On a recent impromptu investigation of an old home that was built in the early 1860s, and rumored to be haunted, I captured an excellent photo of an apparition. The room lighting was normal ambient daytime and the camera was a Sony DSC-W55 with flash disabled. Seconds before I took the photo, shown below, I was looking directly at the door and saw only the panes of glass with the dark foyer beyond; nothing out of the ordinary. However, upon later analysis of the photo, there seems to be an apparition in the foyer behind the glass pane in the left side of the door. The apparition appears to be a female in possibly Victorian era dress patiently waiting for someone to admit her to the house. Without further investigation I would categorize this apparition as a residual manifestation. Please note that the photo shown below has been enlarged and cropped for better detail and to protect the identity and location of the home.
A few minutes after the photo was taken, my fellow investigator and I peered through the windows and saw nothing but darkness in the small foyer. After this incident I began attempting to develop a scientific explanation for why we could not see the apparition with our eyes, but the camera captured it perfectly. In one of the upstairs bedrooms we also captured an EVP that sounded like a whispered “…don’t go…” with a Sony ICD-BX100 digital voice recorder.
The following discussion attempts to develop a theory that may shed some light on why most of us cannot see or hear ghosts while video, still cameras, and voice recorders seem to have no difficulty capturing ghostly images and voices. Why is it that some people can see and hear ghosts while the majority of us cannot? It is all about our psychic senses. The following is a brief description of the seven psychic senses:
- Clairvoyance (Clear seeing) is the ability to see anything that is not physically present in objective space, such as objects, animals or people. This sight may occur in the mind’s eye or you may see the bodily form as if the spirit is physically present.
- Clairaudience (Clear Hearing) is usually defined as the ability to hear the voices or thoughts of spirits.
- Clairsentience (Clear Sensing) is the ability to have an impression of what a spirit wants to communicate, or to feel sensations instilled by a spirit.
- Clairsentinence (Clear Feeling) is a condition in which the medium takes on the ailments of a spirit, feeling the same physical problem which the spirit person had before death.
- Clairalience (Clear Smelling) is the ability to smell a spirit. For example, a medium may smell the pipe tobacco of a person who smoked during life.
- Clairgustance (Clear Tasting) is the ability to receive taste impressions from a spirit.
- Claircognizance (Clear Knowing) is the ability to know something without receiving it through normal or psychic senses. It is a feeling of just knowing. For example, you may know who is on the phone before you answer it or know personal things about a person you just met. You may have good or bad feeling about a place or a person.
The following discussion of psychic abilities will be limited to the psychic senses of Clairvoyance and Clairaudience, since these can be most easily supported with photo, video, and recorded sound evidence.
Is there anything mystical or supernatural about these psychic senses? Or are they just natural extensions of our normal physical senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste that allow us to perceive outside stimuli from our environment. The psychic senses allow some of us to perceive a paranormal environment, that evidence suggests, seems to coexist within and/or parallel to our normal environment. There is a strong probability that we all have, to some degree, these psychic senses. There is also relatively strong evidence that we all may be born with them, since many young children seem to perceive and actually communicate with ghosts; or what many people think are imaginary friends.
A study titled Children Who See and Hear Ghosts published at Ghoststudy.com produced some interesting findings. In summary, the study included children ranging in age from newborn to 11 years old. In the majority of the cases studied, the presented evidence suggests that children are seeing full body apparitions in human form. Typically the family will begin noticing this interaction about the time the child begins learning to walk and speak. Study findings also suggest that that in most cases these children seem to be perceiving and communicating with deceased loved ones.
At around age five this ability begins to diminish in most children for several possible reasons. Many children are discouraged from talking of such things by family members, telling them that it is only in their imagination. Even without discouragement, as a child’s brain continues to develop it appears that the ability to see and/or hear ghosts naturally disappears anywhere between the ages of five to eleven years old. However in some instances, children keep their ability to communicate with ghosts, and continue expanding their abilities as they grow into adults.
The study it self did not present any information as to the origin of psychic senses, evidence seems to suggest that the human brain may be the source of the psychic senses as well as our physical senses. In support of this evidence, there are cases where individuals with little or no apparent psychic ability have experienced an increase in their psychic senses through accidental brain trauma or a near death experience. The evidence here would suggest that whether or not we have psychic abilities may be dependent upon the hardwiring (neural connections) and/or the memory programming within our brains. Trauma to the head or a near death experience has the potential to disrupt the original connections and/or cause new ones to be created.
There is a difference between seeing and perceiving. For example, there are many instances where our eyes see an image, our brain processes the image, yet we visualize or perceive something quite different. A good demonstration is the image of the circle of pink dots below. If your eyes follow the rotational movement of the empty space, the dots will remain only one color, pink. However, if you concentrate and focus your attention on only the black + in the center, the rotating space transforms into a green dot moving around the circle. After a short period of time, all the pink dots will vanish, and you will only see the single green dot moving around the circle.
Your eyes are still seeing and your brain is registering the image as a circle of pink dots. However, you perceive that the pink dots have vanished leaving only a single green dot moving around the circle.
Most of you are all certainly aware of what a hallucination is. A hallucination is defined as perception in a conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that they are vivid, substantial, and located in external objective space. There is also a negative hallucination defined as the inability to perceive in a conscious and awake state a person, object, or possibly a ghost in external objective space. Many skeptics would say that you are hallucinating if you say you are seeing a ghost. However, could just the opposite be true? Ghosts can be photographed, their energy fields detected with electronic devices, their voices recorded, their present felt by touching and/or cold chills, and by unexplained cold spots and/or noises within a room; whereas a genuine hallucination cannot be detect by any means, it exist only in your mind.
