What will the parents think of this...
November 20, 2008 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Then, all of sudden, I saw a hand holding a piece of chalk and writing on a black-board something like a mathematical formula. The vision was very clear, but it stayed only for few seconds and disappeared again. The Internet is abound with a new, simple technique for at-home DIY multimodal (vision, sound) Ganzfeld Hallucinations (previously).

The Ganzfeld procedure is similar to sensory deprivation, whereby you submit your senses to white-noise stimuli, and as a result these senses start to hallucinate for lack of anything meaningful to attend to.

The technique, in a nutshell:

You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes and listing to the radio tuned to static [(or a white noise generator)] in an evenly lighted room.

Anecdotes: (via)

“A friend of mine and I, we were inside a cave. We made a fire. There was a creek flowing under our feet, and we were on a stone. She had fallen into the creek, and she had to wait to have her things dried. Then she said to me: ‘Hey, move on, we should go now’.”

“In the right side of the visual field, a [mannequin] suddenly appeared. He was all in black, had a long narrow head, fairly broad shoulders, very long arms and a relatively small trunk…. He approached me, stretching out his hands, very long, very big, like a bowl, and he stayed so for a while, and then he went back to where he came from, slowly.”
posted by tybeet (45 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
I find white noise is best made with a white noise generator. The radio tuned at nothing can be more than a little annoying as the volume jumps around and you might get non-white noise sounds coming in via interference. Some people prefer pink or brown noise too.

This stuff (along with mind machines) feels like "poor man's meditation" or meditation for people who love gimmicks. I can close my eyes, calm myself, and see strange hallucinations in my mind's eye in ten minutes or so. Im not even an experienced mediator. I think the only advantage here is that these images can be seen while your eyes are open looking at the ping pong ball, but its really the same thing at work. Perhaps the real advantage is that you can sell it to your friends as being sciency if they are turned off by traditional meditation.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2008


"He approached me, stretching out his hands, very long, very big, like a bowl, and he stayed so for a while, and then he went back to where he came from, slowly.”

If that's what I'm going to hallucinate, holy crap do not want.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:52 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The sensory deprivation effect can be deepened, but be advised that for prolonged total sensory deprivation there will also be some adverse effects, for example loss of identity, apathy and depression.


Who thinks that losing your apathy and depression is an adverse affect? (Big pharama, probably.) Power to the people!

posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:55 AM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Get ready to go camping yall cause I swear this shit is IN TENTS
posted by Damn That Television at 10:02 AM on November 20, 2008 [17 favorites]


Ok, raise your hand if you really don't want to know what sort of tricks your mind will play on you if you give it the chance.
posted by mhoye at 10:02 AM on November 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


Its easier to not bother with the ping pong balls and to just close your eyes and grind your palms into your eyeballs until everything goes white
posted by dng at 10:05 AM on November 20, 2008


Mind modification links aren't working for me. Still, this sounds like something to do tonight when I'm bored...
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:07 AM on November 20, 2008


Who thinks that losing your apathy and depression is an adverse affect?

This could be the Rittalin talking but don't they mean the possible adverse affects are:

1. Loss of identity.
2. Apathy
3. Depression
posted by Pollomacho at 10:07 AM on November 20, 2008


ganzfeld hallucinations or ganzfeld REALITY think about it
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


...experiments have yielded results that deviate from randomness to a significant degree, and that these results present some of the strongest quantifiable evidence for telepathy to date.

Needs batshitinsane tag.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:08 AM on November 20, 2008


This could be the Rittalin talking

Possible adverse effect of Rittalin: inability to detect sarcasm.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:13 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


All I know is that crazy cat sure likes lasagna.
posted by cortex at 10:15 AM on November 20, 2008 [11 favorites]


So it's mushies without the gut-rot, then? Sounds worth a spin.

This stuff (along with mind machines) feels like "poor man's meditation" or meditation for people who love gimmicks. I can close my eyes, calm myself, and see strange hallucinations in my mind's eye in ten minutes or so. Im not even an experienced mediator.

