Melvyn Bragg Spontaneous Out of Body

#1
I was interested to hear that Melvyn Bragg had these when he was a youngster, here he is describing them:

"I cannot remember before or since being anything like as terrified. I remember the fact of it now, and even a little digging into memory gives off something of the taste of it. I would simply lie in bed waiting for it to happen, screwing up my eyes as tight as possible, hoping that I would be felled by instant, merciful sleep or somehow left alone. When I was, the relief the next morning was momentary before the fear began to build again.

What happened was this. Not part of me, but what I was left the boy's body on that bed and went above - it seemed to the corner of the ceiling next to the window. It hovered there. It stayed there. It, that thing, that object, was me. The huddle on the bed was controlled by it. There was no will in the boy's body. There was only, as it were, a holding state uninhabited, save for a possessing aura of terror. Whether the terror was in the body or in that thing which, at times, I thought I could make out and describe, I do not know. But the experience was terror.

If the thing moved away then the body would be finished. It would be no more, because that thing not only controlled the body but gave it life. The desperate fear was - would these two fuse again or not? What did this presence want the body to do besides lying inert and being a void? Somehow an invisible helpline would be thrown and the two would come together - and usually by that time I was exhausted and went into sleep of a sort."
 
#2
This is fascinating because it describes an OBE that resembles the early stage of an NDE. The fear seems to have come solely from not understanding the situation. Melvyn Bragg is such a well known and cultured man (at least in the UK) that it gives solidity to the phenomenon. Do you have a link?

David
 
#3
This is fascinating because it describes an OBE that resembles the early stage of an NDE. The fear seems to have come solely from not understanding the situation. Melvyn Bragg is such a well known and cultured man (at least in the UK) that it gives solidity to the phenomenon. Do you have a link?

David
This was the interview that I was listening to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0186jlv

He didn't say too much about it, so I googled it and found the above description. Apparently he's written something in depth about it, this might be an excerpt from it, but I didn't look in any serious depth into it.
 
#4
From waybackmachine page (article dated January 1998):
http://web.archive.org/web/20120528122233/http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/hojoy/mag3/mag3.html

Out of my mind with terror

For years Melvyn Bragg secretly lived in fear of "out of body experiences". For the first time, he tells how he overcame his nightmare



They began when I was about 13 and continued upwards of two years, at times intensively. They faded away slowly, but still at 18 or 19 I was apprehensive that they might return, and in force. They did, briefly, at the end of my twenties, but since then I have been spared.

Usually they came at night. I cannot recall the first time, but I do remember the first onslaught. My parents kept a pub and they would be downstairs from about 5.30pm until after 11pm. I would have been out at choir practice, the Scouts, swimming, playing football, whatever, and come back to take it on. Having eaten a quick snack in the bar kitchen downstairs, I would go up to my bedroom - I would be alone in the flat above the pub. I would know that it was waiting for me, but I had no alternative but to go upstairs, although I would feel distraught.

I used to say my prayers then and yet I never mentioned this fear in them. For one thing, that would have been to extemporise, and the prayers I said were set ones, spoken twice on Sundays in church and most mornings in school assembly. There was no room for individual additions except to bless parents and relations, but that was something allowed for. What was not allowed was to tell anyone what was happening.

I cannot remember before or since being anything like as terrified. I remember the fact of it now, and even a little digging into memory gives off something of the taste of it. I would simply lie in bed waiting for it to happen, screwing up my eyes as tight as possible, hoping that I would be felled by instant, merciful sleep or somehow left alone. When I was, the relief the next morning was momentary before the fear began to build again.

What happened was this. Not part of me, but what I was left the boy's body on that bed and went above - it seemed to the corner of the ceiling next to the window. It hovered there. It stayed there. It, that thing, that object, was me. The huddle on the bed was controlled by it. There was no will in the boy's body. There was only, as it were, a holding state uninhabited, save for a possessing aura of terror. Whether the terror was in the body or in that thing which, at times, I thought I could make out and describe, I do not know. But the experience was terror.

If the thing moved away then the body would be finished. It would be no more, because that thing not only controlled the body but gave it life. The desperate fear was - would these two fuse again or not? What did this presence want the body to do besides lying inert and being a void? Somehow an invisible helpline would be thrown and the two would come together - and usually by that time I was exhausted and went into sleep of a sort.

This became the secret obsession of my life over those years. The noise from the pub downstairs, which could be lulling or, sometimes on Fridays and Saturdays, rather threatening, would often be a help. But when the pub closed and my parents had cleared up and settled downstairs for their final talk, the silence intensified the dread.

On spring and summer nights they would often go out for a walk after they had cleared up. I wanted to rush down and beg them not to after the cheery "We're just off for a bit of fresh air", but of course I would have been ashamed to have done that. I dare not. Left alone was the worst possible state. And so I would track their walk. I knew the route. I would try to time it. I would try to "be" with them.


Down Burnfoot past Scott's, where they used to have the funeral horses, to Joe Hill's on the corner with a shed in the garden where he slept for his asthma. Then into Birdcage Walk, along the cinder track past the allotments, with the pigeons silent as the pub, and on to the West Cumberland Farmers' warehouses. I feared I was always ahead of them and forced myself to slow down. Past Toppins field, where I used to sledge and where I used to play when I used to live in Council House Yard. Toppins field, with its great beech tree and its bomb shelters dug in the war. Then the Redmaynes clothing factory where my mother had worked as a girl.

Then they would turn into Station Road opposite the factory and slowly up the hill back into the middle of the town, left around Blue Bell corner, past Tickle's Lane and Plaskett's Lane and down towards the pub. I was always ahead and so I'd go over the route again trying to pick out more and more details until I heard them coming down the hill and, finally, the key turned in the lock and there would be some comfort.

These experiences, or attacks, were never anything other than utterly terrifying. I have read other people describing analogous experiences in terms of happiness and hope; that was never mine. In its most intensive period, they began to happen in the classroom, on the street, everywhere, and I seemed to spend my entire time constructing strategies to evade them or endure them.

It was impossible to talk to anyone about it. My parents could not have been better or kinder, but it was inconceivable that I could discuss this with them. How would I describe it? What would I, literally, say?

It has taken me this long to write about it openly and autobiographically, although it was part of the main character in my first novel - when I was 25 - unconsciously as it were.

I was still convinced that I had never admitted to it when, consciously, I made this state part of the underpinning of the main character in a later novel when I was in my late forties. But it was when I found myself referring to it in a recent interview about religious belief, in which the possibility of a duality and a soul was introduced, that I wanted to begin to put on paper something of that experience.

I could not talk to my parents, as I have said. I was not ill, so there was no need of a doctor. It was totally off the radar as far as friends were concerned. I just had to get through it, although at the time I thought simultaneously both that it would never end and that this attack could be the last.

I am sure that there are a number of plausible explanations. We know that people with an amputated arm can be driven to a frenzy at the pain in their missing fingers. We know from those who have been almost dead but just "returned" that similar experiences to mine are not uncommon. A. J. Ayer described one such most vividly.

There are fantasies within the human condition and in the casebooks of many analysts - Oliver Sachs is just one example - which furnish explained instances of circumstances much more bizarre. I am sure that materialists of consciousness will bring forward proof and so on. And there is the undeniable, unpredictable pressure of adolescence.

But at the risk of building far too much on this slender base of personal experience, my current thinking is that what I experienced is evidence of a duality, of a split, in Christian terms, of a distinction between body and soul.

It is relevant perhaps, and it could take away from my case that I was brought up as a strong Christian and the religious experience was, with me - as is common - especially strong in early adolescence. But the solidity of the thing which was undoubtedly outside my body, and the number of times it happened, and most importantly, the fact that it was the life, the intelligence as it were, is something I cannot, and do not want to, deny.

I'm prepared to be told that this evidence is too personal and too slight, but for what it is worth I hold on to it and find in it a duality which magnetises my earlier, schooled, received faith.


Perhaps these experiences would have faded away on their own, but at about 15 I realised that I had to attack them. At the same time I was not doing well at school and I knew that I had to study or leave and get work. I began to overwork and to write and to do as many other things as I could manage. Most importantly, I stayed in that bedroom studying on a chopped-off table which was wedged between the bed and the wardrobe. This was a conscious attempt to face up to it, in the very place where I had experienced it most violently and frighteningly. Gradually, I grew a bit stronger, although even in my late twenties I could feel fragile and vulnerable.

