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Oliver Sacks - Annie M and the Geometric drawings



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


This may be partly symbolic, but the symbolism is personal, only she will know the meaning

A description of the experience

Oliver Sacks – Hallucinations

Annie M had run a high fever for several days. She first saw the patterns whenever she closed her eyes…..

The initial drawings were geometric but then evolved into monsters and other rather unpleasant creatures … the drawings were not one colour. I was not enjoying this at all because I wanted to sleep. Once a drawing was complete it was copied so all four or six or eight quadrants of my visual field would be full of these identical pictures

These drawings were succeeded by richly coloured images that reminded her of Brueghel paintings. Increasingly, these too became full of monsters and subdivided themselves, polyopically, into a cluster of identical mini Brueghels.

Then came a more radical change. Anne found herself in the back of "a 1950s chinese bus on a propaganda tour of Chinese christian churches." she recalls watching a movie on religious freedom in china projected onto the rear window of the bus.

 But the viewpoint kept changing-both the movie and the bus suddenly tilted to odd angles, and it was unclear, at one point, whether a church spire she saw was "real," outside the bus, or part of the movie. Her strange journey occupied the greater part of a feverish and insomniac night.

The source of the experience

Sacks, Oliver

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps