Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Case of Deja Vecu


My name is Art Funkhouser and I am scheduled to give a talk and lead a workshop on déjà vu this coming June at the Rhine Center.

At the beginning of 2004 I put a questionnaire about "déjà experiences" up on the Internet (at ) and by the end of 2009 over 2600 persons from all over the world had filled it out and helped contribute to our store of knowledge about these intriguing and often baffling phenomena. At the beginning of 2009 mywebsite went on-line and since then an average of ca. 10 visitors a day have had a look at it. Toward the end of December, 2009 I received the account I'll share with you here (and on the website - with the writer's permission). I thought some might find this interesting:

"Over the past several months I've had a near-constant experience of deja vecu. Something will happen, and in the process I'll remember that I had a dream about this exact moment and I'll know just what comes next. I remember almost all of my dreams, including the mundane ones. What's convinced me that it's not somehow a trick of memory, though, is that I always remember when I had the dream and what I felt as I dreamed and when I awoke.

"One of the things I find odd when I compare my experiences to the experiences recounted on your site is that often the dream precedes the actual event by several months if not years. For example, the very first time I remember this happening was when I was thirteen, and the dream occurred when I was six. I was on the side of the stage in a rehearsal for a local kid's musical program when the director decided to take a quick break. During the break, the younger kids were sent home, and as they left one of the boys went up to me and my friend and hugged us goodbye. She remarked at how sweet and cheerful he was when he walked away. I remembered the dream when the boy broke off from the rest of the kids and ran over to us, and the rest of the scene played out exactly as I had dreamed it seven years previous. The way the stage was set and lit, what we were wearing, the boy's face and voice and my friend's comment - everything was the same.

"Up until about nine months ago, I would get the occasional deja vu experience but then something shifted. I'm almost 19 now, and I've already had my fair share of odd experiences but, in a way, the past several months have been the strangest ones so far. I used to think the future wasn't set in stone, that every little thing that happened had an effect that changed the whole world, and that there were an infinite number of futures and parallel worlds for each moment in which something could change. Now, experiencing deja vecu several times a day has led me to wonder if maybe the future (or at least parts of it) truly cannot be changed.

"What I've noticed is that the things I dream of are hardly ever important to me at the time of the dream, and often don't even make sense, but when the event happens it's something that makes me really happy or shocked or some other strong emotion. It's not always an event, per se, either. I read a lot, and sometimes I'll start on a book when I recognize the opening scene from one of my dreams. I'll take a moment to remember the dream, and as I keep reading it'll turn out that I dreamed about half of the book. Actually, this just happened to me earlier today and I finally realized why I had dreamed about falling from a railroad car as it vanished (ironically, this book is all about dreams; it's called Dreamhunter). Very rarely do my dreams last more than a few hours of an actual experience, though (I'm a fast reader). The same thing has been happening with anime episodes, manga chapters, and even discussions on forums, which are all the things I'm really into right now.

"I guess my point is, I've noticed that the events, when they occur, are things that are mundane but important. I get stronger feelings about them than about anything else. Perhaps this helps the idea of time loops, where the important things stick in your memory? I don't know how else to explain it other than seeing the future, and like I said, I've always believed in a changeable future and it's hard to think that that idea might be wrong. But if it really is seeing the future in dreams, then... Feeling deja vecu almost all the time has been both empowering and greatly unsettling due to that notion. "Reading the various accounts of deja vu on your site was a huge relief. I'm so glad I'm not the only one going through steady and specific deja vecu. I sure hope that someone is doing serious research on the deja phenomemons, and that whatever the cause is it will be discovered and made public knowledge sooner rather than later. Sites like yours, and other places where people can recount their experiences, should help quite a bit.

"Thank you so much for making this site! I hope my own account can enrich your knowledge of the phenomenon and help others feel like they're not alone in their experiences in turn."

By sharing this wonderful note, I am hoping others will now feel motivated to relate their experiences in comments to this blog. It would also be really great to see you at either the Rhine Center lecture or the workshop at the end of June.

No comments: