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100 % OBE success? Marketing Hype or Reality?

Updated: May 7, 2023

Personally, over 25 years of doing empirical research on Out-of-Body Experience (OBE), I have studied hundreds of cases of spontaneous, self-induce, or Near-Death-Like experiences, carefully cataloguing hundreds of OBE phenomena [1]. I have taught OBEs in workshops for more than 11 years now, teaching hundreds of people to have OBEs, including rookies, disbelievers and gifted students. I know, as a matter of fact, OBE can be taught to anyone. I know, having tested it, that technologies can equally help. I equally had the fortuitousness to personally discuss the subject with published experiencers, some with years of experience and debated the matter with acknowledged scientists, such as Dr Olaf Blanke, at the forefront of such studies in the field, in international congresses and conferences internationally. But I consider myself one of the few lucky persons to have met an experiencer – only one over 25 years – capable of achieving a high degree of OBE success by inducing OBEs at will from the waking state. This is a statement I make based on empirical and critical observations, made under laboratory conditions, and as an expert on the subject, knowing I was initially very sceptical, but which remains a subjective assessment at this stage and refers to 8 successive successful attempts (out of 8, or a 100 % success) during a laboratory experiment whose results will be the subject of a forthcoming peer-review article [2]. And although other Out-of-Body Experiencers (OBErs) have demonstrated similar capacities in the past, as reported in experimental settings, these cases and extraordinary subjects are the exception to the rule. It is of note that the subject, was initially already a gifted subject, having had experiences since a young age, but nonetheless went through years of rigorous training to achieve such capacity.

So, let's be honest here. If there was any OBE technique one could claim would lead to a 100 % success OBE rate or a set of techniques which, applied together, would lead most beginners to have an OBE at every self-initiated attempt, as currently claimed by some OBE coaches, it would be known. Scientists like me would certainly know it. The entire world would know it. And neuroscientists like me would not struggle to find gifted subjects able to achieve OBEs at will in their labs. In fact, neuroscience labs worldwide will be crawling with experiencers achieving incredible feats, and we would have understood much more about consciousness. That is not the case.

Nonetheless, such a claim has proliferated, and more and more OBE coaches claim a 100 % OBE success rate is possible, alleging a proven scientific system to achieve such a rate. A "technique", sometimes handmade for you and generally learned at a high price. Some further say that there is “a fast and easy way to OBE”, while others also suggest the use of technologies that have been scientifically proven to support you in achieving OBEs at every attempt. Allow me to debunk some of these ideas [3].

The problem with the definition

From a sleep neurophysiology perspective, a 100 % success rate, as claimed, would mean that you could achieve an OBE during any of the sleep stages you go through at night (this is not the case for the referred gifted subject). As such, claiming that anyone can achieve a 100 % OBE success rate is nonsensical. For example, in one of my last Polysomnographic (PSG) professional recordings, I slept 7 hours and 32 minutes. I entered a Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state 10 times with 3 hours and 10 minutes spent in REM. Considering that definition (e.g., of 100 % success) and the theory associating OBE to REM (If always true), I should have had at least 10 OBEs that night. I really wish I was that prolific. To the same extent, if the OBE state seems achievable during N-REM states at sleep onset, for example, as demonstrated in the lab, a 100 % success rate would equally mean that every time one would enter into a N-REM state, one would be able to experience an OBE. Well… that is not the case. But that is what a 100 % success rate would mean.

There is another problem with such a claim. OBEs are complex phenomena, and the definition of what an OBE may or may not be, is not the same for everyone. However, in truthfulness, that is independent from the above assertion. 100 % is still 100 %, whatever the definition is. But what is the definition used here by such coaches? What is the metric of their success? Does Lucid Dreaming (LD) count? Does the "belief of having had an OBE" count?! (It has been a metric claimed as a success!) [4]. Does one even know how to differentiate LDs from OBEs? Does a partial projection where you perceived part of your astral body going out, for example, your legs and arms, count as a success? [5].

Certainly, the metric for any successful attempt should be, at the minimum, one where the experiencer expressed a continuous level of consciousness from the onset of the OBE to its offset with an unaltered level of self-awareness and metacognition. If not, certainly, at least a level of awareness similar to the one expressed in the waking state during the OBE state should be considered. These are the most striking and unmistakable of experiences. And naturally, the belief of having had an OBE should not be considered a success! Other qualitative metrics of a successful experience could be considered, such as the level of the transformative impact of the experience. Indeed, I know authors who have written books after their first experiences.

