How The Projection of the Astral Body Came To Be Written
HOW THIS BOOK CAME TO BE WRITTEN
In my book Modern Psychical Phenomena, I had devoted a chapter to the experimental projection of the astral body – summarizing the work of M. Charles Lancelin (to be discussed more fully later on). This material I amplified considerably in a later book, Higher Psychical Development. This dealt almost exclusively with the work of others, however, and I always felt that it was all most inadequate; it epitomized everything that I had been enabled to unearth, how- ever, dealing with this important subject.
In November, 1927, I received a letter from Mr. Sylvan Muldoon, in which he said: I have recently finished reading your volumes on the ‘Occult and Psychical Sciences.’ I was much interested in your chapter on ‘Astral Projection,’ as I have been a ‘projector’ for twelve years – long before I knew that anyone else in the world ever did such things. What puzzles me most is that you make the remark that M. Lancelin has told practically all that is known on the subject. Why, Mr. Carrington, I have never read Lancelin’s work, but if you have given the gist of it in your book, then I can write a book on the things that Lancelin does not know! . . . I have been wondering whether M. Lancelin is in fact a conscious projector. From what you have given, I have concluded either that Lancelin does not project at all, or that his subjects are not in the clear conscious state while exteriorized. Is this not reasonable? If M. Lancelin or his subjects were clearly conscious, could they not give every detail of the phenomenon? Of course they could! But they do not. . . .
Now I have been all through this, and I know every emotion, every move, every last detail that takes place from clear consciousness in the physical, out, into the astral with that same unchanged consciousness and back into the body’ . . . But the thing I marvel at most is that so little is said about the astral cord – the very foundation of the whole phenomenon. Is it possible that none of Lancelin’s subjects ever examined this cord, nor even saw it? . . . Nothing is told as to how this cord works, how it stabilizes the astral body, or throws it into instability. How large it is while the bodies are nearly in sync; how it decreases in size and resistance up to a certain distance (which I have measured exactly), and so forth. Lancelin says that the astral body appears as if rocked by the wind, but he does not say what causes this. . . . Lancelin does not tell how to control the astral cord, the mechanism which is the vital factor. He says that the astral body emerges from the solar plexus – which is anything but true. The bodies separate at all places simultaneously. The cord centres at a given plexus, and the ideal spot is the medulla oblongata, which has direct control over the organs of respiration in the oblivious physical body. Lancelin says nothing of suppressed desires and the condition of the heart-beat through the cord; nor how to stabilize the astral body after the exteriorization is accomplished.
He says nothing of the form the astral body takes; how it moves in coming out; how a cataleptic state ensues while the astral body is under control of the subconscious mind, and is still conscious. He has not told of the various degrees of sight and hearing in the astral body; nor how it travels, nor how it gets into a condition where it is helpless and unable to travel. The Will Power part of the process is greatly over-stressed. There are other ways of accomplishing this besides will power. In fact, several other ways. And the Good Health idea is nothing short of a blunder, I say, and can prove it, that the nearer dead a person is, the easier it is to project. I could go on telling you many more things about astral projection; but I suppose that after all was said you would reply, ‘Prove it.’ But it cannot be so readily proved! It would require a treatise upon the subject. I once thought of writing a book upon this topic, but abandoned the idea when everyone told me that I was ‘crazy,’ and found that no one would pay any attention to it.
Just the same, I have exteriorized enough to know that if you have given the gist of what is now known, then indeed there is much darkness upon the subject. I might add that I am a boy twenty-five years old, and that if you even read this letter and take it seriously, it will be an honour to me.”
It need hardly be pointed out that I realized at once that I had discovered some one possessed of a vast fund of most valuable information; and I lost no time in replying at length, and in urging Mr. Muldoon to begin his book at once, which I promised to revise and edit and introduce. The following book is the result. I may say that Mr. Muldoon and myself have worked together upon it most harmoniously; he has covered many points and tried many experiments which I have suggested to him, and in every way demonstrated his complete sincerity, and his scrupulous adherence to the truth. He makes no claims he cannot justify; he advances no theories which are not based upon actual experiences; if he does not know a certain thing, he frankly says so. The additional extracts from his letters will bring this out even more clearly, and will also furnish the reader much valuable material, not included in the book. I may add that the bulk of this work was written when Mr. Muldoon was so ill that he could not get out of bed, and was never certain but that the next day might prove his last! If ever a man may be expected to be truthful and sincere, it would be at such a time.
But the writer’s truthfulness and sincerity are apparent in every line. I should like to draw the reader’s attention particularly to the fact that no wild or preposterous claims are anywhere made in this book as to what has been accomplished during these “astral trips.” Mr. Muldoon does not claim to have visited any distant planets – and return to tell us in detail their modes of life; he does not claim to have explored any vast and beautiful spirit worlds; he does not pretend to have penetrated the past or the future; to have re-lived any of his past incarnations; to have read any Akashic Records; to have travelled back along the stream of time, and reviewed the history of mankind, or the geologic eras of our earth. He asserts, merely, that he has been enabled to leave his physical body at will, and travel about in the present, in his immediate vicinity, in some vehicle or other, while fully conscious. This is perfectly rational, and is precisely what we should expect, on the theory that these trips are actual experiences. Assuming that some such entity as an Astral Body exists, and can at times be voluntarily detached from the physical body, everything else which is said falls naturally into place, and is precisely what might be expected to happen under such circumstances.