Spatial distortion and mini-OBEs
I was at a desk working recently. There was low light. I happened to glance down and saw something bizarre. I saw a stone tiled floor that reminded me of a restaurant for some reason. Not any particular restaurant just the sort of floors I’ve often seen in such places. Even though I knew what I was seeing couldn’t be true it persisted for a few seconds. I was even able to look around a little though all I saw was more stone floor. Then the scene changed dramatically. It reverted to what was really there – a carpeted floor, a chair and some boxes. Two other things happened as the scene changed – it got darker and the floor got closer. I actually saw the floor ‘move’ closer, to its real distance!
This was a clear case of misperception caused by poor lighting. I was able to repeat the experience deliberately a few seconds later by looking back at the desk and then at the floor again. However, all attempts to reproduce it since, in the same place and same lighting conditions, have failed. This is normal for misperception. Once your brain knows what the scene really looks like, that is what you see on subsequent occasions.
There are some aspects to this particular misperception that are intriguing. I was immediately reminded of my mini-OBE experiences on the past. In these experiences I have been looking at a scene consisting of a repeating pattern, like bricks in a wall or a pavement of stone slabs. What is strange is that the pattern appears at a different distance to what it really is. It usually appears closer, as if I was hovering over it rather than viewing from a distance. It appears that the repeating pattern confuses my sense of space and appears to move things closer.
In the current misperception experience I again appear to see things at a different distance to what they really were, albeit it was further away this time. And it is amazing that I see stone tiles, a repeating pattern, in the misperception which is quite different to what is actually there. I think it is clear that a misperception can play with our sense of where we are in space, just like a mini-OBE. The difference is that in a mini-OBE we see what is really there, just from a different position. In a misperception the scene is not real. I should say that when I saw the ‘tiled floor’ I could still see the real desk where I was seated. It was as though the desk had grown taller! As a result of this experience, I think there may be a common brain mechanism at work between misperception and mini-OBEs. It could be responsible for some of the stranger aspects of anomaly reports involving spatial distortion.
A few days later I was on a train and had fallen asleep. When I woke I looked out of the window and saw short grass almost up at window level. But after a couple of seconds it suddenly ‘moved’ further away to track level. I’m not sure if this was a mini-OBE, misperception or even hypnagogia. Whatever it was, spatial distortion was once again involved. Either way, such apparent spatial distortion effects are clearly brain produced but could certainly feel paranormal to those experiencing them.
Author :© Maurice Townsend 2021
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