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Negative Hallucination

Hypnotic Phenomenon

The following historical story was allegedly found in a diary in Magellan's own handwriting.

Magellan sailed around South America and landed there. He had three huge masted ships anchored out a distance in the sea. The natives couldn't see those ships because they were so far beyond anything they could never imagine, and they had no reference point for sailing vessels of this magnitude. The natives could see the small boats that Magellan's crew used to row up to shore. The traders that the Spanish used to come ashore were similar to the natives' own canoes. However, the natives absolutely could not see the big ships. When they looked upon the waters, they saw a clear horizon with nothing upon it and kept saying "I can't see it".

Then, the native shamans appeared and said, "If you look out there on the horizon and envision this boat, it is about this big and this long and this high." So the natives strained and looked again and again, and finally one of the natives said, "Does it have a red flag?" and the shaman said, "Yes!" They were sensing a possibility and concept for something for which they had no previous framework or reference point. Once one of them saw the red flag, they filled in the gaps.

This is a wonderful demonstration of how when our perceptions change, gradually everything becomes clearer and filled with new possibilities.