The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenomena

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The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenomena

Postby Luck » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:22 pm

New topic thread per Tim's request. :)
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:09 am

Tim,
I had an insight. I have been prone to migraines and frequently see auras before they occur. I did a quick search and a small percentage of migraine sufferers do experience auditory and/or visual hallucinations. Don't know if the mechanisms are similar but migraines can occur due to stress. This may provide another avenue of exploration for you.
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Tim Hebert » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:05 pm

Luck, thanks for starting the new thread! And the thread title is most appropriate with the use of "possibility" since we are merely scratching the surface and not yet knowing what we'll find or what, if any, conclusions can be drawn.

As far as auras, the same is true for those who have epilepsy, as sometimes the precursor to a seizure episode is an aura, be it visual, tastes, and smell. (my son had unrelenting seizures in his early childhood years). This is an area that may be useful to look at as certain seizure foci in specific regions of the brain may indeed induce hallucinatory effects leaving the individual with the sense of "loss time" phenomenom. (Seizures come in different forms not just the classic Grand Mal, tonic/clonic form)

Extremely busy last night, hopefully quieter this evening to do a meta search on the psychology journals.

Again, thanks for the new thread!
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:35 am

Tim Hebert wrote:Luck, thanks for starting the new thread! And the thread title is most appropriate with the use of "possibility" since we are merely scratching the surface and not yet knowing what we'll find or what, if any, conclusions can be drawn.

As far as auras, the same is true for those who have epilepsy, as sometimes the precursor to a seizure episode is an aura, be it visual, tastes, and smell. (my son had unrelenting seizures in his early childhood years). This is an area that may be useful to look at as certain seizure foci in specific regions of the brain may indeed induce hallucinatory effects leaving the individual with the sense of "loss time" phenomenom. (Seizures come in different forms not just the classic Grand Mal, tonic/clonic form)

Extremely busy last night, hopefully quieter this evening to do a meta search on the psychology journals.

Again, thanks for the new thread!


Tim,
My pleasure. I have been enjoying this conversation a great deal and I am glad this appears to be a topic that interests you as well. I usually get blank stares and silence when I start talking about Jaynes. 8)

I am sorry to hear that your son had a difficult time and I hope that things are better for him and the rest of your family.

As I had indicated, Jaynes theorized that it was Wernicke's area that was responsible for the auditory hallucinations, but some studies from the early '90s seems to point to Broca's area (increased blood flow and abnormal cortical folds). I don't think this aspect invalidates his theory as both areas of the brain are involved with language. In fact, he even mentions that Broca's area could be involved, but due to mechanisms understood at the time of his book, he thought Wernicke's area was a better candidate.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8103821
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17490861

I am looking forward to see what you come up with during your meta search.

edit: Boy, do I feel dumb. I knew that there was a Julian Jaynes Society and that they had a website. I didn't realize they had a page of studies that appear to support Jaynes' theories.
http://www.julianjaynes.org/related-articles_hallucinations.php

OMG, they have a forum, too! I wonder if it could be useful. (I am going to mosey on over to see.)
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:52 am

Down yet another rabbit hole...

A study of commissurotomized patients
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/113/2/537.abstract

edit: grammar. :oops:
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:49 pm

Tim,
I am going to read Jaynes again, but I was flipping through his book and he talks about the existence of echoes of bicameralism in modern humans. I had forgotten that hypnosis was one of the vestiges he discussed. I realize that I am throwing yet more information your way and if would be helpful for me to investigate certain avenues, please let me know.

Jaynes theorizes that the following are vestiges of bicameralism:

Quest for authorization
Oracles
Prophets
Possession
Trance states
Hypnosis
Poetry
Music
Schizophrenia

On a side note, I did do some reading on the JJ forum and there was a very short discussion on cults, and Jaynes does make mention of in some of his other writings. Unfortunately, he did not elaborate or make a meaningful connection between bicameralism and cults. Cults may be a result of the quest for authorization listed above.
"While the universal characteristics of the new consciousness, such as self-reference, mind-scape, and narratization, can develop swiftly on the heels of new language construction, the larger contours of civilization, the huge landscape of culture against which this happens, can only change with geological slowness. The matter and technic of earlier ages of civilizations survive into the new eras uneroded, dragging with them the older outworn forms in which the new mentality must live.
But living also in these forms is a fervent search for what I shall call archaic authorization. After the collapse of the bicameral mind, the world in sense is still governed by Gods, by statements and laws and prescriptions carved into stelae or written on papyrus or remembered by old men, and dating back to bicameral times. But the dissonance is there. Why are the gods no longer heard or seen? The Psalms cry out for answers. And more assurances are needed than the relics of history or the paid insistences of priests. Something palpable, something direct, something immediate! Some sensible assurance that we are not alone, that the gods are just silent, not dead, that behind all this hesitant subjective groping about for signs of certainty, there is a certainty to be had."
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Tim Hebert » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:08 pm

Luck, I briefly read some of the content on the Jaynes Society web page. Of interest is the Fact vs Myth section. The forum was more of a disappointment, but that's only because I scratched the surface. I'll dig deeper into the forum contents this week.

