Date: Tue Mar 22 1994 01:47:06
From: Fredric Rice
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
[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
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
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: email@example.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)