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  #1  
Old 07-19-2001, 03:37 PM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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I've just read this claim in connection with haunted houses, but I'm having a hard time finding an ahem reputable source on the subject. A Google search on 'electromagnetic fields hallucinations -alien -ghosts -para -alternative -"mind control"' isn't panning out.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2001, 03:48 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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[pet peeve hijack]

"Panning out" in gold mining terminology means there's no gold left in the river, and you have to go find more. So panning out is a NEGATIVE thing.

[/hijack]

Well, every thing you perceive is the result of electromagnetic activity in your brain, right? I'd have to assume that enough background noise could throw off the reception, like having an electric hedge trimmer that you could hear over your stereo speakers, or picking up radio on your braces.
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2001, 03:53 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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The only way to protect yourself from mind control by electromagnetic fields is to wear your aluminum foil hat!

Tris
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"People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge." ~ Lao Tzu ~
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  #4  
Old 07-19-2001, 04:01 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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I think you probably thinking of more complex hallucinations, but phosphemes at least can be induced by electrical currents.
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  #5  
Old 07-19-2001, 04:42 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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I'm not sure what you're looking for. Are you talking about claims that so-called haunted houses are really just places with strange EM fields that are causing hallucinations? Or are you talking about the parapsychologists who go to haunted houses and one of the things they do is take magnetometer readings?

I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but a scientist in Canada (I think it might be Toronto, but specifics have evaporated) has devised a system he uses to induce hallucinations in people, including alien abductions, visitations by angels and ghosts, out of body experiences, and other paranormal events. It uses a helmet with powerful electromagnets to pulse the brain, and they tailor the EM signature to provide different experiences. Michael Shermer went and participated and did an article for Skeptic magazine, and also a segment for Exploring the Unknown. I can't seem to find any links to it right now.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2001, 06:43 AM
Steve Wright Steve Wright is offline
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There's been some debate about electromagnetic fields inducing hallucinations (alien abduction experiences, that sort of thing) by affecting the temporal lobe of the brain. Sometimes this is associated with a form of epilepsy. Adding "temporal lobe" to your search criteria might help narrow down the results; Dr. Susan Blackmore is a name I know in connection with this field, so searching on her name might also yield something useful.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2001, 08:32 AM
bernse bernse is offline
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I saw a very similar thing on TV once. I never bothered to invistigate it further but it did interest me.

The story I remember was about a family that was absolutely terrified to go in their basement. If the dared to they could sense an evil presence in the corner and see some dim light or something. Needless to say, it scared the crap out of them.

A group of researches came buy to investigate. One of them got the same freaky feeling. They took some readings with some tool (don't ask, I don't remember what) and discovered some sort of an "EM field" down there.

They took a couple of people to their lab. The recreated the "field" on them with one of those funky hats that wires come out of. They all got the exact same feeling of terror.
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2001, 10:34 AM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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I'll keep the true meaning of "panning out" in mind, Ethilrist, thanks.

Irishman, I guess I was mostly looking for descriptions of laboratory experiments where EMFs were used to induce hallucinations.

I suddenly remembered a tv show about this that I'd seen a long time ago, and recalled that sensory deprivation (covering the eyes with cotton balls, playing white noise) was an important component of the experiment, and a web search on this lead me (though various UFO-believin' backways) to the work of Michael Persinger, head of the Behavioural Neuroscience Program at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

Here's one of the better descriptions of his experiments and results that I can find:

http://204.202.137.113/sections/livi...opinion_6.html

If found lots of hits for Susan Blackmore, particularly regarding OBEs/NDEs, but, like her colleague, Dr. Persinger, they are mostly fringe sources, and I'm having trouble filtering them out. Same deal with searching on "temporal lobe hallucinations." I either get banal temporal lobe seizures, or weirdos.

