solar wind and hallucinations
- The term solar wind is indebted to the Latin noun sol, which means sun. It refers to a vast stream of electrically charged atomic particles, consisting mainly of protons and electrons from the Sun's corona, which are continuously flowing outwards into space. This stream of particles is believed to ultimately extend past the orbit of Pluto. In 1988 the American-Canadian neuropsychologist Michael A. Persinger (b. 1945) reported on a positive correlation between the size of this corpuscular radiation from the Sun, and the incidence of bereavement hallucinations, which he interpreted as circumstantial evidence for the involvement of temporal magnetic-mediated microseizures in the mediation of this type of hallucination. Elaborating on Persinger's findings, the American psychologists Walter and Steffani Randall compared longitudinal data on hallucinations (derived from the work of the British paranormal researchers Edmund Gurney (1847-1888) et al.) with the magnetic index aa, a measure of magnetic disturbances attributed chiefly to the effect of the solar wind on the Earth's atmosphere. By selecting the descriptions of *visual and *compound hallucinations in Gurney's work, which appeared in the form of *apparitions or * personifications (i.e. depicting human or humanoid forms), and then comparing their incidence and recorded month of occurrence with the recorded monthly values of the magnetic index aa overthesametimespan, Randall and Randall found a positive and statistically significant correlation. As the authors caution, this finding implies no causal relationship between the incidence of personifications and the solar wind, and may well be spurious. They do, however, suggest that a possible patho-physiological mechanism might be the influence of magnetic disturbances upon the pineal gland, resulting in the subsequent release of melatonin, a hormone believed to act synergistically with * hallucinogens.ReferencesGurney, E., Myers, F., Podmore, F. (1886). Phantasms of the living. London: Trübner.Persinger, M. (1988). Increased geomagnetic activity and the occurrence of bereavement hallucinations: Evidence for magnetic-mediated microseizures in the temporal lobe? Neuroscience Lettres, 88, 271-274.Randall, W., Randall, S. (1991). The solar wind and hallucinations - A possible relation due to magnetic disturbances. Bioelectromagnetics, 12, 67-70.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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