Reality shifting phenomenon takes over TikTok 

Alex Sumas, news correspondent

Have you ever wanted to go to Hogwarts, to fly on a magic broom, to take potions with Snape or to become friends with the Golden Trio? According to fantasy fans on TikTok, you can.

Harry Potter fans on the app have recently been “reality shifting” to place themselves in the magical world of Hogwarts. In reality shifting, you can insert yourself into an alternate reality through precise planning and meditation.

Ashley Vasque, a junior in high school from South Brunswick, New Jersey, has been shifting for a few years. Now, she’s sharing her knowledge and tips with others from her TikTok account, @accio.ashley

The first time Vasque shifted was an accident. She was 13 and was listening to music when it happened. 

“I was obsessed with Harry Potter at that point. All of the sudden I felt extremely weird. I woke up, and I swear on my life that I felt like I was at Hogwarts,” she said. “It was the craziest feeling.” 

After doing some research on the phenomenon, she practiced until she perfected how to shift.While there are various ways to do so, most of them involve scripting and then entering a meditative state. Scripting is when you write out the specifics of your desired reality. You can script anything you want from what year at Hogwarts you want to be in, your backstory and how time passes. 

Mavi Jucah, a 15-year-old from Florida whose TikTok account @mavijucah has over 166,000 followers, scripted her family, her appearance and  also how time will pass. For every one hour that she sleeps, she spends one month at Hogwarts.

“I don’t like scripting friendships because then it will be forced,” Jucah said. She also scripted that Voldemort isn’t part of the world, allowing for her and her peers to enjoy Hogwarts as normal students.

Once the scripting process is done, it’s time to shift. Vasque’s preferred method is the “tunnel method.”

 “You first lay down in any position that you find comfortable. As you’re laying down you close your eyes and visualize your soul,” Vasque said, and added that you can picture your soul in any form. In her case, she sees her soul as an orb. “As you visualize it, you are going to see a tunnel, a very long tunnel, and then that orb is essentially going into the tunnel.”

At the end of the tunnel, she imagines the Slytherin common room: how it looks, what people are there and how it smells. Finally, she visualizes her desired reality self asleep in bed and puts the orb with her energy into her sleeping self. 

Jucah, on the other hand, shifts by saying affirmations and visualizing where she wants to go. However, many people find that they get distracted or fall asleep before they can shift. 

“One time, my mind kept drifting off to ‘The Vampire Diaries’ so I woke up there,” Jucah said. 

Once in the desired reality, everything functions like usual. You can touch and feel things, and time passes the same way. Shifters take classes and write essays as would normal students, while befriending some of their favorite characters. 

In order to leave her desired reality, Vasque scripted herself to say the word “pumpkin.” Depending on how you script, you can spend months at a time in your desired reality only to wake up back in your own bed hours later.

Jucah finds herself feeling tired for a few days after. Those who shift also often report attachment issues since they formed bonds with the people in their desired realities. 

“I know people who have really hard issues in their current reality because they just get so attached to their desired reality that they want to be shifting at moments where maybe they shouldn’t be trying to shift,” Vasque said. 

Of course, with shifting comes skepticism. While many people theorize that shifters are simply lucid dreaming, Vasque and Jucah both have had lucid dreams before and find there is a difference. 

“[With shifting] things feel real. You could eat stuff. You could touch stuff. You can talk to people.” Jucah said. “ It feels real, while lucid dreaming just feels like a dream.”

For many many shifters, the phenomenon stems from the multiverse theory, which claims that there are an infinite number of realities.

 “Basically, it’s like your consciousness going to that reality,” Jucah said. “You already exist in that universe, and you’re just moving in consciousness there.”

Dr. Susan Martinez-Conde, director of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, sees shifting as a use of our imagination that has not been studied. 

Martinez-Conde made the point that our visual and sensory cognitive reality can be dissociated from the actual sensory world that we are in. 

“Reading the [Harry Potter] books, we can see these characters in front of us and we can get scared when Voldemort does something evil. We can have these emotions and feelings. We can taste foods that the characters are tasting and hear sounds that they are hearing.” Martinez-Conde said. “And we can do that just by the immersive experience that it is to read a book and will not feel the chair we’re sitting on because we are immersed in this alternate reality the book offers.”

It is this immersive use of our imaginations that she uses to understand shifting.

 “If we can experience that just by reading a book, why not while experiencing your own screen, your own book that you’re basically writing in your head?” she said. 

Martinez-Conde also noted that social media has become a way for people to share facets of the human experience that aren’t commonly talked about. 

While shifting wasn’t a topic previously discussed by the public, Martinez-Conde sees it as a field to explore, not something to be dismissed. 

“Internet communities started to form around [ASMR] and that was before the scientific community took notice, and now you can find a few peer-reviewed papers about ASMR,” she said. “I think that there’s enough evidence that ASMR can be a very real experience for many people, but not everybody experiences it. You have a range of human experience.”

Both Vasque and Jucah stumbled upon shifting by themselves years before they were on TikTok. Now, the platform has given them the opportunity to compare experiences and help others shift to whatever reality they desire.