Possessed and Prophecy: Alien Hand, Split-Brains, Religious Experience, Trance, Dissociation, Moses, Hitler and the Second Exodus
Reprinted from Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D, Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, 1996 (Wllliams & Wilkins).
Alien Hand, Split-Brains, Religious Experience, Trance, Dissociation, Moses, Hitler and the Second Exodus
Rhawn Gabriel Joseph, Ph.D.
PRESENCE, POSSESSION & THE ALIEN HAND
"After getting into bed I had a vivid tactile hallucination of being grasped by the arm, which made me get up and search my room for an intruder. The next night I suddenly felt something come into the room and stay close to my bed. It remained only a minute or two. There was a horribly unpleasant sensation connected with it. It stirred something at the roots of my being. The feeling was not pain so much as abhorrence. Something was present with me, and I knew its presence far more surely than I have ever known the presence of any fleshly living creature. I was conscious of its departure as of its coming; an almost instantaneously swift going through the door, and the horrible sensation disappeared" (James, 1902).
"Quite early in the night I was awakened. I felt as if I had been aroused intentionally, and at first thought someone was breaking into the house. I immediately felt a consciousness of a presence in the room, it was not a consciousness of a live person, but of a spiritual presence. I also at the same time felt a strong feeling of superstitious dread, as if something strange and fearful were about to happen" (James, 1902).
It is certainly possible, in some cases, that the experience of a "presence," of the existence of an unseen person or entity, may have a supernatural origin. Neurologically, however, this condition is associated with abnormalities, including seizure activity, involving the right hemisphere--the right parietal lobe in particular--and disturbances involving the corpus callosum interconnections between the right and left (speaking) half of the brain including the medial frontal lobe and anterior commissure (Joseph, 1988, 1999a).
For example, a woman with a right parietal injury repeatedly claimed that at night another person would get into bed with her. She believed that the alien entity was a little Negro girl, whose arm would slip into the patient's sleeve (Gerstmann, 1942). This alien "presence" was exclusively a left sided phenomenon. Yet another patient with a right parietal injury claimed "that an old man" would get into bed with him. Another patient engaged in peculiar erotic behavior with his left limbs which he believed belonged to a woman. A patient described by Bisiach and Berti (1987, p. 185) "would become perplexed and silent whenever the conversation touched upon the left half of his body; even attempts to evoke memories of it were unsuccessful." Instead he claimed "that a woman was lying on his left side; he would utter witty remarks about this and sometimes caress his left arm".
Some patients feel as if the left half of their body has been taken over by something evil that is persecuting them. They may develop a dislike for their left arms or legs, try to throw them away, become agitated when they are referred to, entertain persecutory delusions regarding them, and repeatedly complain of strangers sleeping in their beds.
The "Body Image" is represented within the brain; The left half of the body is represented in the right hemisphere and the right half of the body in the left hemisphere
One patient complained that this other person tried to push her out of the bed. She threatened to sue the hospital. Another patient, after bumping into her left arm and leg all night, bitterly complained about "a hospital that makes people sleep together." She expressed not only anger but concern least her husband should find out; she was convinced it was a man in her bed. Likewise, the left hemisphere of some split-brain patients have claimed to hate the left half of their body and attribute to it disagreeable personality traits or claim that it has engaged in behavior which the speaking half of the brain finds unpleasant, strange, objectionable, embarrassing, or contrary to it's wishes (Joseph, 1988ab). In many instances, patients may have lived a normal, uneventful life, only to suddenly become possessed by an alien presence which takes over half their body.
Goldberg (1987, p 290) describes a 53 year old right-handed women, "B.D." who while at work was overcome with a "feeling of nausea and began to notice that her left leg felt 'as if it did not belong to me.' This feeling of being dissociated from her body spread to the rest of her left side. At home, her symptoms began to worsen. While sleeping one night a few days after admission to the hospital, she woke up suddenly and noticed her own left hand scratching her shoulder.... She would frequently look down to find the hand doing something that she had no idea it had been doing. She found this very disturbing and was convinced that she was going crazy." Subsequent CT scan and MRI indicated an infarct to the medial frontal lobe and damage to the body of the corpus callosum.
Another patient described by Goldberg (1987, p. 295) reported "an incident in which she was lying in bed with the window open when suddenly the left limb reached down and pulled up the covers, functioning entirely in the alien mode. She concluded that 'it' must have felt cold and needed to cover her up. She felt that frequently the 'alien' did things that were generally 'good for her.'" McNabb, Caroll, and Mastaglia (1988, pp. 219, 221) describe a woman with extensive damage involving the medial left frontal lobe and anterior corpus callosum, whose right "hand showed an uncontrollable tendency to reach out and take hold of objects and then was unable to release them. At times the right hand interfered with tasks being performed by the left hand. She attempted to restrain it by wedging it between her legs or by holding or slapping it with her left hand. The patient would repeatedly express astonishment at these actions." Another patient reported that she was "attempting to write with her left hand, the right would reach over and take the pencil. The left hand would respond by grasping the right hand to restrain it."
In some instances, patients may display alien movements in both hands (Gasquoine 1993; Goldberg & Bloom 1990) as well as alien vocalization of thoughts. For example, a patient described by Gasquoine (1993) had a propensity to reach out and touch female breasts, as well as novel objects and persons. He reported this caused him great embarrassment and that he would typically attempt to take hold of his right with his left hand or voluntarily grasp objects, such as his lap tray, so that he would not spontaneously reach out and grab someone.
Some individuals not only have difficulty controlling their arms and hands, but their speech. That is, they may begin to speak and make pronouncements , which they claim to have no control over--as if they had been taken over and were possessed by an alien consciousness that had a mind of its own.
POSSESSION &AND THE SPLIT BRAIN
It is now well established that the brain is functionally lateralized, such that the temporal and sequential aspects of language are controlled by the left hemisphere, whereas visual spatial, environmental, the emotional sounds of speech, and the body image, are the domain of the right half of the brain. Because each hemisphere is concerned with different types of information, even when analyzing ostensibly the same stimulus each half of the brain may react, interpret and process it differently and even reach different conclusions (Joseph, 1988b, 1996' 2011; Joseph et al., 1984, Levy & Trevarthen, 1976). Moreover, even when the goals are the same, the two halves of the brain may produce and attempt to act on different strategies. In consequence, functional lateralization may lead to the development of oppositional attitudes, goals and interests such that one half of the brain may desire or engage in acts that are opposed by the other. This has been experimentally demonstrated in patients who have undergone split-brain surgery, that is, complete corpus callosotomy and the severing of the axonal pathways linking the right and left hemisphere.
For example, one split brain individual's left hand would not allow him to smoke, and would pluck lit cigarettes from his mouth or right hand and put them out. Apparently, although his left cerebrum wanted to smoke, his right hemisphere didn't approve --he had been trying to quit for years (Joseph, 1988a,b, 2011). Yet another split brain patient experienced conflicts when attempting to eat, watch TV, or go for walks, his right and left hemisphere apparently enjoying different TV programs or types of food (Joseph 1988b). Nevertheless, these difficulties are not limited to split-brain patients, for conflicts of a similar nature often plague the intact individual as well.
The right and left hemisphere intact and dissected showing the corpus callosum
The right and left hemisphere
Indeed, it has been well demonstrated that each half of the brain is capable of experiencing independent and semi-independent forms of consciousness, two minds within a single brain, one in the right the other in the left hemisphere. This has been demonstrated in studies of patients who have undergone complete corpus callosotomies (i.e. split-brain operations) for the purposes of controlling intractable epilepsy (Joseph, 1988ab). As described by Noble Laureate Roger Sperry (1966, p. 299), "Everything we have seen indicates that the surgery has left these people with two separate minds, that is, two separate spheres of consciousness. What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of awareness of the left hemisphere. This mental division has been demonstrated in regard to perception, cognition, volition, learning and memory."
For example, when split-brain patients are tactually stimulated on the left side of the body, their left hemispheres demonstrate marked neglect when verbal responses are required, they are unable to name objects placed in the left hand, and they fail to report the presence of a moving or stationary stimulus in the left half of their visual fields (Bogen, 1979; Joseph, 1988b. 2014; Levy, 1974, 1983; Seymour et al. 1994; Sperry, 1982). They (i.e., their left hemisphere's) cannot verbally describe odors, pictures or auditory stimuli tachistoscopically or dichotically presented to the right cerebrum, and have extreme difficulty explaining why the left half of their bodies responds or behaves in a particular purposeful manner (such as when the right brain is selectively given a command).
However, by raising their left hand (which is controlled by the right half of the cerebrum) the disconnected right hemisphere is able to indicate when the patient is tactually or visually stimulated on the left side. When tachistoscopically presented with words to the left of visual midline, although unable to name them, when offered multiple visual choices in full field their right hemispheres are usually able to point correctly with the left hand to the word viewed.
When presented with words like "toothbrush," "tooth" falls in the left visual field (and thus, is transmitted to the right cerebrum) and the word "brush" falls in the right field (and goes to the left hemisphere). Hence, when offered the opportunity to point to several words (i.e., hair, tooth, coat, brush, etc.), the left hand usually will point to the word viewed by the right cerebrum (i.e., tooth) and the right hand to the word viewed by the left hemisphere (i.e., brush). When offered a verbal choice, the speaking (usually the left) hemisphere will respond "brush" and will deny seeing the word "tooth." Overall, this indicates that the disconnected right and left cerebral hemispheres, although unable to communicate and directly share information, are nevertheless fully capable of independently generating and supporting mental activity (Bogen, 1969, 1979; Joseph, 1986b, 1988b; Levy, 1974, 1983; Sperry, 1982). Hence, in the right hemisphere we deal with a second form of awareness that accompanies in parallel what appears to be the "dominant" temporal-sequential, language dependent stream of consciousness in the left cerebrum.
Moreover, as has been demonstrated by Sperry, Bogen, Levy, Joseph and others, the isolated right cerebral hemisphere, like the left, is capable of self-awareness, can plan for the future, has goals and aspirations, likes and dislikes, social and political awareness, can purposefully initiate behavior, guide response choices and emotional reactions, as well as recall and act upon certain memories, desires, impulses, situations or environmental events --without the aid, knowledge or active (reflective) participation of the left half of the brain.
The right hemisphere perceives information on the left. The left hemisphere perceives information on the right
In consequence, because each half of the brain controls the other half of the body, sometimes one half of the body will engage in independent actions, such that half of the body may behave as if possessed and controlled by an alien or even a demonic force.
As reported by patients who have undergone "split-brain" surgery, the behavior of the right hemisphere is not always cooperative, and sometimes it engages in behavior which the left language dominant half of the brain finds objectionable, embarrassing, puzzling, mysterious, and upsetting.
For example, Akelaitis (1945, p. 597) describes two patients with complete corpus callosotomies who experienced extreme difficulties making the two halves of their bodies cooperate. "In tasks requiring bimanual activity the left hand would frequently perform oppositely to what she desired to do with the right hand. For example, she would be putting on clothes with her right and pulling them off with her left, opening a door or drawer with her right hand and simultaneously pushing it shut with the left. These uncontrollable acts made her increasingly irritated and depressed." On several occasions it tried to slam a drawer on her right hand, and on a number of instances the left hand (right hemisphere) attempted to take her clothes off, even though that is not what she (i.e. the left hemisphere) desired to do.
Another patient experienced difficulty while shopping, the right hand would place something in the cart and the left hand would put it right back again. Both patients frequently experienced other difficulties as well . "I want to walk forward but something makes me go backward." A recently divorced male patient noted that on several occasions while walking about town he found himself forced to go some distance in another direction. Later (although his left hemisphere was not conscious of it at the time) it was discovered (by Dr. Akelaitis) that this diverted course, if continued, would have led him to his former wife's new home.
Geschwind (1981) reports a split-brain patient who complained that his left hand on several occasions suddenly struck his wife--much to the embarrassment of his left (speaking) hemisphere. In another case, a patient's left hand attempted to choke the patient himself and had to be wrestled away. Bogen (1979, p. 333) indicates that almost all of his "complete commissurotomy patients manifested some degree of intermanual conflict in the early postoperative period." One patient, Rocky, experienced situations in which his hands were uncooperative; the right would button up a shirt and the left would follow right behind and undo the buttons. For years, he complained of difficulty getting his left leg to go in the direction he (or rather his left hemisphere) desired. Another patient often referred to the left half of her body as "my little sister" when she was complaining of its peculiar and independent actions.
A split-brain patient described by Dimond (1980, p. 434) reported that once when she had overslept her "left hand slapped me awake." This same patient, in fact, complained of several instances where her left hand had acted violently. Similarly, Sweet (1945) describes a female patient whose left hand sometimes behaved oppositionally and in a fashion which on occasion was quite embarrassing.
Similar difficulties plagued a split-brain patient whom I reported on (Joseph 1988b). After callosotomy (the splitting of the two hemispheres), this patient (2-C) frequently was confronted with situations in which his left extremities not only acted independently, but engaged in purposeful and complex behaviors --some of which he (or rather, his left hemisphere) found objectionable and annoying.
For example, 2-C (the speaking half of his his brain) complained of instances in which his left hand would perform socially inappropriate actions (e.g. attempting to strike a relative) and would act in a manner completely opposite to what he expressively intended, such as turn off the TV or change channels, even though he (or rather his left hemisphere) was enjoying the program. Once, after he had retrieved something from the refrigerator with his right hand, his left took the food, put it back on the shelf and retrieved a completely different item "Even though that's not what I wanted to eat!" On at least one occasion, his left leg refused to continue "going for a walk" and would only allow him to return home.
The Split-Brain--The right hemisphere perceives information on the left. The left hemisphere perceives information on the right
In the laboratory, he often became quite angry with his left hand, he struck it and expressed hate for it. Several times, his left and right hands engaged in actual physical struggles. For example, on one task both hands were stimulated simultaneously (while out of view) with either the same or two different textured materials (e.g., sandpaper to the right, velvet to the left), and the patient was required to point (with the left and right hands simultaneously) to an array of fabrics that were hanging in view on the left and right of the testing apparatus. However, at no time was he informed that two different fabrics were being applied. After stimulation the patient would pull his hands out from inside the apparatus and point with the left to the fabric felt by the left and with the right to the fabric felt by the right.
Surprisingly, although his left hand (right hemisphere) responded correctly, his left hemisphere vocalized: "That's wrong!" Repeatedly he reached over with his right hand and tried to force his left extremity to point to the fabric experienced by the right (although the left hand responded correctly! His left hemisphere didn't know this, however.). His left hand refused to be moved and physically resisted being forced to point at anything different. In one instance a physical struggle ensued, the right grappling with the left.
Moreover, while 2-C was performing this (and other tasks), his left hemisphere made statements such as: "I hate this hand" or "This is so frustrating" and would strike his left hand with his right or punch his left arm. In these instances there could be little doubt that his right hemisphere was behaving with purposeful intent and understanding, whereas his left hemisphere had absolutely no comprehension of why his left hand (right hemisphere) was behaving in this manner.
EMOTIONAL TRAUMA, POSSESSION & THE SPLITTING OF CONSCIOUSNESS
It has been demonstrated experimentally, that even the normal brain may experience similar episodes of functional disconnection between the right and left hemisphere (Joseph et al., 1984; Joseph 1982) such that the individual may feel possessed or experience an evil, alien presence. In part, this is a consequence of functional lateralized and the specialization of each half of the brain, and right hemisphere dominance for emotion and the body image. However, these conditions also sometimes occur during episodes of extreme emotional distress which also effects the right hemisphere more strongly than the left (reviewed in Joseph, 1988a, 1996). In fact, under conditions of extreme fear, the brain may be injured, and regions in the limbic system, such as the amygdala, may develop "kindling" --which is a form of seizure activity.
Specifically, under conditions of extreme fear or emotional trauma, the brain secretes and releases a cascade of neurochemical and stress hormones, including corticostereoids, enkephalins, norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5HT), and dopamine (DA), all of which differentially contribute to the fear and stress response. Unfortunately, these neurotransmitter fluctuations negatively impact amygdala and hippocampal neurons, axons, dendrites, and their pre and post synaptic substrates (Cain, 1992; Goelet & Kandel, 1986; Kraemer, 1992; Krystal, 2000). For example, since NE also serves a neural protective function (Glavin, 1985; Ray et al., 1987b), if NE levels are reduced--a normal consequence of prolonged fear and stress-neurons are exposed to the damaging effects of enkephalins and corticosteroids which at high levels attack and kill amygdala and hippocampal pyramidal neurons (Gahwiler 1983; Henriksen et al., 1978; Packan & Sapolsky, 1990). For example, under high levels of stress, corticosteroids are secreted in massive amounts, but also directly attack and injure the hippocampus due to the abundance of Type II adrenal steroids receptors which abound within this structure (Lupien & McEwen, 1997; Pugh, Fleshner & Rudy, 1997). In addition, coupled with NE depletion, repeated or prolonged stress induced secretory episodes of corticosteroids and enkephalins can injure cells within the dentate gyrus and Ammon's horn such that the hippocampus will atrophy (Lupien & McEwen, 1997; Sapolsky, 1996). As to the amygdala, it may develop seizure activity and thus become abnormally activated.
Extreme fear is the most common emotional reaction elicited with direct electrode stimulation of the human or nonhuman amygdala (Chapman, 2000; Davis et al., 2007; Gloor, 1997; Halgren, 1992; Rosen & Schulkin, 1998; Williams 1956). The pupils dilate and the subject will cringe, withdraw, and cower. This cowering reaction may give way to extreme panic and the animal will attempt to take flight. Likewise, abnormal activity originating in the amygdala and/or the overlying temporal lobe can evoke overwhelming, terrifying feelings of "nightmarish" fear that may not be tied to anything specific, other than perhaps the sensation of impending death). With amygdala activation the EEG becomes desynchronized (indicating arousal), heart rate becomes depressed, respiration patterns change, the galvanic skin response significantly alters, the face contorts, the pupils will dilate, and the subject will look anxious and afraid (Bagshaw & Benzies, 1968; Davis, 2002; Ursin & Kaada, 1960).
