Seeing Things? Hearing Things? Many of Us Do
By Oliver Sacks | NYTimes.com
Hallucinations are very startling and frightening: you suddenly see, or hear or smell something ó something that is not there. Your immediate, bewildered feeling is, what is going on? Where is this coming from? The hallucination is convincingly real, produced by the same neural pathways as actual perception, and yet no one else seems to see it. And then you are forced to the conclusion that something ó something unprecedented ó is happening in your own brain or mind. Are you going insane, getting dementia, having a stroke?
In other cultures, hallucinations have been regarded as gifts from the gods or the Muses, but in modern times they seem to carry an ominous significance in the public (and also the medical) mind, as portents of severe mental or neurological disorders. Having hallucinations is a fearful secret for many people ó millions of people ó never to be mentioned, hardly to be acknowledged to oneself, and yet far from uncommon. The vast majority are benign ó and, indeed, in many circumstances, perfectly normal. Most of us have experienced them from time to time, during a fever or with the sensory monotony of a desert or empty road, or sometimes, seemingly, out of the blue.
Many of us, as we lie in bed with closed eyes, awaiting sleep, have so-called hypnagogic hallucinations ó geometric patterns, or faces, sometimes landscapes. Such patterns or scenes may be almost too faint to notice, or they may be very elaborate, brilliantly colored and rapidly changing ó people used to compare them to slide shows.
At the other end of sleep are hypnopompic hallucinations, seen with open eyes, upon first waking. These may be ordinary (an intensification of color perhaps, or someone calling your name) or terrifying (especially if combined with sleep paralysis) ó a vast spider, a pterodactyl above the bed, poised to strike.
Hallucinations (of sight, sound, smell or other sensations) can be associated with migraine or seizures, with fever or delirium. In chronic disease hospitals, nursing homes, and I.C.U.ís, hallucinations are often a result of too many medications and interactions between them, compounded by illness, anxiety and unfamiliar surroundings.
But hallucinations can have a positive and comforting role, too ó this is especially true with bereavement hallucinations, seeing the face or hearing the voice of oneís deceased spouse, siblings, parents or child ó and may play an important part in the mourning process. Such bereavement hallucinations frequently occur in the first year or two of bereavement, when they are most ďneeded.Ē
Working in old-age homes for many years, I have been struck by how many elderly people with impaired hearing are prone to auditory and, even more commonly, musical hallucinations ó involuntary music in their minds that seems so real that at first they may think it is a neighborís stereo.
People with impaired sight, similarly, may start to have strange, visual hallucinations, sometimes just of patterns but often more elaborate visions of complex scenes or ranks of people in exotic dress. Perhaps 20 percent of those losing their vision or hearing may have such hallucinations.
Read the full article at: nytimes.com
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Marcel Kuijsten - Julian Jaynes, the Bicameral Mind & The Origin of Consciousness
Marcel Kuijsten - Entheogens, Dreams, the Unconscious & Neurology
Anthony Peake - Hour 1 - The Nature of Reality & Twilight Zones of Consciousness
John Hall & Don Raumake - Government Spying, Internet Privacy, UFO Experience Replication Technology & The God Helmet
Anthony Peake - Cheating The Ferryman & The Daemon
Rick Strassman - Inner Paths to Outer Space & The Soul of Prophecy
Graham Hancock - Entangled, Supernatural, Shamanism & The Origins of Consciousness
Boca Do Acre: Hub for hallucinogenic Amazon religion
Chopinís hallucinations possibly due to epilepsy
Deadly and hallucinogenic Amazonian plant shoots up in British garden
Uncoiling the spiral: Maths and hallucinations
Does Chinaís Cat-Eyed Boy Really Have Night Vision?
Did Steve Jobs Have a Death-Bed Vision?
Eternal Silence - Visions of Your Own Death?
Signs in the Sky: Constantineís Vision
Sleep Paralysis Visions: Demons, Succubi, and the Archetypal Mind
William Blake: What paintings of visions come
Latest News from our Front Page
No Jab, No Pay reforms: Religious exemptions for vaccination dumped
Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations will be scrapped to toughen Australia‚Äôs new ‚Äúno jab, no pay‚Äô‚Äô laws stripping welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison revealed he is dumping the last remaining exemption on the books after holding talks with religious leaders.
Just a week after The Sunday Telegraph revealed Mr Morrison was scrapping exemptions ...
Inside David Lynch: An Esoteric Guide to Twin Peaks
‚ÄėI learned that just beneath the surface there‚Äôs another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper.‚Äô ‚Äď David Lynch
If you‚Äôve ever sensed the flimsy, thin veneer of what parades itself as the good ole US of A, and felt a bit like you‚Äôve been sold a fake, then David Lynch‚Äôs Twin Peaks is a series you must see. ...
Third-gender toilet sign ‚Äď now a reality in Sweden
If you don‚Äôt identify yourself as a man, a woman or are officially handicapped ‚ÄĒ where should you go to relieve yourself? In Sweden, the social justice warriors have solved the problem by inventing a third-gender toilet sign.
A couple of years ago, the Swedish language was introduced to a new personal pronoun, ‚Äúhen‚Äú, to replace gender specific hon (she) and ...
Feminist goes crazy when compared to Swedish nationalist
A picture of a media acclaimed feminist next to a young nationalist girl got real big attention in Swedish media last week. It is ‚Äúhate‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúmockery‚ÄĚ to show the difference between the two, according to the collective Swedish press.
When the young nationalist Hanna Lindholm (member of the Sweden Democratic Youth) published a picture on internet, where she compared ...
Massive pollution scandal in Norwegian fjord
The Norwegian government today gave the green light to one of the biggest single instances of pollution in the country's history. A new mine will dump its toxic tailings directly into the F√łrde fjord in the west of Norway.
"It is shocking that Norway is the only country in the world allow new projects of this kind", said Lars Haltbrekken of ...
|More News » |