Weekend Diversion: Make Yourself Hallucinate (Safely)


Ethan Siegel in Starts With a Bang!:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!’” -Hunter S. Thompson

For those of you who’ve never experienced exactly what it feels like to alter your perceptions, and for those of you who have but don’t want to spend hours and hours experiencing the effects, your options have traditionally been limited. Perhaps a song might provide a window into the experience of blurred reality for you, such as Stereolab’s song: Hallucinex.

Thanks to the combined power of technology and our understanding of neuroscience (and perception), you don’t need drugs or to provoke your brain into releasing DMT. Rather, a simple visual pattern can induce temporary (lasting under a minute) hallucinations, safely and temporarily.

The visual patterns that can make us hallucinate typically involve tunnel-like perceptions, something that both math and neuroscience back up. In general, there are a number of things you can do to disorient your visual cortex, and your brain’s attempts (and failures) to adapt to the stimuli are what trigger the hallucination effect!

More here.