Observations placeholder

Encounter with a rattlesnake



Type of Spiritual Experience


This extract was taken from the introduction to the book shown below where the author recounts his own OOB experience.

A description of the experience

Stressed minds are capable of playing some interesting tricks.  When I was seven I experienced something I have always wanted to experience again.   I was on a field trip with my father, K W Geiger, a geologist who was working for the Research Council of Alberta, surveying the bedrock topography of Southern Alberta.  It was a sweltering summer day, and we were walking along a fringe of unbroken grassland near the top bank of the Oldman river.  We climbed up a steep, dry embankment.  There was a faint perfume of prairie rose bushes in the still air.  I was following my father when I was stopped dead in my tracks by a rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike.  The noise was not calming, like a baby’s rattle, but had a buzz of urgency about it.  The snake was under a protruding rock that might have been a den.  Most alarmingly it was between my father and me.  My father had passed by it and was standing above me on the embankment.

I am unsure today exactly what happened next, and how much of my memory is real, and how much is a child’s overactive imagination.  But I do remember it all very clearly.  There was a moment of sheer terror.  Then suddenly there was a physiological shift of perspective.  I felt detached from my immediate situation and surveyed the scene from another impossible angle.  I was two people in two places at one time.  I saw my father and I saw a child, a child who could only have been me.  If not me, then who?  Yet I was seeing it all unfold from a distance, as an observer.  Time seemed to slow.  And yet it was all over in an instant.  My father grabbed the boy with one arm and with what seemed like superhuman strength, pitched him over his shoulder and out of danger.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Overwhelming fear and terror



John Geiger – The Third Man factor