- Religion and Philosophy
Paranormal Phenomena: Hysteria or Good Old Fashioned Mumbo Jumbo
Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside science's current ability to explain or measure.
William Shakespeare had thoughts on this issue
As William Shakespeare observed, through the mouths of Horatio and Hamlet, in the play named after that Danish Prince; after seeing and remarking on the ghost that appeared to them.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Paranormal phenomena are not necessarily of a religious nature, although there are those who will insist that paranormal incidents encompass religious experience and many who consider that religious experience is provable.
If so, where does “Faith” step in?
“Miracles” can be incidents that are not explainable scientifically. Or the great unexplained. But to go down that track on a Hub would be unwise because there is the whole gamut of religious, theistic, agnostic and atheistic belief represented, and it would no doubt open an enormous can of worms. Enough to say that for all intents and purposes, the history of incidents of Paranormal Activity is usually a matter of the result of anecdotal evidence; either from individuals, or at times, of groups.
Let us say that, for the present, Paranormal Phenomena can be described as such, only and until Science steps in and explains what actually happened, or is happening.
I notedes, on reading A.A.Zavala’s very interesting hub 'Paranormal Activities: Personal Experiences' (No longer published) that the comments section had all sorts of theories and ideas coming out of the woodwork, along with their proponents. They ranged from the sceptical, through the vaguely kind but disbelieving, to the outright “Born Again I’ll believe anything so long as it has Ghosties and Ghoulies and long-leggedy Beasties and things that go bump in the night” adherents. There was also a heavy smattering of the evil spirit brigade and the “Show it the light and you’ll be OK” crowd.
Come along guys. Why the hysteria and belief that the paranormal is a series of Evil Spirits and Long Lost Aunties, and scenes of bloodshed and unrequited love and all that business?
It isn’t Halloween every day of the week.
Paranormal means “out of the ordinary” it doesn’t have to read like a Richard Strauss opera or something out of Wagner’s 'Ring Cycle'. It’s not a story by Edgar Allan Poe.
Some things are just unexplainable at the present, but it doesn’t have to be the work of the Devil or Angles or some blue faced Hindu deity or the Baby Jesus.
And if you think that that “presence” you feel when you go up to the spare room is Auntie Beverley who ran away with the sailor. Think again. The Old Bird would probably not be up in that spare room if she had her way…
That spare room is cold and North Facing. That’s why it’s the spare room.
The Auntie Beverley I know would be more likely to be down at the ‘Jolly Sailor Lad’ down on the waterfront where the sailors go to get drunk and pick up willing young ladies.
Well, in her youth she might have, but I have heard that just before the Old Bird popped her clogs, she would be more like the old dears who relied on the kindness of strangers.
“Any place where death has occurred seems to have an aura”
A.A.Zavala, my friend, the ‘Potholder’ incident was interesting, but following on from comments, are you implying that somebody died or was buried there?
Just me being facetious.
You mentioned that “Any place where death has occurred seems to have an aura”. I would like to point out that death has occurred” almost everywhere on this planet. So, in reality, there would be nowhere which didn’t have an aura. Think of a battlefield; think of the Somme; think of the gas ovens at the Labour Camps. Without talking lightly about the subject, these places would be knee deep in auras.
Remember the Genie in the story of Allah-din?
Muslims believe that, as there are humans in the world, so also, living alongside them are Djinns; living creatures who are all around us.
Remember the Genie in Allah-din? He was Djinn, or a Djinni... just a different spelling. We may not be able to see them, but they are not all evil and cause trouble. There are some good ones and some naughty ones… like humans. There are some who are Muslims and there are some who aren’t. That’s paranormal. Not explained, but if you believe in it, then it’s a part of life.
And if you don’t; so what? It’s not provable either way. Not yet, anyway.
"Things" and "Presences"
Several Hubbers who commented on A.A.Zavala’s hub said that they felt that they had seen “things” and felt or experienced “presences”.
Have you never walked down a street and thought to yourself that perhaps the people you see all around you on a crowded thoroughfare might not actually be real living people? That perhaps they are “shades” of people, or spirits of the departed who have decided to take a stroll on a nice sunny day? It’s feasible. Why should spirits always hang around in old Victorian houses, clanking chains and “Wooooooooooing!” all the time? What’s wrong with them popping into a nice shopping mall and enjoying a chat with a friend or two? If you haven’t thought of it, perhaps you should open your eyes, and what you see might surprise you.
The recorded history of sightings and experiences of the paranormal, as I said earlier, are almost always a result of, and taken from, anecdotal evidence – or fabricated for the gullible
So, using my own experiences, I will relate how I and only I, in this instance, have been involved in the paranormal.
I personally had an experience – or series of experiences, which do not fall into the usual run of the paranormal (an oxymoron, if ever there was one).
As a child, I was quite clairvoyant, as are many children, as the average young child who hasn’t had his (or her) mind closed down to being receptive, by adults with the usual: “Don’t be silly dear. That couldn’t have happened. You’re making it up”.
Children do see and experience visions, paranormal phenomena, the unexplained, and the unexplainable, much more than adults. Their experiences vary to a lesser or greater degree, and frequently, if they find they are reporting incidents and they are disbelieved, they either forget them; sublimate them; or worse, learn to deny it to others, and to themselves.
There are many children who appear to be what in other times would have been termed as “fey”. We all knew that strange little girl who kept herself to herself in the playground and always seemed to be “away with the fairies", the strange wild child, and the child who displayed other worldly, magical or visionary powers. The clairvoyant.
For me, it was easier. I had a willing and receptive audience. My mother was clairvoyant herself, and so understood where I was coming from. She also had all the time in the world to listen to me and to record my experiences, my statements and my retelling of my view of the world.
She was not the typical “busy mother” with endless chores to complete: cleaning, cooking, keeping house, gardening, day by day interminable duties, of the usual young mother. In fact she had time on her hands; a good deal of time on her hands.
My family had several servants to do all those chores and so she could take time to listen, to take note and to share.
There were several times when I exhibited prescience of situations so that I took it as being the norm. I just assumed that everybody was the same as my mother and I and that they were also privy to things that had happened; the weird and the wonderful, and to be able to understand what others were thinking.
In fact, my mother could understand my thoughts and tune in to them so well that, if I had a secret that I didn’t want to her to know, I would say, “Elephants, elephants, elephants, elephants, elephants” silently to myself to block her listening to my unspoken thoughts.
Nurture, nature or environment?
I also was brought up for most of my early, and formative years in India; in a country and a culture in which spirituality, mysticism, clairvoyance and divination are part of the everyday fabric of life.
So my companions, and the culture surrounding me, wouldn’t be at all nonplussed by a little Gora Chota Sahib (White Little Sir) who saw and experienced things beyond the usual day to day running of a British Military Cantonment.
I grew older, and reached my late teens and early twenties
So, as I grew older, and reached my late teens and early twenties, I found that my facility for seeing and experiencing the paranormal hadn’t really abated. And it wasn’t long before one particular awareness of one particular kind of paranormal activity became apparent to me. But this one was different from the rest and I became aware of it because it was a constantly recurring phenomenon.
I would see, out of the corner of my eye, a figure, almost beyond my range of vision, but I could see it clearly enough to know that it was a young man; slim and tall, and fair haired. This person would hover (if that is the word I require) within a few yards distance, and then if I were to turn directly towards him, to ascertain who or what he was, he would disappear from my sight.
I don’t mean that the disappearance was in any way dramatic, as one minute he would be there and than he would sort of “not be”.
Remember, I was used to seeing visions and what appeared to be people, from an early age, but had never really been disturbed, and certainly wasn’t alarmed at such. But there was a difference in this character which I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
To reiterate: He was tall, slim, fair haired, and also, I never saw his face, as it was always turned away from me. If I even had the briefest glance, he would be standing with his back to me or he would be walking away from me.
But I was not the only person who saw this apparition, as I now realised he was. I had a friend with whom I was very close, and she also was fey. She and I and one other person, happened to be born on the same day of the same month of the same year, and, by virtue of that, tended to be close. Jenny, the girl to whom I am referring, called us “The Triplets” and strangely enough, although we were not related, these was what one might have assumed was a “family resemblance”. Jenny was born in England, Gareth in West Australia and I in India.
Jenny started to be aware of this character of whom I am writing, and whereas I just took him for granted, Jenny became more and more worried about him, feeling that the apparition could, perhaps, be malevolent.
