Probably there are no people that have never experienced deja vu – a strange feeling that something had happened before. What is it – vague memories that pop to the surface from the dark corners of our consciousness? Snatches of dreams? Or perhaps it is a proof of reincarnation – that we don’t live for the first time?
The name of the phenomenon comes from a French phrase that means “already seen”. The sensation of deja vu is so elusive and fleeting, that for many years it has been considered impossible to study. However, in 2006 British scientists from the University of Leeds launched an experiment, which involved volunteers suffering from frequently recurring deja vu.
The head of scientific group Dr Chris Moulin claims that for the first time he faced a clinical case of deja vu when he met a patient haunted by this phenomenon. That patient had even stopped watching TV and reading newspapers because every time it seemed to him that he knew everything in advance. At the same time, he was suffering from lapses in memory: the poor man couldn’t remember what happened several minutes ago. How to help such a patient to remember what has happened in reality and to forget what has never happened? What if it’s not just a figment of the imagination, but some other reality?
Researcher Akira O’Connor suggested to reproduce the mysterious phenomenon of the human psyche in laboratory. She was using hypnosis with her patients, offering them to memorize a few words, then using suggestion to make them forget everything, and finally showing them cards with the same words. At the end of every session Akira was asking patients to describe their subjective feelings. Almost all of them were feeling something like deja vu. Some patients found it really painful to try to reproduce in memory the circumstances under which they had heard these words. However, almost no one managed to.
Is there someone who like a hypnologist erases from our memory that information? But why? So far, there are no answers to these questions.
A close study of the phenomenon of deja vu has allowed scientists to take a fresh look at the problem of relation of memory and consciousness. It’s unexplainable how people experiencing deja vu can remember every detail of meetings or events, which have never taken place in reality. It can mean that sensations associated with the phenomenon of deja vu are not connected with memory. In other words, we are talking about two different systems operating in the brain. But what system is responsible for producing “false” memories?
Scientists suggest that at a moment of remembering something, a certain chain of neurons closes up in the temporal lobe of the brain. In a person with chronic deja vu this chain is in a state of hyperactivity or is even closed, which causes a flow of memories about never existing events.
The phenomenon of deja vu is quite popular in science fiction books and movies. Remember “the Matrix”? Our world is a great computer program and people are puppets in someone’s hands… What we used to consider reality is actually an illusion… But how many virtual worlds exist and is deja vu a way of receiving signals from these parallel worlds? The main question is whether a fantasy may come true? After all, it does not contradict modern scientific ideas such as the strings theory and the theory of black holes, according to which the Universe consists of a super dense substance which doesn’t let the light through and anybody getting inside may become a time-traveler or find himself in other dimension.
According to the theory of dark energy and dark matter, these two still hypothetical substances form 95% of the material world around us. In other words, everything we can see: Earth, stars, planets and the observable universe in general – it’s only a tiny fraction of what actually exists. Maybe the mysterious phenomenon of deja vu comes to us from these vast expanses of dark matter? Then perhaps people who suffer from this chronic disease (as doctors define it) are a kind of prophets who can receive messages from other worlds?