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Natural Highs

Date: 10-11-09
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: James Nestor, Ken Gerhard

Journalist James Nestor discussed how the brain achieves the feeling of "being high" in terms of neurology, biology, and physiology through meditations, illusions, common herbs, & audio and visual stimulations, all without using drugs. Breathing exercises or "breathwork" offers one of the most potent and beneficial ways to clear the mind and induce relaxation, he noted. Curiously, certain kinds of cheese, such as Stilton, are said to bring about odd and memorable dreams if eaten (around 1 oz.) just before sleep.

Specific kinds of audio can induce a variety of mental moods or physiological responses. Binaural Beats, in which a different frequency comes out of the left and right speaker, cause the brain to become confused, and create its own auditory track, he said. And listening to the Theta Wave Brain Sync can lull the mind into a creative and vibrant state, similar to what people experience just before falling asleep.

Different visual illusions demonstrate the malleability of the brain, and how perceptions can be altered through imagery. In the 'Vomit Vector,' a series of dots appear to be moving and undulating even though they are completely stationary. He also shared some of his anthropological research, detailing how tribes in Brazil, for instance, ingest bizarre substances such as moth larvae to create altered or psychedelic states.

Thunderbird Sightings


First hour guest, Ken Gerhard (book link) talked about sightings of Thunderbirds and other huge winged creatures. The legend of the Thunderbird is cross-cultural and runs across North American Indian tribes, he noted. In 1977, just after the Lawndale, Illinois incident where a large bird picked up a small boy, a photographer named John Huffer shot footage of two gigantic birds in Lake Shelbyville, though some dismissed them as being turkey vultures, he detailed. Callers shared stories of their encounters with giant birds in the latter part of the conversation.

Related Articles

Multimedia: Altering Perceptions

Multimedia: Altering Perceptions

James Nestor's site features two multimedia sections geared to alter perceptions and consciousness. Audio Highs features sounds that can help synchronize your brain hemispheres, while Visual Highs include some fascinating optical illusions (pictured is 'The Cafe Wall').

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Sunday October 11, 2009

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