I have noted, in previous blogs, two phenomenon, The Silence and Ghost Lights, that seem to be precursors to the opening of a window area or portal into the Otherworld. In the cases that I examined in those two blogs, these precursors appeared before the actual Fortean event manifested and I noted that investigators might want to pay more attention to these “warning signs” so that they can place themselves to interact with the phenomenon rather than simply taking reports later.
Considering these precursors to activity, I think that, once more, good things come in three. It seems to me that I have neglected one of the signals of paranormal activity that pops up in many reports that you read across the lore from UFO’s to Sasquatch and beyond. I will illustrate this warning sign with a story from my own experience.
Once upon a time, when I was a newly minted neo-pagan searching for reading material and contacts into the local community, I happened to hear of a bookstore in Phoenix, where I lived at the time, that was supposed to be “the place” for magical practitioners of all kinds. When I had a day off, I climbed in my car and, after some difficulty (this was before the day of GPS), I found the place, a little shop tucked into a strip mall in downtown Phoenix. From the outside, it did not look very impressive. In fact, it gave the impression of being rather run down but I had come this far and was determined to see what others were talking about.
As I laid my hand on the door of the shop, the hair on the back of my neck literally stood up and a frisson ran up my spine. Something in me backed away from that door for a moment and, being the cautious person that I am, I took a moment to ensure that my magical protections were in place before going into the store.
I walked into the place and I could feel my shields harden around me. If I had been standing on the bridge of the fictional starship Enterprise, the captain would have been shouting, “Shields up!” and probably would have had the weapons armed. At first glance, I could not understand why I was so “uptight”. The bookstore was a veritable cornucopia of literature for people of the magical persuasion. I should have been ecstatic over finding a place where I could buy books by authors that actually knew something about the subject but, as I continued to browse the stacks, I discovered that the shop carried tomes on magical practices that fell firmly on the ‘dark’ side as well as supplies for those practices. I’ve grown up a lot since that experience but, at the time, I was just coming out of my Judeo-Christian upbringing and had little experience of the spirit world. I was not prepared to deal with some of the ‘hotter’ spirits and, I believe, my inner self took steps to protect me that day.
How often, when reading a report of paranormal activity, have we seen people say things like:
I just felt like something was not right . . .
The hair stood up on the back of my neck . . .
I had that feeling my grandmother described as someone walking over your grave . . .
Something stopped me and I don’t know what it was . . .
I felt something was watching me but I was not sure why I felt that way . . .
And endless permutations of the above.
There are a lot of ways that we could explain “the feeling”. It might be due to a base level of psychic awareness present in most, if not all, people. If we view people as connected to the Universal Energy Field in some way, it might be the ‘voice’ of their ‘Higher Self” warning them of potential danger. Since I live in a world of spirits, I might say that the spirits warn us of issues. If we take a more ‘skeptical’ viewpoint, it might be their subconscious mind sifting out anomalous signals from the mass of sensory data around them (see Gavin De Becker’s interesting book, The Gift of Fear). As always, I am inclined to say yes to all these inputs and more.
Regardless of the source or sources of “That Feeling”, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that we need to pay attention when our early warning system tells us that something is amiss. As De Becker notes in the above-referenced book, the early warning system can save us from physical danger but, in the world of paranormal investigation, that ‘radar’ might actually guide investigators into the experiences that they seek.
Warning note: I have laid out three signs of potential paranormal activity throughout these pages. I am sure that there are more and I may write on them as they occur to me but I want to take a moment to issue a proviso to investigators. While I certainly understand the desire to pursue the paranormal and to actually see it for one’s self, I would be remiss if I did not encourage investigators to pay close attention not only to the signs – The Silence, Ghost Lights and That Feeling – but also what That Feeling might be telling them.
De Becker, in The Gift of Fear notes that many of the people he worked with could have avoided traumatic incidents if they had just listened to that intuitive sense that yelled “danger!” at them. I’ve made it clear though out these pages that some spirits simply do not like humans. Do not let your desire to explore overcome your danger sense. If you feel that something you are encountering or about to encounter is hostile to humans then chances are good that it is. Act accordingly based on your level of training and confidence in your ability to shield yourself and those with you.