Hallucinations are defined as the perception of something that is not present. Hallucinations are commonly associated with Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders. However, “Healthline” notes that they may be caused by several other factors, including prolonged lack of sleep, brain cancer, high fever, migraines, seizure activity, social isolation, dementia, loss of effective use of one or more of the senses, alcohol withdrawal, very low sodium or glucose levels in the blood, and others.
The general population is familiar with the term hallucination; however, not many are aware that these can be perceived by any of the five senses. The classic example of a hallucination is the man wandering lost in the desert and suddenly sees a lush oasis. He plunges his hands into the crystal clear water, only to find it is just sand. The oasis was not really there. This is a visual hallucination, the type most associate with the term. Visual hallucinations may also include flashes or other forms of light (please note light anomalies may be aura preceding migraines or seizure), or any other form that is seen with the eye.
Hallucinations may be auditory, as in voices which in the case of persons with psychotic disorders may tell them to do things or that someone is plotting against them. Other examples include tapping, footsteps, creaking floor boards.
Tactile hallucinations are the perception that someone or something is touching, pushing, grabbing or holding someone down. These could also manifest as the feeling of bugs or rodents crawling over the skin. Tactile hallucinations can be quite traumatic.
Olfactory hallucinations are odors that no one else smells (it should be noted that this can also be an aura preceding migraines or seizures as well). Hallucinations of taste are self-explanatory, a metallic taste on the tongue, pipe tobacco taste in non-smoker’s mouth for example.
As you looked through the potential causes of hallucinations, you no doubt surmised that some are temporary in nature, as in high fevers, seizures, etc. Others, as in those associated with the psychotic disorders, are chronic (ongoing in nature). These are treated with psychotropic medications and psychotherapy.
Relevance to National Paranormal Society: The very nature of a hallucination makes the relevance quite apparent. It is nearly impossible to give credence to claims made by an individual who exhibits these symptoms. In some cases, as in hypoglycemia (low blood glucose level in the blood; also occurs from time to time in diabetics) this condition can be easily remedied. As an investigator, a team member had a disturbingly odd experience. Knowing the person was diabetic, blood sugar was immediately checked to rule out hypoglycemia while other team members continued to investigate. It is important to watch for these symptoms and to seek the cause in a respectful, gentle manner. Also note that some persons with challenges may also live in active homes!