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Observations placeholder

Swann, Ingo - Out of body during tonsillectomy



Type of Spiritual Experience


Ingo Swann had a curious writing style in that he referred to himself very often in the third person, as though he was writing about someone else.  This description is about his experiences as a child when he went to have his tonsils taken out.  The following describes what happened after they gave him gas

A description of the experience

From Ingo Swann – to Kiss the Earth Goodbye

If the unconsciousness that covered his infant's body was warm and dark, not so his enraged perception. The focus of his vision shifted. The walls of the detested chamber seemed intensely emerald. The old wainscotting, a dark band around the lower half of the room, now appeared to be a living rainbow.

There is no doubt that, had means been at his command, the young boy in his furor might have laid waste to the room and those in it.

But the doctor, now a complete enemy to him, was already prying into the mouth and down the throat.  'Well, we are getting these out none too soon," he commented.

The young boy watched the quick professionalism of the strange instrument, being forced down the throat, the quick insertion of forceps, and the flash of the scalpel. He moved up about three feet above the body, just out of the glaring lights above the operating table, into the warm shadows.

The scalpel slipped down into the mouth. The doctor's hand shook somewhat. The blade cut the back of the tongue.

'Shit!" exclaimed the doctor, gritting his teeth.

The total anger that had up to now consumed the young, invisible viewer was now somewhat replaced by a little interest The doctor had said a dirty word, one of the words Daddy often said, but a word that utterly horrified Mama and the two grandmothers. But hardly had he had time to consider the delicate significance of this when in quick succession the doctor pulled out of the throat two suspicious small brown things.

The mystery deepened considerably. How could dirty brown things come out of this end of the body when they usually came out of the other end? But things were moving quickly. Before this mystery could be seriously considered, the nurse plopped the two brown things into a small bottle and placed it on a sideboard behind two rolls of tissue.

The doctor was already busy pushing some thread and a needle into the open throat to sew up his mistake. The boy noticed that the doctor's fingers and the body's lips were flecked with ruby-colored blood, which somehow was glowing. Mother, standing by, was crying a little. But the doctor was smiling and soon began whistling.

"He's going to be just fine," he advised, peering deep into the throat, surveying his expertise.

This whole affair had not seemed to last very long. In fact there was some sort of timeless quality to it. Shortly, vision was again perceived through the eyes, which were shedding wet tears.

He had suffered the outrage of the balloon betrayal, the body ached from defeat, the throat was numb from scalpel slicings, but the young boy's interest was now totally with the mysterious brown things. These must be the infamous tonsils everyone had been talking about. He must save them from the furnace.

Gagging a little, the nurse now unstrapping his feet, his mother holding his hand, he said, "I want my tonsils.!'

"Now, now," chided the nurse. "We have already thrown those dirty things away."

He looked at her incredulously. Would all this betrayal never stop?

"No, you didn't," he snorted, the supreme pain in his throat disappearing in the triumph. He pointed to the two rolls of tissue. 'You put them behind those over there."

"No, I didn't," exclaimed the nurse quickly, nervously.

"Yes, you did. Give them to me. And Mama," he announced triumphantly "the doctor said 'shit' when he cut my throat."

But they refused to give up the tonsils, which probably were incinerated along with the various arms and legs and afterbirths.

Exchanging strange glances, the nurse, the doctor, and Mama carried his body out of the torture chamber. After a while, home safely in a warm bed, Mama wanted to know how it was that he knew where the tonsils had been hidden. He could not explain it all to her very well, but the strangeness of that brilliant separation from the body became ever after like the sound of a bell on a distant mountain, a sound emanating from lands where things were decidedly different from life as it was generally lived in the year 1936. 

The source of the experience

Swann, Ingo

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