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Metaphysics & Psychology

The Many Forms of Déjà Vu And Possible Scientific Explanations

That eerie feeling of déjà vu is very common, though scientific explanation has far to go before it is able to fully explain this aspect of the human consciousness

Most people, at one point or another, have experienced a feeling of deja vu (French for “already seen”). Whether or not they even realized it at the time, or cared to give it a label, the situation is common: you recognize as familiar something which you know you’ve never seen before. An object, a person,a place, a scene, an event… it is a fairly common experience.

Perhaps in the minds of some people there is something seemingly “supernatural” or sinister and overly thought-provoking about the phenomenon of déjà vu. From a scientific perspective, however, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Different Types of Déjà Vu

Scientists who study mental phenomenon such as déjà vu have taken it upon themselves (as scientists so often do) to also classify some subcategories of the phenomenon. So, when you are experiencing déjà vu, you may actually be experiencing one of three varieties: Déjà vecu, déjà senti, or déjà visite.

Déjà vecu (“already lived through”), the most common form, occurs when there is a feeling involved in an experience – sort of an “I know that I’ve been here before” feeling.

Déjà senti (“already felt”) is fully mental, without the reliance on the visual aspect of deja vu. The idea of having thoughts that you’ve already had before.

Déjà visite (“already visited”) is perhaps the creepiest of them all. This is the one that gives little children nightmares – it is the uncanny knowledge of a person or place which has been previously unknown to the person. It is walking into a new building and knowing right where the bathroom is. Completely unexplainable, and rather rare. This is the one that is most often attributed to spiritual encounters, out of body experiences or ESP.

Possible Explanations for Déjà Vu

Most explanations agree that there is nothing strange happening in your brain when it plays these sorts of “tricks” on you, nor is there something physically wrong with you (at least nothing too important). It is just a feeling. It is your mind playing tricks on you.

This being said, there are a variety of explanations for déjà vu which do seem to be rather interesting (despite the fact that they avoid “conspiracy theories” and ESP and such things).

For instance, it has been shown that there is a link between one’s mental health and the occurrence of déjà vu. People with mental disorders often see the world a little bit differently, and are prone to such mental abnormalities as the perception of déjà vu.

In addition, certain intoxicating substances also tend to lead to heightened déjà vu awareness, though this assertion doesn’t seem particularly groundbreaking.

More interesting theories are those which deal with real, physical defects in the brain that might lead to déjà vu. Some have suggested (though with little evidence to back it up) that déjà vu might be caused by a delayed firing of neurons somewhere in the brain, inhibiting the message (or at least part of the message) for just a fraction of a second, causing the brain to process the same thought twice in quick succession.

For instance, if your two eyes both saw the same event, but for some reason the message took just a fraction longer to reach your brain from your left eye than it does from your right, there is a chance that your brain may process the same event twice, making you feel like you’ve already seen it, even if it was only a thousandth of a second earlier.

The Opposite of Deja Vu

Most people probably don’t realize that Deja vu (in all of its forms) has an opposite as well. This is called Jamais Vu (“never seen”), and it is quite interesting as well. This is that odd experience wherein you walk into a place you are very familiar with, but have a momentary feeling that you have never been there before.

It is most often suffered by those with amnesia or mental deficiencies, but every once in a while it happens to the average Joe as well. There is a moment of near panic – and then you probably realize that you were just suffering from a momentary lapse of mental functions.

And so, those are the basics of deja vu. It is a phenomenon about which scientists still have much to learn, but which will hopefully be able to offer great insights into just how the complex mechanisms of the human brain truly work.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

MDMA Inches Away From Becoming FDA-approved Pharmaceutical

John Vibes, Truth Theory
Waking Times

A set of clinical trials for MDMA, sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has now reached “Phase 3,” which brings the substance just a few steps away from getting approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Study Finds Fans of Dark Humor More Likely To Be Intelligent

By John Vibes / Truth Theory

Are you a fan of dark humor? If so, research has shown that you might be more intelligent on average, and less aggressive as well. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Cognitive Processing, people who enjoy dark humor are more likely to be intelligent, and also less likely to be aggressive.

The experiments took place at the Medical University of Vienna, and involved 156 people from a wide range of different social and educational backgrounds who varied in age, but had an average age of 33. The participants were given a set of intelligence tests, and then monitored while being exposed to cartoons that contained what many would consider dark humor (or black humour, as it is known in the UK, where the study was conducted).

The researchers should not have been very surprised to see the connection between dark humor and intelligence, as other studies in the past have shown that people with high levels of intelligence are more likely to suffer from conditions like depression or anxiety. However, it likely did come as a surprise that the intelligent dark humor fans in the study were actually less prone to aggression than the test subjects who were upset or offended by the material.

The study showed that the people who were most upset by the jokes had average IQ scores, but they were also more prone to aggression in other scenarios as well, and likely had shorter tempers than the other participants in the study.

