Shared Hallucinations & Parallel Universes: Joint Adventures in Holographic Dreamscapes
American psychologist and parapsychologist Dr Charles Tart ran a novel experiment in mutual hypnosis in the ‘60s with results that challenge the workaday concepts of “reality” and what that word really means.
Tart published the study in 1967 and it still tests the boggle threshold of many.
In it, Subject A (Anne) would hypnotise Subject B (Bill) and Subject B would hypnotise Subject A, taking turns at inducing each other into deeper trance states. Tart figured the normally heightened rapport between hypnotist and subject may be ramped up through this unusual setup.
Once sufficiently hypnotised, Tart would suggest a scene for the subjects—both graduate students in psychology with some experience in hypnosis—to participate in together. They did three sessions altogether and various interesting things emerged, particularly in session three.
Session two, however was also interesting, in large part because Bill and Anne had, in their trance, entered a tunnel together which Bill was possessive of, refusing to let Anne take anything from it with her back to waking consciousness (she tried to run out with a picture in hand but found it vanished while running; other times the picture would twist and fade away when Bill told Anne she wasn’t allowed to bring anything back).
The psychological possessiveness of Bill’s meant effectively that the rules of the shared construct were largely Bill’s whether the others liked it or not. He also steadfastly refused to let Anne (or Carol, who had accidentally intruded into the hypnotic experience and herself been inducted into a trance) proceed to the end of the tunnel. He had only silently indicated Carol was not to proceed beyond the tunnel’s mouth, and yet she somehow knew Bill was rejecting her and stayed in place near the entrance.
More interestingly, around a month later in a different group hypnosis event, Anne was a subject. She seized the opportunity to try and re-enter Bill’s tunnel and find out once and for all what was at the end of it. She did.
At the end of the tunnel she found a cave, blazing with brilliant white light, and occupied by an old man of angelic appearance. The room was filled with music from an unseen source. Anne repeatedly asked him what this experience meant; he ignored her at first, and finally told her, very sternly, that he could not answer her question because Bill was not with her!1
It seems that Anne in her extracurricular activities had indeed “trespassed” into a deeply personal part of Bill’s psyche and approached something he evidently held near and dear. But, while all participants in session two stated the tunnel was as real as anything in the real world to them, this wasn’t even the most interesting part of Tart’s experiment—that was session three. During this session Anne and Bill found themselves in a heaven-like world (akin to the Greek heaven, not the Christian version).
One aspect that both impressed (and later frightened) them was the feeling of merging into one another at times, as if their psyches were partially fusing. Several times throughout the sessions Tart questioned the silent Anne and Bill as to what was happening and they replied that they were still communicating (the implication being it was telepathic, though the cautious Tart did not go so far as to say it had been proved).
Even more striking material regarding [Anne’s and Bill’s] feelings about this heightened empathy and communication was obtained a couple of months after the final session when the tapes of the sessions had been transcribed. Anne and Bill read the transcripts over and were both shocked. They had been talking about their experiences to each other for some time, and found they had been discussing details of the experiences they had shared for which there were no verbal stimuli on the tapes, i.e., they felt they may have been communicating telepathically or that they had actually been “in” the nonworldly locales they had experienced.2 (Emphasis added)
From early in session three they both experienced being together in a hallucinatory world, and they both felt they had each climbed up into this jointly-created world on a rope ladder or golden rope, respectively—how very shamanic!
Noting with wonder the water in this heavenly world, they swam together in the bubbly champagne-like liquid and found it highly buoyant, as well as delicious. Talbot interprets “water” to mean ocean, which is reasonable, though Tart’s study did not overtly specify such. (In fact, certain re-tellings of this session by other authors have tended to veer slightly away from the details reported in Tart’s study, such as claiming Tart suggested Anne and Bill find themselves on a “sandy beach” which is not indicated in the study’s text—a good reason not to rely on memory for this type of thing.)
