Thursday, 8 May 2014

The creeping doppelganger

Crows in a treeThe ghostly figure was bent low, creeping along. And yet, strangely, it was moving very quickly in a way that appeared impossible for any normal human to do. Then, having reached a seat, it was suddenly seated and quite motionless.

This experience happened recently to my acquaintance (MA) with microsleep with REM (MWR). MA had briefly nodded off, while seated, and the bizarre observation occurred on waking. The whole experience lasted only a second or two. It, therefore, seems highly likely to be a hypnagogic experience, where dream elements mix with a real visual scene while the brain is in a intermediate state between sleep and full consciousness. There are two points of particular interest in this otherwise fairly typical (of MWR) experience.

Firstly, there was a real person already sitting in the seat that the ghost subsequently 'occupied'. This person may have acted as the inspiration for the specific content of the hypnagogic experience. MA reports that the ghost appeared to 'meld' into the real seated person, as if it was the same figure all along. However, another witness might interpret the observation as paranormal. They might, for instance, see the ghostly figure as a doppelganger!

Secondly, the unnatural swiftness of the creeping figure might suggest that it must have be floating even though this was not actually observed! I have wondered before whether reports of floating ghosts may be prompted by the figure's legs simply not being seen, rather than being visibly above the ground. In this example, the legs were not specifically noticed rather than being concealed. It was the unnatural swiftness of the figure's movement that suggested it was floating. I suspect that, whenever we observe the world, our perception has a tendency to interpret what is seen in terms of experience, even when this contradicts what is actually visible.

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