"Every society struggles to care for people with mental illness. In parts of West Africa, where psychiatry is virtually unknown, the chain is often a last resort for desperate families who cannot control a loved one in the grip of psychosis. Religious retreats, known as prayer camps, set up makeshift psychiatric wards, usually with prayer as the only intervention." NYTimes. Links contain upsetting images and video. [more inside]
Ever had a song stuck in your head?* Investigations into earworms, musical hallucination and memory are shedding some light on the link between music and memory. [more inside]
A new way to deal with disturbing voices offers hope for those with other forms of psychosis.
Hans used to be overwhelmed by the voices. He heard them for hours, yelling at him, cursing him, telling him he should be dragged off into the forest and tortured and left to die. The most difficult things to grasp about the voices people with psychotic illness hear are how loud and insistent they are, and how hard it is to function in a world where no one else can hear them. It’s not like wearing an iPod. It’s like being surrounded by a gang of bullies. You feel horrible, crazy, because the voices are real to no one else, yet also strangely special, and they wrap you like a cocoon. Hans found it impossible to concentrate on everyday things. He sat in his room and hid. But then the voices went away for good.
Uncoiling the spiral: Maths and hallucinations So common are these geometric hallucinations, that in the last century scientists began asking themselves if they couldn't tell us something fundamental about how our brains are wired up. And it seems that they can. (via MAPS)
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). [more inside]
The Codex Seraphinianus, a Hallucinatory Encyclopedia, details fantastical beings and impossible places. It's one of the highlights of issue 17 of the Grey Lodge Occult Review, which also includes Maya Deren's very rare film on Haitian Voudoun "Divine Horsemen" [torrent] and William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin's "The Cut-Ups" [torrent].