Understanding Out-of-Body Fears

by Charles C. Goodin
This article lists fears reported. They are sorted based on the number of times the respondent reported leaving his or her body. I have edited the responses slightly for spelling, grammar and brevity. Identical duplicate responses are not reported. In other words, if ten people who left their bodies 100+ times reported that they have no fears, the term "none" was shown only once.

This is not a scientific survey. Please do not ask me for demographics. I did not ask for background information in my feedback form. I simply wanted to get an idea about the types of fears people had based on their level of out-of-body activity. Obviously, the visitors to my page do not represent a cross-section of the general population.

The best way to overcome fears is to identify and understand them. Most out-of-body fears fade away with experience. As you can see here, many people with a wide range of out-of-body experience levels have a remarkable variety of fears. Some fears are shared across the experience spectrum. Others seem to be particular to a single person. But the point is that fears are common. You should not feel ashamed or somehow strange if you are afraid of leaving your body.

I was training very hard to achieve OOBEs while I was attending graduate school in Chicago. In hindsight, I realize that I was trying way too hard. In any event, one night (about 3 a.m.) I succeed in leaving my body and found myself standing with my toes on my physical chest. I was facing toward my feet. IT WAS THE MOST FRIGHTENING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE! I had left my body before and after that time but at that instant I was terrified, electrified, scared almost to death, scared to the bone, scared beyond words. It was an irrational fear -- after all, I had been trying so hard to leave my body -- but it was real to me. I thought I had died.

Did that fear prevent me from trying again? No way! My attraction to the flame, so to speak, far outweighed my fears. Today, many years later, I have a reverse type fear... that my out-of-body interests might cause me to neglect my physical responsibilites. So I work hard to keep my realities in balance. With a little work and time, I feel that most out-of-body fears can be overcome or managed.

Number of Times Left Body: 0

  • No fears, just hope to someday get this down... it sounds like a very spiritual encounter.
  • I'm an amateur at this, since I have never left my body, but I've been worried about whether or not it's possible for something to happen to my body without me in it, such as another soul possessing it. Therefore, the times that I try to have an OBE occur more oftenly when I'm depressed...
  • All my astral states have involved fear and no control. After being attacked by something dark in my room, I decided not to practice anymore and it stopped. It has been twenty years since I have had a conscious state.
  • I never have left my body but I think that a fear that I could have would be having problems returning to my body.
  • What if I can't get back in my body and it dies on me?
  • I think this must be wonderful.
  • Having another entity take over my physical self while my spiritual self is out exploring.

Number of Times Left Body: Unsure

  • No fears, just frustration on not being able to do it at will.
  • Fear of falling, despite flying dreams as a child and the rare flight or soaring ones as an adult.
  • I'm afraid that I might get lost and not be able to get back to my body.
  • I fear that I shall get lost and the only options open to me are an eternity in hell or sitting in the same room with [a certain comedian] for more than five minutes..tough choice.
  • "Evil" type experiences..trouble getting back..
  • I heard it can cause madness to people.
  • I have heard from many of my friends that it's dangerous to leave your body since "someone else" could "enter" into it.
  • Lots of minor fears, loss of self-control being the worst. No serious fears, i.e. none that I don't recognize intellectually as silly.
  • Can't return before a feeling of suffocation.
  • Is a terrific experience.

Number of Times Left Body: 1

  • That something may be lurking out there -- attracted by subconscious negative thoughtforms.
  • Occupation of my physical body.
  • I felt totally helpless, I was scared because I had no control of what was going on. I was scared of the whole experience, I had no idea of what was happening to me.
  • Never being able to return to my body. Encountering something evil outside my body.
  • Mainly I think the vertigo sensation I seem to experience puts me back always after that first time.
    Vulnerability of the spiritual body to other entities; encountering the manifestation of unconscious fears.

Number of Times Left Body: 2-4

  • None (no fears).
  • None -- I'm a firefighter and have met the Messiah on numerous occasions!
  • I haven't felt scared yet.
  • Fear of not being able to return. / That I won't come back. / Not coming back. / I suppose there's that little bit of fear about not returning (i.e., death). / Not being able to come back, going into the fifth dimension.
  • No fears, just an awkward sensation.
  • Not too sure, other than a little anxiety of doing a conscious trip.
  • That I would not be able to do it again.
  • The falling feeling.
  • The unknown....
  • I always fear that I should not be out for too long.
  • I didn't know what the hell was going on. All of a sudden, I was floating above my body.
  • The fear of death which you can taste no life at all only a sea of pain and suffering.
  • My big obstacle was fear, for about ten years. I finally decided that I was safe, and could tolerate the transient feeling of fear and continue with the experience.
  • I was afraid when I came back that I wouldn't wake up. I found a force wanting to leave my body, while I wanted to wake up. It was strange.
  • Controlling where I go.
  • The feeling of not knowing what's out there.
  • Not wanting to come back.
  • Being "attacked" by something.
  • Afraid body might become possessed? Or another spirit w/enter my body.
  • Don't know why I was scared really, probably biggest fear was it was true, which had quite a few implications for me about life after death, etc., which I'd never considered before.
  • Re-entry. Confronting subconscious fears.
  • Being physical out of control or that I have left it because I have died.
  • Permanent disembodyment. Not likely however the silver cord could be severed.
  • I was ok until I realized I was "standing" in one place and "touching" a wall (feeling the texture of the bricks perfectly) but the wall was too far away for me to touch if I were in my physical body. That startled me and I "popped" back into my body. That was the second and last time this happened. But I can still feel what it felt like, and I miss that feeling.

