Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) is named after the 18th-century Swiss biologist and philosopher who detailed the complex hallucinations experienced by his 89-year-old grandfather, which included everything from seeing imaginary buildings and birds to men and women, the hallucinations often varying in shape and size … Unlike visionary experiences or psychotic hallucinations, people experiencing CBS cannot engage with the people and things they are seeing—it is as if silent movies were being projected for a viewer to watch, but not interact with.
“We see with our eyes, but we also see with our brain,” explains renowned neuroscientist Oliver Sacks. Charles Bonnet Syndrome, though slowly being brought to light, is still quite inscrutable. We are left to wonder: Is the brain so adapted to a constant stream of external visual stimulation, that in response to a lack of it, it will project even our most basic inscapes outward?
Excerpt from GLIMPSE staff writer Rachel Sapin’s “Our Inscapes Projected Outward: Charles Bonnet Syndrome.” Issue 6, Visions
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