As I have already stated in this hub, I do not subscribe to the “Good Spirit, Evil Spirit” theory; neither to I believe that “dark and evil” apparitions mean me any harm, but Jenny was becoming increasingly agitated and worried about the “person” and she maintained that as she, also, had only seen “him” from behind, that “he meant me some harm”.
To appease her, I agreed to go and see a quite well know medium cum spiritual lady and to ask her advice.
Although white, the lady we consulted was similar in her outlook as the Obeah: Obeah is associated with both benign and malignant magic, charms, luck, and with mysticism in general.
Obeah is practiced in Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guyana, Barbados, Belize and other Caribbean countries.
We conferred with her for a while and she didn’t bother about the laying on of hands or crystals or incantations or anything of the sort. She was a very levelheaded and practical person; speaking less as a medium or spiritualist, but more as a sensible person discussing a scientific fact.
I could tell that Jenny was disappointed, and had expected amulets, spells, charms and invocations. In fact there was no great show. She did look a little mystical for a while, or maybe she had a headache, or a little too much red wine.
But at last she gave her thoughts on the matter, but not before Jenny had expressed her worst fears.
“Is he an evil spirit? A demon? The work of the Devil… Or even Lucifer himself?”
“No! Nothing like that,” said the lady. “This person you have seen and have worried about,” said she to Jenny, “Should be familiar to both of you”.
I really didn’t understand.
“You won’t,” said the lady, gazing into my eyes. And I feel that she was laughing at me. “You won’t,” she continued, “because you have only seen him from behind, or walking away from you”.
And then she explained that the vision, the apparition, the person I had seen out of the corner of my eye for so many months, was indeed myself.
She explained that sometimes the anima, basically my soul, which in the most simplistic terms had become detached from my body and accompanies me. It is not a malevolent being (Unless I myself am malevolent) nor is it an evil entity, nor a wicked design of Mephistopheles. Neither is it a sadly smiling Guardian Angel with my well being at heart.
It’s just me… somewhat detached (Ha ha!).
So that cleared that up, and I must admit I learned to live with it. I had for so long, so it wasn’t a real trial.
I think Jenny felt a bit let down; having hoped for at least an exorcism and possibly a great party to accompany that exorcism… but we can’t have everything, can we?
But this was all years ago, when I was living in West Australia, and I eventually came to the United Kingdom, and basically forgot all about it. Once or twice I thought I saw something similar, and wondered if it could be the same paranormal phenomenon.
Can "Spirits " travel across water?
Then, years later, I was at home and two very dear friends came to see me. They were sisters I had taught when I was teaching in Southwark, in a school very close to London Bridge.
We had kept in touch and they were now young ladies… one, Tina, a Doctor of Medicine, and the other, Tumpa, an Architect.
Tumpa was in the house and had just come to the bottom of the stairs for something, when she looked up the stairs to see me climbing the stairs to the first floor. She called out to me something about something she was doing in the kitchen, but I didn’t answer. I just continued climbing the stairs and then turned to go towards my bedroom. She thought nothing of it, apart from the fact that I hadn’t replied to her when she had spoken to me, and was about to return to the kitchen, when I opened the front door and came back into the house. I had been in the car retrieving something, and the person on the stairs, walking away from Tumpa…?
That’s right. Spirits can cross water. “He” had stayed with me when I came to the UK.
So the next time someone feels a draught of cold air, and they fear for their safety… close the door. Someone left it open.
And the next time you see something strange and disturbing; something that makes you fear for you’re your very life or sanity… take a close look; you might have seen him or her in the bathroom mirror, just this morning,
Not a Paranormal Phenomenon - Elisabeth
I saw a man upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there.
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away.
With apologies to: William Hughes Mearns (better known as: Hughes Mearns)
This is an interesting bit of evidence.
A British advertising firm was making an ad for the Audi Motor Company. It showed a new model of the Audi Motor Car driving through a lovely bit of scenery. But what the advertising company did not know, was that a fatal car accident had taken place along that stretch of road, some years before, just at that place. As a result, the advertisement was never shown, due to respect for the family of the deceased person.
If you watch carefully, you will see a mist, possible a ghostly figure, which appears to follow the car as it drives up to the trees and reappears with the car as it emerges on the other side.
You will also hear the photographer whispering his instructions to a colleague in the background.