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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 45195
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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Why do unconnected people hallucinate the same things? e.g.

Resolved Question:

Why do unconnected people hallucinate the same things? e.g. during sleep paralysis most people perceive an 'evil' being in the room, hence the term 'hagridden'. Why does nobody see elephants, or strawberries? This one is shared across every culture and population. In Madagascar it was explained to me I had to be careful when sleeping as evil wizards try to gain control of people at that time.

When my mother was dying she saw giant insects, not scary ones, just walking about. One of them she commented was quite pretty. I have known people drying out from alcoholism, and insects seem to be very popular there too.

Why do the same themes keep recurring from different people?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 3 years ago.

Dr. David :

This is Dr. David

Dr. David :

this is an interesting question.

Dr. David :

you can always look to the supernatural to try to explain these phenomenon during hallucinations and delusions

Dr. David :

I, myself, don't believe in demons and evil wizards.

Dr. David :

insects are very common and are experienced by many people around the world.

Dr. David :

and not all people when they hallucinate or have delusions or go through alcohol withdraw sense insects.

Dr. David :

but some do.

Dr. David :

some people can have unusual sensations on their bodies called parasthesias

Dr. David :

and these parasthesias can sometimes feel like insects crawling on your body.

Dr. David :

insect phobias are also quite common across cultures.

Dr. David :

you can read about it more here

Dr. David :

http://www.martinantony.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Overcoming-Animal-Phobias.pdf

Dr. David :

this is a very good article as well.

Dr. David :

http://www.insects.org/ced2/insects_psych.html

Dr. David :

insects in psychiatry

Dr. David :

it talks about how insects play a big part in human culture and therefore can affect many people's minds when they have psychiatric disorders or delusions or hallucinations

Dr. David :

take a read of these article.s

Dr. David :

let me know if you have questions.

Customer:

I have read the articles. I appreciate that if you are terrified of something, you might hallucinate it in some circumstances. Just as you might have a nightmare about something you are scared of. However, my mother was not scared of insects; she was pointing out particularly attractive ones, which of course I couldn't see. (My mother was suffering from terminal delusions). This is what started me thinking about why someone who wasn't bothered about insects would share a common hallucination, that it is generally assumed is a sort of waking nightmare. I have never hallucinated insects, so I don't know what they look like.

Dr. David :

I have never hallucinated insects either.

Dr. David :

but I have had patients who have had drug reactions to medications like fentanyl patches who develop hallucinations.

Dr. David :

and they will hallucinate about all sorts of things.

Customer:

I have read the articles. I appreciate that if you are terrified of something, you might hallucinate it in some circumstances. Just as you might have a nightmare about something you are scared of. However, my mother was not scared of insects; she was pointing out particularly attractive ones, which of course I couldn't see. (My mother was suffering from terminal delusions). This is what started me wondering why someone who was not afraid of insects and found them quite interesting should share a hallucination which is common, but generally assumed to be a sort of waking nightmare had by people who are afraid of them. Your articles generally express this opinion. I have never hallucinated insects, so all my experience is 2nd hand. I have, however, suffered from sleep paralysis over a number of years. It takes the standard form of a presence. However, although it was originally frightening, since I don't believe in demons and realised it was a hallucination, I no longer find it scary. If I did believe in the supernatural I'm sure it would be much nastier. It has never, however, been perceived as sitting on my chest ( people thinking they are suffocating cos they can't move and looking for an explanation). It's rather an unfair question, and I will rate you for trying, but I have been looking for a while for some research on these topics - not just assuming that it's scary, but common themes. The insects rather woke up a previous interest. Like you, I don't believe in religion or supernatural entities. I'm sure there's a sensible reason.

Customer:

Sorry, I hit return by mistake before.

Dr. David :

sleep paralysis can be frightening.

Dr. David :

I hope the articles are enlightening.

Dr. David :

let me know if you have other questions.

Dr. David :

please leave positive feedback when done.

Dr. David :

thanks for using JustAnswer.com

Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 45195
Experience: Board Certified Physician
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