Hidden high in the crags of the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa are images on rock walls uncannily like the European cave paintings. They too feature animals and hunting scenes, but unlike the European paintings, they aren't thousands of years old. They were painted just a couple of hundred years ago, almost within living memory.
The paintings were
not just pictures of everyday life, but they were about spiritual experiences in a
Records of interviews of San bushman from the late 19th century indicated the paintings were not just pictures of everyday life, but they were about spiritual experiences in a trance state, a type of altered state of consciousness. There is also one inexplicable feature shared by both the San and European paintings: abstract patterns overlying the image. Scientists who study altered states of consciousness tell us that the brain creates these kinds of patterns—lines, dots, grids, etc—during trance state because the brain is hard-wired to see them.