Some people claim that they have experienced out-of-body experiences - aka “astral trips” - floating outside of their bodies and watching themselves from the outside. A team of scientists found someone who says she can do this at will and put her into a brain scanner. What they discovered was surprisingly strange.
She was able to see herself rotating in the air above her body, lying flat, and rolling along with the horizontal plane. She reported sometimes watching herself move from above but remained aware of her unmoving “real” body. The participant reported no particular emotions linked to the experience.
How the hell is this possible? Can it be real? The researchers found that something dramatic, and consistent with her account, was happening in her brain: The fMRI showed a “strong deactivation of the visual cortex” while “activating the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery,” which includes mental imagery of bodily movement. This is the part of the brain that makes it possible for us to interact with the world. It’s what makes you feel where your body is in relation to the world.
Mental imagery of bodily movement.
I guess since your brain buffers the signals of thousands of nerves from the body parts, it gives the analytical mind a “simpler” mental image of the body, and in some people that image might show up weirdly, or more clearly sometimes, maybe if they shut off the visual cortex.