Déjà Vu
A French term used by psychical researchers to characterize
the feeling people sometimes have that some scene or experience
in the present also occurred in the past. Déjà vu (already
seen) is often coupled with déjà entendu (already heard).
Through the years, many have related the feelings of déjà vu
to the phenomenon of astral projection or out-of-the-body
travel, when individuals apparently visit a distant place in an
astral or etheric body during sleep. Déjà vu is also associated
with fulfillment of a prior premonition of a forthcoming event.
More recently, déjà vu has been connected to experiences
of reincarnation, when a feeling of prior knowledge is so
strong that people feel sure it must have come from a former
incarnation. In a celebrated case in India, a little girl named
Shanti Devi, born in Delhi in 1926, claimed that she had lived
elsewhere in a former birth, and even named the city. When
taken there, she correctly identified the house, family, and
other circumstantial details.
Feelings of déjà vu are rarely evidential or even reliable.
Scenes in the present may only appear familiar because they
contain some element connected with a past experience and reactivate
the sensation of familiarity. Psychologists have characterized
the phenomenon of false remembering as ‘‘postidentifying
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.