I enjoyed Doug’s relation of his out-of-body experiences and found his explanation very interesting and informative. I must call him on his explanation of sleepwalking, though. Many people believe it is caused, as he said, by people acting out their dreams. In fact, that is a rare and dangerous disorder called (who would have guessed) REM sleep disorder. Sleepwalking doesn’t happen during REM sleep at all - it happens during the deepest stage of non-dreaming sleep. The last I read about it, no one had come up an accepted explanation of sleepwalking, but anyone is welcome to update my information.
And the link to that article is: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mastral.html
Dex has found the missing link! I gotta get over to the “evolution is Wrong” thread.
Signitorily yours, Mr John
" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx
Speaking of sleepwalking, people always say it is dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker? Why is this? Is it because they’ll flip out and strangle you? Or will their brain go into a frazzle, and they’ll turn into a gibbering, bedwetting vegetable? What exactly IS the danger that is so often alluded to?
I appreciate the scientific answer that was given but I to have experienced this phenonemum. I have never sleepwalked and I only experienced it once and I think that is because it scared me very badly. I was sound asleep in my bed and I found myself hovering on the ceiling starring at my body. I was 13 yrs old at the time and had never heard of this before. When I realized that I was not were I was suppossed to be I slammed back inside my body-jolting awake. Your explaination was very well given but I do believe that there are somethings out there that are not explainable and having experienced this -a scientific answer will never ease how I felt at that moment.
I. Doug’s answer is interesting, but misleading and invalid. What he describes is, of course, False Projection, and he has the mechanics largely correct.
As some of us (The Few, but 'nuff said) know, REAL astral projection can only be performed while in a trance (making the answer to the original question NO) and only by those who were taught the technique in a past life under the influence of an herb which has since, fortunately or not, become extinct. Since said herb was even then rare and prohibitively expensive, it was available only to pharoahs, emperors, Medicis, &c. of that ilk, and so those of you (most) who are but reincarnated Serfs or New Souls (there are a lot more people around, the last 300 years or so) should forthwith give up the idea of your ever being able to project, astral-wise.
(An interesting aside: if you really WERE someone special in a previous life, you would already have been visited by an astral projection of one of Us. The rest of you can save your guilders and avoid those past-life regression charlatans, some of whom I knew even then to be money-grubbing frauds. What - you didn’t really believe you could ALL be royalty and famous people, did you?)
II. But seriously, Doug’s answer raises some interesting questions, some of them even possibly important. Like fer instance: Is the seratonin-RAS mechanism linked to other digesto-behavior patterns, like the paralysis-by-Turkey epidemic that sweeps this nation every Thanksgiving?
Is it possible that the guy who went on trial recently for slaughtering his wife is telling the truth? Should extenuating circumstances be considered if it was found that he - or someone else - has a damaged RAS?
Aside from that case, should we as citizens be held as accountable for actions initiated by our (largely-uncontrollable?) subconscious minds as for those of our “conscious” minds? (Should we be more cognizent of the blurred line between the two?) Think about it - if someone harbors a desire to harm another, but in daily life successfully controls / sublimates / ignores / forgets that urge, then hi/r RAS acts up and s/he acts out the harmful impulses, is it appropriate to punish hi/r as if the actions had been consciously intended? What if the perp. didn’t even recognize s/he had those urges? Maybe I should be very, VERY thankful I don’t: 1) sleepwalk; and 2) ever manage to actually harm someone in my dreams, other than manage to make them stop doing whatever bad thing they were doing.
[QUOTE}people always say it is dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker? Why is this?[/QUOTE]
Because otherwise, Popeye wouldn’t have an excuse to let Olive Oyl sleepwalk through a dangerous construction site, narrowly averting disaster at every step. He wouldn’t even have an excuse to eat his spinach. And so he’d eventually get bored and take out his frustrations on poor little Eugene the Jeep, who would retailate by twirling his magic tail, thereby causing time and space to collapse and ending all life as we know it.
So please, let her sleepwalk.
I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.
Frogger wrote: “I must call him on his explanation of sleepwalking, though. Many people believe it is caused, as he said, by people acting out their dreams. In fact, that is a rare and dangerous disorder called (who would have guessed) REM sleep disorder. Sleepwalking doesn’t happen during REM sleep at all - it happens during the deepest stage of non-dreaming sleep. The last I read about it, no one had come up an accepted explanation of sleepwalking, but anyone is welcome to update my information.”
Given another person’s pointing out that I mistakenly labeled the stages of the sleep cycle, maybe it would help to consider this: the motor inhibition mechanism is at work in non-dreaming stages of sleep (the RAS kicks in almost immediately - otherwise the whole sleep paralysis phenomenon would not occur), and if it malfunctions, would it not be virtually indistinguishable from “REM sleep disorder” even though it was not during REM sleep? That’s a pretty simple explanation, and pretty logical.
As I understand it, the difference between REM sleep disorder and sleepwalking is that sleepwalkers usually walk around an area they are familiar with (their house) and seem to know where things like furniture, fridges, bathrooms, etc. are. Someone suffering from REM sleep disorder is not in any way aware of his/her surroundings, thus putting him/her at risk of walking into walls, falling down stairs, etc. while acting out what they are doing in their dreams.