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Could an Altered Vision Exist in an Altered State? – Athanasios N. Komianos (Is.22)

by Athanasios N. Komianos


The intent of this paper is to debrief some research done on alter personalities of Dissociation Identity Disorder, who display significant and measurable physiological differences, specifically, in the domain of vision. If such research has been done on MPD patients, then why would it not take place with our regressed clients who impersonate their former incarnations? Would it not be a challenge to do so and bring about visible results?

“With sight concealed our psyche views our body’s torments”


 One day during my early days of experimentation my guinea pig (my wife) told me: “Do you know why I enjoy regressions?” Why I asked, “because it is the only time I see better and clearly.” I was astounded! She is near sighted, astigmatic, with hypermetropia from a very young age and always had to wear glasses. But while regressed, and a short while after she was brought back to consciousness, she could see clearly without glasses. Could that be possible? Could one see, or hear, or smell better under regression? It was not long after that when I happened to read an interview of the legendary hypnotist George Vouloukos who pioneered in regressions since the early 70’s in Greece. He was asked what was the most impressive regression he ever had. The reply was illuminating. He had once regressed a blind man by birth. When this man was regressed he exclaimed crying in joy that he could clearly see and described things for the first time in his life.[1] Could that man really see or was it a self-delusion? Is there a way to validate this? Can modern science “objectively” measure such an experience?


So now I turn to a parallel growing body of evidence, which concerns research done on Multiple Personality Disorder or DID. These reports indicate striking physiological differences among alter personalities.[2] The first such case, is reported by Dufay in 1876, “in which a woman who had severe myopia requiring glasses could, when in a somnambulistic state, do needlework and even thread the needle without her glasses and in poorer light” (Myers 1903).

Current scientific research can be summarized here:

  • G. Braun (1983) reported colour blindness in a patient (documented by the isochromatic colour blindness test) that disappeared following successful integration of the personalities.
  • Birnbaum and Thomann (1996) report a case where a patient required different corrective lens for her primary and an alter personality, and there were also differences between them in corneal curvature and astigmatism.
  • Daniel Goleman reports that one psychiatrist claimed that some people with MPD like to carry several pairs of eyeglasses, never knowing which personality might take over at any given time! (Rogo, 1987).
  • Shepard and Braun (S. D. Miller, 1989) found clinically significant optical differences between alter personalities on six measures: visual acuity, manifest refraction, colour vision, corneal curvature, and intraocular pressure.
  • Miller upon a replication of the above study with a control group who tried to simulate alter personalities found that there were 4.5 times more changes among different personalities in MPD than those in the simulating controls.
  • Ludwig and his colleagues (Larmore et al., 1977) stated that the average visual evoked responses (AVER) for each personality [four] were quite different from each other and in fact each personality had its own AVER type, as if four people had been tested.
  • D. Miller and Triggiano (1992) stated that psycho-physiological research using evoked potentials has provided some of the most consistent and convincing experimental evidence for the existence of MPD as a clinical entity, as well as for the distinctness of the personality states in persons with the disorder.
  • Finally, Ring and Cooper (1997, 1999) reported 31 cases of blind individuals, nearly half of them blind from birth, who experienced during their near death experiences (NDEs) quasi-visual and sometimes veridical perception of objects and events.

Of course the studies cited here specifically concentrate on vision and sight functioning but the evidence is not only limited to them. Striking differences among alter personalities occur also in alterations in handedness or handwriting, rate and ability to heal, response to medication, sensitivity to pain and specific allergic responses to different stimuli. Measurements with GSR, EEG, fMRI and other correlates substantiate the findings.

As you may have guessed I am trying to make a point here. If alter personalities display clearly different detectable physiological parameters then why should that not apply to former personalities that have been regressed to surface as well? For instance, in a TV documentary titled Reincarnation, broadcast in 1985 by Soundsense Films at Sidney, hypnotic regressions done by Peter Ramster were shown. Among them a regression with a woman who is short-sighted was shown. In her last past life she was a Jewish girl in Düsseldorf, Germany, who died in a concentration camp. During the regression she was asked to open her eyes and look at a map of Düsseldorf and show the place where she had lived, and she did. When the regression was over and she was out of hypnosis she was again shown the map and was asked to show it again. She said that she couldn’t see it and asked to be given her glasses, when that was done she was in the position to show it again. The point here is that in the regression she did not need the glasses![3] To go one step further, could this fact apply to obsessing entities also? Could obsessors apply their peculiarities on their victims? That is the primary level of where research should be done.

Now concerning therapy it once happened that upon integration of the alter personalities the one that sprung up was visually healthy without the deficiencies of its component parts. Could that take place upon integrating former personalities after catharsis has taken place? That is in case eyesight problems could be attributed to a former life, could we achieve a substantial degree of eyesight improvement by doing good regression therapy or spirit release?

Finally, there is a question, which was posed two thousand years ago to Jesus by his disciples: “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). Jesus replied that the man was blind so that the “works of God could be manifest in him.” Is it not time for science (even borderline science) to give an answer to this question?

