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I'm rather confident that the show in question was something like Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Darkside, and aired in the late 80s or early 90s.

In the episode, a young and soon-to-be-released offender with a penchant for tugging his ear lobe is in a cell with a grizzled lifer, who proceeds to tell him that his girlfriend is undoubtedly cheating on him, and teaches him how to use astral projection to prove her faithfulness. Unbeknownst to the younger cell mate, the lifer is able to project into his body while he's "gone" and walk out jail the next day, scot-free.

The episode ends with the now-earlobe-tugging lifer greeting his new cell mate with a provoking question about the faithfulness of the other's girlfriend.

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  • I remember similar ideas to what you’re asking in the Outer Limits, X Files, and Fringe. Sorry I can’t be more exact.
    – jmoore
    Aug 13, 2022 at 3:09
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    Not the right book, I'm sure, but Jack London wrote a novel--Star Rover--with much this same plot except he cannot physically escape--not that that matters, given his abilities. It's quite good and the hardcover version I read had wonderful B&W woodcuts for illustrations. Aug 14, 2022 at 16:20
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    tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AstralProjection In the 1995 BBC horror series Ghosts, the episode "I'll Be Watching You" is about a gangster who gains the ability to astrally project. He uses it to spy on his wife from prison, and kill her when he discovers she's having an affair with his brother. While he is astrally projecting, his body appears lifeless, and he is declared dead. By the time he can return to his body, he's already been buried. Sep 5, 2023 at 23:52
  • @lucasbachmann "I'll be watching you" doesn't match many of the details in the question, but it's a really enjoyable watch! Sep 8, 2023 at 13:14

2 Answers 2

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+500

Is this "Life Is For The Taking," a segment of the Playboy anthology film, Inside Out (1991)...?

Playboy does to softcore sex films what HBO's Tales from the Crypt did for horror. Contains the stories: "Brush Strokes"; "Shrink Rap"; "Doubletalk"; "The Leda"; "My Secret Moments"; "Life Is For The Taking"; "The Diaries"; "Love The One You're With"; and "My Better Half".

A user review offers a very brief synopsis of the segment:

6: 'Life is for the Taking': Scifi- Charlie, a prison inmate tries asto-projection to see if his wife, Linda is being faithful.

The story opens with two men conversing in a prison cell. They've been cell mates for a year and the older man, Eddie, is congratulating the younger man, Charlie, who's due to go home the next day to his beautiful wife, Linda.

Eddie suggests Linda may've been cheating though, as he claims his own first wife did. Charlie, who has a habit of tugging his left earlobe, says Linda would never do that, but Eddie's persistent speculation is clearly getting to him.

Image of Charlie in his own body, from "Inside Out" (1991).

Eddie argues that if Linda has been seeing another guy, she'll probably be seeing him for one last time tonight, but the only way for Charlie to find out for sure would be to use astral projection to leave the prison and go check on her.

Charlie is sceptical at first, but Eddie insists that he's done it plenty of times and that that's how lifers like him cope with a life behind bars. Charlie decides to give it a shot and Eddie agrees to show him how after lights out.

Charlie's astral form then goes home, where he finds his wife alone and getting undressed. At first, he worries that she may've been cheating after all, but soon realises that she's been faithful and is still very much in love with him.

He returns to his cell, but finds he's unable to reenter his body. Eddie's own body is lying motionless on his bed. Then Charlie's body sits up and starts talking like Eddie, and Charlie realises that Eddie's spirit is now in his body.

The next day, Charlie watches in anguish as Eddie is released from prison in his body, with Linda having come to pick him up. Powerless to do anything about it, he heads back to his cell, despondent, and kneels by Eddie's body.

In the closing scene, a new inmate arrives in Charlie's cell and Charlie -- now in Eddie's body and still tugging his left earlobe -- asks him if he's married and opines that it must be hard for a woman to wait, "if you know what I mean..."

Image of Charlie in his Eddie's body, from "Inside Out" (1991).

You can watch this segment at the Internet Archive. It begins at around the 1:16:30 mark and lasts about 12 minutes. Note that there is some topless nudity and mild sexual content.

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    My word, that looks like a good candidate. Sep 12, 2023 at 21:45
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    Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner, although where I saw it, I have no idea.
    – Brad303
    Sep 14, 2023 at 15:34
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"The Psychic Killer" (1975)

Some plot points described in @brad303's question take me think that it is the movie "The Psychic Killer" (1975).

Here a snap of some comments from the site: scopophiliamoviebloge

Arnold (Jim Hutton) finds himself behind-bars for a murder he did not commit. He conveys his dilemma to fellow inmate Emilio (Stack Pierce) who informs Arnold that he has special powers that can help Arnold get out of his predicament and once Emilio dies he promises to transfer those powers to him. Then 2 days later Emilio jumps to his death and later Arnold receives a small box that has an amulet inside of it. Arnold puts the amulet necklace on and discovers that he now can kill his enemies through astral projection without him having to be present when it occurs. Police Lt. Jeff Morgan (Paul Burke) suspects what Arnold is doing but can’t seem to prove it.

Here the IMDB link: The Psychic Killer (1975)

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  • I checked this film out for myself a few days ago, but ruled it out, as there's no earlobe tugging, no body switching/stealing, and the titular psychic killer only leaves his body to seek revenge on those responsible for his wrongful imprisonment. There was no girlfriend or wife or suspicion of infidelity. This does have plot points in common with the Ghosts episode, "I'll Be Watching You," though. For example, they both establish that astral forms are visible as reflections in mirrors. I therefore suspect that "I'll Be Watching You" was at least partly inspired by this film. Sep 12, 2023 at 23:08

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