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Question 29

Good evening, Father I have a half brother in Cyprus who states that he was given a book to read by one of his customers which has to do with out of body experiences. Basically, how this works is that you lie on your back, mumble something in Latin and then you have an out of body experience. He claims that he decided to stop trying to have these experiences because he was shocked by what he saw. He even claims he saw his own body and that he could travel forward or backwards in...



Answer to Question 29


  I think I should begin by saying I have never read of the Church commenting on out of body experiences or astral projection as it is called by those who practice it. I have searched the web to find out more on the subject and there are indeed many people who claim they do it and that everyone can do it by learning how to relax and get into a lucid dream. The difference with what your half brother describes it that they donít mumble anything in Latin or any other language. This is what I donít understand. Other descriptions involve concentration, but your brotherís experience describes some sort of ritual where the key to opening up the spiritual world relies on some words in Latin. The other thing that seems strange is why Latin? Is it supposed to make us think that because Latin is rarely spoken that it holds some mystical and magical properties or is it because Latin is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and because it is used as a liturgical language then it is the language of the spiritual world? 


There have been occasions in the lives of the saints, where in a state of prayer, they have experienced something like what might be called an out of body experience. St. Paul speaks of this: ďAnd I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.Ē (Cor. 12:3-4) There are other occasions where we are told that holy men have appeared to people and healed them from infirmities when they were actually thousands of miles away. Also I remember people saying that Fr. Sophronios of Essex and Elder Paisios had never met in real life yet it was said that they had met in spirit. 


All these occasions happened to holy men who through the practice of Christian struggle had grown and advanced in matters of the spirit and were granted by God knowledge of the spiritual world. Any other form of entrance into the world of spirits can only be demonic and therefore dangerous to those who forcefully try to enter it without the permission and protection of God. Indeed our age has lost all fear of the unknown and men have taken to experimenting with things they donít understand or the dangers involved. 


Your brother claims that since he has stopped astral projection he has been continually attacked by unknown entities as he is about to fall asleep causing him harm. Scientifically this is explained as ďSleep ParalysisĒ caused by a chemical reaction in the brain which results in a loss of synchronization with the bodyís muscles. People who have experienced this sleep paralysis usually say they are awake or waking up from sleep and feel that someone is holding them down, making it impossible for them to move or to speak. Some people also describe a heaviness on their chest or the feeling that they are being choked.


Folklore has given it many names in many different countries, but always it is ascribed to an evil entity. The name Mora demon is from Greece and Cyprus who is said tries to steal the victim's speech or sits on the victim's chest causing asphyxiation


In religious terms we can say this is a temptation and a great percentage of people experience this phenomenon at least once in their lives. I also have experienced this phenomenon many years ago and I know I was wide awake when it happened. I also know it was a demonic attack because it was accompanied with a vision, but I do not want to speak more on this.  Your brotherís continual experience with this temptation could be the result of dabbling with the spiritual world and entering a realm forbidden to men not spiritually prepared by Godís grace. 


If it is a natural phenomenon as explained by science then it is completely harmless and, according to those who have studied sleep paralysis, it can be cured by sleeping on oneís side which helps with breathing rather than on oneís back which can block the air passage and cause the choking experience. 


If on the other hand it is a demonic attack, then it is counter attacked with prayer. As I said, many people experience this at least once and the best way to cope is to not dwell on the experience or fear it. It is something that happened and just let it pass as a bad dream. But in your brotherís case where it is a regular occurrence I would advice for him to call a priest and have his home blessed and also have the priest read the prayer of Vaskania or some other prayer that will banish all evil influences from his life.