However, if the amygdala (and hippocampus) is injured or abnormally active, the individual may become emotionally abnormal, they may suffer from hallucinations, they may hear voices, and they may have dissociative episodes and feel as if they have been "possessed." The feeling of being "possessed" including the development of alternate personalities which temporarily possess and take over control from the main personality, and thus dramatic alterations in personality,have been repeatedly observed following injury to the amygdala and overlying temporal lobe (Lilly et al., 1983; Marlowe et al., 2005; Shenk & Bear, 1981; Terzian & Ore, 1955). In some cases of temporal lobe, amygdala, hippocampal abnormality, the alterations in personality are so dramatic patients may appear to be possessed by demons or suffering from a multiple personality disorder. In fact, in several cases of multiple personality dissociative disorder, EEG or blood flow abnormalities involving the temporal lobe have been demonstrated (Drake 1986; Fichtner et al., 1990; Mathew, Jack & West, 1985; Mesulam 1981; Schenk & Bear 1981). Moreover, some patients may shift from one personality to another following a seizure or with increases in temporal lobe activity (Mesulam, 1981; Shenk & Bear, 1981). Similarly, it has been reported that heightened emotional distress may precede the appearance of alternate personalities
Sometimes the "voices" of the alternate personality, or the "demon... devil... god" and so on, will order the main personality to harm others or themselves. Some of these alternate personalities may also take control and engage in criminal and self-destructive acts. Some of those "possessed"honestly believe they are possessed by demons, devils, or god.
Language axis of the left (above) and right (below) hemisphere.
Language axis of the left (above) and right (below) hemisphere.
Alternate personalities may be formed during a dissociative state while a victim is experiencing a period of severe and repetitive trauma. That is, under certain traumatic (or neurological) conditions, an aspect of the consciousness may fragment, break off, and thereafter act in a semi-independent or completely independent manner.
Compared to other cortical areas, the most complex, vivid hallucinations, including out-ofbody dissociative experiences, have their source in the temporal lobe. The amygdala, hippocampus, and temporal lobe play a significant role in the production of REM sleep and dream activity (Hodoba, 1986; Meyer et al. 1987), and become disinhibited in reaction to hallucinogens such as LSD, and are thus implicated in the production of LSD-induced hallucinations (Baldwin et al 2002; Chapman, Walter, & Ross, 1963; Serafetinides, 1965). Hence, under conditions of extreme emotional stress and trauma, the hippocampus, amygdala and temporal lobe may become abnormally active, and victims may experience extreme sensory distortions and hallucinations, including out-of-body phenomenon.
Due to the development of these fear-induced sensory-distorting hallucinatory states, trees, animals, and inanimate objects may even assume demonic form and/or be invested with satanic intent. These horrible hallucinations and sensory distortions may also be committed to memory. Later, the victim may recall the "hallucination" and believe they were set upon by demons, witches and the like, and/or that they were abused in Satanic rituals, or abducted and painfully probed by demonic aliens.
Consider the Walt Disney version of "Snow White." When the woodcutter, who had been ordered to cut out her heart, urged Snow White to flee for her life, she panicked and ran into the darkening forest in near hysteria. And, as she ran and stumbled darting in tears here and there, the trees became demonic, growing eyes and wicked mouths, and gnarled arms and hands which stretched out threateningly toward her. Overcome with terror, she collapsed to the forest floor, sobbing uncontrollable.
Now, perchance, had Snow White later recalled this frightening misadventure, she may well have explained to skeptical listeners that demons had emerged from the forest, and threatened to snatch her away. and, she may truly believe this happened, for it is what she truly experienced and what she now truly remembers.
Yet others may believe they were attacked by aliens, or demons, and then spirited away to hell, or to space ships where nightmarish experiments were performed on them.
It is noteworthy that many of those reporting alien abductions, have a history of sexual molestation or severe emotional trauma, or temporal lobe epilepsy (Mack, 1994). As noted,, stress, sexual trauma and sexual activity activates the amygdala as well as the temporal lobe--structures which are associated with the production of complex and exceedingly frightening hallucinations, including those of a demonic, religious, and sexual nature including naked women, demons, ghosts and pigs walking upright dressed as people.
Hence perhaps it is not surprising that individuals who were severely traumatized or who were sexually abused, sometimes report that they were subject to bizarre sexual rituals that involved demonic (Satanic) activities (which is not to say that in some cases this may in fact be the case). And perhaps it is not surprisingly that those with histories of severe abuse, and/or who suffer from seizure disorders, may believe that demonic-like aliens lifted them into the air and took them to a room of vast proportions--descriptions which are identical to those of at least some patients during temporal lobe stimulation, and at least some individuals who are severely frightened and/or who died only to return to tell the tale.
HELL & ALIEN ABDUCTIONS
Many "abductees" claim a sequence of perceptual experience similar to those who have died and returned to tell the tale. Abductees report the presence of a bright light, or a strange illumination which may envelop them in a beam or halo of light. They feel drawn upward toward the light, and they feel and see themselves as floating in the air (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 2004).
Similar to those who have "experienced" life after death, abductees report going on voyages through the air, where they rapidly fly over the land or sea, to destinations including the Egyptian pyramids, New York City, and the North pole (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 1994). Over the course of the last fifty years there have been numerous reports of alien abductions (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 1994). Typically they are "abducted" while asleep or dreaming, or just upon wakening in the middle of the night -which raises the specter of hallucination and temporal lobe limbic system activation as these structures become exceedingly active during dream sleep.
Others claim they were abducted while driving late at night, while tired and under conditions where the head lights, moon light, and oncoming lights may flicker past (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 1994) -thus inducing possible seizure activity. However, the religious experience of some abductees is often hellish, and the aftermath includes prolonged feelings of depression, and horror and despair. "Abductees" frequently report that once they were drawn up toward the light, they felt overwhelmed with terror and that once they "arrived" they were subjected to painful and agonizing procedures (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 2004). Women often report that they were stripped naked and their legs spread, and that they were sexually molested, raped, or painfully probed.
Male and female abductees frequently report undergoing painful and invasive physical exams by alien monstrosities who loom demonically, probing vaginas, wombs, the anus, the eyeballs, and the viscera, with needlelike devices, or with twisting wires, or sharp, painfully cold lance-like instruments that may deliver electric, burning, or shock like sensations (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 2004).
Like those who experience life after death, some abductees report undergoing a "life review." They may see themselves or others on a viewing screen, usually engaged in sexual or violent activity. Similar sexual flashbacks are not uncommon with direct amygdala stimulation (Gloor, 2000, 1997; Halgren, 2002).
Once they return to earth and/or awake in their beds, many abductees are initially amnesic for the experience, though they may be troubled by fleeting, horrifying images and flashbacks (Bullard, 1987; Mack, 1994; Ritchie, 1994). Likewise, hyper-activation of the hippocampus can induce a temporary amnesia (Joseph, 1998a, 1999b).
They also suffer from depression, sleeplessness, anxiety and panic attacks; which again are suggestive of limbic system and temporal lobe abnormalities as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is noteworthy, however, that some of those who undergo life-after-death also report exceedingly unpleasant experiences. This includes feelings of terror, sensations of terrible physical pain, the presence of demonic monstrosities, or hallucinations of people crying, moaning, screaming, and burning in flames.
"For those who have disbelieved... shall roast in fire... and their bellies and skin shall be melted. To them it is said: Taste the punishment of the burning." -Koran
DISSOCIATION & POSSESSION
It has been repeatedly demonstrated with neurosurgical and epilepsy patients that abnormal temporal lobe/hippocampal activation can cause an individual to experience themselves as separating and floating above their body, such that they may feel as if they are two different people, one watching, the other being observed (Daly 1958; Jackson & Stewart, 1899; Penfield 1952; Penfield & Perot 1963; Williams 1956). As described by Penfield (1952) during electrical stimulation of this area, "it was as though the patient were attending a familiar play and was both the actor and audience." Likewise, children, as well as adults, who are terribly abused or traumatically stressed and frightened often report dissociative experiences including even a splitting of consciousness such that one aspect of their mind will seem to be floating above or beside their body (Courtois, 1988; Grinker & Spiegel, 1945; Noyes & Kletti, 1977; Parson, 1988; Southard, 1919; Terr, 1990). Hence, the famous aside: "He was literally beside himself with fear."
Most abusers do not wish to molest an unresponsive body, but a personality that is either excited or tormented and terrified by what is occurring. According to Courtois (1995), it is the abuser's desire "to achieve total control over the victim and her responses and for the victim to become a willing participant and to enjoy the abuse. To achieve this end, many incest offenders take great pains to sexually stimulate their victims to arousal." They may pinch, cut, and hurt them to obtain the desired reaction. Thus, although these particular children may have "split off" from their body, they are nevertheless forced to respond, as a personality, to the abuse in which case the split off, or remaining portion of the "personality" may act in accordance with the manner in which it was created.
