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Picture of Ganzfeld: Hack Your Brain the Legal Way
This instructable will show you how to achieve altered states of mind surprisingly easily with the easy to make Ganzfeld mask that is better than the traditional half ping pong balls taped to the eyes.

You can experience an altered state of mind and hallucination without drugs by simply depriving your body of sensory input. This technique is completely safe and reversible. It has been used by seekers of enlightenment as far as the ancient Greeks.

The adepts of Pythagoras lived in pitch black caves to receive wisdom through their visions. Miners trapped by accidents in mines, frequently reported hallucinations, visions and seeing ghosts when they were in the pitch dark for days.

Arctic explorers seeing nothing but featureless landscape of white snow for a long time also reported hallucinations and an altered state of mind.

In the 1930's, research by psychologist Wolfgang Metzger established that when people gazed into a featureless field of vision* they consistently hallucinated and their electroencephalograms changed. This was called the Ganzfeld effect. Ganzfeld in German means "total field" referring to the total field of vision being featureless in Metzger's experiment.

*Wearing a sleeping mask or sitting in a dark room puts the brain to sleep. The brain needs to stay awake and with minimal sensory input to induce hallucination. Looking at a featureless white field with no cues for depth, shape or distance keeps the brain alert and looking for information. When no information is present, the brain start amplifying the senses, until the neural noise is confused as real sensory information. Dreams are produced in a similar manner.

Total sensory deprivation tanks as seen on TV shows like Fringe cost in the thousands of dollar. But it is easier to produce visual sensory deprivation by putting on this Ganzfeld paper mask and relaxing in a comfortable recliner.

Visual Ganzfeld have been used in the following ways:

Easy and safe hallucination
Instant Meditation
Hypnosis
Out of Body Experience
ESP (big trials made by Charles Honorton) http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Ganzfeld_experiments
Remote Viewing (tried by the government) http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Remote_Viewing

STUMBLEIT!
http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http://www.instructables.com/id/Ganzfeld_Hack_Your_Brain_the_Legal_Way

The video below is explained in step 6


 
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Step 1: Print the paper mask and cut

Picture of Print the paper mask and cut
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1. Save the picture below to your desktop.
2. Open it.
3. Print as "portrait" and "fit to page", but maintain proportions (you find these in the print setting). Use normal white printer paper.
4. Cut out the mask.
4. Reinforce the sides or the whole mask with clear scotch tape.

Step 2: Glue cotton

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Glue cotton along the bottom gray line. This produces a tight fit under the eyes and over the nose. Use white paper glue.

Step 3: Fasten headband

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I used a rubber head band from an airline sleep mask and fastened it with staples and scotch tape.

Step 4: Auditory deprivation, white noise and binaural beats

Picture of Auditory deprivation, white noise and binaural beats
In addition to visual deprivation you can achieve auditory deprivation as well.
Use noise canceling headphones or plugs if you go them.
If not you can listen to white noise or binaural beats.
Or you can use a combination of all.

BWgen (brainwave generator) is a very nice and free program that produce binaural beats as well as white noise. Link for the program is found in the Binaural beat article at

http://www.biotele.com

For tactile sensory reduction wear gloves.

Step 5: What to expect and other brain hacks

Picture of What to expect and other brain hacks
Effects of Ganzfeld are not immediate. It can take time to get anything but everyone is bound to experience something special. With practice this improves.

When someone wears a Ganzfeld mask, the progression of effects that can be described as follows:

All color drains from the field of vision
The size of the field of vision oscillates
Swirling kaleidoscope of colors appear
Images suddenly pop in the visual field

In a recent neuroscience article, a researcher described his first experience with Ganzfeld as follows:

For quite a long time, there was nothing except a green-greyish fog. It was really boring, I thought, ah, what a non-sense experiment! Then, for an indefinite period of time, I was off, like completely absent-minded. Then, all of sudden, I saw a hand holding a piece of chalk and writing on a black-board something like a mathematical formula. The vision was very clear, but it stayed only for few seconds and disappeared again. The image did not fill up the entire visual field, it was just like a window into that foggy stuff....

...an urban scenery, like an empty avenue after a rain, large areas covered with water, and the city sky-line reflected in the water surface like in a mirror...

....suddenly, a young woman passed by on a bicycle, very fast, she crossed the visual field from the right to the left, with her blond long hair waving in the air. The image of the entire scene was very clear, with many details, and yes, the colours were very vivid....

