Dream Body
A hypothetical duplicate of the physical body similar to the
double or astral body. Reportedly the experience of the astral
body is most commonly accessed during sleep and its reality
often experienced as a dream.
Dr. F. van Eeden of Holland attempted to transfer his consciousness
to his dream body so that he could remember everything
that transpired during sleep and also attempted to control
this body to manipulate physical objects. Hereward
Carrington states in Higher Psychical Development (1920)
‘‘He did not succeed in doing so, but came very near it—and
succeeded to the extent that he induced a complete dual consciousness.
He remembered clearly that he was asleep in bed,
with his arms folded across his breast; and at the same time he
remembered clearly that he was looking out of the window and
saw a dog run up and look at him through the glass, and run
away again—and details of that character. He then remembered
gliding towards the couch on which his physical body was
lying, lying down beside it—and a moment later woke up and
was again, of course, in the physical body. But he had the extreme
sense of duality of consciousness of the two bodies.’’
In the book The Projection of the Astral Body (1929) Sylvan
Muldoon claims that he met with similar experiences and at
first he, too, believed that his consciousness was in both bodies
simultaneously. Further experiments, however, convinced him
that a double functioning of vision through the cord connecting
the astral body with the physical sufficiently explained the
Muldoon claims that during a conscious projection, within
cord activity range, the sense of sight can function in three
ways from the eyes of the phantom, from the spot occupied by
the physical eyes, and from both simultaneously. As regards
moving physical objects in dreams, Muldoon states ‘‘I know it
to be the truth, viz., one can move an object in his dream, but
that the object does not move until about two seconds later in
Supposedly Muldoon started a metronome in his dream.
The metronome was in another room on the piano. After his
return to consciousness a little time elapsed before the metronome
began to tick. He points out the connection to the synchronization
of movement, observed between the medium Eusapia
Palladino’s limbs and the objects moved as observed by
Sir Oliver Lodge
‘‘When six or seven feet away the time interval (between the
push and the movement of the object) was something like two
seconds. When the accordion is being played, the fingers of the
medium are moving in a thoroughly appropriate manner, and
the process reminds one of the twitching of a dog’s legs when
he is supposed to be dreaming that he is chasing a hare. It is
as if Eusapia were dreaming that she was fingering the instrument,
and dreaming it so vividly that the instrument was actually
played. It is as if a dog dreamt of the chase with such energy
Dragon Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
that a distant hare was really captured and killed, as by a phantom
dog; and, fanciful as for the moment it may seem, and valueless
as I suppose such speculations are, I am, I confess, at
present more than half disposed to look in some such direction
for a clue to these effects. In an idealistic conception of nature
it has by many philosophers been considered that thought is
the reality, and that material substratum is but a consequence
of thought. So in a minor degree it appears here; it is as if, let
us say, the dream of the entranced person were vivid enough
physically to effect surrounding objects and actually produce
objective results; to cause not only real and permanent movements
of ordinary objects, but also temporary fresh aggregations
of material particles into extraordinary objects—these aggregations
being objective enough to be felt, heard, seen and
probably even photographed while they last.’’
A number of experiments have been carried out by parapsychologists
in modern times to attempt to establish whether
there is a measurable objective reality to the ‘‘astral body,’’ but
without decisive evidence. Various techniques have been used,
including magnetometers, ultraviolet and infrared detectors,
strain gauges, thermistors, and other electronic devices; animals
have also been used as detectors.
Use of the terms astral body, double, etheric body, and dream
body as more or less synonymous is somewhat confusing. For
general purposes, the term astral body is more widespread, although
astral projection is now being superseded by out-ofthe-body
travel because parapsychologists have begun taking
increased interest in the phenomenon. (See also lucid dreaming.)
Morris, R. L., S. B. Harry, J. Janis, J. Hartwell, and William
G. Roll. ‘‘Studies of Communication during Out-of-body Experiences.’’
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research
72 (1978).
Muldoon, Sylvan J., and Hereward Carring