"People afflicted with Charles Bonnet Syndrome see beings from another world. Many scientists would call these beings hallucinations. Others call this syndrome a portal to a parallel reality.
People with Charles Bonnet Syndrome (or "Bonnet-people") are otherwise mentally sound. The beings appear when the Bonnet-people's vision deteriorates as a result of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration -- or when patients have had both eyes removed. Charles Bonnet Syndrome is more common in older people with a high level of education.
Bonnet-people report that they see apparitions resembling distorted faces, costumed figures, ghosts, and little people.
Most Bonnet-people see beings wearing hats. For example, one very sane woman was sitting quietly at home when she suddenly saw several two-inch-high, stovepipe-hat-wearing chimney sweeps parading in front of her. She tried to catch one, but could not. Her only medical problem was that she had poor sight due to macular degeneration.
One patient described how a friend working in front of a tall privet hedge suddenly disappeared, as if he had suddenly put on a cloak of invisibility. "There was an orange peaked cap bobbing around in front of the hedge and floating in space by its own devices."
Fifty percent of Bonnet-people see a disembodied or distorted face of a stranger with staring eyes and prominent teeth. Sometimes the strangers are seen only in an outline or cartoon-type form, which reminds me of the images seen by people taking the psychedelic drug DMT. The faces "are often described as being grotesque, or like gargoyles."
Some of the beings have blank eye sockets. (This image is also reported by people using the hallucinogen Special K. One person e-mailed me and told me that while under the influence, everything was normal except that people in the room had no eye sockets, just a black void, and he saw light being sucked into the void from around the periphery of the eyeballs.)
Bonnet-people also see serene landscapes and vortices. Many Bonnet-people will see entire new worlds, such as landscapes or groups of people, which are either life size or tiny.
Perhaps when vision deteriorates, the brain's visual cortex is starved for information, and the brain is free to access parallel realities.
Sometimes the imagery can be complex, almost comical, like two miniature policemen guiding a midget villain to a tiny prison van, ghostly (translucent figures floating in the hallway), people wearing one big flower on their heads), as well as beautiful (a shining angel, wonderful group of flowers).
A Swiss philosopher named Charles Bonnet first described this condition in the 1760 when he noticed his grandfather, who was blinded by cataracts, describing birds and buildings that Bonnet could not see. "
- "Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves" by Cliff Pickover.