Out of Body Experiences

I’ve had two very real out of body experiences in my lifetime, both set to music. The first one was in high school. I slept in my parent’s basement, had a room there, and I’d keep the radio on and listen to it all night. It wasn’t great music – more like using the sound as company  - Pop music (we could only get 2-3 FM radio stations where I lived – if more a choice, probably would have been listening to Classic Rock at the time). I didn’t sleep very well in high school – mainly because I never wanted to go school the next day. I’d stay up so as to not let the day end (usually writing songs all night).

One morning I was already awake as the radio station started the broadcasting day. The first song was Don Henley’s Boys of Summer; I was sitting on the edge of my bed when I started to float around the basement. It was kind of like the scene from the Big Lebowski when the Dude floats around LA – except I was completely sober. I felt a vivid connection to Boys of Summer, all while floating on the ceiling and staring down at myself sitting on the edge of the bed listening to the song. For an odd moment I was physically outside of my body.

My second out of body experience came about four years later, near the end of my college life. I was in a Hemmingway hotel (a plaque said Hemmingway stayed there at some point), in Petoskie, Michigan. I was with my sister, brother-in-law, and some of their friends and we were listening to a cheery and talented Irish musician play songs from popular records. We were drinking margaritas – and I was drinking heavily – when the musician played Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet. Everybody – the entire bar/ restaurant area – laughed and sang along to the classic tune. Everybody was either plowed or on their way.  

I got up a little too suddenly to use the bathroom and stumbled to a hallway just off the bar. The hallway was maybe thirty feet long and surreally decorated in various shades of red – ceiling, floor and carpet – all decorated in red. I had already walked the hallway earlier in the night so there was nothing unusual about it at this point. But, being several Margaritas in and now listening to a live rendition of Margaritaville, it must have flipped the mystery switch. My soul took off and once again I was floating, hovering just beneath the ceiling and watching myself walk to the bathroom listening to a Jimmy Buffet song.

These two experiences are unique for me. I’ve experienced strange things in a similar vein - hallucination, extreme exhaustion, terror – moments when the world slows down or speeds up in abnormal ways. An out of body experience is different from that. To this day I can recall just how things appeared and even felt being up on the ceiling and looking down on myself. There wasn’t anything revelatory about it  – no particular insights, no crystallization of a grand plan. And I don’t think the songs had much to do with it either. I’ve never been too interested in analyzing that part of it, other than to say I can’t hear Boys of Summer or Margaritaville without reflecting on my out of body experiences. 

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