This is a form of astral travel that is caused by the shock of some accident or event. The spirit is ejected from the body though it is not time to leave yet. This is an accidental or natural astral projection. There are believed to be ways, though, of self inflicted or caused astral projection. Some people do it as an exercise for the soul, mind, and spirit. Others do it for specific purposes, and as some stories have it, others project when called by some ulterior force. There are many purposes for astral projection, but the most commonly referred to purpose seems to be astral time travel. Astral time travel has been referred to for many years and even has religious connotations to it. Entire religions, particularly Eastern and American Indian, believe in past lives, astral time travel, cajoled out of body experiences, and protective spirits. General Patton was a big believer in the theory of astral time travel and astral projection as well as in reincarnation. Reincarnation only stands to reason if the spirit can leave the body and is separate form the physical, why would the spirit not return to a body at a later time. Astral time travel is commonly referred to in books and film, and there are recorded experiences throughout history. Astral projection is practiced by mystics routinely, but it takes an advanced skill level involving lots of study and practice in order to be able to learn how to astral project at will, or to attempt astral time travel. Astral time travel has no noted ill effects to the body though it has been claimed to cause fatigue and head aches, however, when dealing with the occult, physics, or metaphysics when dealing with the psyche, spirit, or the physical body, it is best to consult experts before trying such an exercise. In the case of astral projection, one should consult a well known and experienced astrologer as well as have their physical well being checked by a reputable doctor. There is no telling how much stress astral projection can put on the human body.
Astral projection and astral time travel are not for everyone. In fact, large portions of society do not believe this skill to be possible. Many people don't believe in the soul or the human spirit, there are however, too many similar stories spread throughout history over too long a period of time for this to be taken for granted and summarily dismissed. Astral projection merits scrutiny, and astral time travel deserves some serious research.
Perhaps someday it will be as common as air travel.