It is something that I would like to understand more. I would also like to gather up the determination to attempt to go through that experience again, but that will take a build up of energy and nerve which another part of me says it would be foolish to do. To seek to uncork a part of the past now blessedly gone would be not only painful but dangerous.

MELVYN BRAGG

Melvyn Bragg, author/broadcaster. Born 1939. Educated locally and at Oxford where he read Modern History. Published his first Novel - For Want of a Nail in 1965 and his latest Credo, published in 1997 and On Giants' Shoulders to be published March 1998 accompanies the Radio 4 series. He has written over a dozen books, mostly novels but also a biography of Richard Burton and an Oral History of England - Speak for England.

He has worked in broadcasting since 1961 and is currently Controller of Arts at LWT, Editor and Presenter of The South Bank Show and Executive Producer of several other arts strands. He introduces Start-the-Week on Radio 4 on Monday mornings, he is President of the national Campaign for the Arts, Governor of the LSE and he writes a weekly column in the Times every Monday.
 
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#5
If anyone knows how to contact Melvyn Bragg, I would love to talk to him about this - and even invite him to this forum!

He also makes the following comment in the above link:

But at the risk of building far too much on this slender base of personal experience, my current thinking is that what I experienced is evidence of a duality, of a split, in Christian terms, of a distinction between body and soul.


It is relevant perhaps, and it could take away from my case that I was brought up as a strong Christian and the religious experience was, with me - as is common - especially strong in early adolescence. But the solidity of the thing which was undoubtedly outside my body, and the number of times it happened, and most importantly, the fact that it was the life, the intelligence as it were, is something I cannot, and do not want to, deny.
David
 
#6
If anyone knows how to contact Melvyn Bragg, I would love to talk to him about this - and even invite him to this forum!

He also makes the following comment in the above link:



David
https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/contact For me, Melvyn's OBE reports are no more or no less persuasive than the hundreds of others I've read/studied. What he's telling us is that he is "certain," "fully satisfied" that he really was "up and away" from his physical self and I have no reason to doubt him.

The "sceptics" don't seem to get this. The experience is so absolutely real to the person (just like being hoisted up to the ceiling in your physical body) and suspended there ....does it therefore matter if it's a trick of the brain ? (It isn't of course of that I'm sure) .

Much more evidential OBE's IMO are when the brain isn't working (cardiac arrest) . There should be no trick of the brain and yet not only is there the "I am floating around the ICU trick," but there is the "tunnel trick" and the "deceased relatives trick" and so on and this bag of tricks always unfolds consistently in people who are dead or just about.
 
#7
Many of the members will be familiar with the "actual death experience" (IMO) of Stefan Von Jankovitch, the Hungarian (born) Architect and planner etc. It's one of the most remarkable I've ever read and I've been delving into it recently. Not only that, during his experience he saw several past lives where he could see that he was currently repeating the "mistakes" he had made previously. He claimed to have actually identified the people and the places where these
former existences played out.

He realised that what he was reporting could not be taken as read by others but for himself at least he was convinced by it. Here is one of his later comments but there is so much about the whole experience and later events.

"This new "I" was not the I that I knew but rather a distilled essence of it, yet something vaguely familiar buried under a super structure of various personal fears, hopes, wants and needs. This final "I" was unchangeable, indivisible, indestructible pure spirit
While as unique and individual as a fingerprint, I was at the time part of some infinite harmonious and ordered whole. I had been there before.

Edit this post is off topic so I'll delete it in a short while
 
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#8
Many of the members will be familiar with the "actual death experience" (IMO) of Stefan Von Jankovitch, the Hungarian (born) Architect and planner etc. It's one of the most remarkable I've ever read and I've been delving into it recently. Not only that, during his experience he saw several past lives where he could see that he was currently repeating the "mistakes" he had made previously. He claimed to have actually identified the people and the places where these
former existences played out.

He realised that what he was reporting could not be taken as read by others but for himself at least he was convinced by it. Here is one of his later comments but there is so much about the whole experience and later events.