Basically, I look at Jaynes' hypothesis as a possible foundation for my working hypothesis..."They did it in ancient times, who's to say that we don't have remnants today". And so far, from what I've read, there appears to be a link or correlation.

In the Old Testament, its last book is that of Malachi. One could say that Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet. God never directly speaks to Malachi. Malachi's quotes are from the past prophets, yet Malachi forms the pattern: When times are tough and man has fallen, yet again, away from God, there arises one individual who is the oracle to warn the flock back into the fold. BTW, the last time that God is directly quoted from in the Bible is that from the Gospels when John baptizes Jesus in the Jordan. There after, God never utters a word. I've read most of the ancient Christian writings and this still appears to be true. Why is that?

Jaynes' work forms a paradox, in that one could look at bicameralism as "the" mechanism that God used to influence man. Or, it simply was a normal evolutionary physiological construct of a still immature brain as man was adapting to the environment. Its candy for both sides of the question concerning God or simply a god.

I'm running up to only development themes in the psychology journals (Child, Adolescents, and old Age). And the key words of hallucinations and delusions tend to point to the topic of schizophrenia. I've got another area to explore which is a theory proposed by another individual (I'll get his name and web site later) who proposes a "distortion theory" for ufo and other paranormal sightings. His work may have merit.

Luck wrote:Jaynes theorizes that the following are vestiges of bicameralism

Some may have a link to what we are talking about. The question will be how does this pertain to now, with modern day man/woman?
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:13 pm

Tim Hebert wrote:In the Old Testament, its last book is that of Malachi. One could say that Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet. God never directly speaks to Malachi. Malachi's quotes are from the past prophets, yet Malachi forms the pattern: When times are tough and man has fallen, yet again, away from God, there arises one individual who is the oracle to warn the flock back into the fold. BTW, the last time that God is directly quoted from in the Bible is that from the Gospels when John baptizes Jesus in the Jordan. There after, God never utters a word. I've read most of the ancient Christian writings and this still appears to be true. Why is that?


Perhaps it is due to the idea that eventually society would have to adapt to the silence of god(s). In a bicameral society, god would be ever present in the form of auditory hallucinations; providing edicts, commands and criticism. I think to Jaynes, as we evolved out of bicameralism and lost access to the voice of god, religion was an outgrowth to directly address the loss of the clear and immediate access to god (or gods). Eventually culture (through successive generations and ongoing silence) would become normalized to the idea that the divine is silent; but this would take time.
I suspect the loss of god's voice would create a slow healing scar in the psyche of any society and most definitely create a feeling that "god has forsaken us" (and probably started a meme that would carry over time to future generations during difficult periods). Perhaps it was Malachi's ability to utilize the meme of god's rejection of man that served him so well. He used that longing for the immediacy of god and used past prophecies in such way as to harness that longing to give it relevancy to the times in which he lived.

On the vestiges of bicameralism, I think trance states and hypnosis are the likeliest candidates to explore at this time in addition to a mechanism similar to schizophrenia (which we have already discussed). Music may be provide another avenue, but I think it is a bit of a long shot at this point. I actually found some papers that discuss the changes to the brain during trance and hypnotic states and the appearance of associated anomalous phenomena. Some I could only access the abstract, others I was able to download to my computer. I plan to start reading through them today. If there is a particularly interesting looking abstract, I can send it your way.

It occurred to me (as I was pondering the list of bicameral vestiges) if we can fall in and out of trance and hypnotic states as we go about our lives, they would only need to last for a few minutes and could be the framework needed create anomalous phenomena of an internal origin. I tried to do search along this line of thinking and I wasn't that successful. If you have any thoughts that would assist, please let me know. I think it is a possibility as driving on highways for an extended period of time can cause hypnosis; so it doesn't seem unreasonable there might be other triggers in our daily life that could cause an altered state of mind.
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:23 am

