The Astral Body in the Séance Room
We have already mentioned briefly the role astral guides play in mediumistic seances. These guides serve as "controls" who facilitate communication between discarnates on the astral plane and the living persons at the seance.
But what happens to the medium’s consciousness when the control is in charge of the medium’s physical body? Some mediums report feeling nothing but a period of amnesia. Others, however, say that their astral bodies go wandering through time and space.
There is the case, for example, of the nineteenth century medium Mrs. Conant, who during a seance was controlled for an hour??"between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.??"by the spirit of a young Indian boy. After a while members of the circle grew restive and urged the guide to leave. He said he couldn’t do so because Mrs. Conant’s astral body had yet to return. An uncomfortable silence followed, broken only when the medium suddenly woke up back in her physical body.
The next day a friend of Mrs. Conant’s told her an odd story. The evening before, at about 11 p.m., the spirit of Mrs. Conant had appeared in her room, her head bowed. Alarmed, the man asked her if she had died. In response she shook her head and faded away. The friend correctly described the hairdo Mrs. Conant had worn during the seance.
The occasional confusion between the astral bodies of the living and the astral bodies of the dead is exemplified in cases in which mediums have been taken over by the former. At other times living astral projectors have sent themselves to the seance room and been seen by the sitters, who were of course expecting to encounter spirits of the dead.
Among the odder of astral-projection-related phenomena are those accounts in which automatic writing figures. Some theorists think this phenomenon is a form of astral mind-over-matter in which the double uses psychic energy to move the hand of the writer and to detach it from the control of his mind. The controlling intelligences do not always claim to be the dead; sometimes they say they are living persons and they provide verifiable information to confirm their claims. Often, however, the physical person is not even aware of the curious activities his astral body is up to!
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