I used to have absence seizures when I was young. I'd be playing as usual, and all of a sudden - whoosh. Everything's gone. It wasn't blacking out; it was just leaving. There was some of my conciousness still observing what was happening (usually a gray void with some spinning lights in it); and then, when I finally came out of the seizure, I would be exhausted. And I don't mean "I just went swimming for 6 hours" exhausted; I mean so exhausted, even breathing was an effort. This happened a few times before school in the mornings, and of course my parents thought I was faking. It's pretty annoying to be told to "get off the couch and stop pretending" when you can barely move yourself! Fortunately, I was able to get some medication that controlled them well with no side-effects, once I was diagnosed. (As opposed to ophie's writeup, my eyes did not roll up; instead, they tracked from side to side. And, once I reached roughly 18 years of age, they stopped entirely.)

One of the more memorable seizures I had was on a Saturday afternoon when I was about 8 years old. I was walking down the stairs from my bedroom and, sure enough, one hits me. Now, I rarely saw things when I had seizures; but this was a rather stunning exception.

I was in hell, and Satan was standing right there.

I was in a dark cavern, standing on a blackened and sooty stone island amid a great lake of glowing lava. Stalactites hung from the ceiling. Opposite me, on his own island, was Satan. He was many feet taller than any human I had ever seen, cloaked in a black cape that reached from his chin to the floor, and glaring at me angrily. His face was what you might picture: bright red skin, a black vandyke beard and pencil-thin moustache; and red horns jutting up from a crop of black hair. Smokes and eruptions of lava would occasionally emanate from the lake of fire, and damn, I was scared.

And then, it was over. Just like that. I was exhausted, of course, and a little shaken - but not too badly. I sat down on the stairs for awhile and leaned my head against the wall, which was very cool.

Later, when I was in college and studying to be a history major, I was reminded of this incident while studying Hildegard von Bingen in a history of music course. It made me wonder; had I this vision 900 years ago, would I have been condemned by the Church? Would my parents? As an adult, I am agnostic; but this seizure I had when I was 8, which probably lasted no more than ten seconds, has given me an insider's view on what religious visions must be like, and how life-altering they must be for the true believer.