Observations placeholder

Ramachandran, Dr V S - On Visual handicaps

Identifier

001330

Type of Spiritual Experience

Vision
Hallucination

Number of hallucinations: 60

Background

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]

This phenomenon ...is fairly common in elderly people with visual handicaps like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal damage and cataracts.  A recent study in the Lancet ... reported that many older men and women with poor vision hide the fact that they 'see things that aren't really there'.  Out of 500 visually handicapped people, sixty admitted they had hallucinated, sometimes only once or twice a year, but others experienced visual fantasies at least twice a day.  For the most part the content of their imaginary world is mundane, perhaps involving an unfamiliar person, a bottle or a hat, but the hallucinations can also be quite funny.  One woman saw two miniature policemen guiding a midget villain to a tiny prison van.  Others saw ghostly translucent figures floating in the hallway, dragons, people wearing flowers on their heads and even beautiful shining angels, little circus animals, clowns and elves.  A surprising number of them report seeing children.  Peter Halligan, John Marshall and I once saw a patient at Oxford who not only saw children but could actually hear their laughter.............. the images can be in black or white or colour, stationary or in motion and just as clear as, less clear than or more clear than reality.  At times the objects blend into actual surroundings so that an imaginary person sits on a real chair, ready to speak.  The images are rarely threatening

The source of the experience

Ramachandran, Dr V S

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References