Thus, the abuser slowly shapes a personality which is formed during periods of abuse. Hence, some alternative personalities are highly sexual, or homosexual, or angry and self-destructive, mirroring either the role they were forced to play or the personality and behavior of the perpetrator. The dissociated aspects of conscious-awareness, therefore, may slowly establish its own independent identity; that is, an alternate personality--a personality which may be repeatedly triggered or purposefully shaped during subsequent traumas, and which may grow only to split apart again and yet again, forming multiple fragmentary personas each supported by a dissociated and abnormal neural network.
However, these "broken off" or alternate personalities, in turn, may be "state dependent" and supported by isolated neural networks maintained by the amygdala in the absence of hippocampal participation. Because the alternate "personality" essentially splits off from the main personality under certain highly stressful conditions, in general, it can only be reactivated and function independently when the individual is stressed or in a similar state of mind. Moreover, because of the state dependent nature of this partial "personality," the main personality essentially becomes amnesic regarding it. In part this is a consequence of hippocampal deactivation. When the hippocampus returns to normal, it can no longer gain access to these personal memories (which may be maintained by the amygdala), such that dissociated personal memory and the associated, albeit disconnected personality, remains isolated and inaccessible. In consequence, some victims, or their families, feel as if they sometimes are possessed.
POSSESSION & PROPHECY
Altered mental states, secondary to brain injury, seizure activity, or severe emotional trauma, by definition, encompass an alteration in consciousness. Under some conditions, what is perceived is a hallucination, a sensory distortion, or a dream-like flashback. Some may believe they have been afflicted by demons, or that they are possessed. Feelings of possession or the presence of an alien presence, can be directly attributed to neurological abnormalities in the right hemisphere, right parietal lobe, corpus callosum, and the limbic system. Prophecy, too, has been linked to hyperactive states and abnormalities in the limbic system; and individuals who make prophecies also sometimes appear to be possessed.
Signs of limbic system hyperactivity and seizure activity include loss of consciousness, trance states, dreamy states, auditory and visual hallucinations and related disturbances of the auditory and visual system involving language and reading and writing. The disturbances of language and speech are due to the involvement of the temporal lobe in auditory and reading comprehension. That is, the language areas, upon receiving visual signals, provide the auditory equivalent to a written word so that the person knows what the written words sounds like (Joseph, 1982, 1996, 2000a).
The auditory association area in the left temporal lobe (Wernicke's receptive speech area) not only comprehends incoming speech but assists in the programming of Broca's expressive speech area in the frontal lobe. It is Broca's area which produces speech, and a tissue immediately above Broca's area subserves writing. Therefore, abnormalities in the temporal lobe can induce severe disturbances of speech including abnormalities in the ability to write and spell words. In this regard it is noteworthy that whereas Moses suffered from a severe speech impediment and was slow of tongue, Muhammed, God's messenger, was apparently dyslexic and agraphic. He was unable to read or write.
On the other hand, hyperactivity in these limbic and temporal lobe structures can also induce pressured speech and writing. The afflicted individual may feel compelled to preach and to write out their mystical thoughts (Joseph, 2000a). Certain individuals who develop "temporal lobe epilepsy" or irritative lesions to this tissue, may suddenly become hyper-religious and spend hours reading and talking about the Bible or other religious issues. They may spend hours every day preaching or writing out their mystical or religious thoughts, or engaging in certain actions and movements they believe have religious significance. Many modern day religious writers who also happen to suffer from epilepsy are in fact exceedingly prolific, whereas conversely, those who feel impelled to preach tend to do just that. In fact, many of the prophets reported that they felt forced to preach and prophecies even though they struggled not to.
Temporal lobe hyperactivity or temporal lobe epilepsy is not usually associated with tonic clonic seizures and patients do not flail about on the ground, though they may certainly lose consciousness and move their hands and arms in a ritualistic manner. And yet, they may also retain the power of speech--though what they say may sound like jibberish. In some instances, particularly if the amygdala and amygdala-striatum is impacted, the patient may appear to be in a trance. They may experience pleasant or unpleasant odors, heart palpations, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, and disturbances of movement, ranging from a complete freezing of the body to spasmodic movements of the arms and legs (Joseph, 1999a, 2000a). Following a temporal lobe seizure the patient may stagger about like a "stunned ox." In this regard when the prophet Jeremiah experienced the
Lord God, his arms and legs convulsed and he staggered about like a drunk.
The presence of "god" may be experienced through dreams, through visions, and through voices--and it is usually a terrifying experience which grips the prophet like a seizure: "And I saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength" (Daniel, 10:8); he defecated and urinated, as he fell to the ground--a not uncommon manifestation of certain seizures.
Daniel claimed he immediately lost consciousness before being confronted by the Lord god: "Thus was I in deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground" when an angel appeared in a prophetic vision (Daniel 10:9).
Likewise, Abraham would lose consciousness just prior to experiencing these "visions" or upon hearing the voice of the Lord God. "And a deep sleep fell upon Abraham (Genesis, 15:1,2).
In addition, and as discussed in earlier chapters, hyperactivity in this area of the brain can induce terror and severe depression, auditory and visual hallucinations, as well as religious fervor and even feelings of possession.
Consider Mary (described by Mesulam, 1981), a 26 year old female, A-average college student. For several months she had been complaining of odd mystical experiences involving alterations in consciousness, accompanied by auditory and visual hallucinations as well as frequent experiences of deja vu. These mystical experiences soon progressed to feelings of being possessed by the Devil. She was convinced the Devil was urging and trying to make her do horrible things to other people or to herself. She also claimed he would sometimes loudly cackle inside her head. Finally, a priest was brought in and a rite of exorcism was performed, as the Catholic hierarchy became convinced of the authenticity of her experiences, that she was possessed. However, her condition failed to improve. Finally an EEG was performed and abnormal activity was discovered to be emanating from both temporal lobes.
Another 44 year old female college graduate suffering from temporal lobe abnormalities instead came to believe she was possessed by God and at times also thought she was the Messiah, and at the behest of God, had a special mission to fulfill (Mesulam 1981). At the urging of the "God" she ran for public office and almost won. However, she also engaged in some rather bizarre actions including widespread and inappropriate sexual activity -another manifestation of limbic hyper-activation.
In a classic case described over 120 years ago by Sommer (1880), a 25 year-old man who suffered several seizures a day, claimed to have had repeated conversations with God. God's voice spoke to him quite clearly. One day, God told him he was Jesus Christ and to go forth and perform miracles. The first miracle he was to perform was to fly through the air. So convinced was he that these revelations were real, and that he was in fact "The Christ" that this young man climbed up on a roof and leaped into the air. At autopsy he was found to have a hard sclerotic lesion of the right Ammon's horn; i.e. the hippocampus. Sommer (1880) concluded that these religious hallucinations (and all hallucinations and sensory illusions) were directly due to abnormalities in this and adjoining tissue--which includes the amygdala; the two core structures of the limbic system and temporal lobe.
In order to receive the word of God, Muhammed would typically lose consciousness and enter into trance states (Armstrong 1994; Lings 1983). However, he had his first truly spiritual-religious conversion when he was torn from his sleep by the archangel Gabriel who enveloped him in an terrifying embrace so overpowering that Muhammed's breath was squeezed from his lungs.
"Recite!" (iqra!) the angel demanded. Muhammed refused: "I am not a recitor!"
The angel again enveloped him in a crushing embrace, squeezing the air from his lungs. Again the angel demanded: "Recite!" and again Muhammed refused. And then the angel crushed him a third time, at which point words began to pour from Muhammed's mouth:
"Recite in the name of thy Sustainer, who has created--created man out of a germ-cell! Recite--for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful, One who has taught (man) the use of pen--taught him what he did not know!"
Because the angel forced Muhammed to recite the words of God, it is for this reason that the book of Islam is called the qur'an: "Recitation."
This was the first of many such episodes Muhammed had with the archangel Gabriel who sometimes appeared in a titanic kaleidoscopic panoramic form.
Muhammed was initially exceedingly distressed, horrified by what he had experienced. He also feared he may have been "possessed by a jinn," a sprite. It was commonly believed among the Arabic community that some people had their own individual, personal jinni who could provide them with good luck and inspiration.
Muhammed did not know what to think. Shattered by the experience and overcome with feelings of suicidal terror and depression, Muhammed finally decided to throw himself from a cliff. Again the angel Gabriel appeared to him as he stood at the precipice.
According to Muhammed: "I heard a voice from heaven saying, O Muhammed! thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel. I raised my head toward the heavens to see who was speaking, and lo, Gabriel in the form of a man with his feet astride the horizon... I turned my face away, but toward whatever region of the sky I looked, I saw him there."
Escape was impossible. Horrified, terrorized, and depressed by what he considered a "loathsome" experience, and fearing that he was "possessed by a jinn," Muhammed crawled on his hand hands and knees and flung himself into the lap of his wife, and begged her to shield him from the divine presence. "Then I told her the whole story." She soothed him and after listening to him describe his ordeal, she suggested that they speak with her cousin, "Waraqa, a Christian who knew scripture."