....A friend of mine and I, we were inside a cave. We made a fire. There was a creek flowing under our feet, and we were on a stone. She had fallen into the creek, and she had to wait to have her things dried. Then she said to me: Hey, move on, we should go now....

-Ganzfeld-induced hallucinatory experience, its phenomenology and cerebral electrophysiology
Cortex, Volume 44, Issue 10, Pages 1364-1378
J. Wackermann, P. Putz, C. Allefeld

Other brain hacks appear in the Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/graphics/011109_hacking_your_brain/

Step 6: Total Immersive Brain Entrainment

Picture of Total Immersive Brain Entrainment
This is another use for the ganzfield paper mask. Total immersive brain entrainment is easily achieved with the mask without the use of expensive strobe LED Glasses.

Binaural beats tune the brain to different levels of awareness. Tuning the brain is called entrainment. Binaural beat entrainment is verifiable by electroencephalograph (eeg) and is a real neurophysiologic phenomena.

Furthermore, by synchronizing the beats to a visual strobe (flash), entrainment is potentiated.

The free BrainWave Generator program (BWgen) generates binaural beats and has the capability to strobe special LED glasses which produces total visual immersion.

BWgen can also strobe the computer monitor. Unlike the immersive strobe LED glasses, one has to keep looking at the monitor which only fill a small portion of the visual field.

To get a feel of total immersive brain entrainment just put on the mask, sit close to the monitor, relax and watch the movie below.

For the full experience download BWgen linked in the binaural beat article at

http://www.biotele.com



Step 7: My original attempt at making a Ganzfeld mask

Picture of My original attempt at making a Ganzfeld mask
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I did an elaborate mask using an airline sleeping mask and two halves of a ping pong. I wanted something better than the classic ping pong balls taped over the eyes.

Taped ping pong balls don't fit well, requires tape every time they are removed and might cut into the skin if the edges are serrated.

I also could not find white ping pong balls because the new ping pong official rules specify orange balls.

The result was something that looked like sunny side up eggs.

In my second attempt, I assembled the ping pongs to look like speedo swimming goggles. They were uncomfortable and leaked light.

The paper mask is better in every way.


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ThuT41 month ago

HANDREM lucid dream device my project www.rpemm.blogspot.com

eulaliaaaa!5 years ago
So.... Did that happen only when you were using the mask or what?

     I never try anything like this until I know what will happen...

As long as you let your brain continue to analyze everything, you probably won't get anywhere, let go

If you already know what will happen, why try it at all?
Lei_Kei2 years ago
I followed all the steps but it's not working at all. I tried it three times not, at one time I was laying there for a full hour and nothing. What might I be doing wrong?
gaieb Lei_Kei1 month ago

Thinking, allow yourself to let thoughts go by, relax, don't try to get something to happen, just relax and let it happen.

yarydragomir10 months ago

So, I have lights that change colour in my room. Is there a colour that could help, or is the white field better? I ask because when I read about doing this with pong pong balls they mentioned red light

Dude.. Am I supposed to be getting a purpley pinkish haze??
is the white mask neccesary or can u just cover your eyes with a shirt or something?
sconran3 years ago
Works great with I-doser!
I'm interested in this too. Very indeed. I just don't know what to do with the blinking light. How do I have the blinking light in my face if I'm in my bed sleeping?
Biotele (author)  Andershegelund5 years ago
Get a laptop. Place the screen over your face.
kutz Biotele4 years ago
will a magnifying glass magnify the effect of the laptop crushing your nose? Also Andershegelund, u should try making one of those lucid dream machines and modify it to strobe it shouldnt be too hard
so did you do it?
sounds like i might wanna try this for some reason. for the sake of sounding clicque.. it sounds very interesting..
Are you for real? I won't be able to sleep like that...
Cool. Thanks. But I don't understand why I have to listen to "white" or "pink noise"? What does it do good for?
tune an am or fm radio between stations . this is great white noise . Turn up the bass . this is similar to brown noise . Exterior sounds become mottled behind the hiss .
http://simplynoise.com/
Biotele (author)  Andershegelund5 years ago
It blanks out exterior noises.
thanks. just weird :)
listen to noise to ignore.. the... noise.. hmm..
Actually, you might not notice it all the time but the noise you hear in every-day life has many patterns. When deprived, your brain will search desperately for patterns to analyze. You want to tune out as many of those as possible with things that can't be decoded, like white noise or pink noise. Both are created using randomly generated numbers, and thus have no noticeable patterns.

