Common steps and sub-activities
If you read any of the articles or descriptions of sensory deprivation on the Internet, they nearly all – erroneously in my opinion – associate sensory deprivation with torture, punishment and brainwashing, but this simply shows that sensory deprivation can be misapplied and misused. But it also shows that if sensory deprivation is enforced, a person probably will hallucinate.
In the middle ages, for example, when prisoners were confined to lightless underground dungeons, the main senses were certainly extremely deprived – particularly those of sight and sound. Since they also received very little food, taste sensation was also deprived and only touch remained as the main sensation. Prisoners in these times experienced numerous hallucinations and many religious prisoners experienced what they perceived to be visits by angels as a result.
Depending on the degree of isolation – in effect the level of sensory deprivation - the spiritual experience can be almost complete. Isolation of this sort is likely to completely subdue the function of Reason - to considerable effect. What I find extraordinary is that this method is used as a means of getting information from people. Not because of the cruelty, which is bad enough, but because at this level of deprivation the person will no longer know what is reality and what not – whatever is told will be a fiction.
Given that torture of this sort will never in a month of Sundays elicit reliable information, one can only assume that it is perpetrated on someone by a sheer wanton and wicked act of cruelty.