Eventually, Muhammed reluctantly accepted his fate, and in accordance with the voice of "God" or his angels, Muhammed not only spoke the words of "God" but began reciting and chanting various themes of God in a random order over the course of the following 20 years; an experience he continued to find quite painful and wrenching (Armstrong 1994; Lings 1983). "Never once did I receive a revelation without feeling my soul being torn away from me."
In order to receive his revelations, Muhammed also entered into a trance state and would lose consciousness. He reported that a heaviness would fill him with a feeling of depression and grief, and that he would sweat profusely. He also stated that although the divine message was often clear, at other times it was a jumble of sounds and voices, "like the reverberations of a bell. And that is the hardest upon me; the reverberations abate only when I understand the message."
Epilepsy can be due to a number of different causes, such as head injury, heat stroke during infancy, and tumors. However, the predisposition to develop epilepsy can also be inherited.
Like his uncle Abraham, Lot also saw angels and talked to the Lord God. It was the Lord God's angels who warned Lot to leave Sodom; reportedly the most sexually corrupt city on Earth.
Once Lot escaped from Sodom, he celebrated by getting drunk and impregnating both his daughters who willingly snuck into his bed on two separate nights (Genesis, 20: 33-38). In fact, even before they left Sodom Lot had offered his daughters to some of the men of the city to do with as they pleased (Genesis 19: 8).
We do not know if Lot followed Abraham's example and also let other men have sex with his wife. Nevertheless, both Abraham and Lot clearly demonstrated signs of temporal lobe and limbic hyper-activation. EZEKIAL
Many "prophets" and other religious figures also display evidence of the Kluver-Bucy syndrome--a disturbance also referred to as "psychic blindness" which is due to severe abnormalities or destruction of the amygdala. For example, patients may seek isolation, avoid people, engage in abnormal sex acts, and eat non-nutritional substance such as cigarette butts or other objects. Thus we read that Ezekiel would eat dung.
In addition, many of the "prophets" avoided people and would seek isolation--yet another characteristic of limbic and amygdala abnormalities.
Likewise we read that Ezekial isolated himself from other humans and refused to speak to others. If they approached he would withdraw. If they followed he would flee. Primates with bilateral amygdala damage respond identically.
Social isolation, however, is a common means of achieving enlightenment, and isolation also acts on the amygdala).
It was while isolated from all human contact that Ezekial had a shattering experience which caused him to lose consciousness. He had seen a cloud of light shot through with lightning, and within that stormy light he observed a great chariot pulled by four beasts each of which had four heads with the face of a man, bull, a lion, and eagle, and each wheel of the chariot rolled in a direction different from the others. And he heard wailing, moaning, and voices that gave him commands. And he experienced a sweet taste in his mouth, like honey, when "the spirit lifted me and took me, my heart overflowed with bitterness and anger." Afterward he lay "lie someone stunned" for an entire week.
Yet other signs of amygdala hyper-activation include catalepsy and catatonia. Thus we read that Ezekial was forced to lie on one side for 390 days without moving and then on his other side for 40 days. He was in all respects completely catatonic.
Cataplexy, or in this case, what appears to be catatonia, is also known as an arrest reaction due to excessive fear (e.g. "paralyzed with fear"), or to abnormalities in the amygdala striatal medial frontal lobe emotion-motor circuit. If exceeding frightened, one may freeze and fail to move, a function of the amygdala acting on the motor centers in the striatum and medial frontal lobe (Joseph, 2011). The airline industry refers to this as "frozen panic states" and about 20% of those involved in airline or other disasters will freeze and fail to move or to take any evasive action that might save their lives.
If there is an abnormality in this emotional-motor circuit, the individual may develop Parkinson's disorder, or catatonia, in which case they may lie frozen in the same posture for weeks and months. In Ezekial's case, the possibility of amygdala hyperactivity seems to be implied; not only because of the above mentioned conditions, but as he was obsessed with sexuality and often employed violent sexual imagery when he prophesied.
MOSES AND TEMPORAL LOBE LIMBIC HYPERACTIVITY
The story of Moses is part mystery, at least regarding his paternal origins. We are told that he was raised in the palace of the Pharaoh of Egypt who regarded him as a grandson. Yet, the identity of his father is unknown and we are also told that his mother hid him for three months after he was born.
When she could hide him no more, she placed him in a wicker basket among the reeds of the Nile. It was there that Moses was discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh, who in turn raised him like a son. But then we are told that the princess paid a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. When he grew to be a boy the princess named him "Moses, which means: "I drew him out of the water." "Moses" however, was also a common Egyptian name, including that of a mighty Pharaoh: Thutmoses.
Moses had a violent temper and one day beat an Egyptian to death. Overcome with fear, when he realized the murder had been witnessed, he fled to the land of Midian where he proceeded to challenge a group of men and rescued the daughters of the local pagan priest.
Moses, the "Egyptian" then married Zipporah, the daughter of the priest. It was later, after the birth of his son, Gershom, and while alone and isolated and attending a flock of sheep in the wilderness, near the mountain of God, that the Lord God appeared and spoke to him from inside a blazing bush.
The Lord God then proceeded to instruct Moses as to what he should say to the Israelites: "The Lord, the god of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob has sent me to you." But "Moses answered and said to the Lord, Please O Lord, I have never been a man of words.
I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." Indeed, his speech was so garbled the Lord God decides to appoint Moses' brother Aron to assist him: "You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth." Possibly, Moses requires an interpreter because he does not know the language of the Hebrews; being raised as a prince in the household of the Pharaoh. However, he also required Aron to speak for him to Pharaoh. Thus it appears that he may well have had a severe speech impediment as he claims. In fact, coupled with his violent temper, his severe depressions, and the possibility of auditory and visual hallucinations, it could be argued that Moses suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy: The "Divine Illness." Seizure activity within the temporal lobe and limbic system are clearly associated with triggering religious experiences and can give rise to murderous rage reactions as well as disturbances of speech and language.
Moses may have suffered from temporal lobe seizures as a consequence of being left for days, as an infant, to bake in the hot, broiling Egyptian sun, after his mother abandoned him in a basket on the Nile. If that were the case his infant brain could have become overheated and damaged by the high temperatures.
If Moses subsequently developed temporal lobe seizure activity, this could explain his hyper-religious fervor, his rages and the numerous murders he committed or ordered. Indeed, a recurring theme throughout the story of Exodus is that of Moses killing and repeatedly ordering human slaughter, beginning with the first Egyptian he killed, followed by the first born sons of the Egyptians, then Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, and then the slaughter and death of the Hebrews who followed him out of Egypt, all 600,000 of them.
Numerous religious figures have achieved enlightenment, or were only able to commune with god, once they entered a trance state. Buddha, for example, is said to have at first communed with gods, and then to have transcended the gods by entering a trance state which enabled him to experience nirvana. It is said that when Buddha entered into trance that fragrant breezes swirled about him, flowers bloomed and blossomed and fell from the air, and that the Earth began to rock as the gods in heaven began to rejoice. However, one god, a demon, Mara, was alarmed. She told Buddha to remain in a state of bliss and to never, under any circumstances attempt to inform others of what he had accomplished as no one would believe him. Two other gods, however, Sakra, the Lord of the devas, and Maha Brahma begged him to teach his method to all the world. Buddha heeded their advice.
For the next 45 years he wondered all over India preaching his message. Humans could transcend suffering and the gods, and through kindness, compassion, meditation and Yoga, they could come into contact with the ultimate reality.
Trance states are said to enable one to sense and perceive what others cannot. In Buddhism it is believed that trance enables one to gain use of Power over the material world. This includes the Power (te) of not contending, the Power to use men, and the Power for causing others to act, or to prevent them from acting.
Mystics may achieve trance states through ritual and discipline or through pain, sex, fasting or drugs. These trance states have been divided into five stages by some (Buddhists), six by others (Tantra), and four by yet other mystics (Sufis).
Broadly considered, these trance stages begin with the perception of visions and voices, then progress to a non-perceptual awareness of God, followed by transcendence and a merging and becoming one with God, which is the supreme mystical act.
While in trance, some individuals not only experience a bright light, but they may be blinded by it. In some cases the light is so bright those around them will see it. Moses and Jesus both shone with a light that others could see, whereas St. Paul was blinded by the great light that shone around his head--a light which gave rise to a "hallucination" and a revelation, on the road to Damascus.
During revival meetings, it is not uncommon for revivalists to suddenly go into trance and see\ "a brightness like the sun" "everything is bathed in a rainbow of glory."
VISIONS AND DREAMS
Throughout the "Old Testament" the "Lord god" delivers his words through visions and dreams, and in some instances the words themselves constitute the "vision;" that is, like an auditory hallucination:
"And an angel said unto Israel... And an angel said unto Balaam... and Elohim said unto him... And an angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven... and Elohim said unto Noah... The word of the Lord came unto Abraham in a vision... And the Lord said unto Abraham... and the Lord said unto Jacob...and the Lord said unto Joshua... and the Lord said unto me... and the word of the Lord came unto me... "etc.
