The Man Who Tastes ShapesWritten by Keith Varnum
Some people see, taste, hear and feel things rest of us don' t. James Wannerton tastes words: "New York is runny eggs. London is extremely lumpy mashed potatoes." Carol Steen sees every letter with a color: "Z is color of beer, a light ale."
For Carol Crane, music is felt: "I always feel guitars on my ankles and violins on my face." Other people experience smells when exposed to shapes, or hear sounds inside taste. And for some, numbers have color, sounds have smell, and words have flavor. Music is not only heard, it's seen and tasted--the list goes on.
Neurologist Richard Cytowic explores this surreal world of " synesthesia" in his book, The Man Who Tasted Shapes. " Synesthesia means joined sensation, and some people are born with two or more of their senses hooked together," explains Cytowic.
The most common form of synesthesia is when a person see letters in different colors instead of seeing black ink letters as black. Although people differ from each other in what colors letters are, colors usually remain same for each individual throughout their life.
Depending on what food they taste, other synesthetes experience taste as a shape, like a triangle or circle. Another person sees orange when feeling pain.
For New York artist Carol Steen, synesthesia is inspiration. She sees shapes and colors when listening to music or receiving acupuncture-images that she transforms into works of art. "It's like putting on sunglasses and being able to see world through sunglasses," she says. Once, when Steen injured her leg while hiking, all she saw was a world bathed in orange.
And, Carol Crane does more than simply hear a concert. She physically experiences each instrument within a different part of her body.
Still another person hears a sound that tastes like pickles. For as long as he can recall, words have triggered part of Wannerton's brain that responds to tastes and flavors. "I can remember being in a big school assembly hall listening to Lords Prayer," he says, "and it was while listening to that, I used to get flavor after flavor coming in. It was mostly bacon."
Wannerton says his synesthesia causes him some discomfort in his personal life. "I've had girlfriends with names I couldn't stand saying. Tracey is a very strong flavored name and it's flaky- pastry. Whenever I was in her company, that's what I thought of constantly." And at end of day, he suffers from sensory overload. But still he doesn't want a cure. "I've had it since I can remember, and taking it away--I wouldn't like thought of that," he says.
What's going on inside synesthete's brain?
Dr. Vilyanur Ramachandran, a neurologist who studies quirks of brain, was scanning brain of McAllister, a man who sees music. During imaging, music being played stimulates not only McAllister's audio cortex, but also his visual cortex. "The visual area lit up in him," says Ramachandran, "so you know there was neurological activity in visual region of his brain even though he was only listening to music." McAllister describes it as a "Fantasia-like experience: explosions of color all over place. A bright flash of lavender getting dimmer and dimmer; now we're going over a pink staircase, some lavender violins. It looks very beautiful."
Super Psychic KidsWritten by Keith Varnum
Amazing Powers of New Children
In increasing numbers every year, "New Children" are being born around world who have "x-ray" vision, move objects through air with their minds, and know future. And these abilities are just tip of iceberg! "The New Kids on Block" are able to move solid objects through solid materials, read balls of papers placed in their ears, bend spoons solely through intention, communicate telepathically, and "read" with parts of their bodies other than their eyes! These innocent children are demonstrating natural spiritual abilities that are relegated by most people to realms of fantasy and movie " special effects."
China's Wonder Youth
Since 1974 Chinese government has discovered over 100,000 children who have extraordinary psychic powers. These children, when blindfolded, can "see" with either their ears, nose, mouth, tongue, armpits, hands or feet. In one test conducted by Omni magazine, researchers randomly ripped a page from a stack of books. The page was then crumpled into a small ball and placed in armpit of a Chinese child who then read perfectly every word on balled up piece of paper. Chinese kids can also read wadded up ball under their feet, in their ears, and even by chewing it up! Another remarkable feat that over 5,000 young Chinese have demonstrated publicly is passing of solid objects through another solid object. A child randomly selects a glass bottle of pills which is sealed in its original plastic wrap and then placed on a large bare table. Suddenly pills inside sealed bottle pass through glass and appear on table. The child can also take a coin, put it on table, and coin will pass into sealed bottle. A young girl named Yong Li can remove cigarettes from inside a cardboard box without touching box. One boy can control mechanical watches, making them run fast or slow. Another can make watch hands move quickly around watch face without touching them.
Natural X-ray vision
A 12-year-old girl, Hu Lian, can see inside a person's body. Hu saw a piece of shrapnel left inside a man's body and accurately drew its shape. Other children were tested in hospitals on their accuracy in medical diagnoses. Out of 75 cases, children were completely accurate in 80% of cases. In trials viewing fetal positions, they were correct 84% of time.
Invoking roses to bloom
A young Chinese girl has demonstrated her ability to influence live rosebuds that over 1,000 audience members were holding in their own hands. With a silent wave of her hand, thousand rosebuds would slowly open into fully blossomed roses before eyes of astonished audience. And under strict discipline of scientific research controls, Chinese government has observed these same children changing human DNA molecules in a petri dish.
Kids activate other kids' power
The Chinese government has set up training schools to assist these children to develop, and pass on to others, their psychic abilities. The officials discovered that when they have children who aren't psychic socialize with psychic children, non- psychic children quickly absorb ability to perform same astounding feats as psychic kids.
Over 1,000 children were found in Mexico City who were able to " see" using exact same body parts as kids in China. Blindfolded, an 18-year-old Mexican girl, Inge Bardor, can accurately know everything about people or place in a photo simply by touching photo. Inge can also describe person who took picture and what photographer was wearing that day. In one photo of inside of a house, Inge psychically went into house describing exactly what was down a hallway that was not shown in photo! Testing her ability to read with her feet, she stood blindfolded on a newspaper and read it perfectly.