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Mind Meld Madness: Bacteria Promoting Visions/Hallucinations


Android Futureman
Aug 7, 2002
Is it possible that bacteria and/or other tiny protolife like viruses may play a role in insanity, madness, hallucination, and perceptions of the paranormal?

This article from Science.Org from 2018 shows that some early research indicates that bacteria does live harmlessly in brain tissues (maybe there is something more recent refuting this?): https://www.science.org/content/article/do-gut-bacteria-make-second-home-our-brains
We know the menagerie of microbes in the gut has powerful effects on our health. Could some of these same bacteria be making a home in our brains? A poster presented here this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience drew attention with high-resolution microscope images of bacteria apparently penetrating and inhabiting the cells of healthy human brains. The work is preliminary, and its authors are careful to note that their tissue samples, collected from cadavers, could have been contaminated. But to many passersby in the exhibit hall, the possibility that bacteria could directly influence processes in the brain—including, perhaps, the course of neurological disease—was exhilarating.

This 2020 article at the American Heart Association talks about certain gut bacteria leading to better or worse mental issues, depending on what is being grown in the gut:
But evidence is mounting that the microbes in our intestines interact with our minds – and hearts – in significant ways. Gut bacteria have been linked to depression, anxiety and the regions of the brain that process emotions. These regions share brain circuitry that affects cardiovascular issues such as blood pressure.

"People have co-evolved with environmental bacteria (that have) adapted over eons to being at home in human bodies. The present-day result is that our metabolism, our neurons and indeed our entire physiology is an interactive cross-talk with the bacteria in our bodies," said Bruce R. Stevens, professor of physiology and functional genomics in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

He perceives humans and gut bacteria as one interactive "meta-organism" – a single ecology of human cells plus bacterial cells.
It's early stages, but the idea has been expressed fictionally a few times of bacterial contamination leading to interesting effects. In the original novel setting off the "Ring" cycle of J-Horror, Koji Suzuki's Ring, the psychic energy of darkly malevolent Sadeko is imprinted onto smallpox virus, which is what carries her evil energy to kill others, which is what causes the "curse" through the act of watching the videotape. And having recently seen James Wan's Malevolent, the plot in that involves a parasitic twin sharing a body with another who can force the main twin to see whatever it wants her to see, presenting the idea that two minds connecting might allow one to put thoughts into the other mind, taking over what it sees completely for a time.

Considering all this, the existing science and various fictional extrapolations, it made me consider that certain kinds of human madness of the "the voices in my head" or hallucination variety could be created by unexpected interactions with normally benign bacteria scraping along the brain, the lower-life signals of survival and basic thrust for life accidently interfearing with the normal cognition of the human mind enough to create imbalance, false memories, swaying emotions, and things that are not there.