Alice in Wonderland Syndrome and Lewis Carroll

” Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw…but she could not even get her head though the doorway; `and even if my head would go through,’ thought poor Alice, `it would be of very little use without my shoulders… so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found a little bottle on it, (`which certainly was not here before,’ said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words `DRINK ME’ …`No, I’ll look first,’ she said, `and see whether it’s marked “poison” or not’… However, this bottle was not marked `poison,’ so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off…`What a curious feeling!’ said Alice; `I must be shutting up like a telescope.’ And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden…” Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Many people around the world, (including Lewis Carroll himself) experience Alice’s shrinking sensation, or loss of visual, auditory and time perception under less pleasant circumstances. Objects appear to shrink or enlarge or time seems to drag on as if ‘down a rabbit hole’. This is called (for real) Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS). First described by J Todd in 1955, AIWS is thought to be due to migraines, viral infections and yes, temporal lobe epilepsy.

With visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations and altered perceptions. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome can be baffling and terrifying for the sufferer; for he feels he is going mad in a weird world with warped perceptions and hallucinations.

“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversation?”― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland524px-Lewis_Carroll's_Alice_drawing

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