When the pools of perception are clear, everything appears ‘as is.” ~Zen Proverb
We would all like to think that the waters of our perception are clear and that what we see and sense each day is actually what is there. We want to believe that what we sense is reality. The fact is, though, that our perceptions can be ruffled and, indeed, completely discombobulated by factors ranging from the introduction of chemicals into our bodies to the time of day when an observation takes place.
I’ve mentioned before the common practice of introducing a “crime” (like having someone run in and pretend to steal the instructor’s briefcase) into psychology or criminal justice classes and then having the students describe the “assailant”. In most cases, the descriptions of the “perpetrator” vary wildly. If presumably sober college students have trouble making a good observation under good lighting conditions in light stress conditions, imagine the difficulty a person making a paranormal observation might have in circumstances that are less than ideal and, indeed, may even be fear provoking.
Now, unlike the skepdebunkers, I do not use this idea to completely dismiss all eyewitness observations of paranormal phenomenon. On the contrary, I am quite willing to believe that most witnesses honestly saw something. While there will always be a certain percentage of hoaxers, attention seekers and mentally disturbed people in the field, I feel that most of the folks who have the fortitude to come forward are acting on their perception that they witnessed an extraordinary event.
The problem that we have, though, is that the event that the person witnessed might be something completely different from what actually occurred. In one of my previous blogs, I spoke extensively about the possibility that some of the alien abductions that create so much interest in the UFO community are actually the result of governmental experiments in mind control technologies. What we have to consider as well is the idea of what magicians call glamour.
Now, obviously, I am not talking about the fashion industry. In magic, a glamour is a magical working that alters people’s perception of the magician. As an example, let us say that a magic worker was going to be forced by circumstances to walk through a very questionable part of town. The magician might work an invisibility spell (no, the worker does not disappear from view but, instead, people tend to be looking elsewhere when he or she is in the area) or that individual might wrap themselves in a glamour that projects confidence and the ability to take care of ones self in a bad situation. I call this the “I am a badass” spell. Since street thugs tend to be ambush predators who look for weak prey, this type of glamour along with some native caution will generally dissuade all but the most desperate muggers.
So, a human being with sufficient training can change the perception of those around him or her. Now consider, for a moment, the legends of any of the local faery folk, many species of whom have a foothold in this world and the Other. One of the things that you quickly learn about these races is that they are quite able to change the perception of the humans around them. The gold they placed in a person’s hand becomes leaves and dirt once the human is out of faery influence or something else breaks the spell (sunrise, for example). The ugly hag turns into a beautiful maiden (or vice versa). The beautiful, fire-lit, comfortable cottage becomes a fog ridden damp clearing when the glamour dissipates. Openings into the Otherworld are hidden by magic and only become visible when the faery desire it or when one has been able to obtain certain oils or spells that make one immune to faery glamour.
The faery are just one of the races that inhabit the Otherworld and, like most denizens of the Other, there are some faery that favor humans, some who ignore us and others that simply despise us. I think that the folklore supports the idea that there are quite a number of beings living in the Other who not only can but do influence human perception and this idea opens out a whole new area of interest. What if what the witness reports is what he or she perceived but is not actually the case?
There are a whole slew of really wild cases that one could apply this thought to but I do not want to point fingers or seem to be speaking ill of any witness. It is not my place to tell people what they did or did not see. I think that this theory is one to consider, though, the next time you read a report and your credulity is stretched to the breaking point. Rather than thinking that the person or persons making the report are either liars, delusional or paranoid beyond belief, consider the compassionate alternative. These folks may have encountered something from the Otherside that has them believing all manner of incredible things because, in their perception, these things are real.
This native issue with our perception is just one more reason for developing some reliance on intuition and psychic ability. These ‘additional’ modes of perception are useful in seeing through the glamour of Otherworldly beings. Nothing is 100% but, in our dealings with the Otherside, the more tools we have, the better off we are.