A vision is typically defined as a phenomenon that a person experiences as part of a dream, trance, or state of ecstasy, though some people also claim to have visions while in a waking state. Members of tribal cultures, as well as some adherents to New Age beliefs, often induce visions through practices intended to alter their mental state, such as fasting, isolation, and the ingestion of herbs. These practices are not believed to create the vision, however, but to allow it to be received by the mind from some supernatural place. But regardless of whether visions are induced or occur spontaneously, the people who have them typically say that the things they see are real. For example, mediums who have visions of spirits say that they really are seeing those spirits, as do people who see their loved ones in dreams. Skeptics, however, say that visions are optical or aural illusions or hallucinations.
- illusions, optical
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning