Have you been here before? Déjà vu

Just the other day I had an appointment with a medical practitioner. It was not with my regular practitioner as they were on holiday. When the practitioner entered the room their face brightened as did mine and then they asked me the same question I was thinking “Have we met before?” We both began to rattle off how we could have known one another, perhaps during a previous appointment years ago, but no, we in fact did not know each other. What was strange is that I was as familiar to them as they were to me. I then began to think about similar situations I have had over the years. Of all of the previous scenarios this was the most striking, as of course varying episodes of déjà vu I had experienced over the years.

Many of us have experienced déjà vu before. It is that intense feeling that the moment we are currently experiencing has been experienced before. However, it is difficult to prove whether this moment has indeed occurred previously. Science has argued varying theories to explain the phenomena including that bouts of déjà vu are caused by the brain constructing the scenario in time before it has been completed. Some parapsychologists have argued otherwise, believing that some cases of déjà vu can in part be due to reincarnation.

There are other related phenomena that are not regularly mentioned, but are similar in that each is a sensation that is difficult to explain.

Jamais vu – this translates into “never seen,” and is a situation which is not recognized. This can best be described as the opposite of déjà vu. If you have been in a situation where you very well know you have experienced something before, but can’t recognize it, you are having jamais vu. Examples include not being able to recognize a word, a person, or a place that you very well know you have experienced before.

Presque vu – this translates into “almost seen” and this can be a frustrating experience. Have you ever been speaking to someone and are about to describe something and the word or words fail you? You have the words right there, you just saw them but they’re gone. We often say we just had it on the ‘tip of the tongue.’ Overall, this is when someone cannot recall a word or person’s name. Eventually you are able to recall the information.

Déjà entendu – this translates into “already heard.” This is the experience of feeling as though you have already heard something but are not sure of the exact details.

Whether these experiences are due to reincarnation or our brains running slow or speeding up they are quite curious.


Categories: BlogDéjà vu

Cynthia Pelayo

Cynthia (cina) Pelayo is the author of short story collection Loteria and the young adult horror novel Santa Muerte published by Post Mortem Press. Her short stories and poems have appeared in DM, Weird Year, Flashes in the Dark, SNM Horror Magazine, Seedpod, Static Movement, and more. Pelayo is the Publisher/Gravedigger of Burial Day Books and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. She is currently at work on two novels and a series of short stories and poems. You can find her on Twitter at @cinapelayo or at cinapelayo.com