They aren't real as far as we know. Every study that has sought to confirm them has failed. The big "aware" study just released this nice little tidbit:<quoted text> Hey buttsh*t, this proves you don't pay attention. I said I had what we call "OBEs" but I cannot be sure they are real. And you can't be sure they aren't real either. Just because they can be stimulated doesn't mean we know what they are exactly either. I actually lean toward believing that they are not real but how could I know? I lean toward believing the feeling I have that I am separate from my body ... is real, however. I'm not talking about my 5 senses being separate from the body, just my sense of being. You wouldn't know what I mean by that because I'm sure you never focused on your sense of being in your life, or if you did, were not focused or interested enough to make anything of it.
"The AWARE investigators have explained that owing to the exploratory nature of this study they do not anticipate there to be an end in the near future. Instead the study is likely to evolve into further research projects downstream with time. They are pleased to report the study is progressing well but have indicated that the results so far suggest more data and larger scale studies may be required. At this time, they anticipate being able to release the preliminary results obtained during the first five years of the study in September or October 2013 to mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of the study. This will be done through the appropriate scientific channels such as publications in scientific journals and possibly by means of a lecture, symposium or conference at a suitable venue if there is sufficient public interest. This would allow the data and results to be discussed in further detail."