Geo Bell 21/9/2017
Geo, where have you been? Honestly, I’ve been super busy with a research project over summer. Nobody cares about that, we want to hear about the LucidCrapper!
Right, okay, read on…
TLDR: A few months have passed since I tossed my LucidCatcher device into the cupboard of shame, and it’s been collecting dust ever since. The pre-owned, tatty device which I was sent to review, turned out to be a huge disappointment, and (quite literally) caused me a headache.
A brief history of my encounters with Luciding
In early 2016 I did an interview with Michael Skrychevsky, a former co-founder of Luciding who has since jumped ship. I interviewed Michael about the tACS device which Luciding were developing to induce lucid dreams. How exciting. The CEO of Luciding later sends me some preliminary data from in-house trials. I look over the spreadsheet, and it’s nothing spectacular.
To assess the efficacy of the device, the developers collected written reports based on the LuCiD scale (developed by Voss et al. in 2013) from an experienced lucid dreamer, and a ‘novice’ lucid dreamer for 5 consecutive nights, for each test condition
In all fairness, the average values determined for insight, control and dissociation in the novice lucid dreamer were higher, over 5 consecutive nights, compared with the control condition. However, the sample size of the trial is laughable, the trial was far too short, and there is no way of verifying the reports used to assimilate the data. A year passes, and the (now COO) contacts me requesting a review of their device. I say that I would be happy to do a review, once I actually receive a device. In the meantime, I report on their 2016 in-house trials, and what developments the company reports for the 2017 model. Before posting the article, I pose a simple question to the COO:
Seems legit. Oh, how naive of me. Soon after, I find parts of my article have been bodged into a pdf, and copied into their Kickstarter. How strange. I gave no permission to extract content from my website for commercial purposes… I let it slide, in the hope that I might actually receive something in the mail. A couple of weeks later, I receive a tatty, rather sad looking headband via a Russian courier. Red flag #1001. Having spoke with a PhD candidate* in the UK, who Luciding had previously sent a device for personal trials, I felt assured that scrambled cortex was not on tonight's menu, and continued to proceed with caution.
*I won’t name him here, because he’s a nice guy and a professional, who no doubt wants nothing less than to be associated with Luciding.
Would you like toasted eyes with that?
My efforts to devise a somewhat robust, blinded-trial consisted of going to sleep wearing the device, and having my partner flip the on/off switch, at times unbeknownst to me.
Sounds good, right? Wrong. I can still vividly recall the sensation of being startled awake in the early hours of the first trial. The device had quite literally shook me awake. Red flag #1002.
Speaking with my friend James, who had also been trialling the device, it turns out that he had also encountered the same hiccup. Interestingly, at this point I am approached by a member of a German Facebook group of LucidCatcher beta-testers, who had nothing but nice things to say about his experiences. Actually, he expressed a genuine concern for the safety of anyone using the LucidCatcher device, and warned me against going anywhere near it.
At this point I’m uncertain as to what possessed me to give this device a fair chance. Alas, I abandoned my usual regime of autosuggestion with WBTB and MILD/WILD, and opted for sleeping with the LucidCatcher fixed in place. Unfortunately, the remainder of the trial was no more of a success.
Aside from the fact that my lucid dream frequency actually dropped below usual, I had another sudden awakening, frequent headaches, and began to experience what I can only describe as a hot sensation behind the eyes when using the device. This was the final red flag, and a resounding cue to put down the DIY dreambuster. I made the company aware of my experiences, who had the audacity to request that I send the device (with my own money) to the next reviewer. Not even in their dreams.
I never did find out who was next in line to receive this dodgy piece of junk - but if you’re out there, reading this, just know that I did you a favour.
Enough is enough
If you hadn’t already noticed, the lucid dreaming community has had its fair share of gimmicks, cash-grabs and empty-promising Kickstarters. Any attempts made by Luciding to promote their device on r/luciddreaming, Facebook and even on their Kickstarter campaign has been met with outlash from angry beta-testers, unfulfilled pre-order customers, healthy skeptics, and oneironauts just generally calling BS. One of my favourite articles of 2017 has to be this one by Lucid Dream Art.
There isn’t really much else to be said about the whole fiasco, so I will leave you with a PSA from our good friend James, SpaceTimeBadass. Enjoy.