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Charles Bonnet Syndrome

One of these clues is Charles Bonnet Syndrome.  The syndrome occurs in people with low vision, and is manifested as images appearing in their field of view.  Patients...

...according to Mogk and Mogk, "have reported seeing cartoon characters, flowers in the bathroom sink, hands rubbing each other, waterfalls and mountains, tigers, maple trees in vibrant autumn foliage, yellow polka dots, row houses, a dinner party and brightly colored balloons.  Many people see faces or life-size figures that they've never seen before.  One of the most remarkable qualities of these figures is that they almost always wear pleasant expressions and often make eye contact with the viewer. 

"Usually the same image or set of images reappears to each person, sometimes in the same places or at the same time of day.  Sam's monkeys usually materialized around sunset, cavorting across the lawn or around the big blue easy chair by the fireplace.  They stayed for 10 or 20 minutes several times a week for two years and then began to appear less frequently."

 The website, Lighthouse International, is very insistent that these images are not in your mind (i.e. you're not losing your mind), stating that they are coming from your "eyes".  However, asking some critical questions about the phenomena reveal otherwise.  For instance, the images occur in addition to normal sight, and so are not simliar to memories that are known to be triggered by electro-stimulation of individual brain neurons.  Many report images that they've never seen before, so it is not as if the images are encoded in the eye's neuro-circuitry.  The variety of imagery also speaks against a hard-wired encoding of the imagery in the apparatus of perception.  The images move realistically and can persist for many minutes.  The imagery seems to be triggered by visual cues, but not always when the same visual cues occur.

The website maintains that this phenomena is of the same kind as "phantom limb syndrome".  However, this is merely using the dubious explanation of one phenomenon to explain another.  It also happens to be another clue that tells us that the "classical" model has shortcomings. 

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