“She’s able to bring on this experience pretty much on demand,” Messier, a professor in the university’s School of Psychology, said Monday.
“She told me that she thought everybody could do that.”
It’s one of the strangest, most fascinating things I’ve ever read. And it’s been happening to us since the dawn of time. Astral Projection has been written about since the dawn of time. From ancient Egyptian texts to Inuit folklore, out-of-body experiences seem to occur to just about any human being in the world. Now, a former University student is claiming that she can trigger these late-night astral-walks at will. What’s fascinating about this is that we might have the evidence to prove that something neurologically is indeed occurring inside the brains of those who claim the same experiences.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Claude Messier says he was stunned when a 24-year-old graduate student in one of his classes at the University of Ottawa approached him after class in 2012 to say that she could trigger “out of body” experiences at will.
“She’s able to bring on this experience pretty much on demand,” Messier, a professor in the university’s School of Psychology, said Monday. “She told me that she thought everybody could do that.”
Out of body experiences, often associated with drugs, extreme danger or near-death experiences, have been widely reported. “These experiences exist,” said Messier. “There’s lots of descriptions of them.”
But few occur in conditions conducive to scientific study. And cases where healthy individuals were able to elicit them on demand had never been scientifically studied.
Until now. In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Messier and co-author Andra Smith, an associate professor in the School of Psychology, report on their case study of the anonymous woman’s striking ability.
To Messier’s surprise, their research has become an Internet sensation. “I knew this would raise some interest,” he said, “but I’ve been taken aback by how much the web can raise havoc on these things. This is not really what I expected.”
The young woman told Messier she had been triggering out of body experiences since she was four or five years old. She’d first done so when she was bored during “sleep time” at preschool.
“She discovered she could elicit the experience of moving above her body and use this as a distraction during the time kids were asked to nap,” the study reports.
She continued to perform out-of-body experiences — or “extra corporeal experiences,” as the study calls them — as she grew to adulthood, typically as an aid to sleep. Where others might count sheep, she willed herself to leave her body.
“There’s nothing pathological or abnormal in this person, except for the fact that it takes her a long time to go to sleep,” Messier said. “She didn’t feel anything paranormal or religious associated with it. For her, it’s a very ordinary experience.”
The woman has three different variants of her experience, Messier said.
One is the “classic” experience, where her body raises, flips over and she sees herself from above. In another, her body spins like a propeller. In the third, she can feel her body rising and falling, as if with waves on an ocean.
The woman, who no longer lives in Ottawa, described her experience in the study.
“I feel myself moving or, more accurately, can make myself feel as if I am moving. I know perfectly well that I am not actually moving.
“There is no duality of body and mind when this happens, not really. In fact, I am hyper-sensitive to my body at that point, because I am concentrating so hard on the sensation of moving.
“I am the one moving — me — my body. For example, if I ‘spin’ for long enough, I get dizzy. I do not see myself above my body. Rather, my whole body has moved up.”
At first, Messier and Smith did a short study with the woman “because we were a bit skeptical that there was anything interesting there.” After they found some “unique” brain activations, they brought her back to Ottawa last year for more thorough tests.
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