As a point of pride, most people like to assume we know how our minds work. We go about our daily lives knowing we are in full control of our facilities. Then every once in a while we discover something that forces us to realize we have a long way to go yet before we can fully comprehend everything about the human brain. For example, did you know that with a red light bulb, some headphones, and a ping pong ball you can induce a hallucinatory state that can last for hours?

The Ganzfeld Effect, otherwise known as perception deprivation, alters the brain’s understanding of sensory information. When a person is confronted with an environment consisting of an unbroken plane of a single color, the hallucinations can occur as the brain fills in the gaps due to the lack of definition.

Creating The Experience:

You can recreate this effect at home with abut 10 bucks and a trip to Walmart by following these 4 steps:

  1. Find a dark room, and turn on a single lamp with only a red bulb turned on.
  2. Then play white noise on the headphones and place them on your head.
  3. Cut the ping pong ball in half and tape each half over one eye.
  4. Once these steps are complete find a comfortable spot to rest and enjoy the floating purple elephants.

The History:

This effect hasn’t always been experienced intentionally. There are many reports of instances where people experienced these hallucinations while under the effect of perception deprivation. Pythagoras used to journey into a cave to inherit wisdom from the visions he saw. When people have been trapped in mines without light, they have been known to tell stories of spirits and other types of hallucinations. Recountance of near death experiences could conceivably be explained by the Ganzfeld Effect as well.

The Benefits:

Inducing the experience of the Ganzfeld Effect can have its benefits. It can allow an individual to relax as well as offer personal insight. This can be a beneficial meditation method and allow your brain time to recharge. Also, this could be useful for those who wish to experience hallucinations without the use of illegal and harmful drugs.