Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A shadow ghost acquires presence!

ShadowAs usual, my memory let me down. I was at the usual position where I often see the door ghost (door what?) but had completely forgotten about it. Then I had a strong feeling that there was someone standing behind me, in the position where the ghost appears. Except that I couldn't see the usual shadowy figure, or anyone else for that matter. There was just the pronounced uneasy feeling of an unseen 'presence' behind me. I quickly remembered about the door ghost and the 'presence' was gone.

Immediately I tried to recall everything I could about the incident. I remembered thinking that the pattern of light behind me was 'unusual'. There was a strong sun but I was in an area of deep shadow. The highly contrasting combination COULD, at a stretch, have given the impression of 'something' being just behind me, in peripheral vision. But what really struck me was that I felt slightly 'detached' from my body. I have had this feeling before, usually during during mini-OBEs (see here for instance) or other visual spatial illusions. I suspect that this feeling is key to this particular experience. The fact that it took place at the same spot where the door ghost appears is also, I think, highly significant.

Last time I felt a ghostly 'presence' was different (see here). My idea then was a feeling of discomfort, coupled with an unexplained sensory stimulus (a noise), probably triggered the experience. So does the latest experience fit with that model? There was certainly an unexplained sensory stimulus - a visual one this time (the unusual pattern of light and shadow). It's possible that the 'detached' feeling indicated that I was seeing a visual spatial illusion, which may be why I thought the pattern of light and shadow 'unusual'.

I did feel uncomfortable during the latest experience. At first sight, I thought this was caused BY the apparent presence of an unseen 'presence'. However, it is possible that it was the visual spatial illusion that triggered a feeling of discomfort. So it is entirely possible that this feeling of an unseen presence was once again generated by a combination of a feeling of discomfort coupled with an unexplained sensory stimulus. Or maybe the 'detached' feeling is key to this particular experience. Another possible source of the feeling of discomfort was that I was at the usual location of the door ghost. I could have been thinking about it unconsciously and the feeling of discomfort was how this was communicated to my conscious mind.

All of these experiences tend to suggest that multiple factors - some subjective (like the detached feeling or uneasiness), some objective (like an unusual sensory stimulus) - in combination are responsible for such experiences as feeling an unseen presence. The same can, of course, be said about misperception. What is clear is that simply getting detailed descriptions of ghosts from witnesses is never, on its own, going to explain how such experiences occur. What is needed is a full record of the exact state of the physical location at the time and the mental state of the witness. This is difficult information to obtain but, in many cases, investigators have barely even attempted to collect it, perhaps not thinking it terribly relevant.

So what's the solution? Controlled studies are obviously a way to go. Perhaps, by combining the right factors we could artificially induce suitable subjects to see ghosts at will. In my own informal research, I try to record as much detail as I can when I see ghosts spontaneously but, inevitably, I'm never properly prepared and no doubt miss a lot of important detail.

If there is anyone else out there, reading this, who sees ghost frequently, perhaps they could try to do the same and record as much detail as possible about the location of their sighting at the time, how they felt and whether they noticed anything else unusual (apart from the ghost itself). I'd love it if they could email me reports when events occur. In the meantime, I will record as much as I can here of my own observations.

It's ironic that, because ghost research focusses so strongly on the apparitions themselves, it may be missing some of the most important clues as to how they appear in the first place.

No comments:

Post a Comment