Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Introduction to the Nguyen-Williamson Hypothesis

I first met him during my first year in college. Then, he appeared to be an unremarkable person with average grades; one would not have noticed him if not for the severe allergy attack that he suffered once during a lecture. Things changed after that.

Nobody really expected Nguyen to ace the exams after that. Thereafter, he continued to attain stellar results for some of the most difficult papers in the college. Some suspected that he had gained "unique abilities" after the allergy attack; others(myself included), dismissing the absurd, believed that he had resorted to some as yet undetected method of cheating.

Being of an inquisitive sort, and having a student registration number that seated me just behind him during examinations, I was equipped with both the intent and opportunity to observe firsthand whether Nguyen had cheated. However, even after a few observations, I had failed to discover any cheating. I did note, however, that he had an unusual habit of consuming a few peanuts during examinations.

Initially, I had thought that it was for some psychological effect, perhaps a reflexive habit to calm himself. My suspicions were raised, however, when an invigilator barred eating from one of the examinations. Interestingly, Nguyen did poorly for that particular examination.

In my mind, I was absolutely certain that the two events were related, that the "peanuts" had something to do with Nguyen's success. But were they peanuts? Perhaps not. Could it have been some advanced psychotropic drug designed to improve brain activity? I had to know.

With the assistance of some perhaps unsavory contacts, I was able to obtain a sample of the "peanuts". I sent the sample for analysis. The results indicated that it was indeed all-natural peanut. I was stumped; clearly the secret to intelligence could not be mere peanuts. There was only one way to know; I confronted Nyugen for the truth.

He was initially unwilling to reveal anything; it was only after I revealed my knowledge of his peanut consumption that he told me anything.

He revealed that during his first allergy attack, he had very vivid and clear recollections of his life. It was the famed flashbacks before death, except that he did not quite die. He then had the brainwave to use his allergy to his advantage. Experimenting with controlled dosages of peanuts (which was his allergy), he was able to discover that consuming a very small number of peanuts induced a minor near-death experience, triggering a flashback of sufficient length to be of use. In this fashion, he was able to emulate a perfect photographic memory.

I did not believe him, and stormed away. But as fate would have it, it was scarcely a few months later that I suffered my own nonfatal allergy attack, except that mine was from seafood rather than peanuts. And, as Nyugen had described, I did have vivid flashbacks of past events.

Having experienced firsthand the truth of his words, I approached him to initiate further research into his promising discovery; this was how the Nyugen-Williamson Hypothesis was first born. Unfortunately, our ideas were initially not well-received by the community. In particular, considerable evidence was put forward against our hypothesis, such as there being no cases of flashbacks for certain classes of near-death experiences, such as car accidents or falling from heights.

Indeed, our own research had also suggested that there were no reported cases of flashbacks for car accidents. Was our proposed model for flashbacks during near-death experiences flawed? It was only later that we discovered, through cunning experiments, that victims of car accidents did indeed experience flashbacks at the point of the accident; however, the subsequent brain damage and trauma hampers recollection of the flashback. It is hence our suspicion that the same mechanism is present for the cases of falling from heights.

Having given a brief introduction to the history of the Nyugen-Williamson Hypothesis, I sincerely hope that the reader as well as future researchers will continue to pursue research into this promising field.

Dr Liebig Williamson

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