The authors of the study concluded that:

“Whilst a positive association between black humour processing and intelligence can be shown, aggressiveness and bad mood apparently lead to decreased levels of pleasure when dealing with black humour. Black humour processing is seemingly a complex information-processing task that depends on cognitive and emotional aspects. It can be hypothesized that these cognitive and emotional demands directly influence the mental operations underlying humour processing as they lead to an increased or decreased information-processing capacity but also facilitate the adapting of humour processing strategies in a quick and flexible way as humour processing is dependent on the content and structure of a joke.”

The researchers also noted that differences in things like age and gender did not seem to have any impact on how a participant felt about dark humor, as there was a range of different responses among people of the same background, and many shared responses among those from different backgrounds, although, the study did suggest that levels of education did seem to have an impact on a person’s response to dark humor.

Image credit: Volodymyr Melnyk

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Scary modern cases of witch hunts and sorcerers

Screenshot: The Wizard Of Oz

It is believed that in those dark ages, a lot of innocent women suffered because of the blindness of ignorant people who saw witchcraft in everything strange and unusual and sincerely believed in curses and malevolent damage from the evil eye. However, such “ignorance” is found in our days, as are cases of reprisals against witches.

10. Mexican killings

In April 1998, an enraged elderly man burst into the house of Modesta Navarro Nieves, in the small Mexican village of Guadeloupe del Cobre, and began to accuse the woman of being a witch and that she cursed him. He had a heavy club with him and he began beating the woman with it.

The attacker stopped only when Modesta’s husband returned who attacked him with a stick and, having being hit a couple of times, he rushed to run away. When the doctors arrived to help the battered Modesta, it was already too late, the woman died from the wounds inflicted on her.

‘Only’ 11 years later, the police managed to get on the trail of the killer and detained him. It turned out to be the 78-year-old Santiago Ineges Olivares. And a year before his arrest in another part of Mexico, an unspecified woman was attacked and killed after accusations of witchcraft.

9. The Gambian Witch Hunters

In Gambia (West Africa) in 2009 there was a massive campaign against local witches and sorcerers. The Witch Hunters, accompanied by police and soldiers, walked from village to village and took away all suspicious people, most often the elderly.

In total, about a thousand people were captured. Threatening them with pistols, they drove them to a special shelter, where they forced them to drink a toxic hallucinogenic “medicine” in order to deprive these “witches” of the ability to conjure. Many people died, having been poisoned by this swill, and those who survived were expected to be beaten, tortured by electric shocks or at best, bullying.

The main “witch hunter”, later assured that all this was done with the blessing of the president of the country. Such a “hunt” caused a great panic among the villagers and the people began to flee en masse to the territory of neighboring Senegal. Entire parts of Gambia were deserted before the witch hunters abandoned their activities.

8. New York Voodoo

On a cold January night in 2014, NYPD received a call to Estrella Castaneda’s house. Near the house, they found 44-year-old Carlos Alberto Amarilla with a Bible in his hand and it turned out that he had called 911 and confessed to the murder of two women in this house.

When the police went inside, they found Estrella Castaneda lying on the bed, dead with a pillow on her face, and her daughter Lina lying on the floor in the next room. Both women were brutally hammered to death.

In a statement, Amarilla described that he had met with Estrella and was her boyfriend, but then he allegedly suddenly found out that both of these women were dangerous witches who performed voodoo rituals and wanted to use black magic on him. Amarilla received two life sentences for double murder of the first degree.

7. Executions in Saudi Arabia

In 2011, a resident of Saudi Arabia, Amina Bint Abdul Halim Nassar, was convicted of “practicing witchcraft and sorcery”. In her house, bottles were found filled with a kind of “witchcraft” liquid.

According to anonymous sources, Nassar actively traded these potions, and for the creation of witchcraft potions in the country under the Sharia law, the death penalty was imposed. And despite requests for clemency from international human rights organizations, the woman was soon executed by chopping off her head.

In 2007, pharmacist Mustafa Ibrahim was likewise charged and beheaded after accusations of using magic. Allegedly, he entered the bathroom with the Qur’an and read something strange there. After this incident, a special anti-witch detachment was established in Saudi Arabia, which began to carry out propaganda among the population against the use of magic and witchcraft.

By the end of 2019, about 118 people in Saudi Arabia were accused of magical manipulation of the Koran and all this disinfo spread through anonymous scammers. What happened to these people is unknown.

6. Assault on a village witch

This incident slipped into the media in the late 1990s and occurred in an unspecified village somewhere on the Russian-Ukrainian border. A local resident, Sasha Lebedkin and his nephew, Sergei Gretsov, turned to the so-called grandmother, to ask her to remove the spell that supposedly hung from Sergei.

