Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Can a ghost look sick?

Can a ghost look sick? I've never heard of it before but my acquaintance who gets microsleep with REM (MWR) recently saw one. Once again it happened during a brief microsleep on public transport. A young person's face appeared from nowhere, close up, and looked very sick indeed! Seconds later, the face was gone. It was an oddly disturbing experience for someone used to having their quiet moments interrupted by short bouts of weird stuff.

People experiencing MWR, which is a tiny proportion of the population (who probably have a sleep disorder), may think they are seeing ghosts, if they are not aware of their condition. My acquaintance has noted that the type of MWR experienced seems to change slowly over time*. For weeks it might be someone talking, then it might a visual scene (like the 'sick ghost') for a while or maybe snatches of music. The 'visual scenes' sometimes replace what is really physically visible or they might be incorporated into it (like hypnagogia). The visual stuff is easily the weirdest! It is so real, it feels odd when no one else around sees it! The imagery in such visual sequences is as unpredictable as normal dreams. This latest incident recalled a horror movie!

I can't recall any ghost witnesses mentioning particular expressions on the faces of apparitions. Maybe they just don't notice. Or, if the apparitions are caused by misperception, I can see why they would be expressionless. My own investigations in this area appear to indicate that misperceived figures, though drawn from the witness's own visual memory, are archetypes rather than any specific remembered person. There seems no obvious reason why an archetype should have any facial expression! It would be interesting to see if figures more obviously drawn from a dream state, like hypnagogia or MWR, are more likely to have obvious facial expressions than olther apparitions. If anyone knows of a case where a ghost appeared to have particular expression, other than neutral, I'd love to know about it.

*The number of MWRs per day depends entirely on when suitable conditions, like sitting reading or in transport, arise. It could be none one days and a handful the next.

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