Feb 19, 2015 I Paul Seaburn

Getting High on a Light

In his poem L’Allegro, Milton tells us to “Com, and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastick toe.” Now two Austrian scientists claim they have invented a “hypnagogic” lamp that lets users trip the light fantastic by providing deep relaxation, dream-like states and various transcendental experiences. There’s no mention of a tan but it’s still new. Does it work?

Clinical psychologist Dr. Engelbert Winkler and neurologist Dr. Dirk Proeckl came up with the Hypnagogic Lamp while researching the health and psychological benefits of Near-Death Experiences (Winkler had one as a youth) and the light associated with it. The latest version, the Lucia No. 3, is a whirling strobe light that is programmed to flash extremely rapidly to soothing music playing in headphones, with the end result being a stimulation of the pineal gland - our so-called Third Eye.

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Dr. Engelbert Winkler, Dr. Dirk Proeckl and their Hypnagogic Lamp

At the time of death, the pineal gland secretes Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the psychedelic compound found in psilocybin and ayahuasca, the powerful psychedelic drink consumed by some Amazonian Amerindian cultures for healing and visions similar to those in a NDE. The makers claim the Lucia No. 3 can cause the secretion of DMT artificially.

Does it work? Not for epileptics, who are warned not to use the light or even look at the videos. Here’s a testimonial on the website from a non-epileptic “Andy”:

The most beautiful images started showing up and changing so quickly. Each one of them was a crazy masterpiece of sacred geometry and color... I've never seen anything like that... There's no room for thought.

The Lucia No. 3 was tested recently by the BBC with some different results.

… some reported stinging eyes and a twitching sensation that made them feel uncomfortable.

Many people would put up with the latter to experience the former, if the price was right. Unfortunately, the Lucia No. 3 costs $20,000 (13,00 pounds) so the best place to try one is at one of its distributors. It’s also currently on tour across the U.S. and Canada.


If the powers that be want to declare war on this drug, all they need is a thick blanket. What do you think? Would you try the Lucia No. 3 and trip the light fantastic?


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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