My Guardian Angel
By Michael Schofield
For a long time, I have had what are commonly referred to in the latest "New Age Thinking" as Out Of Body Experiences (OBEs), where I could leave my physical body and wonder around in my astral body.
These experiences first started when I found myself in Pinderfield's hospital after I was severely burnt from a motorcycle accident in July 1980. My first experience was covered in my diary under the title "Life After Death".
During my stay in hospital, I had many such experiences similar to this one. I remember during an operation for skin grafts that I floated above my body and noticed on top of the operating theatre light was written, "You are now having a Near Death Experience OP1." Afterwards, I explained to a nurse what I had seen and she replied that I was only the second patient they had ever had who could confirm this. She said that these experiences were unexplained but she had her own personal beliefs in this matter.
Following this, I became a bit of a celebrity in the ward and I came to believe that many of the nurses who had first-hand experiences of people who were on the borderline between the veil of life and what lies in the great beyond had encountered many strange phenomena during their work. Hence, they had put the sign above the operating theatre light just recently to validate their suspicions.
After I finally left hospital after some 11 weeks, I found I could still have these experiences and they no longer had to be sparked by any sort of trauma. They started to occur on their own when I was near sleep and my mind and body completely relaxed.
At first they happened maybe once or twice per month but then I began to control them, at least I tried to control them.
I would lie in bed alone and concentrate on a point on the ceiling and will my mind to venture to that point; however, nothing transpired in those first clumsy attempts - either because I wasn't relaxed enough or I was trying too hard.
I learned that OBEs are not something that can be controlled entirely at will.
The first really big milestone was when I was at Huddersfield University completing a course for a HNC in computer programming whie employed by Sellers Engineers in Huddersfield.
It was daytime and the sun was shining gloriously through the window. Maybe the sun was enhancing my drowsy feeling - certainly nothing physical had jolted me, no trauma and certainly no accident.
One moment I was sitting in front of my 386 computer (remember them well this was back in 94), trying to write a program in Pascal to sort a list of names into alphabetical order. Soon I felt a kind of shifting in me as if I was gently hovering out of my skin and the next second I was floating above my own head.
I distinctly remember thinking that my nose looked huge and I didn't know I looked like this from the back of my head. But, I decided on this occasion that I would examine the experience rather than just live it like I had on previous occasions.
Other than the initial surprise, there was no apprehensive shock, no alarm and no concern that I might not be able to re-enter my body or any panicky thoughts that I was about to die.
I could see myself with exquisite clarity, my figure and everything finely defined, I noticed the tip of my finger was poised about one centimetre above the letter "S" on the keyboard, as if frozen there.
Other people in the computer room were moving; the girl student next to me, called Gillian, was typing away and occasionally glancing at the screen looking perplexed.
While at another table a friend of mine was trying to find out what was wrong with his program which appeared to be showing a long list of errors. Meanwhile, our tutor, a tall dandified Canadian chap with a huge head and slicked back hair was turning the pages of a book opened before him on the desktop and unconsciously tucking into an ice-cream.
A round clock with a large wood frame ticked away on the wall.
Someone sneezed. Someone else said, "Bless You."
A plastic ruler fell off a table with a clatter and a student bent to retrieve it.
All was normal, no one was taking any notice of me. I wasn't scared - I guess I was more curious. I just felt cool about the whole situation and because of this was able to examine my situation calmly.
I decided to see if I could move about and instantly I could.
Just by willing myself I floated to the other side of the computer room observing the heads and the hunched shoulders of my fellow students hard at work as I did so.
I half expected some of them to look up as I passed over, perhaps disturbed by the breeze that I must be creating skimming along like that.
I thought my tutor would bark, "You there, Schofield, will you please come down from the ceiling immediately and return to your place," but, he continued to study his book while at the same time sucking the ice cream from the base of his cornet through a hole he had bitten at the bottom.
I could see myself - I had stretched out my hands in front of me like some ethereal superman and they were plainly visible - so why couldn't the other students see me? (At that time, of course, I hadn't yet come to understand that it was my mind filling in what it expected to see).
Hovering over a bright window, I turned back to the class. The notion of passing through the window glass had occurred to me, but, while remaining perfectly level-headed, I was a little anxious about wandering too far from my natural body - I really did not want to lose sight of it. I think that was quite reasonable. What if I got lost outside? What if there was a point where the spirit (or whatever it was up there hovering inches away from the ceiling) became too separated from the physical body and some invisible connection snapped making re-entry impossible?