If you don't, your brain will focus it's attention on any familiar sounds it can find. You might feel more focused than usual on, for example, the birds outside your window. Your brain makes the connection between chirps and birds every day. If you take the ability for it to do it's job away, it will [not to scare you] go into a manic state trying to make up it's own patterns to decode.
Thank you very much for taking your time to explain me all this. It makes much more sense to me now.

Would you then reccomend me to listen to this when I'm asleep, or should I listen to some special dream music? And by the way. This white or pink noise. Will it ruin my ears?

Best regards,
A W H
You're very welcome, I'm starting to love this community already. :)

You shouldn't be asleep. You should be relaxed, and try to keep an open, clear mind. If you're stressed out, your mind will be racing around every day thoughts, and the process of depriving it will take longer. This is because your mind has something to dedicate it's focus to other than senses.

Another thing, which is my crucial problem when attempting to relax: Don't try too hard, either. If you're mind is racing, take a few moments to mellow out comfortably in bed. It's not only best for the experiment, but for your health as well. ;)

Once you're nice and relaxed, proceed just as the instructable describes. White or pink noise won't ruin your ears as long as it's not too loud, and they're probably optimal for something like this.

There is (sadly) no special dream music however; music contains patterns which will disrupt this process. If you want a little more than just noise though, I'd recommend the binaural beat approach.

Just let me know if you'd like some more information on binaural beats; but I feel I've gone into a little too much detail here. This stuff fascinates me, sorry for ranting on about it. xD
Hello! Don't excuse. I don't have much so say other than thanks a lot. This has really been a help!

Best regards,
Me
eulaliaaaa!4 years ago
How would I get the tones onto my MP3 player (Not iPod)?
Biotele (author)  eulaliaaaa!4 years ago
right click on the link-->choose "save as"--->save to your device directory (must be connected to computer).

It's actually harder with ipod because apple does not allow you to save straight to the ipod, but you need to use itunes.
bowmaster5 years ago
Hello, this is a great instructable, but I have one question. I'm trying to use the BWgen software, but it says I need to set up my sound system "in stereo without special effects" so each frequency is only coming in one ear. I keep playing with settings, but I can't get it to work. How do I do that?
Biotele (author)  bowmaster5 years ago
what os are you using? there setup wizard in bwgen that says "left" "right". If you hear "left" in your left ear and "right" in your right ear, then you are configured correctly.
I'm using Windows XP, the thing is, I hear "left" loudly in my left ear, and softly in my right ear and vice-versa. The configuration thing says that that shouldn't happen. BTW, I tried it with just white noise, and it was really cool. Nothing happened for a while because my brother was making some noise I could hear over the white noise, but when I turned it up stuff started to happen after a short while. I saw a greenish valley looking place, that looked like it was made out of a bunch of points of light. I was looking around at the valley, when I saw the edge of my nose (my real nose, not a brain generated one) and the valley faded, so I took off the mask and stopped. I can't wait to try it with the bianural beats and flashing screen.
Check your balance options in your sound configuration settings in windows. Right click on the speaker icon to get there.
PepperDust4 years ago
Might wanna put a seizure warning on that video. I don't get seizures but I'm pretty sure flashing pink and green like that could cause one in someone prone to them.
lincomatic4 years ago
Great Instructable! I devised a way build them with swimming goggles.
You can read about it here: http://blog.lincomatic.com/?p=312
Biotele (author)  lincomatic4 years ago
That is awesome! The glass frosting solution is so amazingly simple. I am going to try it. Can I add your instructions to this instructable?
Hi,
Sure, go ahead. I'd appreciate it if you could link my article as the source, though.
Biotele (author)  lincomatic4 years ago
Of course I will link. I am calling the step "the licomatic goggles".
btw, your instructable has great info. i also linked it from my article
Should I have NO sound at all or should i listen to white noise or those special "beats" you were talking about?

Best regards
Biotele (author)  Andershegelund5 years ago
They are two different brain experiements. The beats synchronise your brain to different frequencies. Alpha waves 8-12Hz are associated with deep physical and mental relaxation.
what frequency is good for lucid dreaming
Biotele (author)  a_person4 years ago
ask Kenneth what's the frequency.
hahahahhhahhahaaa
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