Anyone who knows me knows I am a skeptic. If you forward me a stupid e-mail, I'm the one who'll look in up on snopes.com and send a rebuttal to the whole list. I don't believe in the paranormal, which means that certain people in my life don't enjoy watching "Ghosthunters" with me. I turn my nose up at "spirit balls" or other weird smudges in graveyard photographs, and thoroughly enjoyed a recent exhibit on "spirit photography" (which explained how all the tricks were done). What non-skeptics consider paranormal, I consider "things that science will eventually explain".
Having a background in neuroscience, I was especially intrigued and delighted to read this article in the NY Times, which chronicles recent discoveries that begin to explain (scientifically, that is) out-of-body experiences and other strange sensations once considered (not by me, of course) to fall within the realm of the paranormal:
They are eerie sensations, more common than one might think: A man describes feeling a shadowy figure standing behind him, then turning around to find no one there. A woman feels herself leaving her body and floating in space, looking down on her corporeal self.
Such experiences are often attributed by those who have them to paranormal forces.
But according to recent work by neuroscientists, they can be induced by delivering mild electric current to specific spots in the brain. In one woman, for example, a zap to a brain region called the angular gyrus resulted in a sensation that she was hanging from the ceiling, looking down at her body. In another woman, electrical current delivered to the angular gyrus produced an uncanny feeling that someone was behind her, intent on interfering with her actions.
To read the rest of the article, click here.