Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. Here Dr. Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:
American Academy of Neurology: Excerpt from “Anton’s Syndrome Accompanying Withdrawal Hallucinosis in a Blind Alcoholic” by Barbara E. Swartz and John C. M. Brust from Neurology 34 (1984). Reprinted by permission of the American Academy of Neurology as administered by Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research.
American Psychiatric Publishing: Excerpt from “Weir Mitchell’s Visual Hallucinations as a Grief Reaction” by Jerome S. Schneck, M.D., from American Journal of Psychiatry (1989). © 1989 by American Journal of Psychiatry. Reprinted by permission of American Psychiatric Publishing a division of American Psychiatric Association.
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.: Excerpt from “Heautoscopy, Epilepsy and Suicide” by P. Brugger, R. Agosti, M. Regard, H. G. Wieser and T. Landis from Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, July 1, 1994. Reprinted by permission of BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. as administered by the Copyright Clearance Center.
Cambridge University Press: Excerpts from Disturbances of the Mind by Douwe Draaisma, translated by Barbara Fasting. © 2006 by Douwe Draaisma. Reprinted by permission of Cambridge University Press.
Canadian Psychological Association: Excerpt from “Effects of Decreased Variation of the Sensory Environment” by W. H. Bexton, W. Heron and T. H. Scott from Canadian Psychology (1954). © 1954 by Canadian Psychological Association. Excerpt from “Perceptual Changes after Prolonged Sensory Isolation (Darkness and Silence)” by John P. Zubek, Dolores Pushkar, Wilma Sansom and J. Gowing from Canadian Psychology (1961). © 1961 by Canadian Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission of Canadian Psychological Association.
Elsevier Limited: Excerpt from “Migraine: From Cappadocia to Queen Square” in Background to Migraine, edited by Robert Smith (London: William Heinemann, 1967). Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Limited.
The New York Times: Excerpts from “Lifting, Lights, and Little People” by Siri Hustvedt from The New York Times Blog, February 17, 2008. Reprinted by permission of The New York Times as administered by PARS International Corp.
Oxford University Press: Excerpt from “Dostoiewski’s Epilepsy” by T. Alajouanine from Brain, June 1, 1963. Reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press as administered by Copyright Clearance Center.
Royal College of Psychiatrists: Excerpt from “Sudden Religious Conversion in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy” by Kenneth Dewhurst and A. W. Beard from British Journal of Psychiatry 117 (1970). Reprinted by permission of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Scientific American: Excerpt from “Abducted!” by Michael Shermer from Scientifi c American 292 (2005). © 2005 by Scientifi c American, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Scientific American.
Vintage Books: Excerpts from Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov, © 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1967, copyright renewed 1994 by the Estate of Vladimir Nabokov. Used by permission of Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
OLIVER SACKS is a practicing physician and the author of 10 books, including The Mind's Eye, Musicophilia,The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film). He lives in New York City, where he is a professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the first Columbia University Artist. The author lives in New York, NY.