The marketing elephant in the room

So, what does it even mean when OBE coaches say you can reach a 100 % success rate? First, 100 % is not 100 % most of the time. If it is 100 % all the time, it is neither over a certain amount of time (e.g., during a month workshop with one OBE during that time frame being a 100 % success). Let's not be naïve here. That 100 % success, where one would achieve an OBE at every attempt, does not exist for most beginners, whatever time frame you take as a metric. It may come at a later stage of development during a phase of successful attempts, but it is mostly never a 100 % success rate anyway. Certainly not in terms of sleep stages.

Furthermore, If a supposedly new and claimed "very efficient technique", or technology, would have been proven to be very effective in any claimed experiential setting – supposedly analyzing hundreds of experiencers – it would have been known to be so and experimented with by most of us already. Sagan said that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Although I do not always subscribe to that metric, such claims should indeed point to credible data. But the devil is in the details. if it was really that effective, where is the data? [6]. What does "very effective" mean anyway? Again, what is the metric? What is the definition of "very successful"? Effective for all or for some? And is the announced new technique really new?

Certainly, recycled techniques marketed as new are not new. They are old techniques. This is a fact. In occurrence, there are OBE books that have been marketed as being full of innovative techniques that some would consider the copy of techniques known and taught since the beginning of the 19th century or before. A variation is a variation. Not a novelty. Independently of the improved and supposed efficiency of the technique (a minimum to expect when a technique is marketed as "very efficient" to induce OBEs). But there is nothing more deceptive than the obvious. That is not even taking into consideration confirmation and experimenter biases. But without having access to the data and results of the "very efficient technique", how can we determine its efficiency? As indicated by Sagan: "assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder". This is the same for OBE technologies supposedly inducing OBEs with high-efficiency; see my review of the Lucia-like lights, for example.

The sample issue

If psychologically suggestible people were trained and used to measure an OBE technique's effectiveness, the results might not be entirely objective. Various psychological expectations are at play here. There are many ways that people can be influenced and prone to beliefs that are not grounded in reality. Cognitive biases can lead people to interpret information in ways that confirm their existing beliefs while ignoring or discounting information that contradicts their views. This is especially true through social influence, as people are often influenced by the opinions and behaviours of others in their social groups. A condition that is even more true under the influence of a leader. Furthermore, psychologically suggestible people are more likely to be influenced by factors such as suggestions by responding to expectations in ways that impact their responses while testing OBE techniques. In fact, if a coach believes there is the possibility of any person without extensive training to achieve 100 % success in any OBE technique, the possibility of this belief influencing the trainee and their appreciation of reality is even greater. And certainly, it may even become a true occurrence. But it would still not be a 100 % success rate.

Nonetheless, this influence is even more dramatic when techniques inducing sleep disruptions are used (e.g., using soundtracks through the night). Certainly, it has been shown that sleep disruption, which ever the technique use, may lead to increase OBE success. But these techniques are disruptive of sleep homeostasis and carry a neurophysiological price in long term. Research has shown that exposure to continuous noise during sleep, even at low volumes, can lead to sleep disturbance and fragmentation, reducing the overall quality and quantity of sleep. This is because noise can interfere with the various stages of sleep, including both non-REM and REM sleep, and disrupt the natural sleep cycle. Studies have also shown that the consequent sleep deprivation can increase suggestibility and decrease the ability to discriminate between true and false memories. When sleep is disrupted, the brain may not have enough time to consolidate memories and process information properly, which can lead to cognitive impairments. This can lead to increased suggestibility, as individuals become more likely to rely on external cues and suggestions rather than their critical cognitive processes [7].

In fact, it could be argued that any OBE techniques should only be taught after a good understanding of potential cognitive biases associated with psychological perception linked to OBEs. Familiarization with the different types of cognitive biases, engaging in critical thinking and testing assumptions and alternative theories are all helpful in such context: the condition is emphasized from the onset during the SCI OBE workshop in the first theoretical training class.

The belittling and underestimation of Out-of-Body training and the 10,000-hour rule

Let's not be naïve here. If OBE trainees are entirely capable of using techniques to induce OBEs, it does not mean it is necessarily easy. That does not mean any such technique will not lead to success either. Nor true is the fact that if we have achieved an OBE through a specific technique, we can repeat the achievement – by predisposition or not – every time. Or that one could not have a set of successive successful strikes – one after the other or over a certain period – and fail later with the same technique. Too many psychological and physiological variables, amongst many others, are at play. But foremost, let's not forget the "10,000-hour rule" of learning. Such a theory suggests it takes roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in a given field or skill. This idea was popularized by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers: The Story of Success."

