It seems alarm clocks may be responsible for more than just waking you up at unfriendly hours of the day — they may also make you hallucinate and imagine visitations from supernatural beings, according to Michael Persinger, a psychologist who’s been investigating the effects of complex electromagnetic fields on the brain’s perception. He says:
As a human being, I am concerned about the illusionary explanations for human consciousness and the future of human existence. Consequently after writing the Neuropsychological Base of God Beliefs (1987), I began the systematic application of complex electromagnetic fields to discern the patterns that will induce experiences (sensed presence) that are attributed to the myriad of ego-alien intrusions which range from gods to aliens. The research is not to demean anyone’s religious/mystical experience but instead to determine which portions of the brain or its electromagnetic patterns generate the experience.
So it turns out that Horizon, the BBC science programme, has just shown an episode about Dr. Persinger’s work. The transcript isn’t up yet, unfortunately, but some mails on the forteana list make it sound like it’ll be well worth a read when it is. (It’ll be here, apparently.)
One great find is this paper:
‘A left-handed Roman Catholic female adolescent with a history of early brain trauma reported nightly visitations by a sentient being. During one episode she experienced vibrations of the bed, an external presence along the left side that moved into her body, inner vaginal (not clitoral) and uterine sensations, and the sense of being impregnated by a force she attributed to the Holy Spirit. After the latter experience she felt an invisible baby superimposed upon her left shoulder. Analyses of the measurements for magnetic anomalies within her bedroom indicated an electric clock about 20 cm from her head while she slept. The complex form of the 4 microT magnetic pulses generated by the clock was similar to shapes that evoke electrical seizures in epileptic rats and sensitive humans.’
Also worth noting that Richard Dawkins has little aptitude for religious feelings, even magnetically-induced ones!