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Thread: 'God helmet' interactions

  1. Default 'God helmet' interactions

    Hi,

    On Friday I got an email from a colleague with whom I will be collaborating on an hemisphere discordance sensory experiment. Being aware of my forays into building brain-machine interfaces, he jokingly asked me in the email if I thought I could build him a 'God helmet'. I had never heard of Michael Persinger or the 'God helmet' and I responded with a glib retort about my difficulty, as a spiritual atheist, in understanding what a 'God helmet' might do. His reply to my reply was, simply, "Google it!". Well, I did Google it and was fascinated by the absurdity of the claims for the device. Having studied placebo effects for years, I found myself in agreement with most of Persinger's critics. However, after examining many of the 400-some journal articles by Persinger, I began to wonder about a possible synergism when combining cortical entrainment with the effect of the 'God helmet', even if the latter is a placebo effect. In the course of my afternoon long research period, I found that one of Persinger's colleagues has designed a 'God helmet' clone (apparently blessed by Persinger) and is selling them for between $250 and $700 (the cost dependent on the number of independent channels of audio control information one can send to the solenoid magnetic field generators).

    In all, I have three AVS machines including a Procyon and a Kasina, and have been using them for both recreation and in my laboratory research for over a year (my students and I will be presenting a poster on individual differences in alpha entrainment stimulation frequencies at the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society meeting in June (and, I expect, in a refereed journal shortly after that). Since a great deal of the information I used in developing my testing protocols was acquired in these forums, I thought that somebody here might have some experience with the combining of a 'God helmet' type device with AVS. Basically, what I want to know is whether I am insane in thinking about purchasing a device I am very skeptical about (I did all the "God seeing' I needed for a lifetime 40-some odd years ago with the help of some 5-HT2A receptor agonists ), just to look at effects of combining this possibly sham magnetic stimulation with AVS.

    So, anybody here played with a 'God machine', or, more importantly, used one with AVS?

    John
    Last edited by mosspa; 02-08-2015 at 03:54 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    You are referring to the Shakti device. I bought one many years ago and had little to no effect beyond placebo. It produces a very weak magnetic field. However the way he used multiple audio splitters to simulate a rotating field is interesting. More powerful electromagnets would have a greater effect. There are also quite a few unknowns as to what the audio content is that is powering the magnets. I now have the knowledge to extract and analyze those files which I didn't at that time. Maybe I will do that.

    There is little doubt that TMS level stimulation has profound results. Nor is it recommended outside trained administrators under clinical conditions. tDCS falls closer to the acceptable risk level for the hobbyist, although I am not advocating for that, I personally administer it to myself.

    Still, on a philosophical level, it is entirely reasonable, in fact almost necessary, that a spiritual atheist would need to implicate some brain region (or a functional network) in the widespread religiosity of humanity, throughout all ages. Knowing that chemicals can induce these experiences, it is not at all far fetched that electromagnetic stimulation could have a similar, relative effect.

    I think Persinger has some of the more interesting and profound published studies, as pertains to attempting to materialize the spiritual.
    If you know something I don't, speak up! If maybe I know something you don't, ask away!

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    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    I do have to say that I didn't put a lot of time into the Shakti. I felt that results should have been more apparent. I tend to think there wouldn't be any acclimation period as there is with AVS. AVS exposure often has a phase where the focus remains entirely on the novelty of the flashing lights. It can take a number of exposures (varying amongst people) to settle into the intent of the session.

    tDCS for instance did not have this phase, at least for me. Yes, the feeling of stimulation was novel, but it had an immediate notable impact. I might revisit this attitude toward the Shakti as possibly I missed some of the subtleties. I have grown more deliberate and studious over the years.
    Last edited by neuroasis; 02-09-2015 at 05:41 AM.
    If you know something I don't, speak up! If maybe I know something you don't, ask away!

  4. Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    We are also exploring tDCS in my lab. I've been waiting for fast-blo 5 mA fuses to arrive to finish the circuit. We're going with an 18 V (four 9 V batteries parallel/serial) power source because I may want to experiment with alternate body cathode placements.

    Trying to determine what you get for what price is a bit difficult by reading the pages at http://www.shaktitechnology.com/, however, it seems that 16-coil Shiva system would be most appropriate since it apparently comes with replications of Persinger's 'God sessions' as well as other sessions. Also, being a music producer, I'm interested in seeing how they implement 8-channel audio control. Still, $700 is a bit tough to justify, seeing that I'm still pretty sure that most of Persinger's 'God' results are placebo in nature. However, you're right. If you can get these effects with a pill, why not brain stimulation?

