The God Helmet

2574479077_120fcd3bea_zWhat if you could artificially simulate a mystical experience at home?

Brazilian researchers recently re-created the so-called “God Helmet” experiment carried out by Dr. M. A. Persinger.

You can read their results at the Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research (PDF link).

In the early Aughts, Persinger built a device that arouses strategic parts of the brain with “complex magnetic fields.” The Brazilian team aimed to reproduce the results of his provocative experiment.

The first time the experiment was carried out, 80 percent of test subjects “reported the ‘presence’ of ‘nonphysical beings’ in the room where the experiments were conducted, including the ‘presence of God’.”

At the Integrated Center for Experimental Research, brain researchers replicated the experiment, discovering that the God Helmet can indeed create spiritual experiences in many different kinds of subjects–even people who don’t believe in god.

“Spiritual experiences” were reported by some of the 20 volunteers who received magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobes … Some subjects exposed to these fields reported having “spiritual experiences” during our tests. These subjects included atheists, as well as religious believers.

As scientists explore the root of religious experiences, society may have to redefine how it copes with mystical practices.

I know plenty of people that would buy a God Helmet, and many of them would probably spend way too much time artificially inducing mystical experiences. These experiments raise some fascinating hypotheticals.

What if anybody could buy the God Helmet? What if people used the God Helmet for extended periods of time? What kind of travel stories will these mental explorers write someday?

I hope we can answer those questions someday…

Vintage diving helmet image via Stuart Heath.

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