Are these people doing reputable work or not? It seems that if Persinger's experiments are legit, this is a fascinating area--and not only to "parapsychologists." Applying an EMF to the outside of somebody's skull will affect what goes on inside, and will induce experiences that many people have had? How safe is it? Are there long term effects? Can I go on down to a hallucination booth and have me a religious experience?

So why am I not getting hits at CSICOP and Skeptic.com? If found a couple references to his textbook, Neuropsychological Bases of God Beliefs at Skepdic, but that's it. Where are the articles in mainstream science publications?

Unfortunately, the only information I can find is from alien-abductees and religous nuts deriding the results, and other wackos springing on them as proof that telepathy and mind-control exist or that high-tension power lines are polluting our precious bodily fluids.

Thanks for your help so far. Any more hints would be appreciated.
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  #9  
Old 07-20-2001, 12:27 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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You might try Googling about with "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation ". While the thrust of the research seems to be mostly treating depression, the researchers are stimulating specific parts of the brain with powerful electromagnetic fields.
http://www.psycom.net/depression.cen...nscranial.html
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2001, 12:46 PM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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Cool, Squink, thanks! Based on a brief survey, it looks like TMS reduces auditory hallucinations in schizophrenic patients. At least this is obviously generating lots of legitimate study.

And here's a quote that perhaps casts doubt on Persinger's credibility:

Quote:
From a Google cache:
One researcher who studies such effects is Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist at Laurentian University of Sudbury, Ontario. Persinger believes that alien abductions and other mystical experiences are the result of neurons firing in an unusual pattern in the temporal lobes. And that pattern can be recreated, he claims, by applying magnetic pulses across the temporal lobes ("Alien Abduction: The Inside Story", New Scientist, 19 November 1994).

[Dr. Mark] George [of NIMH] is intrigued by such observations. His team has never managed to create hallucinations with magnetic pulses. He says there is a long history of people claiming low doses of magnetism can influence behaviour and mental states. "On close inspection these usually turn out to be placebo effects."
Is Dr. George insinuating that Persinger's results are due to the placebo effect? Or has the author of the article simply placed his statement in an ambiguous context?

Also, I think I found bernse's story here:
http://radio.cbc.ca/programs/Tapestry/haunted.html
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2001, 02:03 PM
bobkitty bobkitty is offline
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Okay, in comes the official parapsychologist

Dr. Persinger and Dr. Blackmore are, IMNSHO, the first and second horsemen of the apocalyse, respectively.

I worked with Dr. William Roll for some time, who buys whole-heartedly into Persinger's work. For those not in the know, our good buddy Mike hooks electrodes to the temporal lobes of subjects' brains, then sends through pulses at different rates. The result- if he doesn't manage to put people into epileptic seizures- is indeed hallucinations of the kind reported in haunted houses. I agreed to participate in one study. All I got was a whopping headache and 5 hours of vomiting. Results for his experiments, for the scientifically minded, can be found in either the Journal of Parapsychology or the Journal for the American Society of Psychical Research.

Now, Dr. Roll and I did an investigation for Unsolved Mysteries that turned out to be entirely geological. It's referred to as the 'peltier effect' which causes, among other things, hot and cold spots, noises, light phenomena, ultrasonic sound, and extreme fluctuations in the magnetic field- spikes *way* off the chart. Yes, if you hang around in that kind of area for long periods of time, it's gonna start having an effect. The owners of the house had four dogs died due to the ultrasonic sounds. Can't imagine what long-term exposure would do to people.

What you're talking about with the cotton balls and sensory deprivation are the Ganzfeld experiments. Those are being done at the Rhine Research Center.. http://www.rhine.org/. They also have excellent links for other studies being done.

Personally, I think the psychomanteum work, mostly done by Raymond Moody and Diane Archangel, is much more interesting.

-BK
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2001, 08:31 AM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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Re: Okay, in comes the official parapsychologist

Quote:
Originally posted by bobkitty
Dr. Persinger and Dr. Blackmore are, IMNSHO, the first and second horsemen of the apocalyse, respectively.
Ooooookay, that's one person's opinion, a person who's a bit unclear on exactly what the Peltier effect is, but someone who probably knows more about the field than me . . .

