Been Here Before? Possible Causes of Déjà Vu Explained

Been Here Before? Possible Causes of Deja Vu Explained

( – Most of us have had that eerie feeling at least once: I’ve been here before. Déjà vu has mystical roots for some people, and anyone who’s had the experience at least once can attest that it can feel like a supernatural event. However, there are other possible explanations that don’t involve past lives, time travel, or multiple planes of existence. Here are a few contenders.

Unrecalled Memories

Memory can be a funny thing, and we don’t always have direct recall of every event we experience. Some memories get buried under so much other information that we barely have anything left of them to grasp onto. However, when faced with similar experiences, our minds might find new connections to those unrecalled memories, with the resulting familiarity creating the illusion of déjà vu.

Partial Familiarity

We humans don’t always pay as much attention to our surroundings as we think we do. In some cases, we have actually been there before — or somewhere similar enough — but we weren’t paying close enough attention to make any clear mental notes. Like the unrecalled memory, the partial memory might place the location as strangely familiar, but merely because we only had an inattentive glimpse of it the first time around.

False Memories

In some cases, we can trick ourselves into believing we remember a place or event. Our brains are easy to influence, especially when it comes to our memories. With little suggestion, for example, we can decide an unfamiliar location actually does spark a distant memory. Some researchers believe déjà vu might be a sort of glitch in which we find familiarity where it never actually existed.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Most cases of déjà vu are completely harmless, but a small number of cases could be the result of epileptic seizures. Researchers have found activity in the brain that results from temporal lobe epilepsy might cause changes in memory storage and recall. Some people report experiencing déjà vu right before the onset of some seizures.


Some people with dementia experience déjà vu as a symptom of their illness. Healthline reports that they may also create false memories to fit with the sense of familiarity they may feel. People concerned about the possibility of dementia — problems with memory, cognition, problem-solving and personal care — should talk to their doctors for testing and treatment options.

Déjà vu might not be as mystical as it feels, but the experience is likely to be memorable. Whatever the cause, it can be notable enough to pull a person from the moment and thrust them into a few seconds of wonder and deep thought. So maybe, at least for most of us, there’s a little magic in the moment, after all.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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