Just how powerful, weird, and magical can our minds get? I’ve been hunting around this theme for a while, and I’m still not sure about what the limits are. We know the mind can do all sorts of curious things (especially to our health). But how far can it go? We can direct and consciously try to control our own bodies. But can the mind directly produce effects on physical things outside our own bodies?
That would take us into the realm of paranormal psychokinesis—unexplained physical phenomena. Evidence for such is various, ranging from positive results in dice-throwing experiments to reports of spectacular healings. I want to single out the poltergeist (“noisy spirit”) as a particularly interesting item on the menu of paranormality.
Interesting is the dual personality of the poltergeist, traditionally seen as mischievous haunting spirits; today the phenomenon is often thought to be the unconscious actings out of emotionally disturbed youngsters—paranormal, but not coming from outside this world. It turns out there are poltergeists where no disturbed children are involved, and where it looks like the poltergeist effects are caused by external, independently intelligent agents.
Poltergeists come in all shapes and forms, and in some cases wreak havoc on one’s sense of reality. It is hard to conceive of a power and intelligence that can dance around and manipulate physical reality the way the poltergeist apparently. I draw on A. Campbell Holms’ The Facts of Psychic Science for one of the strangest cases that occurred in Stratford, Conn., in 1850, and lasted for over a year and a half in the house of the Rev E. Phelps. Phelps lived with his wife, two teen age girls, two younger boys, and a maid.
It began on a day that the family came home from church. All the doors had been locked but when they came home the front door was wide open; everything in the nursery was in disorder, with chairs on the bed and things moved around and missing. Later in the day, a nightgown was found on the bed with the arms crossed as if to represent a corpse. Dr. Phelps put the nightgown and other objects that had been tampered with in a trunk, locked the trunk, and locked the door to the closet where he placed the trunk, placing the key in his pocket. Fifteen minutes later all the material locked away appeared outside the bedroom door. The door and the trunk were still locked. The objects somehow made their way through solid matter (such are called apports, matter through matter, and are repeatedly reported to occur in poltergeist cases). That was the first day. The following days for a year and a half, new, weirder, and more destructive phenomena took place.
Clergymen, reporters, neighbors and others came on the scene and witnessed the phenomena. At breakfast objects were thrown around the table. On the fourth day, Phelps, his wife and a friend, locked themselves in the sitting room, during which time forty-six objects dropped onto the floor from nowhere, nails, keys, blocks of wood, pieces of tin, etc. The next day the terrible poundings began that would climax with blood-curdling screams that came from nowhere. A chair rose in the air and then hit the floor again and again with marked violence. Stuffed effigies appeared that were made out of pillows and other objects from the house. Soon after hats and clothing were found hidden in the house. On one occasion a hat was seen ascend a stairway by itself. The young boy Harry was terrified when levitated into the air, and was once found suspended helplessly in a tree. Seventy-one panes of glass were broken. Mrs. Phelps suffered pin pricks all over her body as she tried to sleep. Dr. Phelps and Harry while driving in a closed carriage when they were pelted by rocks (that somehow entered the closed space of their carriage).
I’ve touched on just some of the details of this case. The literature of poltergeists is full of such strange phenomena, including incendiary, bell-ringing, and water-spewing poltergeists. There are two points I want stress about poltergeists, easily one of the most fascinating of phenomena. The first is to stress the incredible degree in which the poltergeist can subvert our idea of what is physically possible. The second is that the intelligence behind what we call poltergeists can get quite nasty and destructive.
These two points are worth stressing in light of the growing realization that we’re being visited by what we might call poltergeists of the sky or unknown aerial phenomena (UFOs and UAPs). Again, these entities shatter our assumptions as to what is physically possible and have proven themselves in many cases to be nasty and destructive. In comparing the two sets of phenomena, it’s hard to avoid feeling that they’re connected and possibly emanate from the same order of unknown reality. The question about the linkage between parapsychology and ufology needs to be probed more closely. The U.S. government is opening up to the reality of UFOs; it needs to open up to the realities of the paranormal. There is a gigantic picture of what may be going on that needs to be confronted. More on this front is coming.
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