- hostage hallucination
- Also referred to as hostage hallucinosis. Both terms are indebted to the Latin noun hostia, which means victim. They were introduced in or shortly before 1984 by the American psy-chopharmacologist Ronald K. Siegel to denote a hallucination occurring during a hostage situation. The term hostage situation is defined by Siegel as "one in which an individual is kept, usually by coercive force, by others in order to fulfil a demand or agreement". Typical hostage situations include kidnappings, sky-jackings, and terrorist actions, although Siegel also accepts claimed kidnappings by unidentified flying objects (UFOs). According to him, the earliest known account of a hostage situation with concomitant hallucinations can be found in the Bible, where the prophet Ezekiel is said to have been abducted by a round, flying, bronze-coloured object; he also saw lights, colours, and " visions of God. In Siegel's study involving 31 victims of hostage situations, "geometric hallucinations were the most prevalent (typically commencing a few minutes after the onset of "sensory i.e. visual deprivation) and "complex visual hallucinations depicting small animals (i.e. "zoopsia), insects (i.e. "formication), people, people's faces (i.e. "facial hallucinations), monsters, devils, scenes, landscapes, and childhood memories. The complex hallucinations tended to commence after several hours to several days. They were typically described as 'projections' upon a screen before the affected individual's eyes. In Siegel's study, hostage hallucinations occurred in 8 of the 31 individuals. It was suggested that their occurrence was promoted by factors such as social isolation, sensorydeprivation, "sleepdepri-vation, restraint on motor movements, physical abuse, and threat of death.ReferencesBlumrich, J.F. (1974). The spaceships ofEzekiel. New York, NY: Bantam Books.Siegel, R.K. (1984). Hostage hallucinations. Visual imagery induced by isolation and life-threatening stress. Journal of Nervousand Mental Disease, 172, 264-272.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.