Monroe, Robert Allen (1915–1995)
American businessman and an exponent of out-of-the body
travel. Monroe was born October 30, 1915, and grew up in his
native Lexington, Kentucky. Following his graduation from
Ohio State University, he went to work in radio and television
in New York and then built a successful career in advertising.
His numerous journeys out of his body reportedly began in
1958 following a brief illness. After several somewhat frightening
experiences in which his body cramped and vibrated, one
day he found himself floating near the ceiling and looking
down on his sleeping physical body, a common experience of
people who spontaneously leave their body. He became fearful
that he was either dying or going insane when subsequent experiences
occurred, but his fears were allayed when he learned
of parapsychology and the frequency of out-of-the-body experiences.
Over the next decade he claimed to have experienced precognitive
dreams and visited various ‘‘dream worlds’’ that were
largely unknown to anyone else. He came to think of them as
extra dimensional. He also participated in tests at both the
University of Virginia and the Topeka (Kansas) Veterans Administration
Hospital in which he tried to produce his out-ofthe-body
experience under controlled observation.
His primary concern throughout these years was to verify
the new realms he had been exploring and to develop techniques
by which others could join him in that endeavor. In
1971 he founded The Monroe Institute That same year, an autobiographical
volume, Journeys Out of the Body, was published.
Scientists were impressed by his ability to objectively report on
his experiences and to consider alternative explanations.
Monroe went to work developing and improving the methods
employed by the institute. By 1975 he claimed to have developed
a system to control brain wave emissions and help synchronize
the emissions from the right and left hemispheres of
the brain.
Although Monroe has critics who have complained about
the romanticized and exaggerated accounts included in his autobiography,
he also has his enthusiastic supporters, including
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, who had an out-of-the-body experience
at the institute.
Monroe died March 17, 1995.
Sources
Monroe, Robert A. Journeys Out of the Body. Garden City,
N.Y. Doubleday, 1971.
———. Ultimate Journey. New York Doubleday, 1994.
Rogo, D. Scott. Leaving the Body A Complete Guide to Astral
Projection. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, 1983.
Stockton, Bayard. Catapult The Biography of Robert A. Monroe.
Norfolk, Va. Donning, 1989