Tag Archives | Hallucinations

Scientists Induce Hallucinations Of Past Memories Via Brain Zapping Procedure

PIC: PodvinskiJ (CC)

PIC: PodvinskiJ (CC)

Is it live? Or is it Memorex memory manipulating mind control technology soon to appear in “safe houses” and black sites around the United States?

Via New Scientist:

A 22-year-old man has been instantaneously transported to his family’s pizzeria and his local railway station – by having his brain zapped. These fleeting visual hallucinations have helped researchers pinpoint places where the brain stores visual location information.

Pierre Mégevand at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, and his colleagues wanted to discover just where in the brain we store and retrieve information about locations and places. They sought the help of a 22-year-old man being treated for epilepsy, because the treatment involved implanting electrodes into his brain that would record his neural activity.

Mégevand and his colleagues scanned the volunteer’s brain using functional MRI while he looked at pictures of different objects and scenes. They then recorded activity from the implanted electrodes as he looked at a similar set of pictures.

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The Ancient Art Of Self-Induced Hallucination

colorVia Nautilus, Rose Eveleth on meditation as an ancient method of harnessing one’s senses to open new doors of perception:

After five years of practicing meditation, subject number 99003 began to see the lights: “My eyes were closed, [and] there would be what appeared to be a moon-shaped object in my consciousness directly above me… When I let go I was totally enveloped inside this light… I was seeing colors and lights and all kinds of things going on… Blue, purple, red.”

Buddhist literature refers to lights and visions in myriad ways. The Theravada tradition refers to nimitta, an vision of a series of lights seen during meditation that can be taken to represent everything from the meditator’s pure mind to a visual symbol of a real object.

Hallucinations are relatively well-documented in the world of sensory deprivation, and they dovetail with the lights seen by meditators. Where meditators see shimmering ropes, electrical sparks, and rays of light, the sensory deprived might see visual snow, bright sunsets, and luminous fog.

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Were Prehistoric Cave Painters High On Hallucinogenic Plants?

cave paintingsDo psychedelics produce the common shapes and patterns found in prehistoric cave art around the world? Alternet reports:

Prehistoric cave paintings across the continents have similar geometric patterns not because early humans were learning to draw like Paleolithic pre-schoolers, but because they were high on drugs, and their brains—like ours—have a biological predisposition to “see” certain patterns, especially during consciousness altering states.

This thesis—that humanity’s earliest artists were not just reeling due to mind-altering activities, but deliberately sought those elevated states and gave greater meaning to those common visions—is the contention of a new paper by an international research team.

Their thesis intriguingly explores the “biologically embodied mind,” which they contend gave rise to similarities in Paleolithic art across the continents dating back 40,000 years, and can also be seen in the body painting patterns dating back even further

“The prevalence of certain geometric patterns in the symbolic material culture of many prehistoric cultures, starting shortly after the emergence of our biological species and continuing in some indigenous cultures until today, is explained in terms of the characteristic contents of biologically determined hallucinatory experience,” the researchers hypothesize.

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Applying Oneirogens For Better Dreaming

OneirogensVia Utne Reader, Jennifer Dumpert explains oneirogens, substances taken for dream enhancement and manipulation:

Mugwort: Promotes lucid dreams, “astral travel,” and visionary dreams. Contains thujone, the most active ingredient in absinthe.
Roman Chamomile: Calms dreams, reduces stress, and aids sleep. It is helpful for those who experience nightmares or restless sleep.
Lavender: Increases alpha waves, promoting tranquil, calm dreams. Relaxes the nervous system and reduces tension and irritability.

On the last Saturday of every month, Oneironauticum participants worldwide enter dream space together. We do this by sharing an oneirogen. An oneirogen is anything that induces vivid dreams. Our oneirogens are often substances, but sometimes they’re practices or sensory triggers. Whether it’s garlic, galantamine, or Tibetan Buddhist lucid-dream practices, if it promotes dreams and dream recall, we’ll try it. Sometimes our oneirogens are easy to come by. Other oneirogens, like Silene capensis or Blue Water lilies (Nymphaea caerulea), take some effort to find.

