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Observations placeholder

Grof, Dr Stanislav - Dana relives a traumatic experience from infancy



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

LSD Doorway to the Numinous – Dr Stanislav Grof

In such special instances, interviewing the living witnesses, as well as other types of investigations, often revealed the striking accuracy of some of these memories [perceptions].  It became obvious that events from early childhood and even infancy can be re-enacted in LSD sessions with incredible fidelity concerning even the tiniest detail.  This could be questioned in cases where the patient took the initiative and collected the necessary evidence himself; one can imagine numerous ways in which the data could be contaminated under these circumstances.  Much of the most striking supportive evidence came, however, from situations in which the examination was done by professionals, who were systematically and meticulously avoiding any possible suggestive influence on the part of the subjects or witnesses in order to prevent contamination….

Dana, a patient with rather severe and complicated neurotic symptoms, relived in one of her LSD sessions a traumatic episode from infancy that she tentatively located at the end of her first year of life.  She described in great detail the interior of the room where this event happened to the point of being able to draw the elaborate pattern of embroidery on the bedspread and tablecloth.

Dana’s mother was independently asked to give her description of the room in question.  When confronted with the material from the patient, she was absolutely astonished by the accuracy of the account concerning the traumatic event as well as its physical setting.  Like many other parents confronted with such relivings, she found the idea of her daughter’s having such reliable access to the circumstances of her early childhood rather startling and embarrassing.  It activated in her strong guilt feelings and a tendency to apologetic explanations.  She could not understand the mechanism by which this early memory was recovered.  The description of the room was photographically accurate, even in the minutest detail and its authenticity was unquestionable because of the very unusual character of the furniture and some of the objects involved.  The room had a mirror of quite extraordinary design, the crucifix on the wall was an unusual piece of work, and the embroidery and furniture had very specific features.  In this case, there did not seem to exist a possibility that this information could have been transmitted by some other means.  Before the patient was two years old, the family left this house; shortly afterwards it was condemned and torn down.  The interior decoration of the room was not part of the new life; Dana’s mother gave away many of the things that formed the setting of the relived incident.  There were no photographs of the room or of any described pieces and the mother did not remember ever having mentioned any of the objects in front to the patient.

The source of the experience

Grof, Dr Stanislav

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps