Out-of-body experiences (OOBEs) and lucid dreams

Again, if it is happening in the bedroom, these might be contributing causes. Neither OOBEs nor lucid dreams are entirely understood, but research has established them as known psycho-physiological states.

An OOBE is an experience in which our sensory impressions appear to originate from a location recognised at the time to be remote from the actual location of our body. (So far, the evidence is only anecdotal that these experiences truly originate from beyond the body.) A lucid dream, on the other hand, is a dream in which the dreamer becomes conscious that she or he is dreaming.

Schiavonetti, 'Soul Leaving the Body' (1808).

Schiavonetti, ‘Soul Leaving the Body’ (1808). A 19th century depiction of what we might today describe as an ‘out-of-body experience’.

In both of these types of experiences, imagery can arise which is extremely vivid and may be mistaken as physically real. OOBEs and lucid dreams could become confused with ‘paranormal’ activity if the imagery that arises is similar enough to our actual environment to appear real, but contains dream-like elements that contradict the usual behaviour of waking reality (e.g. the appearance of strange creatures, or of people known to have died).

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