"This new "I" was not the I that I knew but rather a distilled essence of it, yet something vaguely familiar buried under a super structure of various personal fears, hopes, wants and needs. This final "I" was unchangeable, indivisible, indestructible pure spirit
While as unique and individual as a fingerprint, I was at the time part of some infinite harmonious and ordered whole. I had been there before.

Edit this post is off topic so I'll delete it in a short while
Nah keep it it's interesting. Or will you start a new thread?
 
#9
Thank you, Roberta. I'm not really a thread starter, I think this forum has probably had quite enough of my thoughts on NDE's :) If Steve agrees I'll stick up some more about the experience above
 
#16
My best experience was my death. By Stefan von Jankovitch (translated to the best of my ability but cannot vouch for it being perfect)

I was always a decent athlete, a healthy, very active person. I had been concerned mainly with the everyday, with material ,earthly goals. . It took a great calamity to cause what is divine in me to awaken. I now believe it is the most important thing in one's life to consciously seek the light and truth. Therefore, It is reasonable to say that I died on 16 September 1964 and a few minutes later I was reborn as a new person, with very different ideals, experiences and knowledge.

Professionally I am an architect-engineer, a very concrete thinking person. I was interested in science, be it at work (statistics, mathematics, geometry, calculation, etc.), or be it in sailing (physics, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, etc.) I had never been known as a dreamer, a visionary, a poet, or the like.

I never concerned myself with religious problems before my accident and death. I was brought up religiously, but lived as a non practicing Catholic my earthly life being very busy and successfull in all areas: in the business as an architect and in my hobbies. So I was not predisposed for anything paranormal . I had never given thought to any kind of dogmatic, ideological, philosophical, parapsychological theories, west or east. I regarded myself as a neutral observer. I had not previously read anything about such experiences. What I experienced was new for me, spontaneous and genuine.

I was so impressed by my experience that I wanted to relate it by any means I could find,, dictate it on tape etc. I have recounted it as faithfully as possible.
First I had to submit myself to medical mental examinations. The medical officer of the Swiss Federal Aviation Office found me to be of sound mind.
In the experience of viewing my life that I told to my now deceased father, he was amazed that I knew the circumstances of my birth, that I was born by candlelight , as children had been back then, that I was christened one week after my birth, and what clothes I was dressed in and certain things my mother had done etc.
On September 16, 1964 at 13:10 in Bellinzona Switzerland, at the age of 44 years, I had a very serious car accident, as a passenger. After a head-on collision with a truck I was thrown out of the car suffering some 18 broken bones and was lying dead in the road.
I was terrified when I saw the truck hurtling towards us. I saw fragmented images of my life, I cried out, and then everything suddenly became silent. During this time I had no awareness. I cannot remember anything anyway.

My experience of death began very likely at the moment of the arrest of my heart. At the beginning of this clinically dead state the curtain came up like being in a theatre, which included several stages or phases.

Phase I: awareness of death

I felt liberated from what was frightening, oppressive, constricted state. Relieved, I regained consciousness and my first feeling was: "I survived the crash," but my "awakening" was not as expected, because I clearly knew I had died.

I was not afraid of the "coming" death. It was so natural, so obvious: that I am now dying and finally - yes, I'm leaving this world. During my life I would have never thought that the process would be so beautiful and so simple.
My sense of self was suddenly separated from the physical body through the shock/trauma of the accident and I felt relieved and found this condition very beautiful, natural, cosmic. "At last I'm ready" I thought, without any fear. "I'm happy that I'm dying now." With some curiosity I waited for what would happen, how this process would take place. I was excited and curious like a child is before Christmas.

I felt that I was floating and perceived/ heard beautiful sounds, harmonious shapes, movements and colours. Somehow I had the feeling that someone is calling me, comforting me, forward to another realm of existence, where I am now allowed to enter .. But I saw no one. A divine peace and harmony filled my consciousness. I was perfectly happy and released of the burden of problems. I was alone, no being on earth (parents, wife, children, friends or enemies) disturbed my divine peace....

