Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Seeing Through Your Eyelids -- Spreading Motion

When I close my eyes and wave my hand before my face, I seem to see motion. I think this isn't just the caver illusion (the sense people sometimes have, in complete darkness, that they can see their hands move), because the effect seems much stronger when I face toward a light source, and I can see a friend's hand in the same way. In some sense, I am seeing through my eyelids. This shouldn't be too surprising: Most people report being able to see the sun through their eyelids. Such a thin band of flesh is easily penetrated by light. I discussed this stuff a bit in a May post.

Although I was pretty confused in my May post, I'm finding more consistency now with directional and occlusion effects. If I move my hand slowly from one side to the other, I can locate the position of the movement as to the right or the left. If I face a bright light source and move my head, I can track the rough direction of the source. If I raise an occluding object between my face and my moving hand -- a newspaper, say, held eight inches before my face -- the impression of movement is much lessened. (Any sense of motion that remains might really be just the caver illusion.)

The oddest effect is when I slightly lower the occluding object, so that the tips of my fingers are not occluded, but the rest of my hand and arm is. Once again I have a vivid experience of motion -- but not as though located just at the top of the visual field. The motion seems to spread down the field, almost to the bottom, as though the newspaper were entirely removed, but somewhat less vivid. In fact, it seems to me that the primary effect of moving the newspaper up and down is increasing and decreasing the vividness of the sense of motion. The change in the visual extent of the motion experience appears relatively minor.

As far as I'm aware, this spreading of perceived motion when the eyes are closed has never been remarked on in the perception and consciousness literature. I wonder if others experience the same thing...?


Anonymous said...

I had an EEG done this afternoon. In the context of that test the technician had me lay with eyes closed and flashed a strobe light in my face at very rapid intervals. When I got home I took a bath to shampoo out the glue they used to attache the electrodes. Closing my eyes to protect them from the shampoo I was shocked to be able to see not just my hands and the water, but the entire room. The door, the sink, everything. It was not a "Keen" view, but I was definitly seeing from behind my eyelids with a fair quality of detail. As the evening wore on this ability seemed to decrease.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Wow, interesting report! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

To add a few extra details to the previous post I made about being able to see the bathroom through closed eyes. The bathroom was very brightly lit, and I attributed part of my being able to see from behind my closed eyes to that fact. That evening as I went to bed I decided to put it to the test. The only lighting in my bedroom is a small nightlight. Laying in bed I tried to see my extended right hand in front of my face while my eyes were closed. I was able to see it with some degree of detail even to the ring I wear on my 3rd finger. Now the weird part! With my eyes closed I covered my eyelids with my left hand, and again placed my right hand in front of my face. Although with not as much clarity I could STILL see my right hand! It appeared as a "ghost" image, only the outline visible as a slight glow. It was a clear enough view though to see the individual fingers, and I was able to clearly see it move back and forth and turn around. I am a profesional anthropologist and this was interesting enough to suggest some "extrasensory" factor at work. I wish there was more that had been done in this area. Definitly needs furhter study.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

You're not the first who has reported to me seeing details of the environment through closed eyes. Although I lean against paranormal explanations myself, I don't entirely dismiss the possibility. But my first thought is to wonder whether maybe you are constructing the representation from memory.

Here's an experiment you can try if the phenomena persist. With your eyes closed, pull a random card from a deck. Can you see which one it is?

Simon Ashaan said...

I experienced this just 10 minutes ago and it lasted maybe 5 minutes. Purely in my right eye appeared like the edge of three mirrors that were slightly skewed with what seemed to be a flickering image. Almost like looking out through a crystal. The images had form in fact it was like experiencing an Imax 3D movie in terms of texture. Very vivid and crisp(in fact it was clearer than my normal sight is) of objects in the room. Putting my hand over my right eye increased the intensity of the image. Was quite freaked out at first. Very cool. Wish I'd thought of the card trick at the time!

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Strange! Thanks, Simon.

Andrew said...

I've experienced the same - detailed visions of the surrounding room with my eyes shut. However, at times when I have opened my eyes, I have noticed the vision is out of line with the real one, ie. at a different angle or distance. Interesting that my memory can record the room in such acute and lifelike detail but not the correct positioning relative to my body.

Anonymous said...


I really need some type of input or assistance on this. please help, direct if you can/will.

About a year ago I wished to see if I could see thru my eyelids while closed. Ostriches do it when they "sleep".

Well, after a few weeks of relaxation I was able to do it reasonably well, especially at night when having to get up.

After a short bit I could have the run on the house even with eyes closed. I also believe the brain "Maps" the area where you live, so you get the "helen keller" effect; (Mum and dad not moving furniture around, life is good!)

The other is the numerous LED devices that are on at night, a clock here, a cable I'net line router there.

Made the world light up for me when I need to get up at night.

Now, here is the eerie part. Yesterday, I decided if I could deepen the darkness. I place a hand over my eyes, effectively blotting out any source of light. I found I could see through my own palm, and still test OK with the wife waving arm up or down, push the palm away from the body (Left hand going left stretching arm, then right arm, then doing thumbs up or down). This from a distance one arm length from my head. I was laying down on bed in light to medium relaxation; I checked out near 100% doing this.

Then I had my wife cover my eyes, and the 7 yr old grandson moved his arms/wrists,fingers
in a like manner at the edge of the bed. SAME results.

Last night I decided to completely black out the bed room, all sources of light, small and smaller were covered over with blacked out sticky pad strip portion, and pasted over any and all sources.

It proved more of a challenge, but whata ya expect, first time out doing this, with in 6 hours of discovering I could do it!

Here is really spooky part. Every now and then, as I am totally relaxed, it is like I see in some clarity and some detail, the stars above my house, obscured by trees and awful light pollution. In fact I saw the blasted tree limbs, and the light pollution also effected my clarity of view. So it weren't no milky way, just the lights of the heavens. I was able to experience this only a few times. The clarity would increase very shortly, and then fuzz out and go away, leaving me vision back in the blacked out night time bedroom.

I dunno what this is. Can it be merely the awakening of one part of the brain that is not used in our boring doldrum ho-hum existence on this ever toxified rock? Does this in some way fall into the paranormal field?

(Well IT must!, since it is way UNNormal to do this, and I've never heard of it before), or is this the prize of 32 years of qigong training? (NB: Breath plays NO role in ability to elicit effect, however, the yin tang point blazes with a power all it's own. Bugs the piss outta me since it "lights up" and disturbs the clarity of view)

ALL things, thus far are all seen in a somewhat "Negative photo" view. Some times, it is "normal" Arms are dark, walls are washed out white.

I thank you so very much for your help!


I'm signing as anon right now bcause I dont desire whack jobs, flaming haters of anything, nutbags
and general freax emailing me.

If you CAN help, then say so in commenting post, and if U are brave enough to post your email online, or in profile, let me know, & I will be happy to contact you.


Anonymous said...

I've looked at videos of the carver illusion and unless I've missed a point here, I don't see how we are talking about the same thing. Sleeping in total darkness recently, I noticed I can see distinct and accurate movement of my arms and legs through my eyelids covered by my hand, covered by a pillow. At one point I was surprised to find that I had misjudged where my arms actually were and my vision of them, on opening my eyes, turned out to be absolutely correct. It seems to me that it is quite simply the spiritual eyes seeing the spiritual arm; and why not?

Anonymous said...

Dolchmann here again. Well, it has been some months since my last post requesting assistance, and I received
a number of of emails with offers of help, for which I am grateful.

Perioptic sight is a trained ability.

anyone who can relax enough can develop this skill. It is better in the long run if the person developing their own ability, already has a good amount of meditative background and experience.

As far as my experiences go, it is a fun thing to do, and that's that.
I can, at this time, find no real world practical use for it, except
for being able to have really acute
night vision. Great for blackouts
when you don't have candles or flash lights.

Thanks to those who've deigned
to help me.


D Mann

Criticatlarge said...