The concept is based on the study of expert performers in a range of fields, including music, chess, and sports. The study found that it was not just innate talent or genetics that made people exceptional in their field but rather deliberate practice over an extended period of time independently of social conditions. Deliberate practice means pushing oneself beyond one's comfort zone. It requires effort, concentration, and dedication to improvement. A lot of abnegation. Failures, successes. And a lot of free time! And while the rule is controversial, and the exact number of hours required to become an expert may vary depending on the field, the 10,000-hour rule suggests that becoming truly exceptional in any area requires a significant amount of time and effort. It may be even more so for an attitude that has not been evolutionary mastered by our species [8]. In fact, acknowledged OBErs who have achieved such faculty – achieving a high success rate – have gone through years of training, even for those considered initially gifted.

The integrity of a coach

Last but not least. Beyond notions of ethical marketing, which can be defined as promoting services using truthful and transparent methods aligned with moral principles and social values of honesty, there is the integrity of a coach. Its own consciousness. If a coach suggesting achieving a 100 % success rate may be naïve, the condition is entirely different from using deceptive marketing approaches to influence followers and gain success while knowingly not believing in the product. Shamefully or not. But even worse are those who claim they can achieve a 100 % OBE success rate for their students but refuse to be tested in laboratory experiments or those who say to achieve such rates since being kids (!) when they know it is false [9].

In truth, integrity in a millennial world of fake it until you make it is not the norm [10]. It is even less true for those who want to achieve influencer status at all costs because they lack self-esteem or are narcissistic [11]. Nothing is wrong with willing to better society by teaching people to experience OBEs and even making a business out of it. No, but there is a price to pay for faking it. The price is not only to lose self-respect. Deceptions and false claims also harms the progress of the OBEr community and produce scientific distrust.

More so, lying to stay ahead is also self-delusory. The truth is always at the end of the tunnel. Such behaviours are the opposite spectrum of what leads to more frequent and qualitative OBEs—which is undoubtedly what matters in such a discussion (not a 100 % success rate). And as a matter of fact, they are the opposite ingredients for achieving moral authority. A reality that comes naturally with the weight of true OBEs. Undeniably, OBEs lead one to understand how transparent to the world we are out there. As a direct consequence, we become naturally used to expressing our Self, in here, with little reservation, without hypocrisy or the need for ego-marketing, abandoning any reason to fear the expression of our Self, who we really are, and our natural evolutionary limitations, knowing one day we will get there!

MSc. Neuroscience,

Sleep Consciousness Researcher,

PhD Candidate.

[1] A peer-review publication is currently being finalized on these. [2] A peer review case study is equally in preparation showing the neurophysiological correlates associated with OBEs achieved by such a subject. [3] There are no hard feelings against any coach here, but this clarification is needed. This idea hurts people struggling to have OBEs who become unmotivated to have one in the face of such claims when they achieve poor results. [4] Note that if the person believes in something not based on objective reality, it does not mean they do not benefit from it. There is no problem with that, but it is still not a 100 % success. [5] If that were the case, SCI's workshop equally would have a 100 % success rate (but that is not the metric used). In average there is always at least one student that achieve an OBE in the workshop over 4 attempts per person (for classes with induced OBEs), but that is not a 100 % success rate either (for the workshop as a whole). [6] A few years back while willing to study a specific technology supposedly efficient to induce OBEs, I was pointed at the web site of a researcher that was selling the technology. However, upon verifying and even further asking the mentioned researcher, no such data or researcher was available at the website, ever carried or even published as claimed. [7] Not mentioning that some coaches use hypnosis with lack of professionalism. [8] Characteristics of difficulties associated with the successful application of any OBE techniques and the difficulties associated with the experience of exiting the body are many and complex (e.g., letting go of the body linked with the fear of death, different types of anxiety associated with unfamiliar and impressive sensations and specific phenomena, subconscious fears, expectations and beliefs, choosing a technique that is adapted to our personality and aptitudes, achieving a level of control and knowing when to let go when necessary, not mentioning bioenergetic blocks and other potential psychic conditions). [9] I have known some. [10] For example, Forbes's 30 Under 30 list, which features a list of individuals under the age of 30 each year, who have had impactful careers and/or accomplishments across healthcare, science, and consumer technology industries, is a list full of fraudulent individuals. Sam Bankman-Fried, who self-described himself as an "effective altruist", made a list in 2021 but subsequently led the dramatic collapse of his crypto exchange FTX facing a litany of charges and losing hundreds of millions—an example of savage capitalism. [11] About a year ago for example, I met a student seeking influential status claiming to be able to induce dozens of LD per night when experts, with years of experience, participating in laboratory research are know to be able to achieve one to three a week.


Déthiollaz, S. and C. Fourrier, Charles. (2016). Voyage aux confins de la conscience - Dix Années d'exploration scientifique des sorties hors du corps. Pairs, Guy Trédaniel Éditeur.

Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.Th. and Tesch-Romer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100, pp393-394.


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