“With sight concealed our psyche views our body’s torments”.1
Could an Altered Vision Exist in an Altered State? by Athanasios Komianos
One day during my early days of experimentation my guinea pig (my wife) told me: “Do you know why I enjoy regressions?” Why I asked, “because it is the only time I see better and clearly”. I was astounded! She is short sighted, astigmatic, with hypermetropia from a very young age and always had to wear glasses. But while regressed and a short while after she was brought back to consciousness she could see clearly without glasses. Could that be possible? Could one see, or hear, or smell better under regression? It was not long after that when I happened to read an interview of the legendary hypnotist George Vouloukos who pioneered in regressions since the early 70’s in Greece. He was asked what was the most impressive regression he had ever had. The reply was illuminating. He had once regressed a blind man by birth. When this man was regressed he exclaimed crying in joy that he could clearly see and describe things for the first time in his life.2 Could that man really see or was it a self-delusion? Is there a way to validate this? Can modern science “objectively” measure such an experience?
So now I turn to a parallel growing body of evidence, which concerns research done on Multiple Personality Disorder or DID. These reports indicate striking physiological differences among alter personalities.3 The first such case, is reported by Dufay in 1876, “in which a woman who had severe myopia requiring glasses could, when in a somnambulistic state, do needlework and even thread the needle without her glasses and in poorer light” (Myers 1903). Current scientific research can be summarized here:
- B.G. Braun (1983) reported colour blindness in a patient (documented by the isochromatic colour blindness test) that disappeared following successful integration of the personalities.
- Birnbaum and Thomann (1996) report a case where a patient required different corrective lens for her primary and an alter personality, and there were also differences between them in corneal curvature and astigmatism.
- Dr. Daniel Goleman reports that one psychiatrist claimed that some people with MPD like to carry several pairs of eyeglasses, never knowing which personality might take over at any given time! (Rogo 1987).
- Shepard and Braun (S.D. Miller, 1989) found clinically significant optical differences between alter personalities on six measures: visual acuity, manifest refraction, colour vision, corneal curvature, and intraocular pressure.
- Miller upon a replication of the above study with a control group who tried to simulate alter personalities found that there were 4.5 times more changes among different personalities in MPD than those in the simulating controls.
- Ludwig and his colleagues (Larmore et al., 1977) stated that the average visual evoked responses (AVER) for each personality were quite different from each other and in fact each personality had its own AVER type, as if four people had been tested.
- S.D. Miller and Triggiano (1992) stated that psycho-physiological research using evoked potentials has provided some of the most consistent and convincing experimental evidence for the existence of MPD as a clinical entity, as well as for the distinctness of the personality states in persons with the disorder.
- Finally, Ring and Cooper (1997,1999) reported 31 cases of blind individuals, nearly half of them blind from birth, who experienced during their near death experiences (NDEs) quasi-visual and sometimes veridical perception of objects and events.
Finally, there is a question, which was posed two thousand years ago to Jesus by his disciples: “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” (John 9,2). Jesus replied that the man was blind so that the “works of God could be manifest in him.” Is it not time for science (even borderline science) to give an answer to this question? For those of us in regression therapy, who are not fully satisfied with the answer provided by religion, I think we should look for the possibility of doing serious research work on people who were born blind. There have been scattered and dispersed attempts in the past.5 Also more recently Hanny de Wit has made a significant study. She started off her research to answer a specific question: can a past life cause for blindness be found? She got the answer she wanted in at least one case. The insights of her research are fascinating and are actually providing food for thought and further research.6 Would it not be a challenge upon regression that some of these people could possibly retrieve information, which would correspond to a personality whose former incarnation and death upon investigation were found to exist?7
Birnbaum, M.H., & Thomman, K. (1996). Visual function in multiple personality disorder. Journal of the American Optometric Association, 67, 327-334.Braun, B.G. (1983a). Neurophysiologic changes in multiple personality due to integration: A preliminary report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26, 84-92.Braun, B.G. (1983b). Psychophysiologic phenomena in multiple personality and hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26, 124-137.Goleman, Daniel. “New focus on multiple personality.” The New York Times, May 21, 1985.Kelly, Edward et.al. Irreducible Mind: Towards a Psychology of the 21st century. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.Larmore, K.,Ludvig, A.M., & Cain, R.L.(1977). Multiple Personality-An objective case study. British Journal of Psychiatry,131, 35-40.Miller, S.D. (1989). Optical differences in cases of multiple personality disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 177, 480-486.Miller, S.D., & Triggiano, P.J. (1992). The psychophysiological investigation of multiple personality disorder: Review and update. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis,35, 47-61.Murphy, Michael. The Future of the Body. Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher Inc., 1992.Rogo, Scott. The Infinite Boundary. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1987.Myers, F.W.H. Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. London: Longmans, Green, 1903.
Ring, K., & Cooper, S. (1997). Near-death and out-of-body experiences in the blind: A study of apparent eyeless vision. Journal of Near-Death Studies,16, 101-147.
Ring, K., & Cooper, S. (1999). Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind. Palo Alto, CA: William James Center/Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
This case came to Elizabeth Bowen’s attention (a practicing hypnotherapist in England) in the early 1980s and it concerns a young healthy man in his 20s who was totally blind and had been so since birth. As a newborn baby he’d been placed in an oxygen tent and too much gas had been delivered, which caused the blindness the boy had suffered all his life. He approached Mrs Bowen because of ‘unsettling dreams’ he’d been experiencing, which seemed to ‘centre around the brilliance of the sun’. She regressed him and much to her amazement he exclaimed: ‘I can see!’ and then went on to vividly describe scenes of trees and fields and a job of carpentry he had held in a previous lifetime. He began to describe colours and shapes that he had never seen before so he had no point of reference and then told her about an ancient tribe of which he was a member. They were ‘worshipping the sun’ and had been instructed by the elders ‘not to look upon the disc’ as it rose. He further related how, being ‘curious’ in that lifetime, he had disobeyed the law and was seized and then ‘sacrificed on a stone altar’. These scenes were so real to him that he described them graphically. But at the end of these incredible experiences, upon returning to normality the young man was once again completely blind. “It’s one of the most interesting and baffling cases I’ve ever come across” quotes Mrs Bowen. She ended by challenging all sceptics: “How can this be explained, except that my client must have had some kind of previous existence in which his eyes had functioned correctly?” Her findings were given to me through personal communication and are about to be published soon. It should also be noted here that it is strikingly surprising (at least to the extent to which I know) that the late Ian Stevenson, despite his massive study on birth defects, he did not study (or report) on blind people by birth. Is that not strange?