted together like a jig-saw — making perfect sense in terms of Crookall’s
framework. Indeed, was it not that most of my subjects knew virtually nothing
about OB phenomena, one might have thought they had read all the most specialised
literature on the subject, in order to fake what ought
be described in accordance with “objective double” theory.
Let me mention some of the most common characteristics to which I refer,
underlining important key words. During the induction procedure nearly all the
OBE subjects reported the onset of physical catalepsy, partial or complete numbness
and loss of physical sensation, strange
tingling sensations, and sensations of
expanded body image and/or bodily
discoincidence (e.g.”I feel as if I’m rotating—lying at right angles
to my physical body, and my head feels as if it’s getting bigger”) — the
latter often being prior to the “balloon expansion” exercise. Sensations of weightlessness,
floating, rocking, and/or passing down
a tunnel commonly followed, usually with a feeling of having separated or
separating from the physical body,
as in this subject’s example, which was
initiated by the balloon expansion exercise:
flowing out of myself and getting bigger though my back’s still
stuck to the bed. It’s as if
I’ve melted into a puddle — sort of vapourising
and going up as well as spreading
using the same subject as an example during a different run when she experienced
the converse of this while feeling she was passing down a tunnel:
seemed to be getting smaller and smaller
until I was so small that there was nothing left to look after the body, and
the body didn’t like it very much (it had been shaking, which caused me
concern). It was a bit as though there was a vacuum . . . and my body was
wriggling about to see where I had got to…
(When you shook me), coming
back was a bit sudden — like twanging
back on a bit of elastic.
two (out of the three very best) subjects, on one occasion each, felt they could
see the spatial entity (“double”) with which their OB centre of
consciousness was associated. The descriptions rendered were a little different,
but differing in precisely the way which theory in accordance with Crookall
might have predicted for their SoCs which were not identical. I shall not
mention details of these observations here, since the possibility of
“shaping” through what little subjects’ might have read or heard about
OBEs, requires a lengthy discussion for which space is not available.
re-associating consciousness with the physical body, universally occuring
sensations were again noted by subjects. A case is quoted above, where the
subject snapped back suddenly (“repercussion,” to use Muldoon’s (1929)
term) when her physical body was shaken. Under more natural conditions however,
subjects’ would describe a “heaviness,” shrinking feelings, and employ phrases such as,
“I felt me (the physical) fill up,” or, “ I am just being sucked into my (physical) body” — to which Dr. Crookall on
reading my monograph manuscript has commented, “Yes! Typical.”
now looked at some characteristics of the Christos induced OBEs, and arguments
for and against the objective “double,” let us see how the SoCs of some
subjects can be raised into peak experiences through applying appropriate
techniques when they are in “being” states—generally OB ones.
my subject (and trustworthy friend) Ann knew very little about mediumship, she
experienced many of the phenomena associated with trance and mental mediumship
while in “being” identity states. The types of phenomena and SoCs entered
depended to a large extent on her state of mind, and if asked to send out
thoughts of such things as goodness, truth, beauty and above all, unconditional
love, her SoC and environment would shift to what was felt to be a higher and
more perfect level, as if a correspondingly different world was entered. I
called this exercise, “raising the level of consciousness.” On its own, it
did not have a particularly great effect on state of being, except in so far as
“being identity” was further consolidated.
the spring of 1976, the Parkhursts sent me a paper from Western Australia, which
described how certain kinds of music could influence “Christos” subjects.
The music is of a type I would categorise as “transcendental music,”
meaning that it rouses within one higher emotions and sentiments of a type which
are not normally experienced in the NSC. From a classical perspective, some
compositions by the likes of Beethoven, Handel and Bach fit this category, but
best of all are certain modern compositions which have their roots in the
psychedelic era, and/or modern instruments. The best music of groups and
individuals like Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, and Mike Oldfield, constitute good
found that if “being identity” subjects were asked to employ the exercises
for “raising the level of consciousness,” suitably chosen music played at
low volume could give the extra lift required to raise the state of being into
blissful peak states in which “transpersonal” identity concepts could
emerge. The compositions I use most for this purpose are part one of Mike
Oldfield’s “Ommadawn,” and side two of the Moody Blues’, “In Search of
the Lost Chord.” The latter work was composed to help guide people in
psychedelic ASCs into mystical states: as the Parkhursts (1973) put it, the
group employs,” a strange series of notes which have a ‘bliss effect’ . .
. using the sitar or Indian rhythms.”
of my subjects — all female — entered states of being which I tentatively
call “transpersonal identity” states, meaning that their individual ego
boundaries had been reduced to such a degree, that their concept of self and
being could freely expand, to encompass or share in with things normally
considered separate from self. This results in feelings of unity,
and whatever the object or objects with which unity is felt are, the
experience has, with my three subjects, been described as blissful.