Anyway, during that time in the computer room I was pretty cool about the situation, even if I was reluctant to let my material self out of sight.
I looked around, took notice of things, considered how I felt about my condition. Then only after several minutes, I became eager to get back in my body (It was like resisting one last beer after having too many).
And at that moment I felt that I was back; I don't recall anything of the journey across the room or dipping myself back into my natural form.
I was just in an instant there looking at the world once again through my physical eyes. Only then did I feel some panic but, it was mild – I think I was too stunned to experience overwhelming anxiety.
Soon, I was plain curious, as well as elated – I had gone through something rare.
As time went, on my abilities to induce OBEs became more proficient. At this time I was working at Sellers Engineers distributing items for processing.
I would lock myself in a cubicle in the toilets and relax my mind until I could feel the sensation of leaving my body; I could then go on all sorts of adventures. I would frequent the board meetings and become a "fly on the wall" and find out all sorts of interesting gossip.
I would find out what people really thought of me by eavesdropping on conversations. I would find myself frequently visiting the women's toilets where I would lose track of time, and only the sound of the tanoy requesting my presence in physical form would bring me back to my body.
The problem is when you develop a gift like this, your natural tendency is to abuse it, and it was to be direct intervention by the spirit world that would bring me back down to earth.
It was one late September evening when I was pedaling home from Sellers along the Ramsden Canal which connects Huddersfield to the Calder & Hebble Navigation and also provided a route for me to get back to my home in Bradley.
In the distance at the other side of the canal I saw a figure beneath an old oak tree whose thick leafless branches still managed to cast him in a shadow.
As I approached closer I noticed his eyes were watching me intently, and to my surprise, I became aware of the fact that his lower legs and and feet were invisible, indicating to me this was some form of disembodied spirit (which I had become familiar with since my first traumatic adventures into this realm in 1980).
Out of curiosity, I sat down on a bench and opened a can of beer.
After a short period of time the figure approached me by floating across the canal. With the sun behind him, his white hair and a halo round his head, it was difficult to make out his features.
"Hello Michael," he said in a pleasantly gruff but quiet voice. "I am your guardian angel, Dripping Tap. Can I sit with you for a while?"
His skin looked bronze and his face weathered but kind. I had felt Dripping Tap's presence countless times before in my life and had seen him in vivid dreams. But this was the first encounter in broad daylight.
He had existed as a Native American during the Fifteenth Century and lived a life I could only envy, so simple with strong beliefs in the afterlife and far away from the modern chaos we all experience today. He very often had communicated to me in the past that modern man had lost touch with his natural origins.
I shifted my butt towards one arm of the bench making enough room for him to sit. He looked as real to me as any other physical person.
"You are abusing the power we have given you," said Dripping Tap, simply not wasting his words.
"What do you think others think of you boasting about your abilities to sneak around invisibly and using your abilities to go on wild excursions?" He continued looking me in the eye, his image faded and immediately reappeared like the flickering of lights in a thunderstorm.
I pondered the question then replied honestly, "Everybody thinks I am totally crazy anyway; people, up to an extent, make you what you are by how they treat you."
I had been given the label of "Mad Mick" by most of the occupants of Bradley where I had lived all my life and almost unanimously by my workmates at Sellers; however, some times especially just lately, I did see in there eyes a look of fear, even in the so called hard cases.
Dripping Tap looked down at his buffalo-skinned jacket. As if reading my very thoughts, he the said "Michael, how do you think people feel when you claim you can spy on them, that you could be watching them in their most private moments? And a lot of the letters you have written contain information that you could not possibly have known. People do not trust you; I mean everyone needs their privacy, their own space. That's what makes them civilised."
Dripping Tap went on to explain that very soon my life was about to change once more. He seemed to be able to see the future and told me that very soon I would be made redundant from Sellers and that I should never again use OBEs to spy on people but only to gain knowledge and for ultimate good.
"Your departure will be sudden but it will finally give you a chance to use your brain which you sadly put to sleep after graduating in 1980. In the meantime you have the opportunity to use your gift to learn more about the world."
"Lucky me," I replied somewhat sarcastically.