Most meditation teachers I've encountered seem to believe that any hallucinations encountered are distractions, and you should treat them as you would any discursive thinking - acknowledge them, then ignore them. Or this is a TM thing specifically?
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:16 AM on November 20, 2008


This could be the Rittalin talking

Possible adverse effect of Rittalin: inability to detect sarcasm.


See? It was the Rittalin.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:19 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes

Ah, yes, life's like that, isn't it.
posted by anazgnos at 10:21 AM on November 20, 2008


You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes dropping acid.
posted by roygbv at 10:26 AM on November 20, 2008


You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes dropping acid falling asleep.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:36 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes dropping acid.

No, you can't. The visual distortions one might experience under the influence of the serotonergic class of psychedelics are markedly different than actual hallucinations. Thanks for playing, though.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:37 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes dropping acid falling asleep watching six hours of Twilight Zone during a Thanksgiving marathon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


We like to simulate the Garfield procedure by surreptitiously eating other people's lasagna. Then we make lame quips about it.
posted by everichon at 10:43 AM on November 20, 2008


No, you can't. The visual distortions one might experience under the influence of the serotonergic class of psychedelics are markedly different than actual hallucinations. Thanks for playing, though.

sidenote FTW
posted by humannaire at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2008


You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes dropping acid falling asleep watching six hours of Twilight Zone during a Thanksgiving marathon with the sound off while baked out of your skull on cheap weed while The Slider blares on repeat in the background.
posted by anazgnos at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I prefer the Garfield Hallucination.
posted by jbickers at 10:50 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fascinating post. Here is a free online white noise generator. Ping pong balls $2.78 a pack.
posted by nickyskye at 10:59 AM on November 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


...after an indeterminate time knotting our way through the dank grove of leafless scrub oaks, we came upon a pink door standing, frameless, in a clearing of tall grass gone to seed. The door appeared to be made almost entirely of muscle and flesh, and as we approached, the panels clenched and spasmed as if in anticipation of some immanent undertaking. Hesitantly, I reached for the knob, an unsettling gristly protuberance rounded off like a pulsating goiter. Just as I lost my nerve and began to slowly withdraw my hand, I noticed a quick motion and a wet gleam of white shining beneath the knob. What I had mistaken for a keyhole, was in fact an eyelid, thoroughly painted up in midnight mascara. Now the eyelid had opened, and a single bulging eyeball was regarding me with a disconcertingly purposeful gaze.

And then the door opened of its own accord, and impossibly, there within the shadow of its sweeping embrace, a passageway revealed itself, entirely invisible until now. The passageway was dark, but not completely indiscernible, and I couldn't help but notice that this, too, appeared to be constructed of some sort of living tissue, twitching and cramping in constant motion. Even as we were inexorably drawn forward as if by a mighty indrawn breath, I couldn't help but wonder which of the Devil's orifices awaited us…
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:03 AM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


“Some of the descriptions of hallucinations are really quite striking:”

I'm all alone. I'm rolling a big doughnut and this snake wearing a vest...
posted by Smedleyman at 11:36 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ugh, it's Revolt in the Fifth Dimension all over again.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:37 AM on November 20, 2008


So, the original Ganzfeld experiments were all about making the eyes unable to detect color, due to the lack of edges. They all used these half ping pong balls. Amazing how all those decades of Ganzfeld experiments never resulted in, "OH BY THE WAY YOU SEE ALIENS".
posted by effugas at 12:13 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anybody see James Turrell's A Frontal Passage installation at MOMA? If you could hang out there for a while undisturbed it seems like it would produce some Ganzfeld-like effects. One of the coolest installs I have ever seen. I want something like that in my house.

I've read that coloring the ping-pong balls red with a marker is better. In my experience it's easier to relax and look at a red light field for extended periods than a white one.
posted by well_balanced at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2008


I recommend DMT if you're going to go for hallucinations, thanks...

