How paranormal is an OBE?
In my last post I described having a mini-OBE (out of the body experience). I could see a white wall much closer than it actually was. I've had similar experiences before. In each case a scene looked closer than it physically was. Also, in each case the scene suddenly switched back to normal instantaneously at some point.
I think these mini-OBEs demonstrate that the brain can construct a scene from a different point of view to the one we normally see. In the mini-OBEs nothing appears that is not visible to our eyes. There is no suggestion that mini-OBEs are paranormal in any way. So why do they occur? As misperception shows, when we see it is actually an image built up in our brain using various inputs, including sight and memory, of what our brain thinks is present. It is not a literal representation of what is really there. The TPJ (temporoparietal junction) in our brains maintains our sense of where we are in space and it uses sight, touch and 'balance' (from the inner ear) to do so. However, our sight is the sense that overrules others on many occasions and that is what I think happens with these visual mini-OBEs. The visually uniform scene that produces mini-OBEs tricks the brain into misjudging distances. So the brain produces an image as seen from a different point of view.
What mini-OBEs demonstrate is that we can see things, on occasion, from a different point of view, without any paranormal mechanism. I think that 'full' (or normal) OBEs, where the witness sees a scene from a completely different viewpoint, such as floating from the ceiling, are probably produced by the same non-paranormal brain process. There is a big difference, of course. In normal OBEs the witness sees things that cannot be seen by their eyes. So how is this possible?
I think things that are invisible to the witness's eyes are often 'filled in' from memory. That's assuming the witness has seen those objects prior to entering an OBE, of course. Things not seen before may be 'filled in' from visual archetypes, like those used in misperception. It is, I suspect, the same way in which scenery in dreams is constructed - partly from specific memories of actual locations and partly from general memories of what a table, for instance, looks like. Things not seen by the witness might even be inserted as a result of sounds. If the witness hears crockery being knocked, for instance, it could be inserted in the scene even though the witness cannot physically see it. Other unseen items might be inserted because the witness expects them to be there. Cutlery might be inserted into the scene if crockery was heard even though it produced no sound.
This is not to exclude a paranormal element from certain OBE experiences. If something is seen in an OBE that the witness could, for whatever reason, not possibly be aware of or even guess at, but is pjysically present, then some paranormal agency may be at work. But I don't think we need invoke the paranormal to explain simply seeing a scene from a different to normal viewpoint.
Author :© Maurice Townsend 2019
Other Blog Entries
Ghost in an empty shop
Imperception – when things simply vanish
The Garden Poltergeist
Strange Animal Strange Voices
Short Term Memory Fallible, Too
In the breaks effect
Ghost research - why so little progress?
Door ghost returns looking ominous
How do I know I’ve seen a ghost?
Expectation and ghosts