Tim,
I did have the opportunity to search the existing literature on the web regarding hypnosis and trance states. I came across some non-related studies in my search that could still be helpful to our line of inquiry.
I came across this rather interesting paper that asserts that visual perception and hallucination belong on the same continuum. According to the author, perception is subjective and can account for the occurrence of false images. He does identify some other studies such as the study of blind spots in vision with the normal population (which may give some additional useful information). If I understood correctly, the hallucination occurs in the processing of the visual data. I don't think this is out of line with Jaynes and could provide a mechanism for anomalous visions. This was actually a philosophical paper, but there may be psychiatric research along these lines.
“[T]he percipient, while experiencing the hallucination, is at the same time normally perceiving real objects within his range of vision, and the hallucinatory percept is brought into relation with these, so as to occupy apparently as definite a place in the field of vision. The phantasm appears to stand side by side with real objects. “

http://www.celiagreen.com/charlesmccreery/perception.pdf

I also came across a study that felt there was a biological origin to reports of anomalous events. Although the author did not speculate on the biological mechanics involved, I wonder if later research exists that is based on this paper. Would a citation search be useful on this one?
http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/2/155.full.pdf

I was only able to access the abstract on this one, but it looked very interesting and may be very close to what we are looking for!
The Induction of Anomalous Experiences in a Mirror-Gazing Facility: Suggestion, Cognitive Perceptual Personality Traits and Phenomenological State Effects
Previous research suggests that mirror-gazing is efficacious for the facilitation of anomalous experiences. The present experiment tested the hypothesis that the incidence of such experiences is a function of the demand characteristics of the procedure. Participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions and completed a battery of trait and state measures. Individuals who were given suggestions for anomalous experiences, relative to those who were not, reported a greater number of visual, and a suggestively greater number of vocal, hallucinations. The experience of a descriptively dissociative phenomenological state was the strongest predictor of the reporting of anomalous experiences, but only correlated with the experience of anomalous perceptions in the suggestion condition. Experients of visual apparitions were found to significantly differ from nonexperients in their preference for a visual cognitive style independently of condition.

http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2006/06000/The_Induction_of_Anomalous_Experiences_in_a.5.aspx

Some additional papers of note.

A review of the literature indicates that a great deal remains to be learned about the possible neuroanatomical and neurophysiological correlates of hypnotic and dissociative states. However, there does seem to be accumulating evidence that hypnotized individuals have an unusual ability to modify neurophysiological processing of perceptions. Electrophysiological and neurochemical evidence suggests special roles of the frontal and temporal lobes. Brain imaging research suggests that hypnotic concentration involves activation of centers in the anterior cingulate gyrus and the right frontal lobe. It is concluded that hypnosis may prove to be a useful window into the brain basis of mental events. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1992-12820-001

“Reports the case of a 17-yr-old female who presented with a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder, rapid cycling type, but who, in fact, was experiencing dissociative episodes manifested as psychotic states. The patient's successful treatment with hypnosis is described. It is suggested that certain highly hypnotizable individuals may be prone to experience transient but severe psychotic states while in spontaneously occurring trance states. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) “

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1986-01384-001

Why people see things that are not there: A novel Perception and Attention Deficit model for recurrent complex visual hallucinations
Abstract
As many as two million people in the United Kingdom repeatedly see people, animals, and objects that have no objective reality. Hallucinations on the border of sleep, dementing illnesses, delirium, eye disease, and schizophrenia account for 90% of these. The remainder have rarer disorders. We review existing models of recurrent complex visual hallucinations (RCVH) in the awake person, including cortical irritation, cortical hyperexcitability and cortical release, top-down activation, misperception, dream intrusion, and interactive models. We provide evidence that these can neither fully account for the phenomenology of RCVH, nor for variations in the frequency of RCVH in different disorders. We propose a novel Perception and Attention Deficit (PAD) model for RCVH. A combination of impaired attentional binding and poor sensory activation of a correct proto-object, in conjunction with a relatively intact scene representation, bias perception to allow the intrusion of a hallucinatory proto-object into a scene perception. Incorporation of this image into a context-specific hallucinatory scene representation accounts for repetitive hallucinations. We suggest that these impairments are underpinned by disturbances in a lateral frontal cortex–ventral visual stream system. We show how the frequency of RCVH in different diseases is related to the coexistence of attentional and visual perceptual impairments; how attentional and perceptual processes can account for their phenomenology; and that diseases and other states with high rates of RCVH have cholinergic dysfunction in both frontal cortex and the ventral visual stream. Several tests of the model are indicated, together with a number of treatment options that it generates.

