After an amphetamine binge, a 22-year-old medical student suddenly had the same acute sense of smell as a dog!
Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote a book titled ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales’. In it, he describes the case histories of some of his most interesting patients in short essays. The book was published in 1985 and in it there is a story titled ‘The Dog Beneath the Skin’.
In that story, Sacks describes meeting a 22-year-old medical student who, after an amphetamine binge, dreamed he was a dog and experienced, in his dream, all the unimaginable smells that dogs smell every day. When the student woke up he realized that the ability was not gone and he still had the acute sensory abilities of a dog!
For the next three weeks the man could recognize people he knew by their smell. His world was suddenly much enhanced and he found that there was “a whole aesthetic, a whole judgment, a whole new significance, which surrounded him,” Sacks wrote. “It was a world overwhelmingly concrete, of particulars, a world overwhelming in immediacy, in immediate significance,” the student reported. After three weeks it was gone.
Many years later, Sacks revealed that the student he named Stephen D, was in fact, himself and that it was his personal experience he had described in his book!