...." I floated closer to light, upwards. Felt great harmony. The sounds of music were clearer, stronger and more beautiful (than anything here) and flooded everything, accompanied by colours, shapes, movements. It could be compared perhaps with Walt Disney's Fantasia in which he has tried to reproduce the feelings in his soul that arose from listening to symphonies.

The colours were brilliant, crystal clear and bright - pastel shades and incredibly beautiful. I found these colour manifestations so beautiful that I often try to remember it by looking at stained glass. The crystal clear color of the glass material which is flooded with with light always reminds me of this beautiful colour phenomena.

Phase II: observation of his own death

Then I found myself on the accident scene and saw my badly wounded, lifeless body lying exactly in the position that I corroborated later with the doctors and the police reports. I saw the whole scene simultaneously from several sides, clear and transparent. saw quite clearly the cars in the crash and the people who stood around the accident scene, even the military column, which had been building up behind the people standing around.

The people gathered around me. I watched a small man in his fifties who tried to bring me back to life again. I could hear and perceive exactly what people were saying to each other, even though my lifeless body lay down on the floor . But I could perceive what people said and thought. The doctor knelt at my right side and gave me a shot, two other people attended me on the other side and took clothes off. I saw the doctor put an object in my mouth - most likely a block of wood - Among other things, I could see that my limbs were broken and to the right of me, a spreading pool of blood.

I watched as the doctor tried to revive me (with massage) and how he found that my ribs were broken. He remarked: "I cannot massage his heart." After a few minutes he stood up and said: "It's hopeless, we can do nothing, he's dead." He spoke Swiss German and some Italian which I found amusing.

They wanted to remove my body from the roadside and asked the military present (who had been in the long convoy on the road) for a blanket to cover it up until the hearse arrived. I almost laughed at this "ridiculous" scene, because I knew I was alive. I had not died. Below was only my former body.

I found all this very funny, not disturbing. On the contrary, it made me amused to be able to view the efforts of these people. I wanted to call to them "Stop, hello, I'm here, I'm alive! Leave the body alone, I'm alive! I feel good! . But they did not hear me and I could not make a sound because I "above" had no throat and mouth to do so. Then I saw a slim young man in black swimmng shorts, barefoot running towards "me" with a small bag in his hand .

This person had an exchange with the doctor. He knelt down and examined me then gave me an injection of adrenaline into the heart. I could remember this man's face well. And in fact, five days later a man came into my hospital room in Bellinzona. He was wearing normal street clothes. I recognized the face immediately and greeted him in German with "Good day, sir, why did you give me that devilish injection?" He was stunned and asked how I recognized him. I told him and we became good friends.

It was very interesting to see this terrible scene of a human being lying down dead after a car accident. Especially interesting was that I was the man himself, and I could see myself from above as a spectator without emotion, quietly in a heavenly, happy state.

This was my first four-dimensional experience, namely, as I floated free above my accident, my senses all worked well, and my memory could register everything. I felt no obstacles and no pain.

Then the accident site no longer interested me. I flew on alone, but I had the feeling that I was not alone. Everything was so calm, harmonious, beautiful. The sounds, light grew stronger and flooded me and my whole environment and I saw intense light somewhere up to the rightI and headed in that direction. The light was getting brighter, ever more radiant, pulsating. I understand now why so many people and religions perceive the sun as a symbol of God or worship a sun god.

The experience of being weightless and the freedom so impressed me that when I recovered I learned to fly in a Swiss pilot school and acquired a license. Now when the opportunity arises, I fly high above the foggy valleys over the white mountain peaks to the south, across the Po Valley to the Mediterranean. When the afternoon sun is right up over me, I am vividly reminded of my experience, and in that small plane I feel free as a bird and very happy.

Phase 3 to follow
 
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#17
Thanks Tim, it's always interesting to hear of other's experiences, no matter where they stand on the "OBE's are bollocks" scale ;). I don't think I'd heard that part of your memories before.

Roberta, I think you're right, looking at what Melvin Bragg said, "What was not allowed was to tell anyone what was happening", maybe there is a mountain of experiences, even among people that we may know very well, that are never discussed.
 
#18
Thanks Tim, it's always interesting to hear of other's experiences, no matter where they stand on the "OBE's are bollocks" scale ;). I don't think I'd heard that part of your memories before.

