|The term déjà vu
comes from the French and means, literally, "already
seen." Those who have experienced the feeling describe it
as an overwhelming sense of familiarity with something that
shouldn't be familiar at all.
Déjà vu is a phenomenon that by
its nature as an instantaneous event cannot be scientifically
proven to exist. And yet it does. The occurrence of déjà vu is
actually quite common, 70% of us experience it at least once in
There are many theories regarding
the nature of déjà vu experiences. In recent years déjà vu
has been the subject of serious psychological and neurological
research. The most likely explanation, according to scientists
in these disciplines, is that déjà vu is an anomaly of memory.
Basically these theories link déjà
vu with a misfiring of brain signals related to memory and
recollection. Connections have been found between the experience
of déjà vu and disorders such as schizophrenia and anxiety.
People with these disorders are more likely to experience a déjà
vu phenomenon than the rest of society.
The strongest pathological
association of déjà vu is with temporal lobe epilepsy. People
with this form of epilepsy often report experiencing déjà vu.
This correlation has led some researchers to believe that the
experience of déjà vu is a neurological anomaly related to
improper electrical discharge in the brain.
Most people suffer a mild,
non-pathological epileptic episode regularly. The sudden jolt,
or hypnagogic jerk, A hypnagogic jerk is the experience of a
large jolt, usually felt just before falling asleep and often
described as an electric shock or falling sensation. It may be
that a similar mild neurological abnormality in the form of a
jolt to our memory functions can cause the experiences of déjà
It is worth noting that people in
the 15 to 25 year old age group report having far more instances
of déjà vu. One speculation is that déjà vu is a kind of
mental misfiring that occurs as the brain is maturing or as we
have more life experiences.
The study of déjà vu
experiences has until recently been relegated mostly to the
fields of parapsychology and paranormal research.
It is interesting to note that
the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy involve many experiences
which are common elements of paranormal studies. Seventy-five
percent of people diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy
experience partial seizures which may include such features as:
déjà vu, hallucinations of voices, music, smells, or tastes,
feelings of unusual fear or joy, and the appearance of auras.
Patients may also describe a sense of dissociation in which they
report seeing their own body from the outside, commonly referred
to as astral projection.
Far from discounting the study of
the paranormal, the recent theories describing déjà vu
experiences as electro-chemical misfiring in the brain, and the
connections with temporal lobe epilepsy highlight the importance
of continued research into paranormal phenomena.
Many of the subjects of
paranormal research exist as such simply because mainstream
science regimes deem them unworthy of study.
Déjà vu like many other
experiences, (dreams, astral projection, precognition, thought
healing, etc,) have been discounted or undervalued as a topic of
serious research. Nonetheless these experiences are encountered
by a vast number of people and therefore worthy of study for
that reason alone.
We may find that focusing serious
research efforts on subjects currently within the realm of the
paranormal will lead to a greater understanding of "real
world" problems. We may also find that while some myths may
be shattered along the way, many of the topics of paranormal
research will be proven, validated and absorbed into the world
of the commonplace.
About the Author
Dr.Jeffry R. Palmer Ph.D. Is the
author of "Judo for the Soul - The Art of Psychic Self
Defence", as well as numerous articles and papers relating
to metaphysics and the study of paranormal phenomena. Further
information about Mr. Palmer and his books can be found at http://the-psychic-detective.com