Crookall, Dr. Robert

Crookall, Dr. Robert (1890–1981)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Dr. Robert Crookall was a British geologist who became a well known investigator of out-of-body experiences (OOBEs or astral projection). He initially lectured on botany at Aberdeen University, Scotland, but went on to become the principal geologist at the governmental Geological Survey, in London, England.

When Crookall retired, in 1952, he started collecting records of people’s out-of-body experiences, amassing several thousand such records. He went on to publish nearly twenty books on that and related subjects. Crookall divided the material into six main categories:

  1. Testimonies from astral projectors, clairvoyants, mediums, deathbed observers, and those who had near-death experiences.
  2. Cooperation between the living and the dead, as in Spiritualist communication.
  3. Comparisons and references found in major religious literature.
  4. The stages of astral projection.
  5. The silver cord.
  6. Various types of non-physical bodies and non-physical realities.

Crookall believed that it was what he termed the “vital body,” or “soul body,” that left the physical body in astral projection. He regarded this vital body as the center of thinking. In the first stage of the projection, he said, the vital body is connected to the physical with an infinitely elastic silver cord. This eventually separates at death. He felt that it takes three days for the complete separation to take place. Many observers saw the vital body emerging from the head, at death, as a vaporous substance.

Crookall found that there are four distinct planes or realities. He believed that everyone can move through the four realities, shedding an outer body and proceeding with a less dense body as the progression is made. The densest reality is that of the physical body and here on the physical plane. Next is the etheric or vital body. Then the soul body, also known as the emotional or psychical body. Finally there is the spiritual body, the divine, cosmic, or celestial body.

Among Crookall’s many books are: The Study and Practice of Astral Projection (1960), The Techniques of Astral Projection (1964), During Sleep (1964), Intimations of Immortality (1965), The Interpretation of Cosmic and Mystical Experiences (1969), Case-Book of Astral Projection (1972), and Ecstacy (1973).


Crookall, Robert: The Study and Practice of Astral Projection. London: Aquarian, 1960
Crookall, Robert: The Techniques of Astral Projection. London: Aquarian, 1964
Fishley, Margaret: The Supernatural. London: Aldus, 1976
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