Written by Al Wong

This is a description of my hallucination experience while I was recently sick. I was debating whether I should write this article but I think the experience is interesting enough to put it on the Web and perhaps compare notes with others. I never have takened recreational drugs, I don't drink alcohol and I don't smoke. I prefer clean living. Perhaps because of this, I've never really hallucinated for prolonged periods of time before.

It happened about a month and half ago. I had just arrived back to Los Angeles (LA) from Hong Kong (HK). The HK trip was an experience in itself. I had caught some sort of bug while in HK and had a sore throat and was easily tired. This condition flared up during the flight back to LA to flu like symptoms including coughing, chills and headaches.

When I arrived home, all I did was take a shower and make cup of tea. Then I went to bed to sleep and ended up mostly bed ridden for the next four days and hallucinating all this time!

During that time, whenever I closed my eyes, I started to hallucinate. This was very weird because I would be awake and sitting upright or lying down and trying to sleep. If I closed my eyes, I would hallucinate immediately. I would be in another world! I know they were hallucinations because I could see them very clearly. I wear prescription glasses and/or contact lenses and normally see things blurry. So I was able to immediately tell what was real (blurry) and what was unreal (clear).

Now I can understand why some people seek escape by taking drugs to hallucinate and see other worlds. It was an incredible experience. I did see numerous other worlds and many possibilities. It was all very clear, pretty much like animated computer graphics, with vivid colors, designs, movement, texture, shadows, etc. Some were extraordinarily beautiful and others were very ugly to the point of horror. It would certainly stimulate the creative juices in anyone.

I found it difficult to sleep because I couldn't tell if I was dreaming or having a hallucination. (I see my dreams clearly too.) I remember "waking up" and my eyes would be sore from looking at all the hallucinations. Then I'd realize I didn't sleep at all.

It was kind of interesting the amount of control I had over my hallucinations. The closest I would describe it is like working with PhotoShop. By willing it, I could literally zoom in and out of the pictures. I could change the color and hue of the pictures. I could rotate the pictures. Sometimes I could change my perspective inside the picture. I did notice I could not change some higher abstractions. For example, I could not change a male picture into a female one and vice versa. Perhaps this is not an primitive inbuilt function of the mind.

I should mention here I had no control over the types of hallucinations I would experience. They appear to come randomly at me. Sometimes they would be other worlds with different creatures or laws of physics. Sometimes they would be abstract patterns that constantly changed. Sometimes they would just be a picture. Once I had seen a given hallucination however, I was able to control it as I described above before it would change again.

It was an interesting experience but I don't think I would want to get sick again or take drugs just to repeat it. Physically, I was pretty miserable. I stopped hallucinating after the four days. That bug I caught lingered for about 2 weeks and I saw the doctor twice! I had a sore throat for the longest time. Then one morning four weeks later, I woke up and felt myself again.

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Last updated : April 30, 2001
Copyright 1996 Al Wong, Los Angeles, California, USA