Thursday, 28 November 2013

Voices from beyond?

Crows in treeAmong several voices heard there was one that stood out as highly unusual. It was a female voice with a French accent and it said just one word that the listener, having barely studied the language at school, did not know. Regular readers will be familiar with my acquaintance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM. This is a rare phenomenon, usually associated with certain sleep disorders, where someone goes straight into a dream state on falling into even a brief microsleep. Naturally, this can produce some very odd experiences, especially if the witness does not realise they have gone into a microsleep, which is not that unusual. Hypnagogia is common with MWR, with apparent voices sometimes heard while on the verge of a microsleep (when still awake).

MA says the voices sound different to ordinary real ones. They lack the resonance that a normal voice might have if someone was speaking out loud in a room, for instance. They can sound like listening to someone through a telephone. As MA finds it easy to tell from real voices, usually, they do not cause the anxiety that apparently unexplained voices might otherwise. MA knows they are unreal and just tries to remember what they have to say. The French voice was highly unusual, however. MA had never heard a foreign voice before, still less a word that was not immediately understandable. So, could it be something a little different? Maybe even a deliberate message, of some sort, from somewhere?

MA looked the word up online and soon found out it was a place name, in Switzerland! The place was Verbier. Not being a skier, MA had barely heard of the place. So why, assuming these hypnagogic voices originate in the listener's own memory, would this particular place name come up? And in a French accent? Looking up Verbier on the web, suddenly the connection was made. MA remembered a recent news story from Verbier. It was quite widely seen and even featured in this blog! However, MA was not thinking about Verbier, Switzerland, French, golf, foxes or anything else related to the news story.

Oddly enough, MA reports that much of the content of hypnagogic voices actually makes even less sense than Verbier! The phrases heard sound like snatches of overheard conversations that are neither directed to the listener, or anything they were thinking about. Though these words are presumably derived from the listener's memory, the way they are selected appears near random. MA says they often appear quite dramatic in content. They might even originate from dialogue heard on TV or movies.

But why did this particular voice have a French accent? If you're expecting a solution to this mystery, I don't have one. It may be related to how words are stored in human memory. Maybe French words are connected to French pronunciation somewhere in the brain.

It is easy to see how the apparently random chatter of voices could be interpreted by some listeners with MWR as messages from spirits, if they were not aware of their hypnagogic origins. With no obvious connection to what the listener is thinking about, or can even consciously recall, they might appear to originate from somewhere outside that person's head, maybe with a spirit. The fact that the voices sound different to 'normal' might even add to the impression of a communication from somewhere else. It would not be a surprise if someone with MWR might think they are psychic or even a medium.

PS: Why the same photo as last time? It's still bugging me ...

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