Out-of-body experiences and related phenomena in migraine art

Cephalalgia. 1999 Dec;19(10):886-96. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-2982.1999.1910886.x.


In a collection of 562 migraine art pictures, seven pieces illustrate various elements of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and related phenomena, including the somesthetic sensations of a duplicate or parasomatic body and the visual experiences of perceiving the own body, i.e. autoscopy, and its environment from a vantage point out of the body. Phenomenological features of the OBEs depicted are compared with 17 similar case reports reviewed from the literature. It is concluded that OBEs can occur as migraine aura symptom, which supports the notion that OBEs represent a preformed functional response of the brain. This neuropsychological theory supplements existing psychological theories of OBEs, which consider the said phenomena as representing hallucinatory experiences based on imagination and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Hallucinations / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine with Aura / complications
  • Migraine with Aura / psychology*
  • Paintings / psychology*