The OBE Case histories of Dr Sandor Brent - 02 The experiments of Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
David Scott Rogo - Leaving the Body: A Complete Guide to Astral Projection
Another attempt to employ the Brent procedure was carried out by Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler, a psychologist and parapsychologist at the City University of New York, as part of a seminar she was giving for the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship in Virginia. This organization's membership is interested in the interface between religion and psychical research, and most of the seminar group (of between 30 to 40 people) claimed prior OBEs or other psychic experiences.
They met in a large assembly room where the Brent procedures were read to them. After instructing the participants to leave the body, Schmeidler directed them to enter an adjoining room where two target pictures had been (unbeknownst to them) placed on a shelf. The subjects were asked to look at the pictures and remember them before returning to the body. One target was a large "S” written on a piece of cardboard; the other was a similar cardboard poster printed with a reddish square.
Because of the group's prior interest in developing psychic ability, Dr. Schmeidler was not too surprised when practically all the volunteers reported full or partial OBEs. Some even reported difficulties getting back into the body. Only two or three, however, were able to see and report the targets correctly.
So at present, the evidence for the efficacy of Brent's particular type of guided imagery is at a stalemate. Although many people experience themselves out-of-body as a result of the induction, there seems little formal documentation that they have actually separated from their bodies.
This is the problem most experimenters who have toyed with OBE induction procedures have had to face. Dr. Palmer ran into this very same problem during his University of Virginia project. Yet, this does not mean that Brent's guided imagery is worthless. Dr. Schmeidler's results suggest that as a result of the Brent program, at least a few people are able to make correct observations about distant locations. So while some people may be incited to fantasize that they are out-of-body, others may be able to make more efficient use of the system.