While descending in a plane, I saw strange swimming lights. What's the deal?
posted by Rinku to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I had a window seat, right near the front of the plane. I began to see the lights when we were descending, specifically when we were between two layers of cloud. It was in the early afternoon today, and even though we were below one layer of cloud it was still very bright, and the ground was completely snowed over so there was a lot of light from below as well. I could still look out the window without squinting, but everything was either white or gray and my eyes didn't know where to focus.
I kept looking, though, and I started to see rapidly moving, swimming flecks. They were black and white not colored, and they were constantly in motion. It was a little like looking at a cloud of flies, but they moved faster, and never really seemed to stop. It reminded me of a sped up biology film, of bacteria or something similar squiggling around a petri dish.
I talked to a friend about it and she said that it could have been the floaty particles in my eyes, but they were moving much much too quickly, and at one point, as I was watching them go, I saw one of the usual back-of-the-eye detached blood vessels float past my field of vision, and it seemed to be "behind" of the specks, as in, the thread was in my eye as usual and the specks were storming in front of me. I also noticed that the specks were three dimensional, as in, I could focus my eyes in or out, and change what part of this particle field I was looking at. I could look further, and the specks closer would go out of focus and vice-versa.
While I was watching them, I tried closing my eyes several times, or looking inside the plane. They vanished when I was looking anywhere besides outside.
After I was watching these specks or particles or sparks or whatever they were, I began too see something else too, black shapes coming and going right around where I focused my vision. It was if I was going backwards rapidly through a tunnel.
We descended through the lower layer of cloud and they started to fade rapidly, first the black backwards tunnel part, then the specks. It might be worth noting that as we came through the cloud layer, there was still snow throwing up light from below, and at that point I could still see them faintly, but when we flew over houses and roads they left completely.
The specks, and the black tunnel bit, were in black and white, and I could focus my eyes on them. It was very different from, say, pressing on your eyes and seeing bluish-purplish-reddish blotches. I've had minor migraines, where you see a floating patch of black-white-rainbow-flashes and it's hard to focus on anything. It was different from that as well.
At the time of this strange visitation, I was a little drowsy from leaving early to get to the airport but still completely awake. I was suffering from a sinus-pressure kind of headache, but it wasn't very bad, and I've had those without hallucinating many a time. I wear glasses, I'm near-sighted, and had them on at the time of the "vision." I had not taken any medication that morning or the day before.
Any guesses, metafilter? Is there a name for this kind of thing? Has anyone experienced anything similar?