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Observations placeholder

Dr William Sargant – She realized that she had climbed Jacob's Ladder into Heaven



Type of Spiritual Experience


Dr William Sargant was born in Highgate, London, in 1907 and educated at Leys School and St John's College, Cambridge.  Up to 1972 he was Physician in Charge of the Department of Psychological Medicine at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He was Associate Secretary of the World Psychiatric Association and on the staff of the Maudsley Hospital, London for many years, He was also Registrar of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard University and Visiting Professor at Duke University. He was also the author of Battle for the Mind, and The Unquiet Mind.

The observation is about the people of Trinidad, where Christian saints and African gods are, according to Dr Sargant, freely mixed.  This may have been a vision rather than out of body

A description of the experience

The Mind Possessed  - Dr William Sargant

One of the women, when initially possessed, remained prostrate and unconscious for nine days in bed. These long trances are called 'travelling' (and we heard of this phenomenon also among other groups). This woman said that while she was lying in bed her spirit left her body and she saw St Michael in a red garment. She then travelled farther on and was told by St Michael to climb a ladder and try to reach the top.

This she did, and then realized that she had climbed Jacob's Ladder into Heaven. She saw a beautiful world and felt very happy and pleased that her first attempt to climb the ladder had been successful. Some people apparently may have as many as seven tries in their 'travels' to get to the top of the ladder, and some never succeed. She did not remember coming down the ladder again, but she had also been to Africa in her 'travelling' state. She found she understood the language there, though she had never heard it before. She also went to China and was taken into a shop there. Then she returned and woke up in bed.

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit helper



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Activity not known