Quote:
What you're talking about with the cotton balls and sensory deprivation are the Ganzfeld experiments.
No, absolutely not. I'm familiar with Ganzfeld experiments. Having read the description of Persinger's experiment in the ABC article I linked to above, I'm confident that's what I remembered.

Quote:
Personally, I think the psychomanteum work, mostly done by Raymond Moody and Diane Archangel, is much more interesting.
Oy. I'm afraid to ask. Tried a web search, and it's nothing but wall-to-wall wackos.
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2001, 09:44 AM
bobkitty bobkitty is offline
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Re: Re: Okay, in comes the official parapsychologist

Quote:
Originally posted by Podkayne

Ooooookay, that's one person's opinion, a person who's a bit unclear on exactly what the Peltier effect is, but someone who probably knows more about the field than me . . .


Well, I didn't see a full description of the peltier effect was relevent to the original post, which was about electromagnetic fields. Are you insinuating that the peltier effect *doesn't* cause spikes in the electromagnetic field? If so, I have to disagree *and* have the documentation on hand from our equipment to prove it. If you want to talk about the buildup of pressure between limestone-based rock beds along a fault line, I'd be happy to oblige. At least, unlike Robert Stack, I can *pronounce* peltier. (just had to throw that in as a pet peeve.. every time I lecture and have to show that tape, I have to correct him.)


Quote:
Oy. I'm afraid to ask. Tried a web search, and it's nothing but wall-to-wall wackos.
Don't know where you've been looking on the web, but Moody's and Archangel's experiments are well-documented in relevent journals. Diane in particular has excellent replication statistics. It's based on techniques discovered at Delphi, and is a fantastic grief counseling technique. *shrug*

-BK
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Baroness Junior Grade of Furry Wilderness Creatures.
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  #14  
Old 07-21-2001, 11:13 AM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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Enough of any stimulation can certainly trigger nerve impulses--try moving a powerful horseshoe magnet in front of your eyes. It ought to make you see flashes of light. Even easier, just close your eyes and press on them. Voila, phosphemes--the aliens are beaming you up!
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  #15  
Old 07-21-2001, 11:48 AM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
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If you can find 'em, you might try reading The Body Electric and Cross Currents both by Robert O. Becker. He's done some pioneering research on the effects of electromagnetic fields on the human mind and body. In The Body Electric, he details his experiments well enough that you could duplicate them yourself if you wanted to.

Oh, BTW, if you're thinking about using a bulk tape eraser to induce an LSD-type experence, DON'T!!!! Becker relates an account of someone who did that and ended up in a mental institution almost immediately afterwards!
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  #16  
Old 07-21-2001, 02:35 PM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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Re: Re: Re: Okay, in comes the official parapsychologist

Quote:
Originally posted by bobkitty
Are you insinuating that the peltier effect *doesn't* cause spikes in the electromagnetic field?
A loop of current of varying intensity will certainly produce spikes "off the chart" (since, of course, you can set any scale on the "chart" that you want) but this isn't due to the Peltier effect, (which should be capitalized, since it is named for physicist Jean Peltier) which simply transports heat from one place to another. I can see how fluctuating eletromagentic fields could accompany the Peltier effect, but they are not caused by it.

I'm also a bit unclear as to how the Peltier effect could cause "light phenomena, [and] ultrasonicsound." (Plain ol' noise, I can see, since temperature changes can certainly cause pops, cracks, groans, and so forth.) Seems, based just on what I read here, that you're conflating the Peltier effect (which requires a current flow through a junction between regions with differnent resistances) with all sorts of possible consequences of currents.