Anne and Bill then “wandered around looking at beautiful, translucent, glowing, multicolored rocks on the ground for a while,” before Bill suddenly announced they had to leave.3 The quality of the otherworldly locale they were in was difficult for them to describe. Talbot interprets they are on a beach, though, again, this is not actually specified. When Anne and Bill first “opened their eyes” things were “grey,” yet it was not opaque and gave way to “many vivid colors and glowing lights.”4
As Talbot correctly stated in commentary on Tart’s hypnosis experiment, the shared hallucinatory realm Anne and Bill explored “is the perfect example of a holographic reality—a three-dimensional construct created out of interconnectedness, sustained by the flow of consciousness, and ultimately as plastic as the thought processes that engendered it.”5
Anne and Bill co-created and shared in a participatory reality/information field that was objective to them while being invisible to everyone else (except Carol who intruded into session two by accident and was made to wait at the mouth of the tunnel like a dunce!). Space and distance in the heaven world were relative and highly plastic, and, for the most part, Anne and Bill experienced themselves as disembodied much of the time, having heads or faces but no bodies much of the time. When Bill requested her hand at one point, Anne had to “conjure up a hand.”6
In fact, their descriptions match many aspects of descriptions of what existence is like in many so-called afterlife realms, realms where it is much more obvious that consciousness is what creates and sustains “reality.”
Afterlife explorer and friend of Robert Monroe, Bruce Moen details a number of shared OB experiences with his mentor Rebecca (also associated with The Monroe Institute) in Voyages Into the Unknown as well as Voyage Beyond Doubt. The two would routinely travel together in the virtual astralscapes and then compare notes over the phone the next day. They found their records of the experiences always matched.
One realm they explored together Moen dubbed “Dichotomy Land,” a bizarre alternate reality wherein as soon as a concept formed in his mind, Moen’s perception of it would automatically and immediately snap to its exact opposite.7 Other forms of shared experience of Moen’s involved astrally visiting his kids in their dreams and taking them out for rides on a magic carpet.8 Sometimes while on these nocturnal adventures Moen would receive a mental “call” that he needed to go and assist with a soul retrieval and would leave Shaela and Dan promising to be back in a few minutes, but unfortunately sometimes it took so long that they returned home on their own, not liking being left alone.
Moen wasn’t fully convinced he wasn’t imagining the whole thing until his ex-wife asked him if he was doing something (remotely) with the kids at night because Shaela had already told her about the magic carpet rides and that sometimes their dad would disappear for a while and she would get scared. Moen’s ex sternly insisted Bruce return the kids home (astrally) before going out for the soul retrievals as well as being forewarned of any future activities of this nature!9
Moen also developed a group game for two to eight people which he dubbed “Hot Tub Modified Charlie.” See his book for the full explanation and stories, but in brief, everyone closes their eyes and he activates an electrical type of sensation at the base of his skull (“Wahunka”) and allows the feeling to build in intensity. Then everyone takes turns describing impressions they have. In Moen’s words, “Within five minutes of starting, everyone is in a shared, alternate reality.”
He was so connected to his astral travelling partner Rebecca, in fact, that while playing with this mysterious sensation on his own at times, and being miles from her, she would suddenly find herself in an altered reality and call him up demanding to know what he was doing and would he please stop it! On one occasion Rebecca was working at The Monroe Institute doing a booth session with someone when she was suddenly catapulted into a tunnel with the walls rushing past at a furious pace. Moen had been playing with the energy again and unintentionally dragged Rebecca’s attention away from her duties at TMI—their connection was strong. Moen found the “Wahunka” energy actually assisted with his exploration and perception of afterlife realities. He felt that everyone had this ability, at least latently, but he was just lucky enough to notice it and have the chance to develop and play with it.
Psi Spy Escapades
By the mid-1980s, an unanticipated side of remote viewing was noticed by the government-funded American Psi Spies: Someone was looking back at them as they worked. The Psi Spies unit first became aware of this situation from Robert Monroe (1915 - 1995) who had his first out-of-body experience (OBE) in 1958 at the age of forty-three.10
According to the Psi Spies, the Monroe Institute was used to screen potential remote viewers and to acquaint them with psychic experiences.
Monroe was experimenting with out-of-body and other altered states of consciousness when he realized that three unknown people were with him—and trying to probe his mind. One of these three was a woman who seemed particularly powerful. This being an alien experience to Monroe (and that’s saying something!), he felt vulnerable and therefore enlisted the Psi Spies for help.
Investigative author Jim Marrs reports that, having been alerted to the existence of foreign remote viewers, the Psi Spies joined in a game of psychic cat and mouse with the other side, pursuing each other and even developing a sense of camaraderie in the process. “We thought of them more as an opposing team than an enemy.”
