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Don's theory of Mag. clairvoyance

Nov 12, 1995 01:31 PM
by Don DeGracia

LSD Hallucinations as a model for Altered States of

Don DeGracia

Copyright 1995.
All rights reserved by the author

Hallucinations are perceptions of things not presented
to the senses. Hallucinations play a critical role in
altered states of consciousness ASC. Some hallucinatory
states are natural including dreams hypnagogia lucid
dreams and synesthesia. Hallucinations can also be induced
by methods including yoga brain injuries and by drugs.
Hallucinations of all sensory modalities occur. Here we
shall focus on visual hallucinations caused by psychedelic
drugs such as LSD. Since psychedelic drugs cause the
predictable formation of waking hallucinations the study of
the mechanism of these drugs could illuminate the nature of
hallucinations and such understanding could presumably be
carried into the study of other ASC in which hallucinations
play a role.

Examples of psychedelic hallucinations involve
perceptions of moving colored imagery behind closed eyes
seeing patterns of color and light perceptions of lace
ribbons geometric patterns rainbow effects flash bulb-
like after images all seemingly filling the air around the
subject [2 4]. The central questions are: what is the
nature of and mechanism behind these hallucinations?

Data from animal experiments with LSD indicate that
post synaptic activity at the relay between the optic nerve
and lateral geniculate nucleus LGN is suppressed [1].
However only 10-20% of presynaptic connections to the LGN
are from the retina; the majority of LGN afferents
nonretinal afferents come from other brain regions
including the brain stem reticular formation and the
occipital cortex [5]. Nonretinal afferent connections to
the LGN are thought to be feedback connections that regulate
the flow of visual information from the retina to the

Given this data one could hypothesize that the
mechanism of formation of hallucinations during psychedelic
experiences involves a bleed-through of the nonretinal
feedback signals to the LGN into the normal routes for
transmitting retinal signals Figure 01 which is the file DEGFIG.GIF
in the SMN library in the New Abe B forum on CompuServe.
In the non-drug state feedback signals to the LGN serve merely to
regulate retinal input but do not enter into the information
stream which will ultimately be converted to visual
perception Figure 01 A. However during psychedelic drug
inebriation these same feedback signals may actually become
a part of the retinal signal flow and are transferred to
higher visual centers which interpret them as visual
perceptions along with retinal input Figure 01 B.
Therefore the nature of the hallucinations perceived under
the influence of psychedelic drugs is that these images are
visual representations of signals entering the LGN from
nonretinal afferents. In the simplest of terms current
evidence indicates that one is literally watching the
internal "talk" of their own brain when hallucinating under
the influence of psychedelic drugs. Other authors have
presented this view without however a clear model of the
underlying mechanism [7].

How might this model of psychedelic induced
hallucinations be related to other ASC? It is known that
psychedelics exert their major influence in the brain stem
[4]. Presumably drug induced changes in the brain stem are
responsible for altering the activity of the LGN. It is
interesting to note that changes in brain stem activity
occur during REM sleep [5] and also probably during yogic
breathing exercises. Yogic breathing exercises alter
activity of brain stem breathing centers which in turn
could affect ascending brain stem pathways Both REM sleep
and yoga practices lead to the formation of visual
hallucinations. Thus changes in the brain stem cause
changes in higher visual centers leading to the formation
of visual hallucinations. Variations of imagery perceived
during various ASC probably reflect subtle differences in
brain stem changes and brain stem effects on higher brain

The above model also suggests a mechanism for a little
known psychic ability called variously "anima" "micro-psi"
or "magnifying clairvoyance" [36]. The nature of this
psychic ability is such that it allows one to perceive
minute objects such as cells or atoms objects far too small
to be perceived with the naked eye. It is conceivable
that the bleed-through of the nonretinal feedback on the LGN
during ASC could amplify if concentrated upon. By
concentrating or focusing on details of the hallucination
this will alter the signals moving through the feedback
loop amplifying magnifying the images focused upon and
damping out the remaining hallucinatory imagery. Thus
initial perceptions of the macroscopic structure of the
brain will give way to perceptions of individual nerve
cells. These in turn will give way to direct perception of
subcellular components. These in turn will give way to
direct perceptions of molecules and atoms and so on. Thus
by such a mechanism is it possible to perceive objects that
the retina itself cannot discern. This suggests that our
ability to perceive is not limited by the physical limits of
the senses and that there are mechanisms in the brain that
allow us to directly perceive the components out of which
our body brain and cells are constructed.

The models presented above are empirically testable.
They make specific predictions about the behavior of the
brain. Use of current brain imaging techniques such as
magnetic resonance imaging could confirm or refute the model
presented above.

In conclusion psychedelic drugs can be used as a model
system for the study of altered states of consciousness.
The above discussion focused only on visual hallucinations.
Other aspects of altered states are also amenable to this
model treatment such as for example the mystical
experience which can be induced by psychedelic drugs.


[1] Aaronson B. and Osmond H. Psychedelics. New
York: Doubleday & Co. Inc. 1970.

[2] Asaad G. Hallucinations in Clinical Psychiatry.
New York: Brunner/Mazel 1990.
[3] Besant A. and Leadbeater C.W. Occult Chemistry.
London: Theosophical Publishing House 2nd edition 1919.

[4] Hoeffer A. and Osmund H. The Hallucinogens. New
York: Academic Press 1967.

[5] Kandel Schwartz and Jessel. Principles of Neural
Science 3rd ed.. Norwalk: Appleton and Lange. 1991

[6] Phillips S.M. Extra-Sensory Perception Of Quarks.
Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publishing House 1980.

[7] Watts A. The Joyous Cosmology. New York: Vintage
Books 1962.

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