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    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    Basically what I got was 8 of these: Telephone Recorder Pickup

    Audio splitters and adapters (off the shelf 3.5mm variety), strips of 1" white velcro and velcro dots, and a software disc, made from some very old ebook maker (like an old multimedia autorun type thing)

    Total cost of parts maybe $50 and the pickups were more common then.

    So, whatever value you place in the 'brain recordings' would need to make up the difference.
    If you know something I don't, speak up! If maybe I know something you don't, ask away!

  6. #6

    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    Though I've read quite a few of Persinger's papers, as well as several of the books he authored/edited, I have not personally tried a Shakti helmet or similar device. When I spoke to him in the early 90s, he alluded to the shape of the magnetic field being important, and dependent upon the waveforms being used to drive the coils, which he did not want to discuss in further detail. Part of his model of how subtle magnetic fields can affect our brains has to do with the lability of the tissue within the limbic system and temporal lobes; he believes that these fields can trigger 'microseizures' which remain within those structures and also evoke an intense experience. There is certainly a lot of evidence available that temporal lobe epilepic seizures can induce intense religious (and other) experiences. You might also find Robert O. Becker, M.D.s books 'Cross Currents' and 'The Body Electric' to be a source of useful information in terms of geomagnetic effects on our brains.

  7. Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    Hi Robert,

    Yes, the temporal lobe epilepsy story is about the only thing that is reasonably well known and can be used to support Persinger's claims. However, I'm somewhat an expert on the subject (I worked with amygdala kindling in Peter Milner's lab at McGill University, soon after Ron Racine left, and I did a substantial amount of research on anti-epileptic agents over the past 20 years), and there is no way that the fields that Persinger is generating could produce paroxysms anywhere in the brain, no matter how focused they are. If there is a physiological effect that underlies Persinger's 'God states', it definitely has nothing to do with subcortical paroxysmal activity.

    John

  8. #8

    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    Very interesting, John. And it's always nice to have an expert weigh in here on our support forums. Do you have any estimations of what field strength/waveform/frequency/etc. parameters would indeed be capable of kindling in the Amygdala or other limbic/temporal structures? And I take it that you have not seen evidence of 'microseizure' activity in these, or other neural structures? Part of my own interest in this topic was influenced by the literature of chaos theory, nonlinear dynamics, etc. and the suggestion in some sources that our brains operate at the 'edge of chaos'. The concept of microseizures in labile tissues were consistent with that model, and it appeared that some of Persinger's research supported that. But his published studies were pretty much all small-N, and his speculations on mechanisms of action would surely not have made it into some of the more prestigious academic publications. I'm looking forward to following your own excursions into magnetic stimulation of the brain, modulated or not.

    -Robert

  9. #9

    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    Hi every body I would like to give my experience with shiva device

    it doesn't work with avs together he says in his web sit that for the best results you use after shiva session is seams to be more profound after I personally never tried during a shiva session after yes and for me kasina is already a powerful tool for different states of the mind and I see no differences.

    shiva has many session and you can use different setting and strength some of the session is too weak for me but all depends which you pick some of then is for depression and for moods lifting if you don't have those symptoms you will feel no difference like me nothing noticeable on the other hand I did play with other session and I did use EEG before and after and yes there is a significant changes on brain activity some of the level did give me a Headache but nothing to serious..

    I want to record my self using shiva and EEG before and after more often and i will post on youtube for other maybe help with suggestion and etc

    indeed the wave form you use and the strength and no distortion on the audio makes the hole difference ..

    the stimulation with god helmet works but you need sensory deprivation and again for me I have easy access to different levels of consciousness just doing ganzfeld by it self..

    I am still a beginner with shiva and I love to research for fun I recently discover this site http://www.diypemf.com/ you can spend 25 dollars in one pair of coils and try a different things just download the wave form you want and remember not to set the volume to high http://www.diypemf.com/cgi-bin/mkfre...eq/search.html just search for what you looking for ..I got mine on ebay and will arrive soon so I am going to experiment with it in bed maybe using kasina as well at the same time why not lol

    one more thing to consider is that no every body can feel the effects of this type of stimulation I think 15% don't maybe they have a stronger tolerance

    And my last thing is that you can create your own session with shiva I haven't done yet but I intend too

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 'God helmet' interactions

    I'm aware of the diypemf site and I bought some of those coils. They seem pretty nice.

    The problem is that I have no way to measure the magnetic field strength. I've been looking at various EMF meters that can measure ELF fields. They can get pretty expensive so I haven't chosen one yet.

    Running the shakti sessions through these would be a step up I'm sure.
    If you know something I don't, speak up! If maybe I know something you don't, ask away!

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