Question from Lukas:
I came across this while discussing a believer. Its about Alex Tanous a psychic and theologian. Believers claim and also like Alex Tanous that he was successful in a OBE [out-of-body experience] experiment where he identified several symbols thus proving a ethereal soul. There is little skeptical information about this guy on the Internet therefore I am asking if someone could take a look at the research about him:
The research about him is on pages 1-3 and then the OBE experiment the believer pointed me at was from page 4 with the results of this experiment is on the page 12: He scored 114 out of 197.
I also started a thread on the Skeptic Society forum and posted there all the information and skeptical answers I could come up with. If someone could please look into this I would be very grateful. Thanks for your time reading this and have a nice day.
Answer by SmartLX:
I checked the Skeptic Society forum, and if Shen1986 isn’t you on this page then it’s worth reading how he’s driven the issue along. In the third post, only three hours after he first raises the issue, Shen brings up numerous red flags concerning various aspects of the 1974 experiment. The story doesn’t regain much credibility after that.
The amount of time that has passed is the major barrier to determining the exact circumstances of Tanous’ remarkable result. Little public documentation remains 39 years later, and the people who conducted the test would be hard to track down if they’re even still alive. If the test had happened today and we were investigating it in 2052 it might be a different story, but in the 1970s not everything went straight onto a computer, let alone the Internet (which at the time was used almost exclusively by universities and the military).
As it is we have an unsolved mystery, and that’s all. This is not a proven miracle; the results were not reproduced with Tanous or anyone else, despite the fact that practical observations during an OBE or near-OBE are supposed to be a learnable skill. Tanous reportedly worked to teach himself to “separate the wheat (OB vision) from the chaff”. It should have been easier subsequently, but there were no further attempts which were more successful and are therefore more famous today. It should not have been a freak result, but apparently it was. Its impact on modern science is minimal, if any.
Question from Lukas: