The Ganzfeld effect is an effect caused by sensory deprivation. When your mind is deprived of sight, and sound, it will often forfeit the two with hallucinations.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia.com
The Ganzfeld experiment is an experiment in which the subject lies in a chair/bed/whatever, and the Ganzfeld effect is induced.
How it was done:
The subject, as stated before, laid down in a comfortable position. Halved ping pong balls were strapped around the subjects eyes (often accompanied by a red light) like so.
Without red light:
With red light:
This was to ensure that only one consistent "unstructured" color would be perceived by the brain.
As you can see in the above pictures, headphones were also worn by the subjects and white noise was played through them. This also provides "unstructured" sound for the brain.
Sometimes people will also wear gloves to block out touch, but only deprivation of sight and sound is necessary to duplicate the experiment, which we will also discuss.
How to replicate the experiment at home:
Two ping pong balls
A comfortable place to rest
Suggested, but not necessary:
An mp3 player or computer
Half the ping pong balls so that they will fit comfortably over your eyes. Use the above images for reference.
Tune your radio to static, and place it beside the place that you will perform the experiment. Turn it up so that it is all you will really be hearing. This will serve as your white noise.
Alternate step 2:
Download a white noise mp3 to your MP3 player/computer, and set it to continuously play. Plug in your headphones, and set it to a comfortable volume. A white noise download link is located at the bottom of the post.
Lay down in your spot.
Strap the ping pong balls over your eyes with the tape. Not too hard, but sealed enough so that you cannot see any notably large cracks. Preferably none at all.
Wait. Depending on you, it could take ten-forty-five minutes. Just relax. Try to zone out and just daydream.
Really, the effect is so simplistic and inexpensive I'm rather surprised that I have not seen it discussed here before.
There have been many interesting results from this experiment:
“For quite a long time, there was nothing except a green-greyish fog. It was really boring, I thought, ‘ah, what a non-sense experiment!’ Then, for an indefinite period of time, I was ‘off’, like completely absent-minded. Then, all of sudden, I saw a hand holding a piece of chalk and writing on a black-board something like a mathematical formula. The vision was very clear, but it stayed only for few seconds and disappeared again. The image did not fill up the entire visual field, it was just like a ‘window’ into that foggy stuff.”
“an urban scenery, like an empty avenue after a rain, large areas covered with water, and the city sky-line reflected in the water surface like in a mirror.”
“a clearing in a forest [Lichtung], a place bathed in bright sun-shine, and the trunks of trees around. A feeling of a tranquile summer afternoon in a forest, so quiet, so peaceful. And then, suddenly, a young woman passed by on a bicycle, very fast, she crossed the visual field from the right to the left, with her blond long hair waving in the air. The image of the entire scene was very clear, with many details, and yes, the colours were very vivid.”
“I can see his face, still, it's very expressive… [I could see] only the horse that comes as if out of clouds. A white horse that jumped over me.”
“A friend of mine and I, we were inside a cave. We made a fire. There was a creek flowing under our feet, and we were on a stone. She had fallen into the creek, and she had to wait to have her things dried. Then she said to me: ‘Hey, move on, we should go now’.”
“It was like running a bob sleigh on an uneven runway right down… [There] was snow or maybe water running down… I could hear music, there was music coming from the left side below.”
“In the right side of the visual field, a manikin suddenly appeared. He was all in black, had a long narrow head, fairly broad shoulders, very long arms and a relatively small trunk…. He approached me, stretching out his hands, very long, very big, like a bowl, and he stayed so for a while, and then he went back to where he came from, slowly.”
(Quotations courtesy of Mind Hacks)
It is speculated that this effect could be fuel for a Wake Induced Lucid Dream.