Thurber, James - Blindness was brilliant, star studded and sprinkled with pixie dust
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Phantoms in the Brain – Dr V. S. Ramachandran [Professor and Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition, University of California and visiting fellow All Souls College, Oxford]
When James Thurber was six years old, a toy arrow shot accidentally at him by his brother impaled his right eye and he never saw out of that eye again. In the years after the accident his left eye also started progressively deteriorating so that by the time he was 35 he had become completely blind. Yet ironically, far from being an impediment, Thurber's blindness [was a help]....... his visual field, instead of being dark and dreary, was filled with hallucinations, and created for him a fantastic world of surrealistic images. For Thurber, blindness was brilliant, star studded and sprinkled with pixie dust...
Thurber once wrote to his ophthalmologist
Years ago you told me about a nun of the middle centuries who confused her retinal disturbances with holy visitation, although she saw only about one tenth of the holy symbols I see. Mine have included a Blue Hoover, golden sparks, melting purple blobs, a skein of spit, a dancing brown spot, snowflakes, saffron and light blue waves, and two eight balls, to say nothing of the corona, which used to halo street lamps and is now brilliantly discernible when a shaft of light breaks against a crystal bowl or a bright metal edge. This corona, usually triple, is like a chrysanthemum composed of thousands of radiating petals, each ten times as slender and each containing in order the colours of the prism. Man has devised no spectacle of light in any way similar to this sublime arrangement of colours of holy visitation