Cardan, Jerome
(1501-1576)
   Also known as Jeronimo Cardan(o/us), Geronimo Cardan(o/us), Hieronymus Cardano(o/us), Girolamo Cardan(o/us), and Gerolamo Cardan(o/us). Cardan was an Italian lawyer, mathematician, astrologer, and physician who between the ages of three and six experienced paroxysmal * visions depicting multiple tiny creatures, objects, and scenes perceived solely in the visual modality (i.e. * complex visual hallucinations, or, more specifically, * lilliputian and other *microptic hallucinations). Reportedly, the creatures were perceived as moving swiftly in a semicircle from the right side of the visual field to the left, while the scene as a whole was made up of colourless "images of airy nothingness of body", seemingly consisting of tiny ring-like structures. The figures perceived by Cardan included castles, houses, animals, horses with rider, plants, trees, musical instruments, theatres, men dressed in various costumes, swarming peoples, flowers, fields, groves, forests, and "shapes like unto bodies". Cardan did not experience any other symptoms, except for a perceived coldness of his lower legs, which followed the period of hallucinatory attacks. (It is unsure whether Cardan means that this coldness appeared after each attack, or from the age of 6 onwards, after the attacks had subsided.) It has been speculated that Cardan's visions may have been caused by a recurring * migraine aura without headache. Other possibilities include * hallucinatory epilepsy (although this condition tends to present in the form of a stereotyped hallucinatory scene, with little variation between subsequent attacks), * peduncular hallucinations (which can occur in the context of migraine, but also in association with a variety of other conditions), * closed-eye hallucinations, and * hypnopompic hallucinations (which would be in keeping with Cardan's observation that his visions would come to him while he was lying awake, waiting until it was appropriate for him to get out ofbed).
   References
   Cardan, J. (1930). The book ofmy life: De vita propia liber. Translated by Stoner, J. New York, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co.
   Sacks, O. (1992). Migraine. Revised and expanded. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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