When time stood still

Source: Wikimedia/S Sepp

Source: Wikimedia/S Sepp

This, from the BBC, is fascinating:

…It started as a headache, but soon became much stranger. Simon Baker entered the bathroom to see if a warm shower could ease his pain. “I looked up at the shower head, and it was as if the water droplets had stopped in mid-air”, he says. “They came into hard focus rapidly, over the course of a few seconds”. Where you’d normally perceive the streams as more of a blur of movement, he could see each one hanging in front of him, distorted by the pressure of the air rushing past. The effect, he recalls, was very similar to the way the bullets travelled in the Matrix movies. “It was like a high-speed film, slowed down.”

The next day, Baker went to hospital, where doctors found that he had suffered an aneurysm. The experience was soon overshadowed by the more immediate threat to his health, but in a follow-up appointment, he happened to mention what happened to his neurologist, Fred Ovsiew at Northwestern University in Chicago, who was struck by the vivid descriptions. “He was a very bright guy, and very eloquent” says Ovsiew, who recently wrote about Baker in the journal NeuroCase. (Baker’s identity was anonymised, which is typical for such studies, so this is not his real name).

There’s more:

It’s easy to assume that time flows at the same rate for everybody, but experiences like Baker’s show that our continuous stream of consciousness is a fragile illusion, stitched together by the brain’s clever editing. By studying what happens during such extreme events, researchers are revealing how and why the brain plays these temporal tricks – and in some circumstances, they suggest, all of us can experience time warping.

Read it all, here.