For those of us in regression therapy, who are not fully satisfied with the answer provided by religion, I think we should look for the possibility of doing serious research work on people who were born blind. There have been scattered and dispersed attempts in the past.

Can a blind man see?

This case came to Elizabeth Bowen’s attention (a practicing hypnotherapist in England) in the early 1980s and it concerns a young healthy man in his 20s who was totally blind and had been so since birth. As a newborn baby he’d been placed in an oxygen tent and too much gas had been delivered, which caused the blindness the boy had suffered all his life. He approached Mrs. Bowen because of “unsettling dreams” he’d been experiencing, which seemed to “centre around the brilliance of the sun.” She regressed him and much to her amazement he exclaimed: “I can see!” and then went on to vividly describe scenes of trees and fields and a job of carpentry he held in a previous lifetime. He began to describe colours and shapes that he had never seen before so he had no point of reference and then told her about an ancient tribe of which he was a member. They were “worshipping the sun” and had been instructed by the elders “not to look upon the disc” as it rose. He further related how, being “curious” in that lifetime, he had disobeyed the law and was seized and then “sacrificed on a stone altar.” These scenes were so real to him that he described them graphically. But at the end of these incredible experiences, upon returning to normality the young man was once again completely blind. “It’s one of the most interesting and baffling cases I’ve ever come across” quotes Mrs. Bowen. She ended by challenging all skeptics: “How can this be explained, except that my client must have had some kind of previous existence in which his eyes functioned correctly?”

Also more recently Hanny de Wit has made a significant study. She started off her research to answer a specific question: can a past-life cause for blindness be found? She got the answer she wanted in at least one case. The insights of her research are fascinating and are actually providing food for thought and further research.[4] Would it not be a challenge upon regression that some of these people could possibly retrieve information, which would correspond to a personality whose former incarnation and death upon investigation were found to exist? [5]


 So here is a challenge for our association’s medical doctors to experimentally regress:

  1. people with eyesight problems and
  2. blind from birth people.

That should be done in controlled conditions and along the rigorous lines set by the scientific community and make all the necessary measurements at their disposal (Dr. Singhal told us about 18 variables) along with optometric tests both subjective and objective in order to figure out if indeed there is a difference that cannot be accounted to other factors. Our fellow physicians have to make the experimental setting, seek for funding and bring results. Then it will be the task of mainstream science to evaluate and elaborate on the findings.



 I would like to thank Hans TenDam, Jan Erik Sigdell, and Hanny de Wit for their remarks, comments, and contributions.



 Birnbaum, M. H., & Thomman, K. Visual function in multiple personality disorder. Journal of the American Optometric Association, 67, 327-334, 1996.

Braun, B.G. Neurophysiologic changes in multiple personality due to integration: A preliminary report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26, 84-92, 1983a.

——— Psychophysiologic phenomena in multiple personality and hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 26, 124-137, 1983b.

Goleman, Daniel. “New focus on multiple personality.” The New York Times, May 21, 1985.

Kelly, Edward et al. Irreducible Mind: Towards a Psychology of the 21st century. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Larmore, K., Ludvig, A. M., & Cain, R. L. Multiple Personality-An objective case study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 131, 35-40, 1977.

Miller, S. D. Optical differences in cases of multiple personality disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 177, 480-486, 1989.

Miller, S.D., & Triggiano, P. J. The psychophysiological investigation of multiple personality disorder: Review and update. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 35, 47-61, 1992.

Murphy, Michael. The Future of the Body. Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher Inc., 1992.

Rogo, Scott. The Infinite Boundary. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1987.

Myers, F. W. H. Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. London: Longmans, Green, 1903.

Ring, K., & Cooper, S. Near-death and out-of-body experiences in the blind: A study of apparent eyeless vision. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 16, 101-147, 1997.

——— Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind. Palo Alto, CA: William James Center/Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 1999.


[1] Then I found in an article (unreliable as you will realize) an experiment, which was supposedly conducted at the University of Chicago by Dr. James Pareiko and Paul Palmer on six blind persons by birth who were all regressed and all had a visual experience. However, no matter how hard I tried to find this information in the literature I never encountered the original source to review it myself.

[2] All these evidence is quoted from Irreducible Mind Towards a Psychology of the 21st Century, a book written by Edward Kelly, Emily Kelly, Michael Grosso, Bruce Greyson, Alan Gauld, and Adam Crabtree.

[3] This particular incident, was provided to me by Jan Erik Sigdell. You cansee it for yourself at minute 54.

[4] Her findings were given to me through personal communication and are about to be published soon.

[5] It should also be noted here that it is strikingly surprising and strange that the late Ian Stevenson, despite his massive study on birth defects, reported only one case of a blind person by birth, who incidentally, was blind in his former life also. This information was offered to me by his successor Dr. Jim Tucker.

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Topics on this article

Hypnotherapy, MPD, Possession, Regression Therapy

Keywords on this article

altered states of consciousness, altered vision, blind by birth, eyesight problems