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=362319

Content analysis of published accounts of 40 anomalous experiences reported by anthropologists allows qualitative evaluation of elements within evolutionary theories pertaining to religion .The analysis supports findings from previous studies indicating that certain anomalous experiences have cross-culturally consistent features. Narrative and structural features within the anthropologists' accounts coincide with those gathered in northeastern North Carolina and many other areas. The data also reveal the capacity of these episodes to transform belief, supporting an experiential source theory regarding faith in spirits, souls, life after death, and magical abilities. The narratives indicate that anomalous perceptions cause some anthropologists to consider novel theories. This study supports evolutionary explanations for the origin of religion and provides predictions regarding research directions in anthropology.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/ac.2002.13.2.46/abstract

edit: grammar (of course) and a url fix
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Zep Tepi » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:20 pm

Great thread guys, I'm really enjoying the research and insight you are bringing to the table.

Luck wrote:Tim,
I had an insight. I have been prone to migraines and frequently see auras before they occur. I did a quick search and a small percentage of migraine sufferers do experience auditory and/or visual hallucinations. Don't know if the mechanisms are similar but migraines can occur due to stress. This may provide another avenue of exploration for you.


I have suffered from migraines ever since I fractured my skull when I was 12 years old. I always get the aura before the headache sets in, but I haven't experienced any hallucinations. I have however experienced hallucinations during the worst of the headaches, a couple of years after they first started. The pain was so intense, I think my mind created the hallucination as some kind of coping mechanism.

Thankfully, the older I've gotten the less intense they are. I can usually get back to work soon after the aura has dissipated.

Anyway, about these hallucinations in the context of this discussion. I'm at work at the moment so have to be brief, but I fully support the idea of hallucinations possibly being behind some phenomena, because I believe I have experienced it myself. It had nothing to do with migraines or drugs, but it was definitely anomalous. I'll expand upon it hopefully later tonight.

Nice work :)
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Tim Hebert » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:19 pm

Zep Tepi wrote:Great thread guys, I'm really enjoying the research and insight you are bringing to the table

Thanks Steve, looking forward to your take and insight! I hope that others on the forum would be equally willing to jump in. Steve, is it possible that at a later time that Luck and I could set up a poll/survey of forum members to gather info on possible perceived states of hallucinations? I could construct the survey questions and any willing participant would be totally anonymous.

Luck wrote:I came across this rather interesting paper that asserts that visual perception and hallucination belong on the same continuum. According to the author, perception is subjective and can account for the occurrence of false images. He does identify some other studies such as the study of blind spots in vision with the normal population (which may give some additional useful information). If I understood correctly, the hallucination occurs in the processing of the visual data. I don't think this is out of line with Jaynes and could provide a mechanism for anomalous visions. This was actually a philosophical paper, but there may be psychiatric research along these lines.

“[T]he percipient, while experiencing the hallucination, is at the same time normally perceiving real objects within his range of vision, and the hallucinatory percept is brought into relation with these, so as to occupy apparently as definite a place in the field of vision. The phantasm appears to stand side by side with real objects. “
http://www.celiagreen.com/charlesmccree ... eption.pdf

Luck, this one is a keeper! McCreery's premise has merit as he appears to have looked into the historical contexts of hallucinatory experiences then formulating his own theory.

Luck wrote:I also came across a study that felt there was a biological origin to reports of anomalous events. Although the author did not speculate on the biological mechanics involved, I wonder if later research exists that is based on this paper. Would a citation search be useful on this one?
http://socrel.oxfordjournals.org/conten ... 5.full.pdf

This paper is interesting as describing not just cultural influences, but possible "normal" dis-associative states especially when taken in the context of OBEs and induced hypnotic trance states.
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Tim Hebert » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:07 pm

The following was introduced while looking at various ufo phenomenon theories on the ufoiconoclast blog. Jose Caravaca has been formulating a theory called "The Distortion Theory". Rather than describing it my self, I have the following link to his original premise. The rest of his site is devoted to further investigations to support his theory. Its very interesting to say the least.

http://caravaca-files.blogspot.com/2011/11/joe-simonton-incident-and-distortion.html
Visual, mental symbolic neural imprinting?

Correlate Caravaca's research with the Bartholomew article of "Mass delusions" in the context of the two New England examples in the 1900s.
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby nablator » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:57 am

Tim Hebert wrote:Visual, mental symbolic neural imprinting?

José Caravaca is promoting the idea of an external origin (forces manipulating witnesses for unknown purposes), which sounds very much like Jacques Vallée's control system.

