Bob Monroe and I had spent another hour or so discussing the M Band. He tried to describe what it was and what it sounded like. It was obviously hard for him to described and even harder for me to comprehend. He said at certain times when he left his body, he would pass through a strata of existence that was pure energy. This energy strata, was a severely noisy place. It was worse than Manhattan at rush hour. Worse than the subways below the city streets, when the trains pass you on the platform. More than that, the sounds were completely indescribable. If memory serves me after all these years, Bob told me that the M band was something he had to go through, when he originally began having out of body experiences. Later in his experiences, he found a way around it.
The sound that he wanted me to emulated for him, was as incomprehensible to me as the experience itself. The radio production we were creating, was an encapsulation of some of his earliest OOBE’s. The depictions included meeting people who were stuck between existences. They were supposedly dead, but not dead. This sounded an awful lot like the purgatory I learned of in catechism class as a child. The depictions also included a segment of his meeting with his guides.
It was a good thing I had read Bob’s book. It enabled me to keep a professional detachment, as I listened to his story line for this radio production, as told by the man who had the experiences first hand. As he did, I scanned his face for the tell tale signs of someone giving me a line of bull.
Being raised in NY, I was quite good at reading faces, but there was no hint of guile in him. He truly believed that these experiences he had were quite real, and that most people had similar experiences all the time when they slept. They just didn’t remember, or talked themselves out of it if they did. At that point, I personally had never experienced anything like what he described. It sounded positively terrifying to have an OOBE. As I continued to listen, I knew he was telling me his truth.
I took notes as Bob wrapped up his description of the MBand, and assured him I would ramp it up. We gave a quick listen to the edited audition session tapes from the other actors, but there was obviously no need. Bob had finished the job just fine. The other voices probably just sounded “too young”. This was a term Bob used to make reference to my own inexperience regarding certain matters. In the case of OOBE’s, I can honestly say he was right.
October moved into November as 1988 was preparing to come to a close. H+ was put on a brief hold, as I focused on the radio production. The working title was “Out of body Adventures”. It was an appropriate title, even if a bit dramatic. No doubt, as a former radio dramatist, Bob Monroe had a flare for the dramatic.
I enjoyed this production quite a lot. It brought Bob and I a little closer, which is natural when working with someone in a creative endeavor. We spent quite a bit of time in the lab together, adding and subtracting sound effects in a series of “what if” sessions. What if sessions allow the freedom of exploring ideas regardless of how absurd they may render themselves. We smoked and laughed, as he told stories of the old days when he was a radio producer in the city. That’s what New Yorker’s call Manhattan. The City. As if there is no other city in the whole world. He told me how much he loved it there, and loved that I knew it as a native son. He believed New Yorkers to be a special breed of American, who tell it straight and waste little time. He lived there during what is often referred to as the golden age. A period when Manhattan was full of men wearing fedoras, and women wearing scarfs. Allegedly when men were men, and women were “Dishes or Tomatoes”. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you haven’t seen enough black and white films.
NYC was an exciting place in the forties and fifties. For Bob Monroe, it must have been even more so. He was on top of the entertainment world. He produced radio programs that were broadcast throughout the country. He worked with the likes of Peter Lorre, and knew Walter Winchell very well. Again, if you have to ask, you really are too young.
He regaled me with stories of dealing with Patrillo’s music union, and going down to Batista’s Cuba to record with the symphonies there. For me, this was the stuff of legend. We’d take long lunches and chat about all sorts of things over burgers and smokes at the local greasy spoon. He was easy to talk to and laugh with. I admired him and his successes. I appreciated him for being candid about his OOBE’s without ever being preachy.
I relay these things to you to let you know who I was at that time, and who Bob was. I was young, somewhat cocky kid from the streets of NYC. I had moved to the mountains of Virginia in search of a simpler life and more genuine people, who were not predisposed toward selling you something with a smooth line of bull. I was very sensitive to people trying to pull the wool over my eyes.
This man, as far as I could see, was no New Age Guru or cult leader, like Jim Jones. This was a successful businessman from NYC, who while in the throes of having potentially life threatening experiences, had stumbled upon something that would change his personal life forever. Even though his OOBE stories were somewhat fantastic to me, he was very genuine while telling them. Although he rarely spoke of them, when the subject did come up, he answered my questions with the sincerity of a father telling his son about his life experiences. Bob Monroe and I were becoming fast friends.
The Out of Body tales of Robert A. Monroe are well documented in his books, and in several biography’s written about him. In case you are among those who have never heard of about his life, here are the highlights.
In the late 1950’s, a successful radio producer began having a series of strange vibratory sensations in his body whenever he went to sleep at night. These vibrations eventually led to him leaving his physical body and returning. Deciding that he was in need of medical or (even worse in the 1950’s) psychiatric attention, he went through a battery of tests which proved him sane and healthy. The experiences however did not abate. He continued seeking help through credible paranormal/psychic research centers. He eventually found sympathetic ears, and was subjected to more tests. Eventually, in becoming a virtual lab rat, his name became synonymous with the phrase Out of Body Experience.
In an attempt to control, understand, and invoke these experiences intentionally, he developed a sound technology which was designed to induce altered states of consciousness. Hemi-Sync ™ caught the interest of even more academic researchers and people interested in the New Age movement. By the late 1970’s-early 80’s, Bob Monroe was no longer a radio producer from NYC hanging out at Delmonico’s and the Rainbow room, he was that guy who leaves his body and lives on a mountain top in rural Virginia. My how things can change.
In many ways, I am sure he was subject to ridicule, or at least disbelief. Over the course of the thirteen years I was the TMI recording engineer, I had heard a lot of strange stories about the Institute and it’s founder. I was always amazed by the stories and how erroneous they were. Things like: “I hear that they have a lab up there,where they take the brains out of one person, put it in the body of another person, and it still works!” Or “I hear that they do secret projects for the government!” Or “I hear that Monroe fella leaves his body overnight, and has sex with people while they sleep!” Or “I hear that the whole complex is protected by alien columns of energy!” All of this was utter nonsense.
The Bob Monroe I knew was warm, funny, and as genuine as they come. He was creative and open person. He would share his stories, but only in the appropriate context, like when asked to. He eschewed being anyone’s teacher or guru. Through the years I had witnessed many people, who while in his presence, were more than willing to give up their personal power to him. He would simply smile, and gently return it back to them.
The Bob Monroe that I knew, was unpretentious and caring. He could be reserved at times with people he barely knew, but once he felt comfortable with you, he made you feel welcome. He made me feel welcome, and I enjoyed his company immensely. I decided that this gig, however temporary it would be, was actually fun. It was fun because it included hanging out with an interesting older guy with whom I shared a lot in common. In addition, this was a person I could actually discuss my esoteric side and not be met with derision or judgement.
The word esoteric has always been preferable to me than the word occult, although the meanings are essentially the same. As I shared with you earlier, I have always had an intense curiosity with the deeper meanings of life, which led me to practice meditation. I had no particular beliefs that usually accompany the practice of esoteric arts. I didn’t read the tarot, practice wicca, play with Ouja boards, or conduct seances. I believed in an afterlife, which is common to anyone raised in a particular religion, but had no particular belief of what happened after we left the physical body. I simply practiced meditation, and felt it was beneficial to me in many ways.
The form of meditation I practiced began with a relaxation technique. Once achieved, I would attempt to clear my mind and either focus on one thing, or conversely, watch the content of my mind without attachment. In many ways, I was simply thinking about my thinking. Sometimes during this practice, I would have a sense of transcending myself, which always peaked my curiosity. Mostly, I was curious about the things that would just pop up in my mind. I always assumed that these were a reflections of my subconscious mind. I was particularly interested in the notion that I could shift limited beliefs about myself, and correct my thinking to help me achieve my goals. This practice was an esoteric only in the sense that I couldn’t discuss it with anyone. The subject was usually met with ridicule and derision by the people I hung out with, so it was something I kept to myself. Not out of embarrassment so much as not having to effort to explain myself. Bob Monroe had no such hang ups about anything esoteric, and he understood the ridicule of others. The cool part about him was he didn’t care at all. He would just tell you his truth, if asked, and leave you to be the judge. I admired him for it. I guessed that’s what happens when you reach a certain age. But at the time, I was till too young.