Subject: Visuo-Auditory Hallucination From: Marius Myburg <vulcan(at)PARYS.CO.ZA> Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 12:49:52 +0200
Hello, I would like to share a personal experience with the members of this list for three reasons: firstly, it is interresting and it is related to audition; secondly, I would like to know how common such experiences are; and finally, perhaps someone can propose, or point me to an existing model of, a neural mechanism by which the auditory and visual systems may be interconnected in such a way as to result in what I describe (since I am an amateur researcher of neural mechanisms, and would be interrested to learn of such an auditory-visuo connectivity (that connects an auditory ~experience~ with a visual ~experience~, as opposed to the well-known connectivity that relates auditory space with visual space (that is, the connectivity that centers around the inferior olive, and, at least to my knowledge, does not posess mechanisms to relate auditory and visual experiences)). I have experienced what I can only describe as a visuo-auditory hallucination about four times now (actually two times it were only visual, and two times both visual and auditory in nature). The first experience occured very long ago, and I am not even going to guess when that might have been. Suffice to say, it was a few years ago. I can not say when the second experience occured, but I would hazard a guess of about a six months ago, more or less. In any case, the first and second hallucinations occured quite a while ago, and has no temporal proximity to the newest two experiences - these last two of which occured within one day of each other - one experience occured in the very early morning (about 3:00 am) of 29 March 2003, and the other on the very early morning of 30 March 2003. It is these last two experiences that motivated me to write to the list. These four experiences consisted of two types of experience. I will therefore refer to these as experience 1, 2, 3 and 4. Experience 1 and experience 3 were similar to each other but different to experience 2 and 4, which were similar to each other. 1 and 3 were the most impressive. Because they are so similar, I will describe only experience 3, which is fresh in my memory (it occured 2 days ago). What happened is that, for some reason I woke up, as I said very early in the morning, around 3:00am. As far as I can tell there were no external causes (such as loud noises) that caused me to wake up. I wish I could accurately describe what I saw. But it must be experienced in order to fully understand the vividness of the experience. Imagine lots of little spheres of light (about one to two millimeters in diameter) kind of attached to your hand. It looked very impressive because it was still dark, with lots of these brilliant (just white light) spheres clinging to your hand. As I moved my hand away from the blanket, the spheres were mostly gone, however I remember that definately one, maybe two, still 'sat' on the blanket. At this point I was totally awake and sitting upright because, as can be imagined, the lights startled me. I tried to take the remaining sphere with my hand, but there was no substance to it, and it disappeared as my fingers moved into the space it occupied. At that point all I could think was that it was static electricity, because the lights seemed to have been most abundant (about 20 lights) when my hand was close to the blanket. So I rubbed my hand against the blanket, and held it close to the blanket, positioning it as it was when I first saw the light, but nothing happened. I tried this a few times. This had no effect, si I seriously doubt that it could have been some form of static electricity. I realize that this may sound a little fantastic. All I can say is that I know that I was fully awake and conscious, and that I saw the lights. It was most likely not static electricity, so I believe that it was hallucinations. Experiences two and four were a little different, but were also accompanied by light of the same intensity and color (although of a different form) than those described above. What happened was that I was awoken by a loud 'bang' noise originating inside my head. Again, I have dufficulty describing this accurately, but I heard the sound from inside my skull, located a little to the back of my head. It was a very load sound. I remember that experience 2, in particular, was of a very loud bang. I actually startled awake, my body responding in the typical startle responce like when someone claps his hands behind you when you are in deep concentration. In both of these experiences, the sound was accompanied by a very bright, white 'flash' before my eyes (although on these times, my eyes were closed, of course). The light filled my whole field of view, or at least most of it (if I can say 'field of view' while my eyes were closed!). Something else that may be worth noting (although it may be totally unrelated) is that, for the last couple of days, I have been having a kind of headache that I do not usually get. It is not an intense headache, it is actually quite mild, but it persists for most of the day. This would have been more useful if I could remember if I had the headache on each occasion of the hallucinations - but I can only verify this for the two most recent ones. Any ideas about what may be happening here would be appreciated. Oh, and free medication is welcome, too :-) Sincerely, Marius Myburg. South Africa.