One subject with whom I have just recently begun to work, started her first Christos run with a fairly typical lucid dream, Gradually the characteristics of the dream changed as she shifted into a “being identity” state; the SoC becoming more like an OBE as she started to float amongst stars which she felt were bestowed with anthropomorphic properties, and with which she felt love and empathy. Everything in this rather special dream world was bestowed with high intrinsic value in itself.- B(eing) value as Maslow (1960) called it. Finally, in contemplating the ocean down below on earth, she felt such strong love towards it that she described herself merging and becoming the ocean:
very happy and the sea’s laughing with me, like the stars are. It’s very
playful and wants me to come to it… I
love the sea, but there’s no need to think that now, because I’ve gone down
and I am the sea … and the sea is me. I don’t really care about anything
else, and am not worried about anything else.
her fourth run, Mary (a lucid dream of whom was cited earlier) had a lucid
dream, which was followed by entry into the “being identity” state, in which
she described herself as, “just a lump of consciousness, capable of perceiving
rather than thinking” (suggestive of considerable deautomatization of
predominantly left cerebral hemisphere functions). As I played “Ommadawn”
and asked her to carry out the procedure to “raise the level of
consciousness,” she described herself actually becoming a part of love, beauty
etc., as her being underwent “a slow, gentle explosion,” which felt a bit
like, “diffusing into a gas, which is everything — solid physical and
spiritual.” As a Christian she described greater awareness of God in this
state, which was beyond such dichotomous concepts as pleasant and unpleasant.
her 15th and 17th runs, my subject Ann entered similar, but much more intense
mystical states of undifferentiated unity than that of Mary. Entry into this
state could not be forced; an attempt to hurry things up in the 16th run lead to
his classic 1963 work, Walter Pahnke (see Pahnke and Richards, 1966, in Tart ed.
1969) identifies nine interrelated criteria for use in identifying full mystical
consciousness. These criteria involve the presence of such feelings and
qualities as undifferentiated unity or oneness, dissolution of the spacetime
context of awareness, paradoxicality, deep feelings of joy, love, ultimate
truth, sacredness, etc., temporary duration of the ASC, ineffability, and
resultant positive changes in attitude and/or behavior. On analysis, all the
criteria were well satisfied by Ann’s experiences (though there was a little
doubt initially, regarding what exactly is meant by “sacredness” or “holyness”).
It appears then, that the Christos procedure and supplementary techniques,
given a good subject and environment, can help induce even the most highly
valued ASC known to man. In it the subject feels at one with ultimate and
eternal being which she feels, underlies the whole universe. Of course, whether
or not this suffices as proof of the real existence of such an ultimate
metaphysical reality, is a question outside the scope of this paper.
In this paper I have endeavoured to give an account of the
“Christos” phenomenon, suggesting that it is primarily a powerful
deautomatizing procedure. We have had a brief look at some of the main ASCs
induced by it and supplementary techniques, leading us to consider if it might
not be more practical to talk in terms of state of being, rather than state of
consciousness, which is closely linked, but not identical.
I should like to thank the Parkhursts and Gerry Glaskin for risking ridicule in
order to bring the “Christos” phenomenon to our attention. Both I and my
subject-friends feel that our understanding of the nature and structure of human
consciousness has greatly increased from the experimental data or direct
experiences: I hope it will do the same for others too.
R. (1961). The Study and Practice of
Astral Projection, Aquarian Press.
R. (1964). The Techniques of Astroi
Projection, Aquarian Press.
0. (no date). Astral Projection: a Record
of Research. Rider Books.
G. M. (1974). Windows of the Mind, Wildwood
House Ltd.; Arrow 1976.
G. M. (1976). Worlds Within, Wildwood
House Ltd.; Arrow 1976.
C. E. (1968). Lucid Dreams, Hamish
C. E. (1968). Out-of-:he-Body Experiences,
Hamish Hamilton Ltd.
A. H. (1960). Toward a Psychology of
Being, Van Nostrand Ltd.
R. E. L., in Housten, J. (1966). The
Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, Turnstone Books Ltd.
R. A. (1972) .Journeys Out of the Body. Corgi
1974 in U.K.
S. J., in Carrington, H. (1929). The
Projection of the Astral Body, Rider Books.
R. (1970). The Psychology of
Consciou.sness, Pelican, U.K.
C. T. (1969). Altered States of
Consciousness, Wiley, N.Y. etc.
C. T. (1975). Transpersonal Psychologies, Routledge
and Kegan Paul, U.K.
My best subjects have tended to be women. They give the impression of
being intuitive, having strong emotions, and are often artistically
creative. Most significant of all, is that good subjects always seem to be
people who remember vivid and colourful nocturnal dreams. The converse is
true with poor subjects.
 During massage of the forehead, many subjects report seeing flashing or constant lights, which aid concentration. This may be due to optic nerve stimulation.
Such sensations were described in unqualified terms, despite most
subjects’ scepticism of paranormal phenomena and OBEs.
Internet Users Please Note: The material on this page is original text as submitted to the publication stated beneath the title. As the editing process means that some parts may have been cut, altered or corrected after it left my hands, or I might have made minor subsequent amendments, or scanned material may contain scanning errors, please specify in citation “internet version from www.AlastairMcIntosh.com” as well as citing the place of first publication. Note that author particulars, including contact address(es) and organisational affiliations may have changed since first publication.
This material is © Alastair McIntosh and any co-authors and/or first publishers. However (and without prejudice to any legal rights of co-authors or the original or subsequent publishers), I give my permission for it to be freely copied for non-commercial educational purposes provided that due acknowledgement is given. Please advise of any uses that might particularly interest me. For commercial enquires, please contact original publishers and/or email me, mail@AlastairMcIntosh.com. Thanks, folks, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
To RETURN to any sub-index from which you approached this page, click BACK on your web browser. To return to my homepage, click www.AlastairMcIntosh.com.