But I suppose in the absence of such chemicals, perhaps a couple ping pong balls and white noise is what the doctor ordered.
posted by symbioid at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2008


Anybody see James Turrell's A Frontal Passage installation at MOMA?

Oooh, I saw that. It felt like I was somewhere I was not ever, ever, ever supposed to be.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:36 PM on November 20, 2008


US classifies ping-pong balls and white noise generators as drug paraphernalia in 3, 2, 1...
posted by localroger at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


solipsophistocracy: "You can simulate the Ganzfeld procedure in your own home by taping two half ping-pong balls over your eyes dropping acid.

No, you can't. The visual distortions one might experience under the influence of the serotonergic class of psychedelics are markedly different than actual hallucinations. Thanks for playing, though.
"

Actually, DMT is serotonergic, and according to the many reports I've read... Well, let's just say it goes beyond visual distortion.

But you are correct that for most serotonergic psychedelics that "hallucination" is the wrong word (and why I always prefer psychedelic or entheogen over hallucinogen -- what a stupid fucking word)
posted by symbioid at 12:40 PM on November 20, 2008


Oddly enough, a state of minimal-stimulus coupled with visions of a hand writing something indistinct on a chalk board is how I would describe most of my education. Maybe it's time to up the Ritalin again.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


“A friend of mine and I, we were inside a cave. We made a fire. There was a creek flowing under our feet, and we were on a stone. She had fallen into the creek, and she had to wait to have her things dried. Then she said to me: ‘Hey, move on, we should go now’.”

Berserk, episodes 11-13
posted by Jpfed at 2:52 PM on November 20, 2008


You can also generate white, pink or brown noise in Audacity.

I wonder when Kim Komando will discover this?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:10 PM on November 20, 2008


Also, holy crap!
“a clearing in a forest [Lichtung], a place bathed in bright sun-shine, and the trunks of trees around. A feeling of a tranquile summer afternoon in a forest, so quiet, so peaceful. And then, suddenly, a young woman passed by on a bicycle, very fast, she crossed the visual field from the right to the left, with her blond long hair waving in the air. The image of the entire scene was very clear, with many details, and yes, the colours were very vivid.”
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:38 PM on November 20, 2008


I think an internet connection makes for an element of redundancy when it comes to Ganzfeld Hallucinations....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 6:41 PM on November 20, 2008


This all sounds like fun until you remember that this is how Mr. Morden became Mr. Nobody.
posted by lekvar at 7:07 PM on November 20, 2008


People argue acid or Ganzfeld procedure?

I say, acid AND Ganzfeld procedure!

No, but seriously. That might be awesome.
posted by Alex404 at 7:33 PM on November 20, 2008


Or you'd go insane.
posted by Alex404 at 7:33 PM on November 20, 2008


Actually, DMT is serotonergic, and according to the many reports I've read... Well, let's just say it goes beyond visual distortion.

Whoops, you're right about that. Should I have said indole psychedelics? I'm not sure how to group them.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:05 AM on November 21, 2008


No, you can't. The visual distortions one might experience under the influence of the serotonergic class of psychedelics are markedly different than actual hallucinations. Thanks for playing, though.

ur doing it wrong.

Seriously though, most of the time all you get is twisty patterns, but if by "actual hallucinations" you mean things like people, or other recognizable objects then it is certainly possible.
posted by juv3nal at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2008


most of the time all you get is twisty patterns, but if by "actual hallucinations" you mean things like people, or other recognizable objects then it is certainly possible.

And if you combine the lsd WITH the psilocybin fungii, it is not just possible, but alarmingly definite. And it lasts much longer than either would, taken separately. And also, wow.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:30 PM on November 21, 2008


Speaking of hallucinogenic drugs, unless someone builds a friendly sentient rainbow friend with the indefinite power of Santa Claus, I am not going anywhere!
posted by humannaire at 2:39 PM on November 23, 2008


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