American Psi Spy Mel Riley said that the situation became bizarre, even for them, so they didn’t speak about it outside the unit. Evidently, a tacit agreement was gradually formed between both sets of Psi Spies to not alert their respective bosses of this incredible and unexpected situation, for fear of negative repercussions.
Following unsuccessful early searches for their Russian counterparts, the Psi Spies realized that the extrasensors were not only operating in Russia, but also the USA. Hoping to remedy the situation, eventually the Psi Spies mounted an offensive against their opponents. According to several unit members, the Psi Spies ran a series of remote viewing sessions against the interlopers. They first remote-viewed Robert Monroe’s out-of-body event to see what was happening, and sure enough, they quickly realized that three people were non-physically present, observing. One of them was a woman. Monroe had gotten the impression that her name was Inga Arnyet.
This was confirmed by the Psi Spies.
An entire six-man Psi Spies team was thus assembled to concentrate on the female Soviet psychic in a coordinated group offensive. Armed with the location coordinates, the Psi Spies psychically slipped away into the aether and assembled in the Soviet compound, aware of each other only as ghostly, translucent figures, though the numbers were comforting. Soon the interloper was located. According to Riley, the woman became very upset when confronted by the team because she had never expected such an “attack.” With the team collectively viewing her, she lost all concentration and was rendered ineffective as a remote viewer—mission accomplished.
Following the operation, the Psi Spies team looked at each other as it was time to return to the physical, and then watched each other shoot into the air one by one, fading from sight. It was a spectacle that none had seen before because, until then, all sessions had been conducted individually.11
Of particular interest to us in this case are the following elements, not strictly based in RV, but extending into other areas:
- Some RV sessions appear to be indiscernible from regular OBEs. It is not unreasonable to assume these experiences are occurring on the so-called astral plane or, more specifically, what Robert Bruce calls the real-time zone, where you can observe a close simulacrum of the physical world without suffering the bizarre distortions and anomalies that often manifest in the astral plane proper.
- The RVers could perceive each other as ghost-like translucent humanoids during the sessions—mental projections of their familiar physical form. In the Matrix movie when Neo is uploaded with Morpheus into one of the Nebuchadnezzar’s training programs, he finds that the plugs from his real-life body are gone and his hair and clothes have returned to the way they were in the Matrix reality. Morpheus referred to the phenomenon as the “Residual Self Image.” We are prone to projecting a visual form of our physical selves, even when we are no longer based in the physical world and are simply operating as otherwise formless consciousness. We often tend to revert to our Residual Self Image, unless we choose otherwise.
Following years of conditioning ourselves to identify with our physical body, such a finding is not surprising. This is confirmed by various strands of research, including NDE research, hypnosis, research into “ghosts,” and so on. The Psi Spies do not appear to have had any feedback from clairvoyants still anchored in the physical as to how they appeared to brain-based perception in their OB state, which is a shame.
It cannot be denied—conservatively speaking—that a form of bilocation of consciousness is taking place with RV and OBEs. Within the philosophical framework of monistic idealism, such a functional bilocation of consciousness is not only unremarkable (since consciousness is rightly seen as the ground of all existence) but to be expected. No matter “where” we go, our broader consciousness and all the information in the holographic cosmos is already there to begin with.
Physicist Tom Campbell, who worked with Monroe in the pioneering early days and helped him develop the research technology, does not believe neurochemistry has anything much to do with the OBE. He also believes that physical reality too is a simulation, not unlike the virtual realities of the mind-worlds we have been exploring here. He subscribes to the kind of holographic model we outlined in Book 1: our senses interact with a kind of quantum hologram projected into our minds by what he calls “The Big Computer.” Until objects in physical matter reality (PMR) are observed they exist only in potential12, in all possible states, à la the Copenhagen interpretation.
1 Charles Tart, PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCES ASSOCIATED WITH A NOVEL
HYPNOTIC PROCEDURE, MUTUAL HYPNOSIS, THE AMERICAN JOuRNAL OF CLINICAL HYPNOSIS, Volume X, Number 2, October 1967
5 Talbot, The Holographic Universe, 144.
6 Tart, op. cit.
7 See Moen, Voyage Beyond Doubt, chapter 1.
8 Ibid., chapter 2.
11 Marrs, PSI Spies, 164-171.
12 Peake, The Out-of-Body Experience, 102.