Likewise, the gods and goddesses of ancient peoples throughout the world, including for example, the gods of the ancient Romans and Greeks would speak and appear to specific, chosen people in visions and dreams; an experience also referred to as an "epiphany" or in modern psychiatric terminology, a "hallucination."
One of Jacob's many epiphanies included a dream of a ladder which stretched from heaven to earth; and angels were ascending and descending between the realms of god and man. People who suffer from periodic episodes of limbic and temporal lobe hyper-activation, such as those with temporal lobe epilepsy, may hear voices and suffer seizures which may be indistinguishable from a trance state. It is not uncommon for these seizures to be preceded by an auditory or visual hallucination or aura (Gloor, 1997; Penfield and Perot 1963; Trimble 1991; Williams 1956). Patients can have any number of very odd hallucinations, such as smelling sweet or horrible odors, hearing voices, music, or conversations, seeing angels, demons, ghosts, and God. The great existential author, F. Dostoevsky, apparently suffered temporal lobe epilepsy. Dostoevsky, alleged (via one of his characters) that when he had a seizure the gates of Heaven would open and he could see row upon row of angels blowing on great golden trumpets. Then two great golden doors would open and he could see a golden stairway that would lead right up to the throne of God.
Beginning with Abraham, and throughout the "Old Testament" the "Lord God" delivers his words primarily through visions and dreams, and frequently his prophets lose consciousness or enter into trance states. Many of His prophets appear to be suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy or hyperactivity.
In the 12th century, Moses Maimonides, composed a book "A Guide for the Perplexed" as a letter to R. Joseph. According to Maimonides "the Divine Will has withheld from the multitude the truths required for the knowledge of God... Do not imagine that these most difficult problems can be thoroughly understood by any one of us."
"At times the truth shines so brilliantly that we perceive it as clear as day. Our nature and habit then draw a veil over our perceptions, and we return to darkness almost as dense as before. We are like those who, though beholding frequent flashes of lightning still find themselves in the thickest darkness of night."
"For some the lightning flashes in rapid succession, and they seem to be in continuous light, and their night is as clear as the day. This was the degree of prophetic excellence attained by Moses, the greatest of prophets."
"By others, only once during the whole of night is a flash of lightning perceived. This is the case with those of whom we are informed "They prophesied and did not prophecy again." "There are some to whom the flashes of lightning appear with varying intervals; others are in the condition of men, whose darkness is illuminated not by lightning, but by a small light that is not continuous, but now it shines and now it vanishes..."
"The degrees of perfection of men vary according to these distinctions. Concerning those who never beheld the light even for one day, but walk in continual darkness, it is written: "They know not, neither will they understand. They walk in darkness" (Psalms, 82:5). Truth, in spite of all its powerful manifestations is completely withheld from them" (Maimonides, 12th century).
The Truth revealed, however, is often a shattering experience, that grips one like a seizure. Likewise, the gift of prophecy, is not always a welcome gift, and even the role of prophet may be resisted. Moses actively resisted and argued with the "Lord God" and repeatedly tried to convince Him to pick someone more deserving. Other prophets have also attempted to resist, but to no avail. They were often hounded by the "Lord god" or his angels, or felt compelled to prophecy even when threatened with death by the people--and many a prophet was killed by the people, including the ancient Jews.
Jeremiah, for example, was openly despised and ridiculed by the ancient Jews. Nevertheless, though he wished it otherwise, he could not withhold his prophesying: "For the Word of the Lord was unto me a reproach and a mocking all day, and I said, I will not mention it, nor will I again speak in His name; but it was in mine heart as burning fire, enclosed in my bones, and I was wearied to keep it, and did not prevail" (Jeremiah, 20:8,9).
THE TRANSMITTER TO GOD
Although it is possible that certain religious figures may have been suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy, it is noteworthy that seizures are stereotypical and idiosyncratic. That is, unless an individual has several different seizure foci, each seizure is basically identical to the next and the auras and hallucinations are quite similar from one seizure to the next.
This is not the case with many of the prophets. As detailed by Moses Maimonides: "According to the books of the prophets, a certain prophet after being inspired with one kind of prophecy is reported to have received prophecy in another form. It is possible for a prophet to prophecy at one time in the form and at another time in another form. The prophet does not prophecy continuously but is inspired at one time and not at another, so he at one time prophecy in the form of a higher degree and at another time in that of a lower degree; it may happen that the highest degree is reached by a prophet only once in his life time, and afterwards remains inaccessible to him, or that a prophet remains below the highest degree until he entirely looses the faculty."
For example, "And the word of the Lord ceased from Jeremiah" (Erza, i:1), or "And these are the last words of David" (Samuel, 23:1). Some individuals may prophecy once and only once--which argues against temporal lobe epilepsy.
In ancient Sumer (in southern Iraq around 6,000 years ago), it was believed that the Universe was ruled by a pantheon of Gods, the Anunnaki (Armstrong 1994; Kramer 1956, Wooley 1965); perhaps the same pantheon alluded to in the first chapter of Genesis.
The Sumerians also worshiped household gods and goddesses, including a personal God, which in some respects could be likened to a "guardian angel" or a spirit (totem) helper, as was common among the Plains Indians. This personal God served almost as a conscience and as a mediator between the head of the household and the great Gods which ruled the Earth and the cosmos.
Because this was a private, personal God, it was not uncommon for a believer to engage in prolonged and daily discussions with his deity (Kramer 1956: Woolley 1965). To this god one could bear their heart and soul regarding sins, injustice, personal shortcomings and hopes for the future. Hence, this god was indeed a personal god with whom one could "talk" and maintain a special personal relationship and which served to protect the Sumerians from the Pantheon of gods who rules the Earth at that time--or so claim the ancients.
And then one day something astounding and revolutionary occurred in the mind of a man of the city, of Ur of the Chaldees, of ancient Sumer, in ancient Babylon, and birthplace of Abram a rich Babylonian prince. Abram had left the city and began having visions and hearing voices. It was coming from his personal God and it later gave him a command (Genesis 12): "Get thee out of thy country ...and I will make of thee a great nation... and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed..."
And Abram and his personal god walked and talked, as God had not done since the time of Adam and Eve. And then one day this personal God came to a decision and said to Abram: "Thy name shall be Abraham, for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful... and I will make thee the father of many nations... and I will be their God" (Genesis 17).
Abraham, both saw and heard his God on numerous occasions both awake and dreaming, often falling on his face as God appeared. They ate together, and walked and spoke together during the heat of the day, and during the darkest hours of the night. This Lord God, the "God of Abraham" was also making all types of grandiose promises and predictions, all of which came to pass.
Is it possible that Abraham was dreaming? Could this personal God from ancient Ur have been but a hallucination, and given Abraham's odd sexuality and murderous actions, a product on tempo ral lobe epilepsy or subclinical seizure activity?
When we consider that this is the same Lord God (at least in religious theory) who today is worshiped by Jews, Christians, and Moslems alike, the possibility of hallucinations does not seem likely. Indeed, has not the Lord God's prophecy to Abraham come to pass: "And I will make thee the father of many nations... and I will be their God" (Genesis 17).
In fact, given that the God experienced by Abraham and Sara (and in fact, with few exceptions, the God repeatedly described in the Bible) not only appeared as a man but behaved as a man and not a spirit-like supernatural being, the possibility of hallucinations does not seem likely.
Likewise, when we consider how many other prophesies were fulfilled, including the repeated destruction and recreation of Israel, including, most recently in 1948--the aftermath of a world war led by an Austrian German-Jew, Adolf Hitler--as well as the hundreds of millions who worship a Jew (Jesus) as "God," it borders on the irrational to simply dismiss these events as a hallucination, a myth, or a coincidence.
Under conditions of limbic hyper-activation, not all "hallucinations" are hallucinations, but instead may represent the perception of stimuli which are normally filtered from consciousness. Under conditions of sensory deprivation, pain, social isolation, drug use, the nuclei of the limbic system may become abnormally activated and possibly hyper-activated such that subclinical seizure activity (kindling) develops (Cain, 1992; Gloor, 1997; Joseph, 1999b,d).
Under conditions of limbic kindling, hyper-activation, or seizure activity, sensory and emotional filtering that normally takes place in these nuclei is reduced or abolished. That is, the individual may begin to perceive things or individuals that (presumably) do not exist, or they may gain access to "hidden" knowledge that bursts upon them with a shattering clarity, or they may achieve a "higher" understanding of existence and the nature of reality. They may commune directly with god, goddesses, devils, demons, and angels.
As these same nuclei are also implicated in dream states, near death experiences, and out-ofbody phenomenon, it could thus be argued that individuals who for whatever reason are "blessed" with an overactive amygdala-temporal lobe are also given access to god-like stimuli which are also normally filtered from consciousness.