Delusions (and hoaxes) are much more likely IMHO: culture and folklore play a central role, as evidenced by the continuous evolution from ancient tales of encounters with supernatural beings to the current typical UFO/alien narrative. Why do people start to hallucinate is a mystery but I doubt they are "entirely unpredisposed" (to name a text by Martin Kottmeyer). Very often they have a history of less known (or even hidden) encounters with the paranormal, before or after the main event that lands them in the UFO books. Most ufologists purposefully ignore or downplay the psychological/psychiatric aspect, to make "alien" encounters more compelling.
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Tim Hebert » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:05 am

nablator wrote:José Caravaca is promoting the idea of an external origin (forces manipulating witnesses for unknown purposes), which sounds very much like Jacques Vallée's control system

Even though Caravaca's premise of an external origin runs counter to my "working hypothesis" of delusional/hallucinatory possibility, his use of symbolism as a construct of the "close encounter" may have merit from a neurological standpoint. Contemporary research points to memory as being imprinted images (symbols) that are stored for retrieval at a later time, excepting those memories had not already degraded. Our written language is basically symbols. Religion, politics, national identity, literature, poetry...all have a symbolic nature.

nablator wrote:Delusions (and hoaxes) are much more likely IMHO

If I rule out those who are pathologically psychotic and those who perpetrated hoaxes, then I am much inclined to think that there is still a segment who are, on a mental continuum, normal. So far the literature that Luck and I have looked over supports the premise that "normal" individuals do have hallucinations and may be subjected to temporary "distortions" of reality, thus accurately describing an "event" in the context of that distorted reality, yet totally misinterpreting what actually happened.

Notice that I didn't mention delusions, since delusional thinking is pathalogical, hallucinations may or may not be pathalogical depending on the individual and circumstances.

Caravaca's external distortion origin is UFOs, ET, military, governments, etc. My premise is that this distortion originates through multiple physical stressors causing neural insults.
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Re: The possibility of internal origins for anomalous phenom

Postby Luck » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:07 am

Zep Tepi wrote:Nice work :)


Thanks Zep! I am looking forward to your elaboration on your experiences.

Tim Hebert wrote:José Caravaca is promoting the idea of an external origin (forces manipulating witnesses for unknown purposes). Sounds very much like Jacques Vallée.

Delusions (and hoaxes) are much more likely IMHO. Why do people start to hallucinate is a mystery but I doubt they are "entirely unpredisposed" (to name a text by Martin Kottmeyer). Very often they have a history of less known (or even hidden) encounters with the paranormal, before or after the main event that lands them in the UFO books. Some ufologists purposefully ignore or downplay this aspect, to make the "alien" encounters more compelling.


nab,
Thanks for providing additional perspective. I have been meaning to read Vallee and just haven't done it yet. I do agree that (at least from the stories I have heard as anecdotes) in interviews that I have listened to that many experiencers have often had paranormal encounters of other types.

Tim Hebert wrote:The following was introduced while looking at various ufo phenomenon theories on the ufoiconoclast blog. Jose Caravaca has been formulating a theory called "The Distortion Theory". Rather than describing it my self, I have the following link to his original premise. The rest of his site is devoted to further investigations to support his theory. Its very interesting to say the least.


Tim, this is very interesting. I was struck by a couple of things in his discussion of Simonton.

About 11:00 am in the morning, Mr. Simonton heard something like the sound of "knobby tires on wet pavement."


An induced trance state, perhaps? "Knobby tires on wet pavement" would definitely have created a rhythmic pattern. Rhythm is often used to induce trance states from raves to shamanic rituals all over the world.

Jacques Vallee, in his book Passport to Magonia, compared this "culinary gift" with the food of the fairies which does not contain salt.


The incident does seem to have some similarity of the fairy stories from Ireland. Encounters with fairies range from beneficial to frightening and some of the encounters almost verge on the surreal. W.B. Yeats (yes, the poet) actually went to Ireland and published a compilation now available for free through Project Gutenberg for anyone that is interested. "Meeting the Other Crowd" by Eddie Lenihan, is another good compilation. Lenihan began to collect fairy from elderly citizens in Ireland in the mid-70s. Some of the stories are quite mundane, but there were a couple in each that made me pause for a moment.

So back to the task at hand:
Jaynes feels very strongly that schizophrenia is a vestige of bicameralism.
I read literature which did indicate that visual and auditory hallucinations do occur in a significant segment of the normal or healthy population.

Do the hallucinations occurring in healthy populations occur using the same mechanisms by which visual input dysfunction and auditory hallucinations occur in schizophrenics?

Does a willingness to believe in the paranormal predispose the believer to experience anomalous events?

Or, does a belief in the paranormal predispose the believer to focus or to place greater emphasis on experienced anomalous events; whereas a non-believing population would not significance in anomalous events?

Is sleep paralysis still worth investigating as a glitch left over from bicameralism?

Feel free to give your input here.

On a side note, I do think we may be on to something. Do these remind you of anything?

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