Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Whoosh of Life

I recently started to read a new book that I got in the mail yesterday. DarkLore has become one of my most favorite reads of all times as I have gone through only the first few chapters. Though the name sounds all strange and out of the social norm, the content is what makes this book one of the best reads so far. The book is about the research of things that are strange or unexplainable, the facts and not made up pseudoscience that you find on TV or of the word of mouth of those who write on forums. So far, a great read.

What caught my attention about this book so far is that’s first chapter pertained to my last post about the correlations between those who have out of body experiences, night terrors, sleep paralysis, and psychedelic experiences. In the book they focus on the rigging or whooshing sounds that is most apparent during these experiences. Though I would love to write up all the text from the chapter and paste it into the blog, I don’t think it would be very legal and would also be very time consuming. I think that the book did a much better job in showing the correlations then I ever could do, so I’ll try to hit the good stuff.

Apparently many people that experience any type of alter state of consciousness hear the common sounds of:

  • Buzzing/Humming

  • Bells Tinkling/Chimes

  • Thunder/Rushing of wind

  • Stringed instruments

  • Choir/hymns

These sounds pop up all over the writings of grate prophets of people in the Bible and other religions, lucid dreamers, during a sleep paralysis or night terror episodes, and sometimes near death experiences. Here are some of the quotes from past writings containing those experiences.

Near Death Experiences:

Georg Ritchie, in the book “Life After Life” written by Raymond Moody in the mid 1970’s writes about his experience:
“I heard a click and a whirr. The whirr went on and on. It was getting louder. The whirr was inside my head and my knees were made of rubber. They were bending and I was falling and all the time the whirr grew louder. I sat up with a start. What time was it? I looked at the bedside table but they’d taken the clock away. In fact, where was any of my stuff? I jumped out of bed in alarm, looking for my clothes. My uniform wasn’t on the chair. I turned around, then frozen. Someone was lying in that bed.”

To me this account sounds much like an out of the body experience induced while asleep. I could be mistaken though but it has a lot of the common traits of that type of experience.

Another near death experience:
“A man is dying and, as he reaches the point of greatest physical distress, he hears himself pronounced dead by his doctor. He begins to hear an uncomfortable noise, a loud ringing or buzzing, and at the same time feels himself moving very rapidly through a long dark tunnel."

In the Tibetan Book of the Dead:
“When you have spoken in this wise [magical names], you will hear thunder and rushing of the air-space all around; and you will yourself will feel that you are shaken to your depths…"

This to me again sounds like many of the experiences that lucid dreamers feel while having what I like to call the transitional phase occur. The buzzing or whooshing sound and the vibrations (shaken to the depths) are all common during lucid dreaming.

Hallucinations from Psychedelics:

Terence and Dennis McKenna’s (a senior research scientist for the Natural Health Products Research Group at the British Columbia Institute of Technology) wrote in an experience during a ‘magic mushroom trip’ from the book "True Hallucinations":
“But it was definitely at some point in time near to the conversation that I first heard the sound, immeasurable distant and faint, in the region between the ears, not outside, but definitely, incredibly there, perfectly distinct on the absolute edge of audible perception. A sound almost like a signal or very, very faint transmissions of radio buzzing from somewhere, something like tingling chimes at first, but gradually becoming amplified into snapping, popping, gurgling, crackling electrical sounds.“

The book goes into talking about Dr. Strassman’s (a medical doctor specialized in psychiatry with a fellowship in clinical psychopharmacology research)work with DMT and how many of the patients experiences the sounds as well:
“Rather, there were simply sounds, variously described as “high pitched,” “whining and whirring,” “chattering,” “crinkling and crunching.”

Also here is an account of a DMT user that the book doesn’t reference but was found online on a popular forum at

Smudge wrote:
“Sometimes there is a monotone whirring sound, but mostly i get a whooshing sound in my right ear (like if being in a plane and changing altitude). My body becomes ridged and unable to open my eyes. Then on the right side of my face my skin appears to go elastic and is pulled outwards and upwards - with the rest of my body following. Other times my body will vibrate at speed (side to side) before the ‘pulling’ sensation.“

The book then talks about Ayahuasca users and how they experience the same type of sound. Ayahuasca contains a large amount of DMT which causes a psychedelic trip. Reichel-Dolmatoff (an anthropologist, known for his holistic approach and his in-depth fieldworks among tropical rainforest cultures) accounted for experiences of ayahuasca users as having several phases.
“The hallaucinations have several phases, and during the first the person feels and hears a violent current of air, as if a strong wing were pulling him along.”


In the revelations to Mohammed from the Archangel Gabriel:muhammad
“The Prophet heard at times the noise of the tinkling of a bell. To him alone was known the meaning of the sound. He alone could distinguish in, and through it, the words which Gabriel wished him to understand.”

And again with the callsic treaties on Hatha Yoga, Shiva Samhita talks about the same experiences:
“The first sound is like the hum of the honey-intoxicated bee, next that of a flute, then of a harp; after this, by the gradual practice of Yoga, the destroyer of the darkness of the world, he hears the sounds of ringing bells, then sounds like roars of thunder.”

Night Terrors:
“A buzzing/ ringing/ roaring/ whistling / hissing / high-pitched screeching sound in the ears set in and become louder and louder to the point of becoming unbearable.”

In the 17th century, demonologist Fr. Sinistrari talks about a young lady:
“During the following night, while she was in bed with her husband and both asleep, she found herself awakened by an extremely find voice, somewhat like a high-pitched whistling sound. “

These same sounds also are not limited to only one person hearing them, but during what seem to be shared experience of the sound, in many accounts more than two people hearing the sounds followed by what seems to be hallucinations of gnome like men and angels.

So after reading all of this, many of you may be asking, “Well what does this all mean and how does it apply to sleep and consciousness.” Well the second question is easy to answer. We are dealing with some type of change in consciousness, either on the group level or singular allowing for a shared hallucination which happened to occur rarely but does still occur. The sound could be an indication of this change as stated in my previous post “Correlations in Disorders” as I talked about how the POG waves become activated during sleep, producing internal visual and auditory messages in the brain. These sounds we hear inside our heads during these altered states of consciousness are a good indication that our brains have produced a type of switching over of external information to internal allowing us to dream or hallucinate. Human brains are very similar and an altered state could cause a similar reaction between a group of individuals causing many to hear and see very similar things.

What does this all mean? Well that’s a little harder for me to explain or even guess about. With all the research, reading, and personal self reflection I have done, I am still no where closer to the answer of why we dream, or why we have these types of experiences when we do. Maybe it’s some type of defense mechanism, but that still doesn’t explain for the gnomes and alien sightings that groups of people have seen after hearing these same sounds. In the way of science, it must be some type of hallucination, but why, I have no idea. The only thing that I have learned from this chapter of DarkLore and researching these sounds for the last few years is that I know it’s a good indication that an altered state of mind has occurred and that whatever I am seeing is either not real, or can’t be explained.

I think that scientist should explore this area and study what areas of the brain are active for those who can produce these internal sounds on their own as it might get us closer to understanding what happens to our brains when we die, and why we experience these odd hallucinations.


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