Roberta, I think you're right, looking at what Melvin Bragg said, "What was not allowed was to tell anyone what was happening", maybe there is a mountain of experiences, even among people that we may know very well, that are never discussed.
I think any of us who have had experiences, or are proponents, need to be more organised. I'm also a Vegan, and that community is incredibly organised and is doing well and growing because of it (probably has some experiencers and proponents in it too).

What I'm saying is, we need to get more involved in supporting the Scientists/researchers, try to get people to open up and remove the taboo, and get more positive or neural/sympathetic coverage.

What do you think?
 
#19
Stefan von Jankovitch NDE :

Phase III: : Life Review

Then began a fantastic four-dimensional presentation (like being in a theatre) that was composed of countless images and scenes from my life. To give some idea of the scale, the number 2000 comes to mind. The number is basically not important though. Each scene was complete, that is, with a beginning and an end. But the order was reversed so that I saw the last scene of my life, that is my death on the street in Bellinzona first, while the last scene of this "play" was my first experience, namely my birth. So it began.....

In the scenes (I witnessed) I was not only the leading actor, but also an observer hovering over the whole event in four- or multi-dimensional space and could simultaneously see everything from above, from below and from all sides, the whole show. I hovered above myself. I looked at me from every side and listened to what I myself said. I saw, heard and felt what I thought.

My "conscience" analysed my thoughts and actions instantly and I judged myself, whether this or that act had been good or bad. It was very strange that harmonious, positive memories surfaced in some scenes that would be defined by our current social and religious morality as bad deeds or sins. On the other hand, many of what would be termed as good deeds in earthly life produced negative feelings, rated as poor, when the basic ideas/motivations were selfish, egotistical and not harmonious. Good and evil are measured in the afterlife with a different scale.

The second remarkable phenomenon was that the scenes I assessed as negative (and therefore felt remorse at) were then eradicated in the judgment. There remained only those scenes were I and all other parties were happy and harmony prevailed for all.

After this marvellous multi-dimensional theatre show of my life came a closing "balance sheet" so to speak, which was drafted by me.... I cannot formulate it.... But I felt that I would not give myself a good mark in this test

Then the beatific light once again engulfed me, the heavenly music, four, five- or multi-dimensional. Everything was light, everything was vibrating! The light pulsated, and I felt that the light represented the Alpha and Omega, the source of all energies. I guessed that this principle is God Himself!

What I saw was not the sun, but sun like, beautiful, warm, light-filled. The vibrations of my disembodied soul and my mind began to adapt to these harmonics. I felt even happier and more comfortable, the faster my consciousness vibrated and it was enormously enhanced in this new dimension.

But then came the terrible return: I fell downwards into the black depths below, and with an eerie "jerk" and "shock," I slipped back into my seriously injured body. Suddenly everything beautiful was gone and I was back to waking consciousness. I was brought back by the skill of a good doctor and thus my sufferings began again. “ Since that time It is ironic to say: "The most beautiful experience of my life was my death," or in other words "I've never been so happy in my life as in my death."

Everything I experienced in this world from cardiac arrest until the return is for me concrete fact. These experiences are not hallucinations. in agony, one can have the fear of death. I've experienced this fear twice in danger of being killed. You can have hallucinations. One can also see images of your life penetrating from the unconscious. But these hallucinations have no consistency and order. For this judgment I have to further emphasize: I myself gave the ruling. Not god or any astral judge. Not Almighty God as depicted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel not the apocalyptic hell fire judges of St John, no. I myself had to take stock of the situation. I knew clearly whether I had acted correctly in this or that situation or solved a problem correctly. With my sudden knowledge I became a very sensitive soul. Regarding the judgment, this is one of the most important experiences of death which I explain here with certainty: I am not judged by earthly moral laws but rather according to the cosmic law of love and harmony.
 
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#20
As Sheldrake said before these things are so regular that they're not extraordinary, they're ordinary.
Well if they're that regular people must be very good at keeping them to themselves. For the last four years I've been asking people that I know and many I don't if they've ever had 'unusual' experiences, or seen ghosts etc. I've had very few positive responses, are they really that afraid? Maybe it's me they're afraid of!
 
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