Number of Times Left Body: 5-10

  • None (no fears).
  • Getting lost.
  • No fear, one time I was out of body and I was visiting with an old friend, I could hear my baby calling. I told my friend that I had to go back because the baby could wake my husband and he would realize that I wasn't there!! Next thing you know I was back in my body (not without that falling feeling) and I was unable to move. I kept thinking try to grab his hand and you'll be able to move, as soon as I willed myself to grab my husband's hand, I crashed back in!!
  • My fear has been that I would do too much too soon and travel to places that would present a danger. I believe that by centering myself, raising my vibration and asking for assistance from my guides each time, I prevent myself from falling into situations that are inharmonious with my spiritual growth.
  • That I will stop breathing or won't get back into my body.
  • Not having the desire to come back.
  • I had some bad contacts with some spirits.
  • Mainly fear of the unknown. The more material I read on the subject, the more I read about others' horror stories...strange demons...spirits...etc. However, these things won't stop me from trying again and again.
  • I fear that I don't do it often enough!
  • That God doesn't approve.
  • To find a situation or other consciousness that I couldn't deal with.
  • Late for school or work.
  • Only fear is that I become too involved with astral world..I do some harm..You can do harm, especially with etheric body exercises.
  • Mostly it's a fear of tangible control. I sense that something in me was allowing me to experience it, and my anxiety always yanks me back too soon. I have heard people talk of invisible strings, and I just don't understand enough about it. The fear of control loss is very real.
  • It is wonderful!

Number of Times Left Body: 11-20

  • I am afraid of not coming back to my body again.
  • My biggest fear was not being able to see, at least early on. As I had more projections, I was able to see somewhat, but although I have a desire to explore the world while awake, I never have that desire in a astral projection, I stay in my own house, or neighborhood.
  • When I was confronted with this situation for the first time the fear and panic was incredible, but as time went by all my fears went away, but it took a good many years for this incredible fear to dissipate.
  • Will I get back in? Can someone get into my body while I am gone?
  • I would love to stay out, so much more than what is here in the physical, sad I can not stay there until my time.

Number of Times Left Body: 20+

  • None (no fears).
  • Not really afraid, but have experience not being able to move like moving in honey.
  • Meeting a blast - glyphe!
  • What I may encounter. Having trouble getting back in.
  • I find the disorientation I feel at first when I recognized that I have left my body very disturbing; that some how without that 'conscious' part of the mind the body is vulnerable and can not protect itself. I rarely stay out of the body long that I am aware of.

Number of Times Left Body: 50+

  • None (no fears).
  • Not being able to always see well frightens me...also, at times I feel as though I am being held, or held on to in some way. The humming/vibration is also pretty scary, and gets pretty severe before I can exit...this often scares me out of my attempt to project.

Number of Times Left Body: 100+

  • None (no fears).
  • No fear, just interesting. Why would one fear what is natural?
  • Not being able to get back into my body.
  • Falling.
  • I like it too much.
  • Unfriendly spirits.
  • The only fears I have are when I'm being attacked by other spirits.
  • My only fear is meeting another spirit, that could do me some harm, like once I meet a bad spirit, it only wanted to do bad things, after a while I stopped my OBE's. Later I went back to them and it was gone.
  • When it first begins, it feels like I'm dying and I get an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. I was told once by a minister that it was the devil's work and that I could be possessed while out of body.
  • I had none until the age of 13 or 14 when I told a friend I had seen her being reprimanded in another room and she told me I was weird and broke the friendship. Up until then I think I must have thought everyone could do this although it wasn't something I dwelt on. After her reaction I didn't attempt to slip out again until I was at college and when it happened it was totally unexpected. Since then I have slipped out mainly if I am stressed or totally relaxed and always unexpectedly. I no longer have control over this as I did when I was a kid and could do it anytime at my whim.
  • My only fear is not being able to get "out". As stated, my [astral] friend has taken to becoming more and more angry at my inability to "leave" by myself sometimes. And refuses to help. Sometimes standing in front of me..taunting me to join him. In anger, to get out I envision myself on a cliff...I jump off the cliff, and the impact hitting the bottom throws me out of my body. Although this works, it is very startling, to say the least.
  • That I'll pop a blood vessel in my head and die of a brain hemorrhage.
  • None since I was a child. The first two times it happened I thought I was dying. Once I realized I was not dying I learned to enjoy the experience.
  • Mostly just an odd feeling to get used to.
  • A fear of drifting away and never coming back. A fear of exploding or going insane.
  • Have lost conscious control of vehicle in watcher form and strayed into unfriendly temples. Also have encountered some rather unfriendly beings (I hate to use word evil but it suffices).
  • That I will neglect my physical body and daily affairs.
  • That somehow people will find out about my abilities and either think I am strange or special.
  • I regularly come in contact with intelligences that seem to take aversion at my presence and attack me with their minds...or astral bodies, if you will.
  • My ego/personality is afraid of death.
  • Many fears in the first years, hearing voices, roughly leaving body etc.
  • Hmm. Maybe, not coming back in one piece... Leaving fragments of my being on different planes. Not being able to control the duration or intensity of the work. To lose control of the situation.

Parting words. The above descriptions were provided to help eliminate or at least manage fears. Most fade away with experience. Fear of the unknown, for example, usually diminishes as the astral senses begin to function better. The fear of not being able to return to the body fades as you discover just how hard it is sometimes to prevent returning to the body involuntarily! In any event, it certainly is not my intent to perpetuate any fears.