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Observations placeholder

Sensory deprivation, the panic button and Room 101



Type of Spiritual Experience



There is the implication here that this person had a deep seated fear that he never had the courage to face.  Perception recall can produce perceptions of the current life, but there is the possibility it may also produce past lives, as such the fear may be a by-product of some past life experience.  Lots of 'ifs' and 'buts' and speculation here, but I think it worth exploring, as there may indeed be no benefit in exploring a past life and reawakening buried perceptions if they are having no effect on this life.


A description of the experience

Inside the Black Room – Dr Jack Vernon

In the beginning of our studies we were very apprehensive about the condition of those who would use the panic button.  We naturally feared the worst and expected these subjects to emerge from S.D. in a state of high agitation or real panic. That worry proved groundless. With one exception, when our subjects asked for early release they always came out in a quiet, calm, and completely collected manner……

The one subject who emerged in a disturbed manner left no doubt that he was very upset by S.D. Oddly enough, we were unable to find why he differed so much from others who pushed the panic button; he reported only that while in S.D. he experienced fear, and that fear caused him to push the button. Beyond saying that he was afraid of losing control of himself he was unable to say what he feared. His first thought that he was losing control occurred after being in S.D. for about ten hours, when he suddenly and for no evident reason started sobbing. After this he resorted to prayer, and when that did not help he began to contemplate the panic button. He ended his confinement after eleven hours.

Every time I think of this person I think of George Orwell's book 1984 and its reference to Room 101.

It was in Room 101 that political prisoners encountered their innermost secret fears. Our subject must have encountered in S.D. something like them. It seems that such fears must always be intangible, unknown emotions that have not been dulled by experience. Such was the fear expressed by our subject. He had only a nightmarish idea of his trouble, so that he was unable even to identify it. Obviously this is the worst kind of fear, as reason cannot be used to allay it. If his fear has been identified as, say, that of darkness or closeness, or something concrete, he could have at least partially dispelled it by a rational approach. But he was unable to do this because his was more in the nature of pure fear than a specific fear.

As I have already stated, the other subjects who demanded an early release from S.D. were not nearly so disturbed as the case above.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Sensory deprivation