Here are the first few hits from Google for "psychomanteum":

http://www.synergycenter.com/ : "The Klini, Mandala (Tatwa Focus), Psychomanteum, and Reiki are the tools for Your "Spiritual Journey" or for relaxation and personal growth. . ."

http://www.pyschomanteum.com/ : "Within this environment, Dr. Moody or one of his personally trained facilitators, engages visitors in the process of attempting to attain the altered state of consciousness that can lead to 'visionary encounters with departed loved ones.'" (This appears to be Dr. Moody's website.)

http://www.resourcefulself.com/psycho.cfm/ : "A modern day version of an ancient apparitional chamber used to evoke vivid visionary encounters with deceased loved ones and to facilitate mystical encounters with the subconcious mind."

If you don't consider that wacko. . . well, I'm getting the feeling we don't see eye-to-eye on this subject, anyway. If you could link any information about controlled experiments with the technique, I'd be delighted to look them over, but I'm a bit puzzles as to why you chose to bring psychomanteum up in a thread about electromagnetic fields causing hallucinations, since this technique doesn't seem to have anything to do with EMFs.
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  #17  
Old 07-21-2001, 02:46 PM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tuckerfan
Oh, BTW, if you're thinking about using a bulk tape eraser to induce an LSD-type experence, DON'T!!!! Becker relates an account of someone who did that and ended up in a mental institution almost immediately afterwards!
Eep! Wasn't planning on it, but that's good to know!

But, how is it that people get MRIs all the time, which involve strong, oscillating magnetic fields, and it doesn't make anybody hallucinate? Frequency too high?

Oh, and Ethilrist, the OED differes with you regarding "panning out"--it says that "to pan out" means to retreive gold by panning, and thus "to pan out" means to yield results. (Sorry, don't have exact quotes because I can only get to OED online though the institutional subscription at work.)
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  #18  
Old 07-21-2001, 03:26 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Podkayne


But, how is it that people get MRIs all the time, which involve strong, oscillating magnetic fields, and it doesn't make anybody hallucinate? Frequency too high?
Might be. I don't think that bulk tape erasers produce very much of an oscillating frequency. I think its pretty much just a high magnetic field that wipes the tapes. Anyways, its an important safety tip I thought I'd pass along. (Especially since I almost did it myself, once and had second thoughts about it, and then read the account of the guy going bonkers!)
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  #19  
Old 07-21-2001, 04:18 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Quote:
But, how is it that people get MRIs all the time, which involve strong, oscillating magnetic fields, and it doesn't make anybody hallucinate? Frequency too high?
An MRI, nee NMR, uses a powerful fixed magnetic field and sweeps the opposing electromagnetic field at 100 MHz or higher. http://www.harvard-magazine.com/arch...surgery_3.html
Walking past the superconducting magnets on a large NMR, or a cyclotron fused for isoptope production, does not cause visual hallucinations. The story about the guy being driven mad by his bulk tape eraser sounds Snopesworthy.
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  #20  
Old 07-22-2001, 04:36 AM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
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Squink, just did a quick couple of searches on Snopes and came up with nothing. Someone else might have better luck. I no longer have a copy of the book, so I can't quote the relevant passages. I'll be the first to admit that there could be other reasons why the guy went nuts (if he did at all), but its not likely anyone'll get a research grant to test this out in humans. The effects of EMF on the human body are still not completely understood, and most of the studies I've seen have been contradictory. One of the reasons I like Becker's books is that he generally goes into great detail about his experiments, describing the kinds of equipment he used and the strengths and nature of the fields employed. Now that I think about it, he mentions stopping an experiment in one of his books because he found that it caused brain damage (albeit minor) in the animals, and he was worried that it might be doing the same on his human subjects.
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  #21  
Old 07-22-2001, 05:53 AM
Chas.E Chas.E is offline
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I know for a fact that EM radiation can cause hallucinations. I know for sure, because government-sanctioned organizations are beaming EM fields into a receiver in my house, they use these fields to reprogram my mind. Those emissions are called..

TV Commercials.

They can induce powerful hallucinations, like convincing people that McDonalds burgers taste good.
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