ASSAP blog May 2024

ASSAP blog May 2024
Posted by: Maurice Townsend

A lot of my blog posts start with - my acquaintance (MA) who gets microsleep with REM (MWR see here) - and so does this one. This time it is because MA has noticed something interesting about a certain type of MWR and it could throw light on some ghost experiences.

Investigations have revealed many different explanations for ghost sightings, like misperception, coincidence, near sleep experiences and so on. MA has seen ghostly figures on several occasions but they all were MWR experiences. In each case, it appeared as if MA was awake and seeing the real scene ahead. However, there was an unknown human figure in the scene, despite MA being alone at the time. After a short period, typically seconds, the figure would vanish leaving just the real scene ahead. MA would feel the typical odd feeling, indicating that a MWR had just finished, as the figure vanished. It would be easy to see how someone who experienced MWRs, but was not aware of their cause, would view this experience as seeing a ghost.

MA has also experienced other similar MWRs involving the real scene ahead but with an object present, not a human figure, that was not physically there. Or sometimes there is a real object visible, MA’s hand for instance, but moved from its real physical position. And here’s the interesting thing. In all cases, where a non-real object has been inserted or a real object moved, there is only ever one change to the scene. So, there is either one non-real object added or one real object moved – never more than one. 

I’ve no idea why there is this apparent limitation on MWR scenes. It might be that the brain is trying to make sense of what it believes to be a real scene and so keeps things that don’t appear to fit to a minimum.

This ‘one change only’ phenomenon is interesting because it makes an apparent ghost sighting seem more real. If an otherwise real scene had multiple things changed in it, the observer might be more inclined to think it was a hallucination or a dream.  However, a single human figure, that just vanishes after a while, fits perfectly with the general cultural idea of how ghosts appear. 

Of course, if the one change to a real scene is just moving someone’s hand, then it is unlikely to be reported as paranormal. It doesn’t fit well with cultural ideas of how paranormal phenomena appear.

Why does MA often see human figures, rather than any number of possible objects, which presumably come from visual memory, in MWRs? Again, I’ve no idea, but it will clearly lead to ghost reports.

Author :Maurice Townsend

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