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No. 95: Sep-Oct 1994

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The Solar Wind And Hallucinations

"Data from the 19th century on hallucinations and magnetic disturbances were found to exhibit a direct and statistically significant correlation. The aa magnetic index over the period 1868-89 and concurrent visual hallucinatory activity were found to covary...Magnetic influences on the pineal hormone, melatonin, are suggested as a possible source of variation."

Annual variation of hallucination frequency versus geomagnetic activity
Annual variation of hallucination frequency versus geomagnetic activity
W. and S. Randall, the authors of the foregoing abstract, are in the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. An obvious question: Where could they have found reliable data on hallucinatory events between 1868 and 1889? Answer: Phantasms of the Living, by those old stalwarts of psychical research: E. Gurney, F. Myers, and E. Podmore, as reprinted by University Books in 1962.

"Within these pages, every visual hallucination with the month of occurrence was used in the correlational analysis (a total of 49)...All the visual hallucinations were of human or "humanoid" forms, typically recognized as a dead or dying friend or relative."

(Randall, Walter, and Randall, Steffani; "The Solar Wind and Hallucinations -- A Possible Relation Due to Magnetic Disturbances," Bioelectromagnetics, 12: 67, 1991. Cr. S. Jones)

Comment. Bioelectromagnetics is one of the thousands of journals we have not explored. Someone else should get busy! However, we must point out that the 49 visual hallucinations represent a very small sample severely limited to only those experiences that happened to have been submitted to the English Society for Psychical Research.

From Science Frontiers #95, SEP-OCT 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987