Hustvedt, Siri - Sees a small pink man and his pink ox
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Not every migraine has a prologue or “aura,” and not every aura is followed by a headache. Nevertheless, these overtures to pain or isolated events are the most peculiar aspect of the illness and may offer insights into the nature of perception itself. …..
………….. my most remarkable pre-migraine event was hallucinatory.
I was lying in bed reading a book by Italo Svevo, and for some reason, looked down, and there they were: a small pink man and his pink ox, perhaps six or seven inches high. They were perfectly made creatures and, except for their color, they looked very real. They didn’t speak to me, but they walked around, and I watched them with fascination and a kind of amiable tenderness. They stayed for some minutes and then disappeared. I have often wished they would return, but they never have…….
Lilliputian hallucinations before migraine are rare. There are other documented cases, however. The neurologist Klaus Podoll, who will soon be contributing to this site, has written about a woman who during her migraine attacks sees amusing little beetles with faces that run across her floor and ceiling. Another reported case involved tiny Indians, and yet another, a dwarf. It wasn’t until after my duo had vanished that I understood I had seen a miniature version of two legendary, oversized characters from my childhood in Minnesota: Paul Bunyon and his blue ox, Babe. The giant man and his huge animal that I had read about in stories had shrunk dramatically and turned pink. It was then that I asked myself about the content of the hallucination. What did it mean that my aura took that form, rather than something else? Are these visions purely nonsensical? What memory traces are activated during these experiences? ……
I don’t see a consensus coming any time soon. Migraine auras of light, color, black holes and fogs, of high feeling and dread, and of peculiar little creatures that run or dance or just amble about occupy a special place in the medical literature. They are anomalies, no doubt, tics of the nervous system that affect some, not all, but they could well help explain more general human qualities — who we are, what we feel, and how we see. I suspect that everyone has a few Lilliputians in hiding. It may be just a question of whether they pop out or not