In March of 2003, I presented my first dissertation proposal, which I had titled "Self-reports of People Who Believe Themselves to Have Had Experiences on Other Planets," to students and scholars at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California. At that time, many people at the school were unaware and skeptical of the content and validity of this topic. Even a leading psychologist and scientist there said to me privately, "There are no damn aliens." Thus, for me, researching this topic turned into an underground activity during which I met privately with extraterrestrial researchers and experiencers across the U.S. and Europe.
Believing in the possibility of extra-planetary experiences was a huge and painful stretch for most, if not all, of my listeners at the Institute. With this in mind, I approached my audience from an anecdotal, historical, and qualitative stance. I felt bold and daring, as I surrounded myself with the historical accounts of such people as Orfeo Angelucci, George Adamski, Elizabeth Klarer, Claude Vorillhon, Woodrow Derenberger, Michael Desmarquet, T. Lobsang Rampa, and Eduardo "Billy" Meier, and their reports of alleged visits to other planets. I also collected historical records from the Sumerian Scriptures and Vedic Texts, along with other reality- expanding stories such as alien abduction experiences (AAEs), near death experiences (NDEs), and out-of-body experiences (OBEs). The audience appeared entranced, seemingly astonished by the amount of evidence I was presenting to them. I acknowledged my intent to further seek, confirm, and explore this phenomenon through a qualitative study based on questionnaires and interviews. Many questions and answers remained, but the uphill battle had gained momentum and the revolution had begun, as I was granted approval to pursue the research.
Next I struggled to assemble a dissertation committee. The school had no one qualified as an expert on my topic, and most of its prominent professors had no experience with or interest in such a controversial area of research. So I had to look elsewhere for an expert in the field, which was not easy. With luck and perseverance, I was able to sign on the prominent Harvard professor Dr. John Mack, a leading extraterrestrial researcher. Then tragedy struck less than six months later, as Dr. Mack was involved in a fatal accident in London, England. Following the death of my main dissertation committee member, The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology withdrew its support for my dissertation and ended my research. You might imagine how upset I was. I then decided to withdraw from the school and try to find another accredited institution that would help me complete my research.
After a couple of years in a tailspin, I decided to stop being intimidated by mainstream science or consensus reality. Every part of my body and mind was telling me to continue and complete my research. But how? Schools were turning me down, convinced that my research was not valuable because it did not fit into the status quo. So I decided to dig deeper within myself for the answers to this dilemma. In the course of this journey, one evening before entering my sleep and dream state, I asked for clarity concerning whom to contact next. Awakening with the answer to my question, I approached Dr. Stanley Krippner at the Saybrook Graduate and Research Institute, now Saybrook University, in San Francisco. It was a perfect fit, and I was on my way. It would still take me two years to finish, for I had to meet all the new school requirements, which alone took a full year.
My research was finally finished in 2010. I received my Ph.D. with a dissertation titled "Interviews with People Who Report Having Had Experiences on Other Planets and/or Moons." I was grateful for the opportunity to bring this information forward in a scholarly manner and proud to have accomplished it after the obstacles that had been in my way. Toward the conclusion of the dissertation, I suggested that, in order to help legitimize this experience so the topic could be further discussed without prejudice, the term "Extra-Planetary Experience (XPE)" might be added to the lexicon of NDE, OBE, and AAE as a descriptor of extraordinary human experiences. And bingo! The birth of the Extra-Planetary Experience.
As my thoughts shifted to a larger audience, I wanted to restructure the dissertation into a more reader-friendly version for the wider world to enjoy. With a new book and title in mind, I revisited the dissertation to make it more attractive to people with no knowledge of the topic as well as to experts in the field. After some help from professional editors such as Rosemary Coffey and the editing staff at Inner Traditions/Bear & Company, the result is my new book titled "The Extra-Planetary Experience: Alien-Human Contact and the Expansion of Consciousness."
Since prehistoric times all cultures report encounters with strange beings and crafts from the sky as well as stories of extra-planetary experiences—that is, travel to other planets, moons, and stars. In the case of recent accounts, these benevolent alien-human interactions bear striking resemblance to one another, even among people with no knowledge of other alien-human claims, historic or modern. And all experiences marked a spiritual turning point in the person's life, giving them a loss of the fear of death, enhanced spiritual insights, a connection to cosmic consciousness, or increased motivation to be of service to humanity.
Exploring the veracity of ET contact and extra-planetary experience (XPE) using rigorous scientific protocols, Dr. Thomas Streicher interviews 7 people who have experienced XPE, including astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Dr. Norma Milanovich, and Stanford-tested remote viewer Ingo Swann, and shares the positive spiritual effects of XPE on their lives. Analyzing historical accounts of alien-human encounters from ancient Sumerian, Vedic, Egyptian, Tibetan, Hopi, Dogon, and Biblical records as well as 19th and 20th century testimonies from Orfeo Angelucci, Billy Meier, Elizabeth Klarer, and others, the author reveals the similarities of these experiences with those of his interviewees. Exposing the failings of classic debunking arguments against ET contact, the author shows these experiences are not contrived hallucinations but genuine transformative spiritual awakenings akin to near-death and out-of-body experiences.
Thomas James Streicher, Ph.D., a student of Dr. John Mack, earned his doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. The founder and director of Divine Spark, a non-profit dedicated to helping people through free meals and other means to acti- vate the divine spark within each of them, he lives in Nevada City, California.
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