This paper describes a novel method for displaying data obtained by three-dimensional medical imaging, by which the position and orientation of a freely movable screen are optically tracked and used in real time to select the current slice from the data set for presentation. With this method, which we call a “freely moving in-situ medical image”, the screen and imaged data are registered to a common coordinate system in space external to the user, at adjustable scale, and are available for free exploration. The three-dimensional image data occupy empty space, as if an invisible patient is being sliced by the moving screen. A behavioral study using real computed tomography lung vessel data established the superiority of the in situ display over a control condition with the same free exploration, but displaying data on a fixed screen (ex situ), with respect to accuracy in the task of tracing along a vessel and reporting spatial relations between vessel structures. A “freely moving in-situ medical image” display appears from these measures to promote spatial navigation and understanding of medical data.