Last Modified: 4/25/2018

I spent several years living by myself in my 20's and 30's, alone in my dorm room, in several apartments, and in an old, 1936 brick house. I had overcome the intense fear of the unknown I had when I was a child, replacing it with curiosity and a quest for answers.

Using logic removes a great deal of fear, as it informs you what possible choices you have in front of you. Much of what we fear is that we might make mistakes that limit our goals in life: to help people, to contribute to the world, to have a family, to write something special, to say goodbye to someone close. It is not death so much as a wasted life that is the true horror.

Over the years, I would listen to people's firsthand accounts of out-of-body (OBE) or near-death NDE experiences, and knew the patterns. When I was 6, I had a near-drowning experience and noticed something peculiar, but never went unconscious or had an NDE.

When I was around 31, I was sleeping in my bed in my apartment. My apartment was situated next to a woody area, rising toward the bluffs of Creve Coeur lake, the largest natural lake in Missouri, an oxbow lake formed long ago from the winding Missouri River.

I woke up late at night to use the bathroom, and was very lethargic. The room was a dim grey, illuminated by ambient nighttime light coming in from the window blinds. Every step was sluggish, like I was walking in molasses. I did not turn on the bathroom light, as there was enough ambient light for me to see. But as I walked by my long bathroom mirror, I did not see my own reflection. I saw a whitish, glowing orb where my body should be. It wasn't perfectly spherical, but fuzzy around the edges.

All I thought was "This is curious, this light." And the light tracked along with me as I walked, just like you would expect in a reflection. It did not illuminate the room any more than it was already illuminated.

I used the toilet, then slothed my way back to bed, and lain down on my back.

A split second later, I woke up, and had to go to the bathroom.

The lighting in the room was completely different, it was morning daylight, and not night. I realized that I was sleeping during my walk a few seconds ago. But it didn't feel like a dream. It felt like I actually got up and went to the bathroom.

So I walked into the bathroom again, and was not lethargic this time, and looked in the mirror, just like before, but saw my own reflection, my human form, not the orb of light.

So I actually "woke up" twice, like two nested levels of sleep, like in Christopher Nolan's movie "Inception" except that it really happened.

At the time, I had no explanation for this. It was a very, very peculiar dream.

Years later, I saw the movie "Night Watch" directed by Timur Bekmambetov based on a novel by Sergei Lukyanenko. In this movie, he depicts "The Gloom" as a mirror world next to our real world, where the lighting is grey and ambient, exactly like the lighting in my experience. It is inhabited by supernatural beings, "Others", that are both light and dark, a duality, kept in balance.

This reminded me of what I read about the "Bardo", the Tibetan intermediate state between life and death.

I didn't think much more about it until years later, when I was sleeping at my present house, and again got up to use the bathroom. Again, it was grey and ambient, and I was tired, but not as lethargic as before. I flipped the light switch, but the light never came on. I thought, "This is strange." and proceeded to open the bedroom door. But before I could turn the doorknob, an intense fear came over me and something in the back of my mind told me "Do NOT open that door", that there were beings on the other side of that door.

So I reversed course and crept back to bed. Later I woke up and realized it was similar to my experience years ago.

In neither of these two experiences, did I ever remember to look at the bed where I had lain. I just kind of flopped my tired body back in bed.

I began thinking about that light switch, and how it reminded me of a scene in Richard Linklater's "Waking Life" where they said that light switches do not work in a dream. How curious this is, that everything else seems to be a mirror image of life, but an electrical switch does not operate...

In later years, I began more research on OBE's and the NDE's and found that many people experience a sensation of difficulty in movement when they are close to their body, but this decreases as they get farther away. This could have explained the lethargy I experienced. But I've never heard of anyone's experience with "The Gloom" or the orb of light in the mirror.

I haven't had any of these experiences recently, but have had other classic signs of initial stage OBE, sleep paralysis, and strange vibrations.

While at the edge of sleep, I would become paralyzed but fully awake (a very scary state). This is one of the most common experiences↗ people have.

But I also experience a rushing, vibrating, extremely loud sound, like a rushing heartbeat magnified 1000 times.

Breaking the paralysis is difficult, but if you manage to move something like your finger, you will break out of the cycle into full awaking state. But closing your eyes shortly afterwards will draw you back into the paralysis and rushing sound almost immediately.

So I would literally keep myself awake for about an hour, and turn on the radio or television before going back to sleep.

All of this points to classic out-of-body experience, although I never experience the adventures other people report, as my fear probably limited it.

After that, I read Graham Hancock's book "Supernatural", and his experience with DMT, Dimethyltryptamine, a plant-based psychedelic compound, and I began reading about Terrance McKenna's similar psychonaut journeys and his experience with the "Self-transforming Machine Elves". I then began to realize that there are many states of consciousness: the real one that we normally associate with our work and family lives, and a multitude of others that we don't access unless our brains are in altered states. Some of these states can be entered via meditation or near-sleep, like my experience of "The Gloom", and others via psychedelic compounds like Hancock and McKenna have experienced.

I, personally, am not a proponent of using mind-altering drugs, or any drugs for that matter, but am very interested in the experiences of those people that have, and can write about them. Perhaps, just like microscopes are tools for the eye, that lets the eye see into an unseen world, another context, DMT is a tool for the brain, that lets the brain experience another world, another context.

I later read that this chemical occurs naturally in the brain, found in the pineal gland. It is unknown why it is in the brain. So I began to wonder if the world that Hancock and McKenna tapped into can be accessed by the normal mind, without the use of any external drug, and that perhaps it is a real world, out of phase, frequency, or dimension with our own, inhabited by intelligent beings, as many people have speculated.

For weeks, I would meditate, trying to "tune" my mind to other realities. I'm a pretty creative person, and can widen my view if needed, thinking in oblique ways. But what I really needed to do was to think perpendicular to the tangent, the mathematical normal↗ to our plane of existence, the direction that takes us into a different dimension.

Well, nothing much came of this, until one day, months later, after I had forgotten all about it, I had a dream, a very unique dream.