Scientists Study the Woman Who Has Out-Of-Body Experiences Whenever She Wants
By Jordan Kushins / Source: Gizmodo
Some people claim that they have experienced out-of-body experiences—aka "astral trips"—floating outside of their bodies and watching themselves from the outside. A team of scientists found someone who says she can do this at will and put her into a brain scanner. What they discovered was surprisingly strange.
Andra M. Smith and Claude Messierwere from the University of Ottawa described this subject's ability in their paper, published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience:
This is the very first time that this type of experience has been analyzed and documented scientifically. Researchers know that out-of-body experiences can be induced "by brain traumas, sensory deprivation, near-death experiences, dissociative and psychedelic drugs, dehydration, sleep, and electrical stimulation of the brain, among others. It can also be deliberately induced by some." But this may be the first documented case of someone who can get into this state at will.
So is it real or not?
It is real in the sense that she's actually experiencing it. The brain scans show that she's going through what she's claiming. But that doesn't mean that her "soul" is getting out of her body. This is not an astral trip, like those described by mystics. There's no paranormal activity of any kind.
The fact is that, even while there aren't a lot of solid experiments on this subject except this research paper and a few others, scientists believe that these out-of-body experiences are a type of hallucination triggered by some neurological mechanism. The researchers of this paper speculate that this neurological mechanism may be present in other people too and that some people—like this woman—may train themselves to activate it. She told them that she first noticed this happening when she was a little kid, while taking naps.
Perhaps out-of-body experiences may end up being like synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon that was largely ignored during the mid-20th century. Synesthesia—which makes some people to automatically see colors in their brain when they read or hear letters, numbers and words—is now accepted, studied and understood.
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