They can be induced using some cool gadgets and clever illusions. Do they cease to be spooky now, or have they become spookier?
When people gaze at an illusory image of themselves through the goggles and are prodded in just the right way with the stick, they feel as if they have left their bodies. [...]
[Usually, ... ] sensory streams, which include vision, touch, balance and the sense of where one’s body is positioned in space, work together seamlessly, Prof. Botvinick said. But when the information coming from the sensory sources does not match up, when they are thrown out of synchrony, the sense of being embodied as a whole comes apart.
The brain, which abhors ambiguity, then forces a decision that can, as the new experiments show, involve the sense of being in a different body.
The research provides a physical explanation for phenomena usually ascribed to other-worldly influences, said Peter Brugger, a neurologist at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland.