News Stories

Scientists Scan Brain During Woman's OBE--With Surprising Results

A psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa says that she is able to leave her body at will, and has now done this while under a brain scan. It's clear from the results that OBE is a special state, not a normal state of drowsiness, self-hypnosis or imagination. While her sleep quality was somewhat lower than normal, she had a higher than average level of imaging activity in her brain. She reported that she had been able to spontaneously leave her body all of her life, and was surprised that others could not do this.

She does not describe the feeling of separation that would be familiar to practiced OBE travelers, and cannot look back on her body. Rather, she reports a more uncommon sensation, which is that of having her whole body move even though she knows that it is, in fact, motionless. "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."

She reports that she feels "above" where she knows her body to be, and that the sensation of still being in her body is so strong that she will actually become dizzy if she spins.

The effects on her brain were marked, primarily involving intense activity in the visual cortex and in areas controlling movement. There was no evidence that the imagination was involved, which has always been the assumption of scientific researchers when addressing the out-of-body experience. The study does not go into detail about whether or not the participant could move through rooms, pass through walls, or see things that she would not have been able to see in her actual, physical body.

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. - See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00070/full#sthash.sa9f95H6.dpuf
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. - See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00070/full#sthash.sa9f95H6.dpuf

  • Image Credit:
  • Frontiers in Neuroscience


Very interesting article/study. I was interested to read about her sensation of moving. I have had a similar (tho opposite) experience several times during the past several months (peaking in December/January). Its doesnt feel so much like I am moving but like clouds/the earth are moving past/below/above (?) me (its hard to describe). When I open my eyes the sensation is gone, but when I close them -- its back. It is somewhat disorienting and the sensation is so new that I really havent explored it much. The sensation disappears when I open my eyes. For many years I have associated waking OBEs with being extremely tired. I have noticed the same in my mom. Often these tired spells coincide w/earth events (earthquakes, storms, etc) and disaster events (plane crashes, terrorist attacks, etc.), I was extremely intrigued by other photos of the MRI scans in the article -- particularly the one which show the brain light up the brightest (?) top center. Its good to know some scientists are studying this phenomenon.

Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now