Tag Archives: psychic senses

The Role of Psychism in the Paranormal


I was listening to Marie D Jones on Into the Fray radio today and something that she and Ryan Sprague were talking about hit the “I need to write a blog on that” chord.  Basically, the discussion revolved around how, in some paranormal cases, one person will experience an event while another will stand to the side and wonder what all the fuss is about.

I first noticed this phenomenon in magical circles many moons ago.  In the more public era of my pagan life, I participated in quite a number of different rituals.  I would often come out of these rituals thrilled at the energies I had experienced only to have someone standing around at the feast afterward saying something like “it was a lovely ritual but I did not feel much”.  I remember thinking, in my more youthful hubris, that such people must be “concrete heads” not to have experienced anything in the ceremony.

In the same manner, two investigators may walk into a house that is allegedly haunted. One investigator may have multiple experiences while the other sits in the dark all night and experiences nothing, even with a coterie of electronic devices to keep that investigator company.

It seems, at times, as though the paranormal is controlled by an intelligence that is determined to leave humans standing, scratching their heads.  Given the many legends of trickster spirits, I think there is likely something to that idea but I also think that, often, there is a much simpler explanation of the seemingly random firing of the phenomenon that we study: sensitivity.

In the more public period that I spoke of above, I used to earn part of my living doing readings at my local metaphysical book store.  I can not begin to tell you how many people I looked at and asked “why are you talking to me, you could be doing this reading for yourself?”  Mouths would drop open and expressions of denial would spring to their lips but the truth was that , even though they denied it, these people had a lot of latent psychic ability.

You might recognize these folks: they are the people who ‘just have  a feeling’ that they should turn right instead of left and avoid an accident, who always seem to know who is calling or who have dreams about things that subsequently happen.  They do not think of themselves as psychic since only “those” people (you know the ones with the dark, incense laden parlors, cheesy robes and turbans) are psychic.  Whether they own the title or not, these people have enough ‘bleed through’ of their psychic abilities to respond to them, even if it is only at a barely conscious level.

On the other hand, you have people who, for one reason or the other, have sealed themselves away from their psychic selves, put those abilities behind a door and throw away the key.  I referred to these people as ‘concrete heads’ above and this is a pretty apt description; nothing short of the physical manifestation of the Archangel Michael or a strong poltergeist slapping them in the back of the head is going to get through to these people.  Whether it is their upbringing in a fundamentalist setting or simply their fear of being outside societal norms, these folks will not allow themselves to utilize the psychic, at least not consciously.

Psychic sensitivity runs a continuum, of course, from those that are aware of their abilities and use then to those that simply refuse to acknowledge psychicsm at all and will consciously ignore any input that does not arise from rational thought.  Add to this the fact (at least in my world) that no two psychics are the same and may have quite different modes of psychic perception and you begin to understand why two or more people in the presence of a paranormal phenomenon may have markedly different experiences.

Let’s go back to our haunted house and add another ghost hunter.  So, we have one ‘concrete head’, one sensitive person of some sort and one person who identifies as a medium.  The person who has shut away their psychism will very likely experience nothing or only have vague feelings of disturbance that they may or may not be able to verify with their equipment.  The sensitive may feel cold spots, have the feeling of being watched or may actually feel that they have been touched.  The medium, if there are spirits present may actually be able to see or hear those spirits and communicate with them.  Different level and varieties of psychic talent; different experiences.

I would make the argument that it is good to have different types of people on an investigation team.  If you have a whole team of mediums on a ghost hunt things are going to get out of hand pretty quickly.  On the other hand, a team of concrete heads will find that their investigations are, for the most part, not very interesting.  If you have different levels of ability on a team though then you have the opportunity to cross check what is going on around you.  If the medium on point says that they feel a spirit in a location and the concrete head tells you that there is a twenty degree temperature drop in the area the medium is pointing to then you can be pretty sure something is happening.  If the concrete head is even feeling a vibe about a place, then you might want to hold your medium in reserve or have them go in shielded to avoid over-taxing them.



Missing 411: An Interesting Psychic Impression

In my recent post, Missing 411, I spoke at some length about the work of David Paulides and the many mysterious disappearances he has documented in wilderness areas all over the U.S. and, now, in other parts of the world. I noted, in that article, that there could be a number of explanations for the phenomenon, ranging from the mundane to the more esoteric. I also stated that:

it appears that soon I will be within striking distance of one of Mr. Paulides’ clusters in the Adirondacks. I will do some etheric reconnaissance and report the results here once I am settled.

Now, I had intended to do just that but, as you know, moving is not something that is accomplished overnight, especially when the move is cross country. I am getting settled in my new locale but I have not had a chance to set the geography of the Adirondacks in my mind so that I have reliable waypoints to visit in an etheric reconnaissance. Much of the difference between the etheric and astral has to do with congruence, the level of solidity that you bring to the projection. In astral projection, you can simply flit from place to place but in the etheric, you want to maintain a good connection with the physical world so you may follow a road or highway or known landmarks to enhance your feeling of really being there. As I have said, I and others who have tried this have had some pretty remarkable experiences working with this style of projecting.

The incident that I am about to relate happened under circumstances where I was not in deep trance nor was I working on any sort of projection. I was, in fact, taking a long walk up along a road that tracks up one of the many hills in my new area (I am in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains). Now, those of you who walk distances know that, once you get into your stride, you can often experience a sort of light trance, in the flow feeling. I’ve had some vision experiences when running or walking but, obviously, these things have to be carefully regulated since one does not want to mis-step and break an ankle or worse.

In any event, I was walking briskly along this road in my neighborhood,not thinking about anything in particular, when I became aware of a presence on one of the hillsides far across from me. The place where I was walking presented a vista, across a valley, looking out into the foothills. One particular hill had caught my attention. I would say that this small mountain was somewhere between a half mile to a mile away from where I was walking.

I did not see anything with my physical eyes although I thought I had seen a shadow or something moving across that distance and this darkness was what first attracted my attention. As I slowed for a moment, trying to parse out what I thought I had seen, I became aware of a sensation of cold, almost as though I had stepped into one of the cold spots that ghost hunters are always talking about. I want to stress that this was not a physical sensation but more of a psychic scent. I do shamanic work very frequently and I became aware, on the subtle level, of one of my power animals standing near by. He was not happy and he expressed this to me in no uncertain terms.

I had not come to a complete stop but had slowed considerably from the pace I had been keeping as I looked out over that vista. The feeling of cold hung with me and, in my mind’s eye, I could see something black stalking through the woods, looking at me as I looked at it. This would likely have been more frightening if the creature had been closer. As it was, I did not have a clear view of the entity, either physically or psychically and I suspect this is because the being did not want to be seen. If I had to venture a guess, the energy felt similar to the energy of the legendary Black Dogs of Great Britain (and to a much lesser extent, the Americas).

The coldness faded quickly after the creature realized I was there and looking at it and the whole incident could not have lasted more than 30 seconds but it certainly gave me pause. If there are Black Dogs or something similar in the woods not far from my home then what else might be wandering farther out into the wilds?

Now, just to put this in perspective, the Land around my new home is incredibly powerful and loaded with Faery energies most of which are quite neutral to humans and some of which are quite willing to work with us. I do not think that the forests around here are swarming with creepy crawlies and things that go bump in the night. I rather suspect that the beneficent forces in the area keep such things in check, for the most part, but I am more convinced now that some of Mr. Paulides’ cases have an esoteric twist. Stay tuned as I get out into those hills more.