This is ironic. Susan Blackmore is an oft-cited critic of the paranormal, yet she herself had an OBE as a student at Oxford, when she was dabbling in the occult. She then spent the rest of her career trying to explain it away. Why invest so much effort in disproving her own experience?
EVERYONE THINKS they are open-minded. Scientists in particular like to think they have open minds, but we know from psychology that this is just one of those attributes that people like to apply to themselves. We shouldn’t perhaps have to worry about it at all, except that parapsychology forces one to ask, "Do I believe in this, do I disbelieve in this, or do I have an open mind?"
I became hooked on the subject when I first went up to Oxford to read physiology and psychology. I began running the Oxford University Society for Psychical Research (OUSPR), finding witches, druids, psychics, clairvoyants, and even a few real live psychical researchers to come to talk to us. We had Ouija board sessions, went exploring in graveyards, and did some experiments on ESP and psychokinesis (PK).
Within a few weeks I had not only learned a lot about the occult and the paranormal, but I had an experience that was to have a lasting effect on me—an out-of-body experience (OBE). It happened while I was wide awake, sitting talking to friends. It lasted about three hours and included everything from a typical "astral projection," complete with silver cord and duplicate body, to free-floating flying, and finally to a mystical experience.
It was clear to me that the doctrine of astral projection, with its astral bodies floating about on astral planes, was intellectually unsatisfactory. But to dismiss the experience as "just imagination" would be impossible without being dishonest about how it had felt at the time. It had felt quite real. Everything looked clear and vivid, and I was able to think and speak quite clearly.
She also admitted that she hasn't bothered to keep up with current developments in the field: