29. June 2014 · Comments Off on The 25th Man; How Not to Have an OBE! · Categories: Astral Travel, NDE, OBE, Out of Body Experience · Tags: , , , ,
Jack London

Jack London

The San Francisco Bay Area has a rich history of adventuresome pioneers and that began with the Gold Rush of the 1850s. And today I would like to discuss the work of one of the greatest and well-known adventurers born out of that era. For me the adventure is condensed into a book I discovered many years ago. It was written by one of the most prolific American writers of the 20th century. The work was one of the last great iconic adventure books written by San Francisco born, Jack London before

he died at the young age of 40 in 1916. I am not a big fan of fiction, but since this particular book is based upon the real life experiences of a real person who had what we would today call a series of OBE’s (Out of Body Experiences) while incarcerated in San Quentin Prison, I thought it worth a read.

My discovery of this book occurred about 20 years ago and the story has stuck with me ever since. It’s called, The Star Rover, which was first published in England in 1915 as The Jacket. I will reveal why the book was titled “The Jacket” a little later. The Star Rover is based on the life and imprisonment of a man named Ed Morrell, who upon his release from prison became Jack

London’s friend. He then told his story to Jack and the result was The Star Rover. Years later, after Jack London had passed on, Ed-Morrell-Book-smEd Morrell, wrote his own book, “The 25th Man – The Strange Story of Ed Morrell, the Hero of Jack London’s Star Rover,” released in 1924. I was recently able to locate and purchase this very rare out of print book, which is now a collectible! And it is to this book that I will mostly be referring.

Ed Morrell’s Story: Edward H. Morrell was an accomplice to the notorious “Evans & Sontag” gang that robbed the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1890s. According to his memoir, “The 25th Man,” the robberies were revenge for the large railroad corporation’s mistreatment of local ranchers of the San Joaquin Valley. This is one of those stories – about the supposedly terrible train robberies – that was hyped and romanticized by the media to the point that the railroads had no choice but to react harshly.

Although Ed Morrell was just a minor accomplice and had never been involved in any train robberies, he was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in Folsom State Prison in 1894. He was eventually transferred to San Quentin. Five of his years were spent in solitary confinement; he was known as the “Dungeon Man” of San Quentin. He was pardoned in 1908.

Ed Morrell was not without guilt! It was in Fresno that Mr. Evans of the Evans & Sontag gang had been captured and was being held in the Fresno Jail. At the time, Ed Morrell, was a young man working as a waiter at a nearby restaurant. In comes this hot babe by the name of Eva Evans, the outlaws daughter. Ed falls for her; big mistake! Because somehow he was enticed by Eva Evans into a plot to smuggle guns into the jail as he was delivering meals there as part of his job. However, things did not go as smoothly as planned; during the escape, a gunfight ensued, and he and Morrell had to hightail it out of town together.

A long chase ensued which provided more fodder for the media and when they were eventually caught, they were tried and sent to Folsom Prison. Morrell then became a marked man and the railroad wanted to make an example out of him and he thus became a target for torment and torture. Soon he was framed for planning a prison escape and as a result was then transferred to San Quentin. Since the railroads in those days ruled the West, train robbers were not highly regarded and ‘word came down’ to the warden (knick-named “the pirate,” because he had a patch over his missing eye) to make Morrell’s stay there as difficult as possible.

Once incarcerated at San Quentin, Morrell was wrongly accused of a plot to escape, of hiding guns and dynamite, and since they could not make him confess, they unjustly sentenced him to solitary confinement. It wasn’t long before Ed earned the knick-name of “The Dungeon Man.” He spent five long years in solitary, during which time he endured frequent beatings and long periods bound in a straitjacket in an effort to make him talk.

Dr. Raymond S. Ward said this about his punishment: “Ed Morrell suffered a martyrdom in prison so appalling that any human being not having conquered all sense of pain, physical, mental, moral and spiritual, would have welcomed the crucifixion of Christ as an avenue of escape from such horrible tortures.”

However, the near suffocating constriction of the jacket had an unexpected side effect. Over time, Morrell developed the ability to separate his consciousness from his imprisoned body, enabling him to travel through time and space to experience past lives. The first time this happened to Morrell he felt as if he was smothering and lights danced in front of his eyes. But then suddenly he felt himself walking around outside of the prison as if he were a free man. Somehow he had managed to project free of his pain wracked body.

25TH MAN DIRECT QUOTES: “…from the brutal jacket and the dungeon Hell I learned to project myself into the living, breathing outside world of today, witnessing events… …I was present during a shipwreck, just outside the Golden Gate, heard the cries of women and children, saw them swallowed by the sea; …This wreck was an actual occurrence as I afterwards found out. It happened on the very day that I had left my body encased in the straitjacket in San Quentin’s dungeon.”

“At other times, unbelievable as it may seem, my mind was projected outside of the dungeon, playing a part in the lives of people I was later destined to meet, some of whom were to aid materially in my rehabilitation and freedom. I had become a master of self-hypnosis, suspended animation, call it what you will, and I believe I am one of few mortals who ever expressed the claim that intelligence endured, or that there was any continuity of thought or knowledge of time and events while in this state.”

“During my many sieges of torture in the jacket, nothing occurred in my dungeon cell of which I was not aware, tho absolutely dead to physical feeling or pain, proving conclusively that my mind was ever in control. I was indeed the “Star Rover” of the ages, and Jack London’s book but mildly touches upon that prison life of mine, leaving the most amazing phenomena unwritten, the most wonderful of my travels and doings untouched. He called those experiences, “the little death.” But I prefer to call them “my new life in tune with a power divine.”

“A force over which I had no control invariably led me out and away beyond the walls of the prison to travel through space with the speed of lightning, perhaps to some strange distant land where the people dressed in odd clothes and spoke in guttural languages. …I might view seas, desert islands, rivers, with here and there flashes of the tropics… only to return in the space of a moment to scenes more homelike, and to people whom I knew in my world of living realities.”

“San Francisco always held me spellbound. There, I flitted in and out through highways and byways of the big city, sometimes stopping in Golden Gate Park to watch the throngs moving about. By some uncanny power it was possible for me to look through and beyond them. I could not understand it! I was fascinated!”

“I have spent whole days in San Francisco, wandering about until night-fall. To me these were the most glorious times, because of the myriad lights of the big city. One time I entered a large and beautifully lighted church. I was drawn there by the sounds of the organ. The congregation were standing, singing a hymn; and fearful of disturbing them in their devotion I stole along through the main aisle looking for an empty seat.”

“I found one beside an elderly woman. She was singing in a rich well-trained voice. All through the service I was conscious of her presence, and registered how happy she made me feel. Still, I did not lose a word of the pastor’s sermon or any of the wonderful singing of the choir, and I felt that I wanted to stay there forever. To me, that church was a shrine of peace and love.”

“I reasoned, I can walk, I can see, I can hear, I can smell, I can feel! More, I can talk! ”But I could not explain to my mind why people never answered when I addressed them. Their indifference nonplussed me, because I believed they heard.”

There were many discrepancies, incongruous, incompatible with logic and reason. For instance, I could look through people as if I were an X-ray. Opacity meant nothing to me. I could flit through doors without opening them. Solid walls were as tissue paper, intangible, non-existent, when I wished to pass beyond. A moving train going at the highest speed was just an ordinary escalator for me to step off and on at will. And yet all this never appeared to be other than real.

Past Lives:Among the many (obviously past-life) personalities he inhabits while in the jacket are a Count who was a swordsman in medieval France; Jesse Fancher, a nine-year-old member of a wagon train crossing Utah in 1857; a nameless 4th-century hermit in Egypt; a 16th century Englishman, supposedly the first white man to set foot in Korea; a Norse-born Roman centurion in the service of Pontius Pilate; a seal hunter shipwrecked on an Antarctic isle in the early 19th century; and a series of prehistoric tribesmen representative of various ages of mankind’s distant past.

PREDICTION: At one point later in his confinement he made this prediction to the Warden: “Just one moment, ‘Pirate,’ I have a little prophecy to make…” “This is the last time I will ever be tortured in the jacket! One year from today I will go out of this dungeon never to return to it; and better still, four years from the day I leave the dungeon I will walk from the prison a free man with a pardon in my hand. More, the Governor of the State will bring that pardon in person to San Quentin!” The “Pirate” laughed and said I must be “Stark mad!”

Warden, John C Edgar

Warden, John C Edgar

This prediction eventually came true! While enjoying his many OBE trips, he occasionally found himself shadowing a man who lived in nearby Alameda. That man was prodded by the Progressive Republican governor of California, George Cooper Pardee, who was elected on an “anti-railroad” ticket, to become the new Warden of San Quentin. And that man was John C. Edgar,who took over the job in1906. After researching the case he became responsible for advocating for his pardon!

Morrell’s travels, while under torture, were verified by the then Governor of Arizona, George W.P. Hunt. He agreed that happenings which Morrell had seen and described were absolutely true. It’s as if astral projection in such cases is an escape mechanism when the body can’t take any more. The circumstances are similar to Near Death Experiences (NDE). The difference being that with Astral projection there is free movement to travel wherever one wishes. With NDEs it is usually where someone experiences what happens just prior to death. I would conclude that the importance of Astral Projection OBEs and NDEs is that they both show quite clearly that we are not simply physical beings; the body is just our temporary home.

Another interesting series of OBE visitations he had was to a real life person who was just a young school girl at the time, whom he would visit in her classroom while out of body and who eventually, after growing up, would become his wife, co-author and lecture partner after his pardon. After his parole he became an avid advocate for prison reform and took to the lecture circuit and also spoke before the legislatures of Arizona and Pennsylvania.

A FINAL NOTE: For me, the key lesson coming out of this true story is that Ed Morrell had a choice to make as to which direction to focus his energies, e.g., he could have held onto his anger and resentment towards the individuals who treated him so unfairly and harshly. Or he could choose the path that he did; which was to take the higher road of love towards these individuals. Consequently, his life was redeemed and he was able to turn his downward spiral around.

The proof of his turn-around was that before he was formally released he was made the Head Trustee over all the other inmates, which was a very responsible and important position almost on par with that of the Head Warden. And after his pardon and release he chose a career path to make a difference; to advocate to reform prisons and the way we as a society handle our incarcerated individuals.

Also, I recognized the constriction of the straightjacket he so frequently found himself in as a metaphor for all of us. In a way, aren’t we all confined to the small local consciousness of our ‘animal bodies’ most of the time? Shouldn’t we recognize that there are other worlds and dimensions that we could be exploring beyond the one we experience in our daily lives? There is a great Spiritual Adventure that awaits anyone bold enough to seek it! As Jack London said in his credo:

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet, The function of man is to live, not to exist.”

Some OBE Resources:

Waldo Vieira – IAC, The International Academy of Consciousness


Teal Swan: How to Have an Out of Body Experience