Many years ago I interviewed a young woman here in Adelaide, South Australia, who had a range of unusual experiences, including a near-death experience; a UFO abduction-like experience and what can only be called, a mystical experience (click here.)
The latter occurred while she was sitting, stationary, in her car, in broad daylight. In the sky she saw what appeared to be a bright light in the sky which was approaching her vehicle. She then experienced a "oneness with the universe." This fitted neatly in with other descriptions I came across which have been labelled "mystical experiences."
The issue of the "Scientific American" magazine dated December 2010, volume 303 number 6, carried an article "Hallucinogens as medicine" by Roland R Griffiths (click here) and Charles S Grob (click here) (pp53-55.)
The "in brief" abstract of the article reads:
"Hundreds of research reports on hallucinogens appeared during the 1950s and 1960s. Illicit use resulted in outlawing of the drugs. Restrictions on research, moreover brought study to a halt.
"Hints from the early set of studies suggesting that these chemicals might help treat patients with various psychiatric disorders were not pursued because of strictures on research.
"A new wave of studies of hallucinogens, primarily psilocybin, ( click here for more) has begun to address whether the drugs can effectively treat the anxiety of cancer patients or help addicts kick their habit.
"Early results from new trials point to the promise of these therapies, with some patients reporting profound spiritual experiences, and hence the ability to make important life changes."
From the article:
"Sandy Lundahl, a 50 year old health educator...swallowed two blue capsules...a high dose of psilocybin...producing changes in mood and perception yet only very rarely active hallucinations...Her response indicated that during the time spent in the session room she had gone through a profound mystical-like experience similar to those reported by spiritual seekers in many cultures and across the ages - one characterised by a sense of interconnectedness with all people and things, accompanied by the feelings of transcending time and space, and of the sacredness and joy."
One line of research "...delves into whether hallucinogens - induced states of altered consciousness - and in particular mystical-like experiences - might ease various psychiatric and behavioral disorders..."
It is interesting that we are now, again studying these mystical experiences in the laboratory, where previously we only encountered them in spontaneous settings like the Adelaide woman I mentioned above.
Near-death experiencers also report a decreased on the fear of death; and a spiritual factor features quite heavily in these experiences.
For my own catalogue of Australian UFO abduction abstracts click here.