"Know that for the human mind there are certain objects of perception which are within the scope of its nature and capacity to perceive; on the other hand, there are amongst things which actually exist, certain objects which the mind can in no way grasp: The gates of perception are closed against it. Further, there are things which the mind understands, one part, but remains ignorant of the other. And when man is able to comprehend certain things, it does not follow that he may be able to comprehend every thing."-Moses Maimonides
Moreover, consider the prophecies delivered to Muhammed. In less than fifty years all the Arabic tribes had been converted to Islam.
Or consider the prophecies of the god of the cross, that is, the Mayan and Aztec God, Quetzalocoatl. Quetzalocoatl, the plumed serpent, was associated with the planet Venus, and the sign of the cross was one of his many emblems which is depicted in the center of his shield. According to Mayan and Aztec religious belief, Quetzalocoatl, the god of the cross, had been driven from the lands at the time of the great flood, some 12,000 years ago. However, it had been prophesied that Quetzalocoatl, the plumed serpent and god of the cross, would return to Mexico and that the ruling gods, and their temples, would be completely overthrown. In fact, an exact date was given for his return, which would be signified by the appearance of a comet in the East. In the Christian calendar this was to be in the year 1519.
As predicted, in the year 1519 a comet appeared in the East, and soon thereafter, the plumed and helmeted Cortez and his crew, flying the Spanish flag and the sign of the cross appeared off the East Coast of Mexico. And, as predicted, the old god, as well as the Aztec civilization were destroyed, and the god of the cross is now worshipped not just by the Mexican, but peoples throughout the Americas. Just a coincidence?
THE PROPHECY OF THE SECOND EXODUS
Prior to and with the establishment of Israel the "Lord God" of the ancient Jewish people repeatedly threatens them with the most horrible of misfortunes and foretells, through his prophets, that they will be scattered and dispersed throughout the lands--and this is exactly what transpires, repeatedly, beginning in the 6th century B.C., when the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed and the people marched off into exile in Babylon. It is Babylon and before that, Sumer where much of the story of creation may well have been first composed, only to be later incorporated and retold in Genesis.
And then again, almost 2,000 years ago, following their return from exile and return to the promise lands, the Lord God again warns the ancient Jews of their destruction.
"The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, which will swoop down like the eagle... a ruthless nation, that will show the old no regard and the young no mercy." -Deuteronomy 28:47-50.
And this is exactly what transpired when Roman legions, marching under the banner of the swastika and the eagle, swooped down and destroyed the second temple. Again the Jews are driven from Israel, and dispersed throughout the lands.
But then the Lord God also tells the Jewish people that someday He will return them to the promised land. And this prophecy too was fulfilled, by no less than Adolf Hitler; a man who likened his nation to the "Holy Roman Empire" and who modeled his government after the Roman Catholic Church (which he also sought to destroy). And, Hitler's armies marched under the banner of the eagle and the swastika, the twisted cross, the "gammadion"--which is also one of the many names of god, including the Lord God of the old testament: "Tetragrammaton" ("absolute existence"). Even the word "Nazi" has a Jewish reference: "Ashkenazi." "Ashkenazis" are European Jews.
Hitler went forth according to instructions he claimed to have received from Divine Providence. He was to go forth and cleanse the land of Jews. He was to begin the second exodus.
HITLER AND DIVINE PROVIDENCE: SECOND EXODUS
As Hitler struggled to become dictator of Germany, and as he clearly states in his book, Mein Kampf, the Jews, he preached had not only obtained positions of power disproportionate to their numbers, but they were stealing German wealth, were engaged in sex slavery, and they threatened to overwhelm society with evil and moral decay. They were like a disease, like vermin, like a cancer, and were less than human; they were like animals, subhuman. Hitler counseled that the German nation should deal wisely with them.
The same sentiments had been expressed thousands of years before, by the Pharaoh, King of Egypt.
When Adolf Hitler finally came to power, not only did the majority of the German peoples willfully and fearfully followed his dictates, but many compared him to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and even God. "Is he John the Baptist? Is he Jesus?" Goebbels wrote in his diary. Many honestly believed they were in the presence of a German Messiah! And not just his earliest followers, but many a German general thought he was "god" and the destiny of Germany. And many shared his lowly opinion of the Jewish people, who Hitler promised to sweep from Germany and send back to their promised land.
Hitler claimed he was acting in accordance with the will of Divine Providence. He believed he had been appointed by God.
Hitler was to be the "Lord God's" angry fist which would savagely strike a scattered people, the Jews, and drive them back to Israel, the Promised Land.
The second exodus would mirror the first.
"He exalts nations, then destroys them; He expands nations, then leads them away. He deranges the leaders of the people, and makes them wander in a trackless waste." -Job, 12:20-24
Once Hitler came to power, and as he led his nation out of the great depression to greatness, he and his government issued orders controlling Jewish breeding and sexuality; and then the Jews were barred from practicing their professions; and then the Jews were officially described as subhuman, then they were ordered to immigrate--events and laws that echo the events leading up to the first Exodus.
And just as the ancient Jews stripped the Egyptians of their worldly goods before setting off for the promised land, the German Jews who sought to immigrate were stripped of their worldly possessions. Those who remained or failed to heed the six years of repeated warnings to leave Germany were finally herded into concentration camps where they were enslaved, starved and worked to death-conditions which mirror those of ancient Egypt prior to the exodus. "And so they died, one after another, as if smitten by a pestilential destruction... And then their taskmasters threw their bodies, unburied, beyond the borders of the land, not allowing their kinsmen to even weep over those who had thus miserably perished." -Philo of Alexandria.
HITLER, POSSESSION & THE VOICE
Hitler first heard the "voice" of Divine Providence, in 1905, when he was a 17-year old youth, living in Austria. The "voice" told Hitler, he would someday become the leader of Germany, and would lead "God's people" back to the land of their fathers.
Hitler and his best friend, August Kubizek, had just left the opera when the "voice" spoke through Hitler. The voice told Hitler and Kubizek that Adolf would someday become the savior of Germany. The Voice explained: Hitler had received a mandate from god, and would someday receive a mandate from the people, to lead them out of their servitude and to lead them back to the land of their fathers. The Voice declared that Hitler had been chosen by Providence and had been given a Divine mission. Adolf Hitler was destined to establish a new social order, a new Reich which would be established under his leadership... The 17-year old Hitler had received a mandate to lead God's people to the heights of freedom and back to the promised land.
Kubizek was amazed and shocked by the voice and the transformation he observed in Hitler. Hitler, he thought, seemed to be possessed by a demon.
Many of those who observed Hitler, later in life, also witnessed periods of possession. Hitler, a plain, and somewhat funny looking man, would suddenly become transformed, as if--according to those who observed the transformation--he was possessed by a demon: a demon who could weave a spell upon the German people by speaking with Hitler's voice.
"Listening to Hitler one suddenly has a vision of one who will lead mankind to glory... A light appears in a dark window. A gentleman with a comic little moustache turns into an archangel... The archangel flies away... and there is Hitler sitting down, bathed in sweat with glassy eyes..." --Gregor Strasser
According to Francois-Poncet, Ambassador from France to Nazi Germany, when the voice spoke, "Hitler entered into a sort of mediumistic trance..." Others were of the same opinion.
"I looked into his eyes--the eyes of a medium in a trance... Sometimes there seemed to be a sort of ectoplasm; the speaker's body seemed to be inhabited by something... fluid. Afterwards he shrank again to insignificance, looking small and even vulgar. He seemed exhausted, his batteries run down." --Bouchez
"Hitler was possessed by forces outside himself... One cannot help but think of him as a medium. For most of the time, mediums are ordinary, insignificant people. Suddenly they are endowed with what seems to be supernatural powers which set them apart from the rest of humanity. These powers are something that is outside their true personality--visitors, as it were from another planet. The medium is possessed. Once the crisis is past, they fall back into mediocrity. It was in this way, beyond any doubt, that Hitler was possessed by forces outside himself--demoniacal forces of which the individual named Hitler was only a temporary vehicle." --Rauschning.
Hitler tells us in Mein Kampf and in his other writings and comments, that throughout his life; he was guided by the "voice" --a voice which would repeatedly protect him from harm, and which guided his rise to power.
For example, he relates the following experience during the first World War. "I was eating dinner in a trench with several comrades. Suddenly a voice seemed to be saying to me, "Get up and go over there." It was so clear and insistent that I obeyed automatically. I rose to my feet and walked twenty yards. Then I sat down to go on eating. Hardly had I done so when a flash and deafening report came from the part of the trench I had just left. Every member in it was killed."
Remarkably, although he served as a runner (messenger) during the first World War, and although the average war time life span of a runner was just a few days, Adolf Hitler nevertheless survived in this position for several years with only minor injuries--a good fortune that he also attributed to Divine Providence.
In Mein Kampf Hitler explains that following the only time he was seriously injured, following a gas attack in the closing days of World War I, he experienced a vision, and heard a voice, which taunted him and then explained why he was being spared: "And then the Voice thundered at me: "Miserable wretch, are you going to cry when thousands are a hundred times worse off than you!" And then, the
Voice spoke again and he experienced a vision of the utmost clarity: "I was being summoned to save Germany.... I would go into politics."
