Ever since the dawn of our species, our minds have shaped the world we live. From problem-solving to forming ideas and executing them, everything we see around us is a product of the human mind, but there is so much more to our minds than the capability to ideate and innovate. Check out some of the weirdest phenomena that can take place in our minds.
1Déjà vu – having the feeling that the situation currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past
Déjà vu is feeling like you have already felt or experienced the same thing you are experiencing right now. Usually, it happens, you feel a sense of familiarity and strangeness as if you had already experienced it before, but you can’t pinpoint when or where. Some attribute this occurrence to dreams, and you feel Déjà vu when the same happens in reality. However, others believe that it arises because you have experienced the same situation sometime in your past but cannot entirely recollect it.
2Déjà visité – Having an uncanny knowledge of a place you've never visited before
Déjà visité makes you feel like you already know a place that you have never seen. Some people feel a strange sense of familiarity when they visit certain areas, but at the same time are baffled about how or why. This condition is formed on spatial relationships, and some are affected by it more than others. Many throughout history have documented this strange phenomenon by writing down their experiences in books and short stories. Still, no one has been able to understand exactly why or how such a phenomenon exists.
3Capgras Delusion – Believing that someone close to you has been replaced by an imposter
This phenomenon makes you believe that a close friend or family member got swapped with an imposter who looks exactly like them. Centuries ago, in medieval times, there were many stories about babies being stolen and switched by changelings. Changelings were believed to be fairy children in medieval folklore. Even today, there are hundreds of thousands of people who believe that someone close to them got abducted and was replaced by aliens. The Capgras delusion is mostly found in those who have schizophrenia, but it can occur with other mental disorders too.
4Fregoli Delusion – Thinking that everyone around you is actually one person with many disguises
The Fregoli delusion is similar to the Capgras delusion, but there are some significant differences. People who suffer from this delusion think that the world around them is filled with one person different wearing disguises and living as other people. Paranoia is common among individuals with this phenomenon. It was named after an actor named Leopoldo Fregoli who was famous for changing into different costumes during his performances.
5Prosopagnosia – Not being able to recognize faces of people you already know
Prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, is a unique phenomenon that makes it impossible for people to recognize the faces of their friends, family members, or anyone they already know. Those who are affected by this condition usually use their other senses—such as smell or touch—to recognize others. Some even remember hairstyles or voices for identification. Those afflicted also have a difficult time identifying locations, animals, and landmarks. It is believed that nearly 2% of the world’s population suffers from this mental condition.
6Apophenia – Seeing patterns where none exist
Apophenia makes people see patterns that don’t exist. Their minds create a familiar image on the mundane objects like a loaf of bread or a stain on the wall because their brains have a higher tendency to arrange and process pattern recognition. You might have heard stories about people stating that they saw the image of Jesus Christ on a Dorito and so forth—apophenia is what makes them see those images.
7Cotard Delusion – The sufferer holds the delusional belief that they are already dead
The Cotard delusion is also known as the “walking corpse” syndrome. The affected person believes that they are dead. Some even believe that they have no organs and blood. Some stop eating and drinking as they are convinced that they do not need any nourishment for survival.
People affected by this condition are also prone to severe depression. Treatment is essential for sufferers, as they can severely damage their health if left on their own.
8Alice in Wonderland syndrome – A disorienting neurological condition that affects perception
Alice in Wonderland syndrome (or Todd syndrome) is a condition that makes someone see the objects around them as larger or smaller than they are. This condition is not permanent—it appears in in short durations, but may occur several times a day. It is named after Alice in Wonderland not only because Alice experiences similar situations, but also because author Lewis Carroll was believed to have suffered from it. The syndrome also generally targets children by affecting their visual perception.
9Hyperthymesia – The condition of possessing an extremely detailed autobiographical memory
This phenomenon gives some the ability to remember just about everything that has ever happened in their lives in intricate detail. Sometimes, this ability doesn’t appear until later in life, and there have been cases in which people remember everything that happened after a particular age but have very few memories of experiences before. It is also extremely rare—only 20 people in the world have this ability.
10Boanthropy – The sufferer believes he or she is a cow or ox
This disorder makes someone believe that they’re a cow or an ox. They usually become vegetarian and start developing a taste for grass. In more severe cases, they crawl on all fours and eat grass without using their hands.
King Nebuchadnezzar, in the Book of Daniel, is said to have been a sufferer. In the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar was punished by God for his pride. He lost his mind and lived as an animal for seven years before God restored his sanity. Its exact cause is still unknown, but it is believed that anxiety plays a vital part in this condition.