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How could an organism (anywhere from animal to monster to humanoid) induce and control lifelike hallucinations simulating reality in (possibly unwilling) humans?

The aesthetic thought was of a monster (or whatever) surrounded by humans who are experiencing some form of simulated reality while laying in a puddle of chemicals around the monster.

Preferably the humans would be relatively unharmed once the creature released them from their experience.

This would be set in a world mostly similar to ours (no magic), but would be set in the future and would very likely feature extraterrestrial life.


Edit:

Specifically, I'm interested in how and in what detail could the perceived realities of the dreamers be controlled?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hallucinations don't "simulate" anything; or else you must explain how does the monster input the mathematical model and initial conditions of the simulation into the brains of the unwitting processors who run the simulation. It's very easy to induce hallucinations chemically -- ordinary alcohol sometimes works well enough, ordinary "recreational" drugs work even better, and there are numerous drugs (LSD springs to mind) who work without fail. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 13 '18 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP I'm aware it would be easy to induce some kind of trance, I'm more interested in how the trancees' experiences could be controlled. $\endgroup$ – Austin Weaver Apr 13 '18 at 21:58
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Lucid dreaming.

dream quest of unknown Kadath

Dreams are hallucinations of simulated reality. In lucid dreams the dreamer has a modicum of control. Lucid dreams can sometimes incorporate stimuli from the outside world as described in the Wikipedia article. The picture is of a scene from the DreamQuest of Unknown Kadath, all action of which takes place in the realms of dream.

Your pools of chemical change the nature of the dreams the dreamer has. The alien is good at offering stimuli that lead to the perceptions in the dream. A lucid dreamer might be able to also change the reality they perceive.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you go into more detail on how "the pools of chemical change the nature of the dreams the [dreamers have]?" Lucid dreams are definitely the kind of state of consciousness I'd be looking for, but I'm still curious as to how and how precisely the dreamers could be manipulated. $\endgroup$ – Austin Weaver Apr 13 '18 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ Lucid dreaming wouldn't work (but regular dreaming might). You just have too much control in a lucid dream. I had a lucid dream once where the first thing I did was panic that I was asleep and I woke myself up -_- $\endgroup$ – Laurel Apr 13 '18 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Laurel: suppose you are a lucid dreamer. But you are intoxicated in some way. In waking life intoxication can make it difficult to interact with reality and achieve your intent. Could chemical intoxication not also reduce the control of a lucid dreamer, leaving the experience vivid and lifelike but less amenable to godlike manipulation by the dreamer? $\endgroup$ – Willk Apr 14 '18 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ @AustinWeaver: the manipulation of dream states with drugs is never done on purpose to my knowledge but it predictably occurs with certain drugs. I will testify to the frightnening lifelike vivid dreams one can have on the antimalarial mefloquine. Read more: bbc.com/news/magazine-33957717 If one understood better how these chemicals affected the dream state (as your alien does), one could use them to produce the effect you want. It is not tech we have now but it is not implausible that it could be developed. $\endgroup$ – Willk Apr 14 '18 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk: That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. $\endgroup$ – Austin Weaver Apr 14 '18 at 17:24
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Microrganism controlled stimuli So basically what happens us this, your creature sweats out a bunch of microrganisms(the puddle) along with a quickly evaporating substance, then as a human lays in the puddle the microrganisms get absorbed by the lungs and work their way to the brain where they stimulate the mind through various enzymes, hormones and electrical impulses as the other creature directs them through sound waves to high for a human to hear.

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