According to Gretsov, he was bewitched by 22-year-old Tanya Tarasova, who tried to force him to marry her, and when he refused, the girl decided to apply witchcraft. The sorceress tried to remove the curse, but then said that it was too strong.

Then, Gretsov and Lebedkin decided to take revenge on Tarasova. On the evening of February 22, 1997, they broke into Tarasova’s house and attacked her and her relatives with hammers. Tanya and her three younger brothers and sisters remained unharmed, but Tanya’s mother was killed in the attack.

At the interrogation, Gretsov and Lebedkin stated that they could not kill Tarasova because she “set fire to their eyes and sent strange animals to them.”

5. The killing of “damned” children in Benin

In the remote villages of Benin, a poor African country, there is still a terrible belief that a baby born with its legs forward is a damned sorcerer. The tradition obliges to take such a child to the forest and kill it by striking his head against a strong tree.

More compassionate parents “just” leave such a baby in the forest under the bushes, where it soon dies of hunger and thirst or from the claws of wild animals.

“A child whose birth deviates from the accepted norm is damned and must be destroyed,” say people in Baatonou, Boko and Peul.

Infants whose teeth begin to grow too late, who were born after prolonged and painful contractions, or were born head first but facing the earth, are also suspected and the same fate awaits them. And if the child is completely normal, but because of the poverty of it’s parents, from the youngest years starts to steal food because of hunger, then it is also considered damned and can also be easily killed.

Western researchers who have visited Benin are horrified by such traditions and call them barbaric and completely inhuman. However, they cannot do anything, because such a practice is fully supported by the Benin authorities.

4. Attacks in Zambia

In January 2017, an 80-year-old Zambian resident traveled to the northern province of Copperbelt to visit her grandson. But as soon as she came to him, her little great-grandson, the son of her grandson, suddenly became ill and died suddenly.

Very saddened by the loss of his son, his father consulted a local healer and he blamed his great-grandmother for the death of the boy. He indicated that the illness of the child arose precisely with her arrival.

Early in the morning, all the neighbors of this family woke up from the heart-rending screams of a woman, her own grandson brutally beat her with a stick and shouted “Now it’s your turn to die, witch!”. After Beating the old woman, he then pushed her right into the fire. A little later, the grandmother died of wounds and burns.

A similar case in Zambia is far from uncommon, a lot of elderly people are attacked by their own relatives, who accuse them of causing damage, evil eye or other witchcraft. In 2017, about 25 old people and old women were brutally killed for this reason.

3. Lynch Courts

In 2008, in Papua New Guinea, villagers broke into a pregnant woman’s house and dragged her outside, accusing her of witchcraft that led to her neighbor’s sudden death. They threw a rope around the woman’s neck and hung her on a tree.

Fortunately, the rope was tightened ineptly and the woman managed to stay alive. For several hours she was hanging from the tree, struggling with the rope, but then she managed to free herself. Her unborn child was not injured either.

Similar cases in Papua New Guinea occur regularly, only in 2019 there were about 50. Local tribes are very superstitious and still believe in their own religions, and treat everything strange and unusual as an intervention of Evil.

In 2009, there was an absolutely terrible case when a crowd of teenagers accused one of their peers of witchcraft. They dragged her to a landfill, where they stripped her naked, beat her, and then tied her to a pile of tires and set them on fire.

The unfortunate remains were discovered only a few days later, when local residents began to complain about the unpleasant smell of burnt flesh, which was distributed throughout the district.

2. The killing of albinos in Tanzania

In Tanzania, albinos are considered supernatural beings associated with the world of spirits and magic. Therefore, every part of the albino’s body is worth its weight in gold, because it can bring good luck or cure diseases.

Because of this, albinos, especially girls, are literally hunted. There are frequent cases when murderers burst into the houses where the albino lived and chopped the child alive into pieces right in front of it’s relatives. In 2014 alone, there were more than a thousand cases of attacks on Tanzanian albinos and, according to human rights defenders, they will only increase.

To save albinos, they are trying to put them in special boarding houses, which are well guarded, but there are still very few such houses from benefactors.

1. Nightmare Christmas

At Christmas 2010, 15-year-old Kristy Bamu was visiting London with his 29-year-old sister Magalie and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi. Everything was quite normal and suddenly, at some point, Magalie and Eric attacked Kristy in a rage and began to beat him, and then tortured him with knives, a broken bottle and a hammer.

They demanded that Kristy confess that he was a sorcerer and that he wanted to harm them with ‘kindoki’ -or witchcraft. Kristy at some point, could not bear the pain and did it.

After that, the torture became even more cruel. With the help of pliers, the sister and her friend tore off Kristie’s ears, and then they dragged the bleeding teenager into the bathroom and threw him into the water “in order to expel the evil spirit from him.” However, tortured Kristy drowned immediately.

The court decided to give Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu prison sentences of 30 and 25 years, respectively.

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