Can we imagine how our intrepid Star Trek hero Capt. James T. Kirk would feel if instead of vanishing in a twinkle to be reformed whole at another location the transporter so famous for bailing him out of precarious situations somehow malfunctioned and transported away only his mind while leaving his body behind? While this might not serve well for a science fiction serial, something very similar actually does seem to be happening in the here and now as reported by medical science exploring the workings of the human brain.
This one of the many interesting things discussed and reported on in The Brain Science Podcast in a program covering a book about Body Maps: (listen to mp3) and a followup interview with author Sandra Blakeslee (follow-up on episode 21): (listen to mp3). Another discription and review of the book is also provided by this link:
The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps Help You Do (almost) Everything Better
If we are searching for possible scientific explanations for what happens when people have an out of body and/or near death experience, as well as a better understanding of what might be interpreted as a mystical or even religious experience, what better way to start than by sticking an electrode into someone's brain? On one side of the brain we can get "out of body" experiences, while on the other we can meet spooky interlopers. Then there are also the other Phantoms in the Brain to consider.
Yes, this all does seem to have some mystical implications, but doesn't it sound quicker and less painful than the ways some people seek a vision (spirituality) such as taking a lengthy Vision quest into the wilderness? In retrospect such trips would seem by accident or design to induce an increased level of mental stress quite like that derived by other mystics who use various methods of systematic physical deprevation until the right mental state is reached. More modern "seekers" have simply resorted to dropping Lsd or another such hallucinogen to find their own "Instant Karma".
No wonder some religious orders actually ban their followers from seeking modern, scientific medical help with the brain research doctors now seemingly invading their territory. Such continued research on how the brain works, however, also promises a better understanding of things like the Placebo effect, Accupuncture and other esoteric faith based healing practices such as faith and/or touch healing, Reiki, and the like. On the down side, such scientific findings are also sure to be fully exploited and even misrepresented by various self-serving quacks whose main plan is to get rich.
But for now, the always logical and pragmatic "Spock" types who can put off getting their bodies transported might still be able to go "where no man has gone before" with at least some remote viewing. Maybe the phrase to be used should be, "Wire me up, Scotty!"