Saturday, July 11, 2015

Experiencers and "exploding head syndrome."

Hi all,

Some background:

Over the years, I have interviewed dozens of experiencers. Some of them have mentioned unusual events which occur on the sleep/awake interface. They will be lying in bed, and suddenly hear a tremendously loud sound; or see a flash of light in their darkened room, or occasionally feel a wave of heat pass through their bodies.

These events then become integrated into other unusual events, which happen to them, which they may interpret as being part of their UAP/alien experiences. However, there may just be a conventional explanation for these kind of events.

In the July/August 2015 (vol. 36, no.6) issue of the magazine "Australasian Science," writer Tim Hannon, on page 40, reports on  "Exploding Head Syndrome."

The article:

In part the article reads:

"In recent years the neuropsychological literature has been awash with reports of people describing strange experiences when going to sleep. Many of those have described hearing sudden inexplicable noises; such as unseen bombs exploding nearby, thunderclaps on cloud-free nights, or a gun fired in their bedroom by an invisible intruder. At times these sounds are accompanied by flashes of light, or by physical sensations such as intense heat."

"While some people are convinced that these explosions are real, most others acknowledge that, since they are not heard by others, the sounds must have occurred inside their own heads.

"Some have concluded that these noises must be the work of invisible agents such as aliens or poltergeists, or a government agency testing mind-control weapons...neurological investigation suggest that the episodes are symptoms of a condition labelled exploding head syndrome which may be more common than previously assumed...The neurological mechanisms responsible for exploding head syndrome are not well understood...The dominant theory implicates the reticular formation, a set of connected nuclei distributed through the brainstem, which is one of several neural systems regulating the body's transition between sleep and wakefulness..."

Hannon's article cites the recent work of Brian Sharpless, Department of Psychology, Washington State University as published in J. Sleep Res. (2015 - click here.)

Knowledge researchers need:

I have long maintained, that UAP researchers who work with experiencers need to have a basic knowledge of a number of areas of abnormal psychology (click here) , physiology (click here) and neurology (click here.). These include the topics of hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery (click here); sleep paralysis (click here;) and fantasy prone personality (click here ); and false awakenings (click here.)

Pauline Wilson's blog posts:

For the background to the possible relationship between UAP experiencers and fantasy-prone personality by Adelaide based researcher, Pauline Wilson, please click here. For citations to seven published scientific studies on the topic, and further discussion click here.

For Pauline's take on hypnagogic imagery click here.

In summary:

I am not saying that these areas explain the totality of experiencer's accounts, but that parts of experiencers' stories are so similar to these areas of existing knowledge, that researchers need to take current scientific research into account, when trying to interpret the accounts of an experiencer.

1 comment:

  1. > researchers need to take current scientific research into account

    All this is well said.

    Interrupted Journey seems to have set the template for how many UFO researchers engage the science dealing with abductions. Much is made of Dr. Benjamin Simon's expertise, but how did his views compare with the rest of psychiatry at the time? Fuller covers the scientific literature in a footnote (p 63) and one paragraph in the body of the text (p 65). That's it.

    The footnote gives a summary of the use of hypnosis to treat traumatic amnesia during World War II. No sources are given for the assertions.
    In the paragraph, Breuer is summarised in one sentence. There are no quotes, and no specific work is cited (though readers of Studies on Hysteria will recognise the content).
    Freud gets the exact same one-sentence treatment, again with no quote or citation. Studies on Hysteria also seems to be the source -- a work Brueur and Freud published in 1895, a full 71 years before Interrupted Journey. (Since Fuller does not cite the book, I suspect he was using a secondary source.)
    Fuller then jumps to Dr. Lewis Wolberg for the "present medical attitude" about hypnosis. Wolberg gets five sentences, including a two-sentence quote that seems to support the notion that hypnotic memories can be taken literally. But Fuller's citation is "he [Wolberg] once told a medical symposium..." No date, place, sponsor or published proceedings are cited (I suspect, again, that Fuller is using a secondary source, most likely a newspaper report of the talk). Tellingly, nowhere in the abduction literature can I (so far) find anyone making reference to this source. I presume no readers or commentors cared who Wolberg was, only that he supported the psychiatric premises of the Hill case. Through a very long search on the Internet, I found that Wolberg gave a talk in April 1962, which was published with talks by other physicians in a brief pamphlet. It was my only lead, so I committed 20 whole Canadian dollars and ordered the pamphlet. Luckily, it wasn't a waste -- the talk had Fuller's quote.

    So here for the first time in the UFO literature (or so I believe), I give the citation for the Wolberg quote on page 65 of the first printing of Interrupted Journey:

    Lewis R. Wolberg, "Classical Clinical Uses," published in Medical Uses of Hypnosis, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, symposium no. 8 (GAP, New York, 1962)

    What is most perplexing is that Fuller supports his book's claims about medical hypnosis and hypnoanalysis by citing (so to speak) an eight-page talk from Wolberg. Fuller does not cite Wolberg's conveniently titled books, the two-volume Medical Hypnosis (1948) or Hypnoanalysis (1st ed., 1945, 2nd ed., 1964). But perhaps this is for the best: Fuller would have noticed that Wolberg did not concern himself with the veridicality of the memories brought forth in hypnosis. In fact, Wolberg frequently invited patients to dream about suggested scenarios then talk about them immediately after -- all the while in Wolberg's office while under hypnosis! Clearly, the doctor cared less about the historical truth of these hypnotic reveries and more about giving the patient material -- any material -- to "work through." Readers will find the same "present medical attitude" in Edward Arluck's book, Hypnoanalysis: a Case Study (1964), in which he treats a troubled World War II soldier, often working through fantastic and clearly symbolic imagery.

    Readers of the Hill case will not find such an analysis in the UFO literature. Especially not in the Marden/Friedman book that laughably claims to engage the vast scientific literature bearing on the case.

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