A team of neurotheology researchers have replicated and confirmed the results of the iconic “God Helmet” experiment. The apparatus, originally developed by renowned neuroscientists, Stanley Koren and Michael Persinger, generates weak magnetic fields around the test subject’s temporal lobes, and elicits a distinct set of experiential phenomena in the participant’s brain, including: altered mystic states, visions of God, and the feeling of a sensed God-like presence. This new independent study confirms that the effects from the God Helmet experiment are not due to suggestion or suggestibility in subjects, and provide the first scientific verification of the technique’s direct influence on the brain. 80% had feelings of a “sensed presence”, and the other 20% had either minor effects or none.

The authors of the study, which was published in the Journal Of Consciousness Exploration and Research, write, “The God Helmet places four magnetic coils on each side of the head, above the temporal lobes. Some subjects exposed to these fields reported having ‘spiritual experiences’ during our tests. These subjects included atheists, as well as religious believers. 80% of the subjects reported the ‘presence’ of ‘nonphysical beings’ in the room where the experiments were conducted, including the ‘presence of God’ in a small number of subjects.”

“Thus far, about 20 or so people have reported feeling the presence of Christ or even seeing him in the chamber (The acoustic chamber where the experimental sessions took place),” says Koren in a recent interview. “Most of these people used Christ and God interchangeably. Most of these individuals were older (30 years or more) and religious (Roman Catholic). One male, age about 35-years-old (alleged atheist but early childhood Roman Catholic training), saw a clear apparition (shoulders and head) of Christ staring him in the face. He was quite ‘shaken’ by the experience. I did not complete a follow-up re: his change in behavior. [What] we did find with one world-class psychic, who experiences Christ as a component of his abilities, was we could experimentally increase or decrease his numbers of his reported experiences by applying the LTP pattern (derived from the hippocampus) over the right hemisphere (without his awareness). The field on-response delay was about 10 to 20 sec. The optimal pattern, at least for this person, looked very right hippocampal. By far most presences are attributed to dead relatives, the Great Forces, a spirit, or something equivalent. The attribution towards along a devil to angel continuum appears strongly related to the affect (pleasant-terror) associated with the experience. I suspect most people would call the ‘vague, all-around-me’ sensations ‘God’ but they are reluctant to employ the label in a laboratory. The implicit is obvious. If the equipment and the experiment produced the presence that was God, then the extrapersonal, unreachable and independent characteristics of the god definition might be challenged.”

You can read the new study’s results in full by CLICKING HERE. You can also read the original study’s results by visiting the National Center for Biotechnology Information, published by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. For more remarkable stories about the human brain be sure to visit The Human Brain on FEELguide. (Feature image courtesy of Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research; Volume 5, Issue 3; C. A. & Ortiz, J.P.L., Magnetic Stimulation of the Temporal Cortex: A Partial “God Helmet” Replication Study)

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