Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Horror movie moment

Crows in a treeFictional accounts of anomalous phenomena are, in my experience, consistently different to real reported cases. One key difference, for instance, is that fictional accounts often involve events that appear to have an apparent meaning. In real life cases, by contrast, the incidents involved usually appear to be fairly meaningless.

Another key difference is that real cases usually lack those horror movie moments where something truly shocking happens. Recently I came across an account which blurred this latter distinction. An acquaintance (AQ) of mine was sitting in a theatre when something startling and completely unexpected happened. AQ had a companion sitting in an adjacent seat. Suddenly the companion's face was right in front of AQ, staring in a bizarre and disturbing way. AQ, shocked, looked round straight away to see their companion sitting in a perfectly normal position looking at the stage with an expression of concentration. It was clear that the companion had not moved at all.

Regular readers may have have guessed that the acquittance is actually the one who experiences MWR - microsleep with REM. In other words, AQ (usually known as MA - my acquaintance - in this blog) goes straight into a dream state during microsleep episodes. The 'face' episode was such an experience. It was unusual in that it resembled the horror movie trick where something shocking suddenly appears dominating the field of vision - in this case someone's face suddenly very close up. Of course, MWR is not anomalous as such. However, it can easily explain many apparent anomalous experiences. MA reports that most such MWR experiences are more like normal dreams. So this particular MWR experience would be more like a nightmare than a typical dream.

This latest MWR shows how fictional influences can get into accounts of apparently real anomalous phenomena. So why don't we see such obvious influences in many reports of anomalous phenomena? Well, firstly, MWRs are short - usually just a second or two. And, secondly, even when MA gets several of them in succession, their content is usually different on each occasion, even when only separated by minutes or even seconds. So, it is unlikely that MWRs can introduce many typical fictional elements beyond the occasional sudden shock, like the face incident. Any case involving such incidents might be worth checking out to see if MWRs might be involved.

PS: Review of ASSAP's Seriously Possessed conference held last Saturday here.

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