Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Something Strange

Something very strange happened to me this afternoon.

I was at work at the time, and more than a little tired. In between two appointments, I sat back in my chair, and as one will, I began rubbing my face with my hands. And then this happened.

It felt like I wasn’t touching my own face. Oh, I could feel the familiar contours of my skull, the skin and the bone beneath, but it wasn’t as though I’d ever touched them before. It felt as though I was touching a mask – a wax mask belonging to someone else.

And it was the same with my hands. I could see my hands, I could feel them on my face, but it was as though I was using remote-controlled manipulators to touch myself. In other words, I felt as if I wasn’t this composite entity of proteins and calcium, water and bacteria, mites and protozoa that calls itself Bill which was touching its face. It felt as though I was sitting inside some kind of biological robot called Bill, and I was someone else entirely.

And I felt as though, if I wanted to, I could just step out and walk away from the robot.

It wasn’t any kind of out of the body experience – rather the reverse. I didn’t feel like I was out of my body, I felt as though I was myself, but in something that wasn’t my body. I don’t know how to explain it any better than the idea that I was in one of those deep sea diving suits which are more like mini-submarines than anything else.

[Atmospheric Diving Suit]

I must repeat that this was not a dream. It didn’t happen in the middle of the night. It was in the mid-afternoon, and I was not only awake, I was at work, and both my assistants were in the room with me.

How long this lasted I can’t say. It couldn’t have been longer than thirty or forty seconds at most, I suppose, but while it was going on I had no sense of time. Then suddenly everything seemed to drop back into place, and I was inside this biological machine which comprises all there is of me. I was me again.

I don’t believe in any such thing as a dissociated spiritual entity, soul or whatever you’d call it, so I am at a loss to explain just what it was that happened to me this afternoon. I think it was some kind of temporary neural short-circuit in my brain’s wiring system. After all, anyone who knows me is aware that my brain’s wiring isn’t all that good and tends to blow a fuse once in a while. But I have never had this kind of short-circuit before, and I’m not aware of anyone else who has.

I’ll just add one more – totally speculative – point.

I said that I felt as though I was sitting inside a robot I was controlling, and I could get out and walk away if I’d wanted, didn’t I?

Well, I wonder what might have happened if I’d tried to do just that.


  1. i wonder too ... have had obes before but it has been long time. i could not direct where i wanted to go when it happened

  2. Yes. Next time you should try. And report back.

    More prosaically, I have had similar experiences when tired. They are weird, but also interesting.

  3. Something very similar happened to me once. I mentioned it to a friend who is an MD. He immediately gave me a name and a full medical explanation. I don't remember anything he said, but it left me with the distinct sense that it was a disappointingly commonplace experience.

  4. I short circuit sometimes, too. I try to find reasons for it and usually can't, which sucks because I'd sometimes like to duplicate the experience.

    It's just a glitch in the Matrix.


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