"Everything happens for a reason, you may not know the bigger picture," he said wisely.
"Accept the bad things in life?," I enquired.
He nodded, "Go back, be impartial and learn." With this, the spirit flickered, then disappeared and I was left alone.
It was November 2000 when I was made redundant from Sellers. I was called into the Finance Directors office and he said that they were giving me a chance to use my brain, upon which I was given my P45 and left to walk home. Even with my guardian angel's warnings it hit me very hard.
I lost everything; my entire social life evaporated. Only my son, Luke, and a close friend The Gangster stood by me through these difficult times. I felt that at Sellers I had become part of something for the first time in my life.
I did feel a higher source was guiding me and with my unusual abilities I was been given the chance to learn about myself and about the very fundamentals of life.
I suspect many other souls get the same chance when they die, but of course, the living wouldn't know it.
My physical self spent a lot of time alone in my isolated flat with occasional visits from my 5 year-old son at weekends. I would occasionally visit my parents or my close friend the Gangster, but other than this I spent most of my time in my incorporeal form, my astral state, without flesh and blood and all the hang-ups that go with it.
My physical body became more and more neglected sitting frozen in a scruffy council flat suffering malnutrition and the life force slowly ebbing away.
In my astral form, though, I began to understand and appreciate a lot more about life on this planet
I won't bother you with "love is all cliche" although it plays a big part in understanding and an even bigger part in our next stop.
I am assured by my mentor, Dripping Tap, that it's going to be something wonderful but he wouldn't elaborate further.
We are here on this earth to learn acceptance, yes, that's right...acceptance
Acceptance of everything life throws at you.... all the good all the bad.
Doesn't mean you don't work or fight to defeat it or make bad things good, but sometimes we have no control at all over it.
That's when you have to accept you have no other choice.
My spirit guide during these times told me acceptance leads to forgiveness which is vital for progression. But I don't believe it's quite that simple for us anyway.
During these desolate times, I visited, while in my nebulous state, famous old buildings and some spectacular new ones, museums, too. I gained insight into other times and other civilisations.
I went to the palace to see the queen again, she wasn't in the first time and I feel the royal way of life in these modern times is very tedious – not the kind of life you or I would like.
I sat in Parliament, and believe me, most MPs are just as lazy and self important as we think they are.
One dark and beautiful night I tried to reach the stars, but, I never got even as far as a helicopter might fly. Something pulled me back and I knew it wasn't gravity. It was as if I had reached the limits of my own will and it would not take me further.
Graduating with a physics degree in 1980 gave me a scientist's view of the world comprising of some 92 naturally occurring atoms - each combined in a huge variety of combinations giving us all the multitude of materials, including ourselves, that we encounter.
These atoms are further composed of a nucleus of protons and neutrons, the number of which defines the type of atom surrounded by a cloud of electrons which are bound by electricity.
All very well, but it seems to me that as a scientist, by breaking down matter to the fundamentals to study, it loses track of the synchronicity in nature, the synergetic way all things inter exist.
If there was a single electron in the whole universe it would be meaningless, it would cease to exist; it is only all the other matter which makes it become real.
Physics, it seems, is a bit like Chinese whispers; each teacher tells his students how to simulate reality with equations and models. This in turn is taught by the student when he becomes a graduate to more students. But in all of this, the process loses sight of its objective.
My spirit guide was showing me what was beyond the veil of the material world into the huge coliseum of energy. But also in the end he brought me back to my physical self a much wiser but more patient person.
My physical body, which had for months been neglected, started to come back to life, and what's more, it started enjoying being alive.
I began to take my son Luke and my niece, Squeaky on long adventures. When their child-like minds were receptive to everything I told them, their eyes once again sparkled with life.
I think, in retrospect, you must beware of OBE's. They can consume you, and most important of all, never journey too far!
Eventually, some three months after leaving Sellers, I felt able to make my first tentative steps back into the real world of interactions with my fellow men. I enrolled in a government-backed training scheme in Huddersfield called S & S Training.
Initially, starting from being a shaking wreck ,I managed to pass my European Computer Driving Licence which gave me knowledge of the latest PCs and Software. I also applied for numerous jobs, and upon only my second interview, I managed to obtain a job at Hogwarts at Howley Park.
A new adventure in my life started.