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Closed eye hallucinations

Closed eye hallucinations or closed eye visualizations (CEV) is a term used to describe a distinct class of hallucination, which generally only occurs when one's eyes are closed, or one is in a darkened room.

In particular, this is the primary form of hallucination encountered with the dissociative anaesthetic class of drugs, such as Ketamine, DXMand PCP. These compounds reportedly create no hallucinations other than 'closed eye' ones.

Certain users report closed eye hallucinations under the influence of psychedelics. These are reportedly of a different nature than the 'open eye' hallucinations of the same compounds - possibly because many of the open eye hallucinations are thought to be 'effects' over what is seen, such as 'shimmering' or 'warping'.


  • 1 Levels of CEV perception
    • 1.1 Level 1: The Visual Noise
    • 1.2 Level 2: Light/Dark flashes
    • 1.3 Level 3: Patterns, motion, and color
    • 1.4 Level 4: Objects and Things
    • 1.5 Level 5: Overriding physical perception
  • 2 What is Not a CEV
    • 2.1 Image Burn-In
    • 2.2 Protein Strings
    • 2.3 Corneal Liquid
    • 2.4 Blue-Sky Sprites
    • 2.5 See also

Levels of CEV perception

There are several levels of CEV perception, that can be achieved either through chemical stimulants or through meditative relaxation techniques.

Level 1: The Visual Noise

The most basic form of CEV perception that can be immediately experienced in normal waking consciousness involves a seemingly random noise of pointilistic light/dark regions with no apparent shape or order.

This can be seen when you close your eyes, but try to actively look with your eyes at the back of your closed eyelids. In a bright room, a dark red can be seen. In a dark room, blackness can be seen. But in either case it is not a flat unchanging redness/blackness. Instead, if actively observed for a few minutes, you become aware of an apparent disorganized motion, a random field of lightness/darkness that overlays the redness/blackness of your closed eyelids.

For a person that tries to actively observe this closed-eye perception on a regular basis, there comes a point where if you look at a flat-shaded object with your eyes wide open, and try to actively look for this visual noise, you will become aware of it and see the random pointilistic disorganized motion as if it were a transparent overlay on top of what is actually being seen by your open eyes.

When seen overlayed onto the physical world, this CEV noise does not obscure physical vision at all, and in fact is hard to notice if the visual field is highly patterned, complex, or in motion. When you stop trying to actively observe it, it is not obvious or noticeable, and seemingly disappears from normal physical perception.

Level 2: Light/Dark flashes

There is some amount of mental control that can be exerted over these closed-eye visualizations, but it usually requires a bit of relaxation and concentration to achieve. When properly relaxed it is possible to cause regions of intense black or bright white to appear in the noise. These regions can span the entire visual field, but seem to be fleeting in nature.

Level 3: Patterns, motion, and color

At a sufficiently deep level of relaxation, the noise becomes highly organized, taking on complex geometric patterns and shapes, as if it were a field of tiny stars, squares, or diamonds, floating over and under each other in ribbons and fields.

This level is relatively easily accessible to people that smoke marijuana, and appears to be what most people refer to as the colorful visuals.

However, this is also accessible to people involved in deep concentration for long periods of time, such as doing complex math or geometry problems in school. When lying down at night and closing the eyes, right before sleep the complex motion of these patterns can become directly visible without any great effort.

Level 4: Objects and Things

This is a fairly deep state, typically only accessible through psychoactives or people who have practiced meditation for a long time. At this level, what you are thinking becomes visually manifest as if it were a real object or environment. When this level is reached, the CEV noise seems to calm down and fade away, leaving behind an intense flat ordered blackness. The visual field becomes a sort of active space where what you think is what you get. A side component of this is the ability to feel motion if your eyes are closed. For example thinking of moving down may cause the interior of an elevator to manifest in the CEV field, along with the distinct perception of physically moving downward.

Opening the eyes returns one to the normal physical world, but still with the CEV object field overlayed onto it and present. In this state it is possible to see things that appear to be physical objects in the open-eye physical world, but that aren't really there.

Level 5: Overriding physical perception

This is the point where it appears to the outside world that a person is either unconscious or insane. The internal CEV perceptions and think-it/feel-it perceptions become stronger than physical perceptions, and completely override and replace open-eye physical perceptions. This can be a somewhat dangerous state if a person is still mobile while literally off in their own little world, but by this time most people are motionless on the couch and as such, are not likely to do something hazardous to themselves or others.

This is the point where most hallucinogenic references say it is a good idea to have a "sitter" present to watch over the person using the chemicals, and keep them from accidentally harming themselves or others while deep into their own little world.

What is Not a CEV

Image Burn-In

This perception is not the same as image burn-in, which occurs from having very bright objects in the visual field. Visual burn-in from bright lights is visible for a few minutes after closing the eyes, or by blinking rapidly, but the burn-in effect slowly fades away as the retina recovers. The waking-consciousness CEV noise does not similarly disappear if observed continuously for many minutes.

Protein Strings

This perception does not involve protein strings, which are free-floating in the liquid inside the eyeball, and can be seen by extremely nearsighted people when looking at bright point-light sources with glasses/contacts removed. Protein strings tend to remain motionless if the eyes are still. The strings rotate vertically if one looks up/down rapidly, and the strings also rotate horizontally if one looks right/left rapidly, but in either case they slow down and stop moving after a few seconds. The motion of waking-consciousness CEV noise is not so directly, physically controllable and repeatable.

Corneal Liquid

This perception does not involve the liquid and air bubbles on the surface of the cornea, which can also be seen by extremely nearsighted people when looking at bright point-light sources with glasses/contacts removed. Half-closing and reopening the eyelids creates a very definite wiper-ridge in the corneal liquid that is readily visible. Fully closing and reopening the eyelids also stirs up the corneal liquid which settles down after a brief moment. The motion of waking-consciousness CEV noise is not so directly, physically controllable and repeatable.

Blue-Sky Sprites

This perception does not seem to be related to the "sprites" that can be seen as dots darting around when staring up into a bright blue sky on a sunny day (not looking at the sun). The motion of waking-consciousness CEV noise is uniformly random compared to the waking-consciousness blue-sky sprite motion.

See also

  • Form constant
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/Closed_eye_hallucinations"

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It uses material from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed+eye+hallucinations Wikipedia article Closed eye hallucinations.

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