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Observations placeholder

Epilepsy from stress of divorce



Type of Spiritual Experience


The light is his higher spirit, he was very close to meeting her

A description of the experience


My experiences with the temporal lobes of the brain started when I was seven years old. While living in a Catholic orphanage, I came down with temporal lobe epilepsy. Finding myself living in that place, which otherwise was a very good home for children, created a lot of stress, and I think, triggered the disorder.

I was not an orphan, though. The circumstances of my parents' divorce had placed my brothers and I there. We still had a family, and we visited them whenever we could.

One Sunday evening, sitting in my grandmother's dining room, eating vanilla ice cream, I suddenly left my body. I floated just below the ceiling and looked down on my brothers and my father all having their ice-cream. I was completely terrified. I now know that I was feeling fear because the "fear center" in my brain was involved in the process. During the seizure, my thoughts filled the gap. I was very sure that something was wrong with being out of my body. Actually, I was afraid that I would get punished somehow. My upbringing was Catholic; fairly traditional, and nowhere in the Catholic dogma I had learned was there any talk of out-of-body experiences. I felt very sure that out-of- body experiences were not allowed, and if you got caught having one, you'd get in trouble.

So there I was, floating beneath the ceiling, terrified, and wanting nothing more than to get back into my body. I don't know how I did it, but somehow I "willed" myself back into my body. But the seizure was more forceful than I was, and I couldn't stay there. As I remember this experience, which was the most powerful out of body experience I had, I spent some time being in my body and out of it at the same time. Since then, I've read about other experiences like this. But at the time, I thought I was the only one.

I didn't have a lot of out-of- body experiences, but there was another experience that I did have often, and I remember being sure that they happened every single night. I told an adult that I didn't sleep at night, but they refused to believe me.

What would happen was that I wake up in the middle of the night with a feeling that everything was very dense and heavy. I was amazed and frightened at my own strength at being able, say, to move my arm. I laid absolutely still, afraid to use my own body. With my eyes open, I experienced macropsia. Macropsia is a visual illusion that everything around you is very large and very far away. When my eyes were closed, I seemed to be looking into an infinite space. At the center of the space, and unimaginable distance away, there was a point of light. And absolutely brilliant, incredibly powerful light. Its presence before me seemed to have a tremendously emphatic quality; as if it were shouting something at me. I had a strong sense that it was trying to say something very specific. And, whatever it was, I did not want to hear it. I actually has a strong feeling wanted to kill me. Now I know that it was quite a valid perception. That infinite space, and the light that I was seeing, both happen in the near-death-experiences. My intimation that it had something to do with dying was actually quite accurate.

 I experienced other strange things during my seizures, but nothing else with quite so much impact. I felt strange electric buzzes and tingles running through my body and a very-difficult-to-describe sense that the inside of my body was white. The word refers to a color, but this was not a visual experience. I "felt" white on the inside. As though it were a sound I was 'seeing'.

The workers at the orphanage knew that something was wrong with me. I began to manifest the syndrome, very much like schizophrenia, that a lot of temporal lobe epileptics have. I was in a state of anxiety almost all the time. I developed an unfortunate liking for smelling bad, and I became very interested in religion.

I was all of 7 years old at the time.

I went to Mass as often as I could, I attended benediction, donated lots of my pocket money to charities, and began to want to be a priest. I was sure that I was not really good enough for the job, though. I felt sure God must have been angry with me, or else he would not given me all those experiences. Still, I enjoyed the Catholic ceremonies, and I felt good attending them as long as I didn't have to wear a tie.

Eventually, I left the orphanage, and went to live with my father and stepmother. Slowly, the seizures tapered off. And so did the strange behaviors I enacted between them.

I continued to have a brief seizure-like events for a long time afterwards. During my seizures, the point of light had an emphatic quality. As my epilepsy tapered off, almost anything that had an emphatic quality could send chills and tingles running through my body. I became psychic for awhile, too. If an object was missing, I could mentally divide the House in half, and I would " know " which side of the house to was on. And I could divide that space in half, and know which side it was on. I could repeat the process until only a very small area remained. Then, I would walk over and pick up the object I was looking for.

All of these things stopped when puberty began. Later I learned that this is the typical pattern; that most pediatric temporal lobe epilepsy stops with the onset of puberty.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps