Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 17: Fall 1981

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











How Ndes Differ From Obes

NDEs (Near-Death Experiences) and OBEs (Out-of-the-Body Experiences) are rather common altered states of consciousness that are now the subject of considerable psychological research and public interest. OBEs, where one feels detached from his body and may even view it from afar, occur to many people who are not near death. Yet, the two phenomena have many features in common; so many that some psychologists have claimed that NDEs have no unique features at all.

Gabbard et al have examined hundreds of experiences of both kinds and support the contention that none of the curious features of the NDE are the exclusive province of the NDE. They go a step further, however, by trying to separate NDEs and OBEs statistically. The following experiences occur significantly more often in NDEs:

(1) Noises are heard early in the scenario; (2) The sensation of travelling through a tunnel; (3) The physical body is seen from a distance; (4) Other beings in nonphysical form are sensed, especially deceased people emotionally tied to the percipient; and (5) Encounters with communicative entities of a luminous nature.

(Gabbard, Glen O., et al; Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 169:374, 1981.)

From Science Frontiers #17, Fall 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987