Date: Tue Mar 22 1994 01:47:06 To: All Subj: Hallucinations Attr: SKEPTIC - FR+gt; There i

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Date: Tue Mar 22 1994 01:47:06 From: Fredric Rice To: All Subj: Hallucinations Attr: SKEPTIC ------------------------------- FR> There is the possibility of the medical cure these days. FR> There is no need to experience hypnopompic or hypnogogic FR> hallucinatory events and then remain convinced that they FR> were evidence of your deities. ih> Could you please define the terms hypnopompic and hypnogogic ih> for me? I can't find them in my dictionary, and I would ih> like to have a precise definition. Sure! Yet first a quick run-down since the phenomena is very common yet badly misunderstood. (You'll need a psychology text or something a bit more acedemic than a dictionary for a mass- produced description of the terms.) But take care! I tend to enjoy this topic. You'll find 127 lines, in fact, about it: Most people experience hypnopompic or hypnogogic hallucinations (in their youth, usually, I understand) often while a student within a High School -- which should place the typical age group. Though it is recognized to be experienced at all ages. When such events are pleasurable, the phenomena is chased... the individual activly seeks to induce an event. It is much like the sensation of vertigo one often experiences when falling asleep is chased to see if it can be prolonged. It is much like the sensation of "de javu" (pardon my French) is chased when it is experienced. Chasing the sensation to prolong it builds practice and _does_ help to elongate the sensations. If the event is frightening, a pathology may build which also will induce an event. Most people pass them off as 'dreams,' since that is what they are yet, due to the awake state, the hallucinatory event is _very_ often considered "real." Hypnopompic/Hypnogogic: One of them (I never remember which) refers to a hallucinatory event which is experienced when the body is falling into sleep and the other refers to said event when the body is coming out of sleep. The _physical_ aspects which trigger events are fairly well known and understood. Medications can be employed which can break the cycle if a pathological need to induce an event is realized. The body, while asleep, experiences a chemical condition which turns- off nerves connected to motor muscles. Were it not to do so, we would end up with five and a half billion sleep-walkers and society would be very different than it is today -- yet, to base the fact that evolutionary processes must have selected against dreams inducing muscle movement, I would surmise that humans would have been rather different -- rather like cats which twitch greatly as they sleep. [As an aside, several years ago I, a programmer by profession and hobby, had written a note to Prof. Stephen Myers who taught biology at Southern Nevada Vocational Technical Center, Las Vegas, which commented that the ability to dream is evidenced a rather late- comer to human evolutionary development. Unlike many other animals which go stiff while asleep or don't move at all, we are generally quiet while asleep though there does seem to be a latent genetic predisposistion towards sleep-walking which may be more than merely psychological. My reasoning was that the development of chemical paralysis was required _prior_ the adoption of the dream state else humanity wouldn't have developed. Martin Goldberg will probably know what I'm talking about. I, myself, don't.] People who experience such hallucinations see, feel, and hear things for a number of physical reasons. There is noise in the optical system of a human eye often -- rub your eyes and you get treated to star bursts, waves, lines, circles, squares, spirals. There is often audatory noise in the ear when slipping into or falling out of sleep -- usually described as a "rushing of wind" or of water. Lastly, the paralysis continues for several seconds upon jump-starting fully awake. All of this drives the brain to resolve the sensory input. The preconceptions of the victim is what's important! The preconceptions of the individuals is what is interesting here. _Many_many_ people see an "old hag" -- indeed, the phenomena is actually called that -- "the Old Hag syndrome." She is usually sitting on the person's chest, on the person's feet, or at the foot of the bed. That conception is the most common. The religious zealots will see "Satan," usually, which reaffirms their conviction that there _is_ a 'Satan' god. (Indeed, I can recall listening to a Mormon tell the congregation about the night that he woke up and found 'Satan' standing over him. He talked about the classic symptoms of a hypnopompic/gogic hallucination.) We have had a participant -- Ron Stringfellow -- who probably fits well into this description. He had claimed often enough to have heard voices and "talked with god" several times -- which started in his youth -- something to be expected in the age group. Since we was a Pentecostal, a pathology developed and he obviously seeks to instigate such hypnotic events; it will get easier with practice. It reaffirms his belief in his deities and, as he had once admitted, he was "pretty big" on something he called "the rapture." Lately, however, the belief in flying saucers and aliens abducting people has imparted preconceptions in the minds of flying saucer believers so that, when they experience the phenomena, they will honestly-enough believe that they were abducted by the aliens that they clearly see around them. Again, the classic symptoms are offered -- paralysis, a sense of motion at times, noise or absolute silence (ticking clocks can't be heard.) When the vast majority fully wake up in their beds, they must believe that their memories have been tampered with -- hence claims of medical experimentation. A Pagan in this forum may have described her own experience for which she took the "vision" -- for wont of a better word I can spell -- to be the Earth goddess personified. Her back-up was the comment of a young girl she was baby-sitting who (she [claimes]) had innocently enough asked her who the old woman was who was in her room. This is _vastly_ important as the individual did not seem to have experienced the phenomena twice yet acquired confirmation through another young girl's own experience. So it is with all of the believers in the reality of such things. They believe that -- since there is confirmation of expectation -- it was real. I had asked for and received many personal stories about such experiences and, sadly, lost them six months ago or so when The Skeptic Tank in California went down with a hard-disk drive getting stuck. Participants in this forum provided input as did several in SKEPTIC and SCIENCE. ih> Internet: ian.hebert@homebase.com FidoNet: 1:2401/114 "Homebase?" The hardware store? Last week I spent over $1200 George Bush American Dollars at a Homebase, making an average of three trips a day for a week. --- * Origin: The Skeptic Tank, Holland, tilting at windmills (1:102/890)

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