Ahem. Seeing through your eyelids? Hahahahahaha. *I* do! Under particular conditions, ie color of light in the bedroom, I can see through my eyelids quite well. Enough to perceive objects next to the bed, the shape of the archway, my hand waving or resting. It's in a very dim blue-ish light, which tells -me- that my eyes are most likely perceiving higher-frequency light (thnk of the rainbow, ROYGBIV.. higher frequency => more energy => goes right through them ol' eyelids) than you'd think one would perceive. So 1) no, none of us is crazy, 2) since you're perceiving with your eyes and not your pineal gland I wouldn't call it extrasensory, 3) it's repeatable and occurs even if I further shield my eyes with my hands, so it's not a constructed representation from memory. Sheesh.

YES! your vision IS 'out of line', but I'm not sure why.

Wow, anonymous! If you're seeing stars.. you're way beyond me. Absolutely kewl! I agree that some hitherto unused faculty may be awakening. Also, consider that we're getting massive amounts of radiation from the center of the galaxy, which will peak on (you guessed it) 12.21.12. The 'veil', as they say, appears to be becoming MUCH thinner!

So don't be surprised if you can see through your eyelids. Practice! Have fun with it!

thomas burley said...

hi there, so the other day i had experienced what most of you have also. I was hanging out at a friends house, and as i sat in the kitchen i closed my eyes, now i smoke pot and have never had an experience like this unless i'm high, i first felt my whole body start slowly, and a very low(kinda a dull sound) of vibration. so as my eyes were closed i didn't see much then i moved my right hand up towards my face and SAW MY HAND!!! like not in full detail but like a outline of it with a "energy" radiating from it. i look around and didn't see the kitchen until i touched my surrounding area. it all came into view, the sink, fridge, table and the people sitting around it and standing in the kitchen. though i couldn't see then in full detail. They were outlines of themselves, and they too had this "energy" radiating from them. As i looked around the house i could see things with much more clarity, then as i looked at the front door. i thought, "Mh, i wounder what outside looks like." and as i thought that i could start to see the house kinda fade away into these little faint white lines, and i could see everything outside. I could see the stars and the trees. i could see the driveway and all the cars in it. i could see the lake, which is in perfect view from the front porch. i did notice however that i could see all this from where i was sitting. i didn't feel like i was moving but the surroundings where just fading to allow me to see outside. now when i finally calmed down from excitement. I was getting ready to open my actual eyes, and in this short amount of time i saw the lake and the trees and the cars and the stars all start to fade, and i could see the those little white lines that made up the house more detailed, then the house was back to the way it was and i could still see the people in the house with me, and as i opened my eyes. To my surprise everything and everyone was where i had just seen then with my eyes closed. it was a very interesting experience. And i don't know if it had anything to do with it but i think the night before i was over at the same house and we were watching two and a half men. well the characters, and only the characters in the show where double vision to me. I asked everyone if they saw what i was seeing....nope. It to was weird only the people on TV and only in the show where double vision for me. Like Allan was standing about a foot away from himself and it kinda freaked me out....but very interesting experience.

Shamanictramp said...

I would actually like some information about this extra sensory, you are correct, it might just be memory, for instance shutting your eyelids and being able to tell your surroundings, why not? that could easily be memory, the card trick is a good idea,what though do you do if when you "see beyond your eyelids" it's not actually anywhere close to where you are? for instance i randomly talk in my "sleep" everyone that has ever held a conversation with me though has always told me the things i talk about are in great detail and things I've actually never done,i.e.: I once talked with my eyes open though glazed over about sitting on hay bails after a long day of i guess producing hay to my older brother when i was around 25, i described the day and how the sun felt, are these maybe mixed memories?
Here is something fun to try, during the day sit in a comfortable chair, set a timer for say 30 minutes, relax,close your eyes and try to think about everything from your day, do not hold onto any one thought though, imagine that each thought is just passing you by, then afterwards, try to recall some of the images that popped into your head, you have to try to recall them as quickly as possible though because they don't actually have anything to do with anything important in your day. then go out and see if they are in your waking life. I once "dreamed" about a french horn, the next day I saw the same exact french horn in an antique store window and decided to go interact with it, try it out and what not. by the way, i did not do "great" and i don't work for an orchestra or french horn manufacturer. It was just interesting to find these things in my waking life that i had "seen" the day before. Now that i had been "looking for them"