|Stressful situations can cause people spontaneously to leave their bodies. The phrase "stressful situation" hardly begins to describe the plight of Ed Morrell, who as an inmate of a state penitentiary, was subjected to terrible tortures but who succeeded in escaping the attendant agony by projecting his astral body outside the prison walls.
The torture usually involved a specially-devised strait-jacket into which the prisoner was bound; then sadistic guards poured water on the jacket, which proceeded to shrink. "One seldom survived this treatment for long," Morrell would write in his book The Twenty-Fifth Man. "A victim being slowly squeezed to death by a boa-constrictor can alone appreciate the suffering and anguish of that awful torment."
After half an hour of this, Morrell’s body abruptly felt strangely still. He saw lights flashing in front of his eyes. He felt as if he were smothering??"and at that moment he found himself separating from his body. He was out in the countryside beyond the prison??"free!
This was only the first of a series of out-of-body experiences Morrell would undergo during his prison tortures. He traveled far and wide, into outer space and out on to the ocean (where he witnessed a shipwreck which he subsequently learned really happened). He saw persons whom he would later meet in life. He even encountered the woman he one day would marry. He saw the governor of Arizona and predicted the exact date and hour he would be released from prison. He visited distant cities and countries, returning with accurate information to which he had no access through normal channels.
All the while the jailers knew something was up. Morrell would appear to be sleeping soundly while his tormenters devised even more cruel methods intended to break him.
Toward the end of his long ordeal the tortures ceased and Morrell spent several peaceful months in an isolated cell. Ironically, he was no longer able to leave his body??"perhaps because his projections had served their purpose: they had freed him from torment and probably saved his life as well.
Jack London, the great American writer, was so fascinated with Morrell’s story that he based a novel, The Star Rover, on it.