OBE'S (Out of Body Experiences) and After-Death Bright Lights Debunked

A blogger on another site wrote: "...[a blog at] Scientific American, explain[s] all the different phenomena associated with near death experiences (NDEs) from a neuroscience and physiology point of view, from tunnel vision to seeing bright lights, feeling that your 'soul' has left your body, and that you are dead. Nothing paranormal or spiritual about it of course. The blog covers a paper recently published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science, with the cute title: 'There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences: how neuroscience can explain seeing bright lights, meeting the dead, or being convinced you are one of them.'

"Reading the full article requires a subscription but the abstract is free.  The summary is that NDEs are the reaction of a normal brain to traumatic (and sometimes harmless) events. I did not know that actually 30% of people who experience an NDE were never in risk of dying, for example. Out-of-body experiences for example, happen to as many as 40% of people during certain sleep patterns, known as sleep paralysis; these out-of-body experiences can be purposely induced by stimulating a precise region of the brain, the temporoparietal junction. Also, abnormal function of dopamine pathways can provoke hallucinations such as ghosts or monsters (reported by people with Parkinson's disease, for example)...."

I had OBE'S at one time in my life.  I thought they were psychic experiences, but I eventually came down from my high.

 

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It is my understanding that the only thing that can't be scientifically explained at this point are some of the detailed accounts of the hospital operating rooms or other locations during the time the OBE occurred. There are doctors who were involved in some of these cases who are completely baffled by the knowledge that the experiencer has of the event. For example, in one particular case, there is a surgeon who has the unusual  habit of directing the surgery by pointing with his elbows to what is needed next during the operation rather than using his hand, fingers or verbal communication. The unorthodox action by the surgeon appeared to the OBEr as a flailing action. Needless to say, the patient was completely puzzled by the movement until the time came that he had recovered and had it explained to him. There are numerous other examples which are equally unexplainable. Who knows, rather than the OBE being a case of a spirit overseeing its body, could it be that the brain has the potential to project consciousness beyond the physical organ?  
Your question has long been the stuff of fantasy fiction and some science fiction as well.  It may be that at one time in our evolution we had many powers we now lack.  The thought that canines can hear 20, 50, 100 times better than we do would suggest as much, wouldn't it?  Perhaps evolution discards primitive reliance on the instinctive (or is that instinctual?).  I can see primitive man smelling an animal he is tracking for its meat.  Did we once smell as well as a dog does now, with the demonstrated ability to actually sniff and hit on a cancerous tumor inside the human body.
@bipedal
That's an interesting question. I do think humans and animals do have the potential to sense things out of their range. After all, what seems to exist to us is just our senses telling us what they know. Perhaps there is the possibility for a "6th sense"?

I've read OBE's are easily attributable to retinal and cerebral anoxia.

 

Does that mean I might have one if I practice auto-asphyxiation? ;-)
I've actually had sleep paralysis about a week ago. I woke up in my bed and tried moving, but hallucinating, only a "ghost" version of my arm moved. I remembered that having SP can cause scary hallucinations, so I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep, I also know my mom had sleep paralysis quite often during her childhood.

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