Most of us at one time or another has experienced a negative hallucination. For example, when we have been looking for something so intently that it can be right within our sight, yet we do not see it. A negative hallucination can also be induced in a person through hypnosis. An example is if you had a particular chair in the middle of a room and while under hypnosis you were told that you could not see that chair anymore, and then were told to sit down. You would be looking all around the room for another chair to sit in, not perceiving the one that was in the middle of the room. However, in looking for another chair, you would not trip or fall over the one that was essentially made invisible. It is important to understand, that in order for you not to perceive an object that is actually present, your eyes must see and your mind must first register what not to see. Therefore, you would walk around the chair, look over it, look under it, and maybe even look through it, but you would walk around it while searching the room. Could it be possible that many of us are looking over, looking through, and walking around the ghost in the room that we cannot perceive?
It is important to recognize that hypnosis is nothing more than communication with subconscious mind through suggestion. Referring back to the young child that is told repeatedly that the people they are seeing is only there imagination. With this discouragement or suggestion being repeated may times, it may have the same effect as the hypnosis induced negative hallucination describe above, but with a long lasting effect that continues into adulthood. In other words it is possible that our eyes are seeing the ghost, the brain is registering its location in objective space, but due to the effect of the ingrained negative hallucination we are unable to perceive the image of the ghost.
Many people involved with the paranormal speculate that there is some sort of invisible veil or barrier that prevents the living from seeing those who have passed into the afterlife. Could it be possible that this mysterious veil actually exists within our own minds? Is it possible to reactivate our psychic senses? If the inability to use our psychic senses is actually a hardwired or ingrained negative hallucination effect within our brains, is it possible to prove the theory presented above by minimizing or controlling the negative hallucination effect with some form of self-hypnosis?
Of course we must be aware that the ghosts, no doubt, have some level of control over whether or not they actually want to be observed by the living. If they do not want to be seen, chances are nobody will see them. However, if a ghost really wants to make an appearance it is possible that everyone will see them. For example, there have always been claims where a group of people touring a known haunted location have all perceived a ghost. Usually the apparition appears only briefly and then vanishes. Of course on average, not all the members of the group would be psychic mediums and yet they all see the ghost. Perhaps if a ghost can manifest their self to such a degree that they actually appear as a living being, it is possible that the negative hallucination effect in our brain could momentarily be circumvented, but reestablishes its self quickly causing the ghost to vanish. Another possibility is that the ghost, realizing he or she is being observed, decides to vanish. Whether or not a ghost can manifest its self may also be dependent upon energy field fluctuations and/or available energy within our normal space, as well as in the ghost’s paranormal space.
The credible evidence of the existence of ghost being gathered by many paranormal investigation organizations suggests that these entities seem to inhabit some paranormal environment that coexist within and/or parallel to our normal environment. Many of the mainstream religions of today would have a problem with these findings, since they preach of only two destinations for the dearly departed–Heaven or Hell. They therefore have no room for any possibility that humans in spirit form can exist on Earth. Without delving too far into the aspects of religious beliefs, suffice to say that there are some religions that actually do consider the possibility of an alternate destination for the soul.
This idea has roots in ancient Christian literature. The notion of purgatory (a process of purification or temporary punishment) is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church; Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic tradition generally also hold to the belief. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, believed in an intermediate state between death and the final judgment. A similar belief in at least the possibility of spirits on Earth is held by Mormonism (LDS Church). This possibility is outlined in relatively plain language in the LDS Church manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young Chapter 38: The Spirit World. Much of what is contained in Chapter 38 seems to provide some religious validation for much of the evidence collected by paranormal investigation teams and also our ability to see spirits. The following paraphrased passage speaks of our potential ability to see spirits:
“Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies… you could see the spirits that have departed from this world, as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes.”
It should be noted that the passage above was authored in the mid 1800s. At that time people assumed that eye sight and perception were one in the same. They also assumed that you could only see spirits with some divine intervention that would some how change your eyes allowing you to see spirits. Obviously we know today this is not the case. The human brain is probably the ultimate controller of what we perceive.
If you plan on pursuing self-hypnosis or some other means of developing your psychic senses, you must be aware that spiritual entities can sense when you have heightened psychic abilities and may seek you out for any number of reasons. If they died violently or unexpectedly, they may be confused about there new state of being, and are seeking help from the living. It is not at all unusual to capture an EVP where a spirit says “Help me”. You must be aware that there is also a dark side to having heightened psychic senses. At the top of the Paranormal Activity Research blog there is a tag line “Life is what you make of it. Evidently, so is the afterlife.” Evidence from paranormal investigations suggests that the behavior of people when they were alive is often times the behavior they exhibit in the afterlife. If a person was evil when they died, there spirit tends to continue their evil ways in the afterlife. They may even align them selves with other evil entities that have never walked this earth as humans in order to cause chaos and harm to the living. On a lighter note, if a person was kind, mischievous, or a jokester when they were alive, they tend to be the same in the afterlife.
Evidently ghosts have a lot to say, and are willing to communicate with us—if only we could hear them. With more high tech ghost hunting equipment available, paranormal investigators have a variety of tools to continue to learn more and more about the spirits in the afterlife. It is important, that we as paranormal investigators and human beings remember that our spirit is connected to both the physical world and the spirit realm. However, with the demands of daily life our own spiritual reality and psychic abilities are buried so deeply within us it is all but forgotten. It is possible to reconnect with your spiritual self and regain your psychic abilities through meditation and/or self-hypnosis techniques, giving you more insight into the true nature of your being. It definitely may be worthwhile to at least give it try.
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