Saturday, 23 May 2015

Movie scene becomes strange experience!

Crows in a treeI recently wrote about how my acquittance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM (MWR) can have several entirely different such episodes in a matter of minutes. One such recent experience offered a important clue about the source of the content of these MWRs.

MWR episodes happen to a tiny percentage of the population and are generally associated with certain sleep disorders. Someone enters a microsleep and straight away starts to dream. The MWR may take the form of voices, complete dream scenes or a mixture of the real scene with some dream elements. Whatever form it takes, anyone who experiences such an episode, who is unaware of its cause, might understandably interpret it as a paranormal event (see the train ghost incident, for instance).

MA reports that most such MWRs are pretty random in their content. However, there was one recently that appeared to be taken directly from the film trailer of a science fiction film first viewed just the day before. That such dream content is derived from personal experience, even with fictional sources, is unsurprising.

Back in the nineteenth century, the Marquis d'Hervey de Saint Denys made an intensive study of the origin of dream content using lucid dreaming techniques. After many experiments, he concluded that dream content comes solely from our actual memories. In dreams, our own recollections appear to be rearranged and presented back to us in an unfamiliar and often bizarre way. I don't think it would be speculating too far to say that MWR experiences, which feature dream content, are also drawn from the witness's own memories.

In MA's latest MWR the scene was clearly directly inspired by the film trailer but with a few differences, one very significant. Unlike in the film, the scene appeared from MA's own viewpoint. This is important. It demonstrates how a purely fictional scene can be directly transformed into an apparently real personal experience. It has long been suspected by anomaly researchers that fictional content feeds into the content of reported real strange experiences. This example shows this feedback actually working, all due to the way our brains produce dreams.

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