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Is Spirituality The Result Of A Combination Of Hallucinations And Happiness?

spirituality

Epiphenom suggests that positive moods and an inclination towards hallucinatory episodes may be the ingredients that produce the spiritual mindset:

Hallucinations and such like are actually a rather common part of the human experience – probably 70% of people experience some form of ‘unusual experiences’ at some time in their lives. You might think that hallucinations would be distressing, but people often report them to be quite pleasant. What’s more, spiritual people often report being happier than average.

James Schuurmans-Stekhoven, at the Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia, speculated that that the two might be causally related. In other words, he thinks that when basically happy people have ‘unusual experiences’ like auditory hallucinations, it inclines them to a spirtual worldview.

To test this, he surveyed Australians about their spirituality, their unusual experiences, and their positive affectivity (mood). As happiness and unusual experiences increase, so to does spirituality.

But [for] people with the lowest levels of unusual experiences, changing levels of positive affect has basically no effect on their spirituality.

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Hallucinated Sheet Music

Vaughan Bell writes at Mind Hacks:

Oliver Sacks has just published an article on ‘Hallucinations of musical notation’ in the neurology journal Brain that recounts eight cases of illusory sheet music escaping into the world.

The article makes the interesting point that the hallucinated musical notation is almost always nonsensical – either unreadable or not describing any listenable music – as described in this case study.

Arthur S., a surgeon and amateur pianist, was losing vision from macular degeneration. In 2007, he started ‘seeing’ musical notation for the first time. Its appearance was extremely realistic, the staves and clefs boldly printed on a white background ‘just like a sheet of real music’, and Dr. S. wondered for a moment whether some part of his brain was now generating his own original music. But when he looked more closely, he realized that the score was unreadable and unplayable. It was inordinately complicated, with four or six staves, impossibly complex chords with six or more notes on a single stem, and horizontal rows of multiple flats and sharps.

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Descendants Sue CIA Over Cold War Scientist’s Mysterious Death Following LSD Experiments

Bioweapons expert Frank Olson unwittingly served as a guinea pig in clandestine CIA mind-control experiments involving LSD. But was the purpose all along to assassinate him? Via the Huffington Post:

The sons of a Cold War scientist who plunged to his death in 1953 several days after unwittingly taking LSD in a CIA mind-control experiment sued the government Wednesday. They claimed the CIA murdered their father, Frank Olson, by pushing him from a 13th-story window of a hotel – not, as the CIA says, that he jumped to his death.

Olson was a bioweapons expert at Fort Detrick, the Army’s biological weapons research center in Maryland. The lawsuit claims the CIA killed Olson when he developed misgivings after witnessing extreme interrogations in which they allege the CIA committed murder using biological agents Olson had developed.

Olson consumed a drink laced with LSD by CIA agents on Nov. 19, 1953, the suit says.

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We’re All Tripping, All The Time…

Beau Lotto explains in his Ted Talk... ...and Ben Thomas interprets for Huffington Post:
The year was 1943, and the Pentagon had a problem. They'd poured millions of dollars into a new voice encryption system -- dubbed the "X System" -- but no one was certain how secure it was. So the top brass called in Claude Shannon to analyze their code and -- if all went well -- to prove that it was mathematically unbreakable. Shannon was a new breed of mathematician: A specialist in what's known today as information theory. To Shannon and his fellow theorists, information was something separate from the letters, numbers and facts it represented. Instead, it was something more abstract; more mathematical: in a word, it was non-redundancy...
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Oliver Sacks On Hallucinations

NYU Professor of Neurology Oliver Sacks spills the beans on hallucinations in the New York Times:

Hallucinations are very startling and frightening: you suddenly see, or hear or smell something — 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 — something unprecedented — 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 — millions of people — never to be mentioned, hardly to be acknowledged to oneself, and yet far from uncommon.

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