It was soon after that terrifying and "wonderful" vision, that others too, began to believe that Hitler had been chosen by God.
Dietrich Eckardt, a highly influential and powerful member of the secret mystical organization, the "Thule Society" and one of the founding members of the National Socialist Party, met Hitler in 1919, and announced after their first meeting: "He is the one..." Eckardt and other German mystics had been waiting for the coming of a German Messiah, one who would lead the German nation and the German people in a battle between the gods... and who could serve as a bridge between this world and a mystical world from the past--a world of mythical heroes, demons and gods. Eckardt was convinced that Hitler was the Messiah they had been waiting for--that Hitler had been chosen by god.
Eckardt took Hitler under his wing, and initiated him into the mysteries of the most diabolical of secret societies. As he lay dying, in 1923, Eckhart bragged. "We have given him the means of communicating with Them."
Hitler, too, admitted to communicating with Them. "I will tell you a secret," he once confided to one of his top deputies, Rauschning. " I have seen Him. He is intrepid and cruel. I was afraid of him."
Hitler was especially afraid that "He" would come at night, while Hitler slept and dreamed. As related by Albert Speer and others, Hitler was fearful of being alone at night. He also had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. He often wanted company into the late hours of the night. Hitler frequently voiced a fear of falling asleep when by himself. He sometimes dozed off only to awake with a frightened and hysterical shout, screaming that someone or something was in his room.
As described by one of his followers:
"Hitler wakes at night with convulsive shrieks; shouts for help. He sits on the edge of his bed, as if unable to stir. He shakes with fear making the whole bed vibrate. He gasps, as if imagining himself to be suffocating."
On one occasion, after awakening his staff with cries for help, they rushed to his room only to observe as "Hitler stood swaying in his room, looking wildly about him. 'He! He! He's been here!' he stamped and shrieked in the familiar way." On another occasion he awoke and cried out: "There! There! Over in the corner! He is there." On yet another occasion he awoke screaming and in convulsions. When his attendants ran into the room they found "Hitler standing, swaying and looking all around. "It's he, it's he'" he groaned. 'He's come for me!' His lips were white; he was sweating profusely. Suddenly he uttered a string of meaningless figures, then words, and scraps of sentences. It was terrifying." --Rauschning.
Yet, although Hitler admitted that this presence was"intrepid and cruel. I was afraid of him," he nevertheless relished being the chosen one, that he had been chosen by divine providence. He bragged of it. As Fuhrer of Germany, he repeatedly spoke of hearing "Divine" voices, and claimed that he was following "the commands that Providence has laid upon me… Divine power has willed it... Not even if the whole party tried to drive me to action, I will not act. But if the voice speaks, then I know the time has come to act."
"There is a higher ordering, and we are all nothing else than its agents." -Adolf Hitler.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Adolf Hitler experienced amazing success in building up Germany during the "Great Depression." His amazing success was the envy of the world--including the United States of America, whose President could look on only with envy.
And Adolf Hitler achieved incredible success when he went to war: destroying the armies and conquering Poland, France, and all of Europe in just a matter of months.
And then, Hitler destroyed his armies, and then Germany was destroyed. By the end of the war, in 1945, every major Germany city had been nearly reduced to rubble.
And in Palestine, the Palestinian people were being murdered, terrorized and driven from their homes by the Jews--in a repeat of the terrors that characterized the Jewish conquest of Palestine and Canaan, thousands of years before.
A little over two years later, and because of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, the United Nations granted Israel statehood. The Jews again had reclaimed their "promised land," the land of their fathers.
But first, Hitler and the Nazis, had killed the weak, the old, infirm, and saved the strong. To improve the health of the herd and strengthen and improve the blood line of the stock, one must first eradicate and save all but the best breeding stock: the strong, the intelligent, those who are willing to fight... and that is exactly what the God of the Jews did--a god who is always killing his "chose people"--through Hitler, the god of the Jews engaged in husbandry and his surviving Jews--the strongest of the strong-- were rewarded with the Promised Land.
GERMANY & BABYLON
Over two thousand years ago, around 600 BC., the Jewish Lord God announced through his prophets that he would enable Babylon to become a super-power in order to punish his Jews, by attacking Israel/Judea and sacking the Temple of Solomon. And this is exactly what happened.
The Jewish prophet Ezekiel, then announced that the sacking of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon was just the beginning of their punishments. It was only a warning. But if the Jewish people did not heed these warnings, Ezekiel also pronounced that Yahweh would use the nation of Babylon as the instrument of his wrath, and that the king of Babylon would destroy the Temple and burn the city to the ground. Approximately 6 years after this prophecy, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, attacked and destroyed the city and the temple. The Jews were driven into exile.
However, the Lord God, through his prophets also explained that He would then destroy Babylon, thus giving His Jews, yet another opportunity to repent of their sins, to follow His laws, and to return to Israel. However, in order for these prophecies to be fulfilled required that Babylon become a superpower and defeat Egypt. That is, Babylon was to become an instrument of God. It would become a super power which the Lord God would employ to make the Jews suffer, and then to force them off their land, and then to enslave them, so as to make them cry out to the Lord God. Then Babylon would be destroyed so that the Jews could return to the promised land and reestablish the state of Israel.
Around 600 B.C. the prophet Jeremiah began uttering prophecies about Babylon and Egypt and its king. According to Jeremiah 46: "This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt. "Prepare your shields, both large and small, and march out for battle! What do I see? They are terrified, they are retreating, their warriors are defeated...and there is terror on every side, declares the Lord... The day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes. The sword will devour till it is satisfied, till it has quenched its thirst with blood. For the
Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates... prepare for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to attack Egypt: Egypt will hiss like a fleeing serpent...The Daughter of Egypt will be put to shame, handed over to the people of the north. The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. I will hand them over to those who seek their lives, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past," declares the Lord.
And this is exactly what came to pass. Babylon again became a lone superpower that none could oppose. But according to the prophets of Israel, Yahweh was merely using Babylon, allowing this nation to become all powerful, so that he could employ it in his wrath against Judea which he proclaimed would be severely punished so that the Jewish people would learn a lesson and again follow his laws:
"In those days, at that time," declares the Lord, "the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten." --Jeremiah 50: 4,5.
And that is exactly what came to pass. However, according to the prophet Jeremiah, although Yahweh would use Babylon to punish His people, Yahweh would then destroy Babylon and punish it for this sin: "This is the word the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians: "Announce and proclaim among the nations, lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back, but say, 'Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror.' A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. No one will live in it; both men and animals will flee away. I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. So Babylonia will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill," declares the Lord....I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria. But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture." --Jeremiah 50.
And this too is exactly what came to pass.
Cyrus, the King of Persia, attacked and destroyed Babylon, and one of his first acts was to permit the Jewish exiles to return to Judea and rebuild the Temple of Solomon--an edict Cyrus recorded in the Cylinder of Cyrus, which is housed in the British Museum. According to Cyrus, he destroyed Babylon and allowed the Jewish people to return to Judea because he "was charged to do so by Yahweh, the God of Heaven."
THE TRANSMITTER TO GOD
The question as to why any particular individual might be chosen to serve as a prophet or messenger of "God" cannot be answered here, though we can certainly consider possibilities.
Every individuals appears to be naturally "wired for god" and thus capable of receiving the word of god. However, some display signs of hyperactivity in this region of the brain which appears to enhance these capabilities--albeit in accordance with the waxing and waning activity within the limbic system and temporal lobe. Or perhaps a person who lives a highly spiritual or mystical life style perpetually activates this region of the brain and achieves what others can only hope for via drugs, fasting, self-mutilation, and isolation; i.e. access to God, or the spiritually sublime.
Or perhaps the presence of "God" triggers hyperactivity in the limbic system of those chosen to be His prophets, which thus enables them to hear and see god-like stimuli as well as causing them to demonstrate signs of temporal lobe abnormalities. That is, just as something frightening or sexual will activate limbic neurons, something exceedingly frightening, spiritual, or god-like, might hyper-activate these same neurons, eventually creating supersensitive conditions and thus perpetually activating the "transmitter to God."
As to the possibility that individuals such as Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Muhammed, or other "prophets" and messengers may have been hallucinating, this is not terribly likely since what they heard and experienced was often different from day to day and as there was an obvious message and plan of action that they were exposed to and which they relayed to others. Moreover, the prophecies they were given and what they were told would come to pass, came to pass!
Indeed, as the limbic system is clearly implicated in every single case, and as this region of the brain normally inhibits and filters incoming sensory stimuli, it could thus be argued that individuals who for whatever reason are "blessed" with a hyper-activated limbic system, or a limbic system which is highly "evolved," or who are directly contacted by god, are therefore provided access to god-like stimuli and alternate realities which are normally filtered from consciousness.
Indeed, what the evidence suggests is that these limbic structures periodically become hyper-activated and open up windows and doorways to alternate realities or dimension which are normally hidden from view. Under conditions of limbic system hyperactivity, what is concealed is suddenly revealed.