We all have heard of the famous Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” novel. But did you know that his book was inspired by his own hallucinations and migraines that the writer experienced? Alice in Wonderland Syndrome [AIWS] is also known as Todd’s syndrome because John Todd discovered this syndrome after 57 years of Lewis Carrol’s death. But how?
The AIWS occurs mostly in children in which the perception of the person is affected. It arises due to lack of sleep and occurs on sleep onset. It is a rare syndrome in which alteration of visual perception is found in a way that the sizes of body parts or sizes of external objects are perceived incorrectly and the most common perceptions are at night. The patients experience similar visual hallucinations which are called “Lilliputian” because they either seem small or large than the actually size.
The inventor John Todd often noticed that his patients would experience migraine attacks and then objects would appear quite out of proportion to them. This was noted in the famous novel “Alice In Wonderland”.
Lewis Carrol was famous for severe migraines he was suffering from and all such experiences are written in a book where Alice the main lead experiences micropsia and macropsia! It was John Todd who speculated that Lewis Carroll had used his own migraine experiences as a source of inspiration for his famous 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Carroll’s diary reveals that in 1856 he consulted William Bowman, an ophthalmologist, about the visual manifestations of the migraines he regularly experienced. It was clear enough that he used his experiences as inspiration.
Who knew the famous children book had all of this behind it?
Title image: brainblogger