Psychical Phenomena Dynamics

The collaboration continues…

This collaboration just continues to evolve in my opinion and Sarah’s latest post; ‘Unperceived existence and the paranormal,’ brings us to some real aspects of philosophy. As Sarah stated; ‘while talking about these kind of aspects isn’t usually what you will find in mainstream discussions about the paranormal. I feel they very much have a place in the way we think about paranormal phenomena. More so they are something that we should be exploring and talking about given we all have so many different areas of knowledge and experience.’ It has always been my aim to, through my own work, perhaps inspire others to look further beyond the commonly accepted ideas within the paranormal field. Something you often hear during events, investigations or perhaps general discussions in the paranormal field; with comments like; ‘oh that’s stone tape,’ being used without fundamental discussion or investigation.

In her latest Supernatural Synchronicity post; ‘Unperceived existence and the paranormal,‘ Sarah discusses the age old philosophical debate regarding; if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound? Oddly a philosophical discussion that has been present throughout my life and one that I have found to be all too relevant to the field of the paranormal. This equally highlights a huge point, which looks at whether phenomena may occur without our presence. In previous discussions I’ve had the greatest support come from the suggestion that some phenomena is recorded on video for example, but often when there is no one present local to the phenomena. Which basically means paranormal phenomena is caught on video, this could be due to cameras being purposely placed or just because there was camera in the right place at the right time. The problem I have with this being supportive of the suggestion that activity occurring when there isn’t anyone around is that perhaps our perception of how something is observed or even when it may cause probable impact. Just because we are not local to a paranormal event doesn’t mean that our remote or later observations shouldn’t be considered as having an effect on phenomena.

Paranormal philosophy…

This is a really hard concept to grasp though as we live in a world where, you need to be in the forest to hear that tree fall. However that’s not exactly true in regards to paranormal phenomena. A fantastic example of this is Crisis Apparitions. Two books, which were written by early members of the SPR document a fair bit on those too; ‘Phantasms of the Living’ by Gurney, Myers and Podmore, ‘Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death’ by Myers. Both were written back in the good old days of psychical research, so may be a little tough going. However Brandon Massullo wrote an excellent book called; ‘The Ghost Studies’ more recently that ties Crisis Apparitions into this theory, which is worth a read.

Crisis apparitions…

Basically a Crisis Apparition is said to appear to a family member, loved one or close friend at the time the person dies or experiences a highly traumatic event. I believe the time frame is generally plus or minus twelve hours from the time of the event. Although I’m not sure that twelve hours is completely set in stone. The reason this relates to the tree in the forest situation is because often the event occurs somewhere non-local to the person seeing the Crisis Apparition. So, basically something happens somewhere and someone can be aware of it somewhere else. Perhaps if you had a deep emotional connection to our tree, then when it fell in the forest you would know. A Crisis Apparition of a tree? Well people have seen stranger things!

When we look at accounts of phenomena the common denominator is always us, no matter how much we try to discount it, we are always present to witness what happens in its varying forms. This then brings into question concepts like residual energy or the stone tape theory. Both suggest a ‘recording’ of events or an individual has occurred leaving it to continuously play on loop for all time. It’s a beautifully romantic possibility I won’t deny that and if I couldn’t return as an ‘intelligent’ spirit interacting with fellow investigators then at least let me be a recording for friends and family  to visit. The problem here is that often this recording is associated with traumatic emotional events that allow them to imprint on a locations structure, in theory! However this again is more theory than fact. If memory serves me well, I’m sure I once read about Andrew Green investigating such a case, but there turned out to be no traumatic event and the ghosts seen were actually still alive. Things like that are why I question these theories that often become accepted normality to many ghost hunters.

Emotional ties…

However emotional ties do seem to be an important part in regards to Crisis Apparitions. Bonds built up through emotion or even gradually over time do appear to have such a bearing on whether or not we see a loved one at the time of their death. Although there is also what seems a certain amount of randomness too. This brings us back to information and how we interpret it. Sometimes Crisis Apparitions can be quite cryptic, even to the extent where the witness is almost unaware their friend or family member has died or had something traumatic occur. They may not even recognise the person and then relate the event once they learn the person has died. Oddly you also seem to encounter these kind of situations in a hospital or care home environment too. Obviously this is likely to be the bond between carer and patient that presents itself in a manner similar to family or friends. In fact recent research by Alejandro Parra into activity in a hospital setting most definitely suggests its  and interesting place to look into with something obviously going on.


This all does begin to highlight another piece to the puzzle though doesn’t it; that possible emotional attachments can help with probable flow of information telepathically. Somehow perhaps that’s why we end up seeing such things as Crisis Apparitions. However it still leaves us a little vague on things like random apparitions at supposedly haunted locations and those weirder scenario’s when objects appear to move by themselves, either when you’re there or not. Now we can touch on objects moving in another post perhaps, so for now I’m going to stick with apparitions. I recently read an interesting blog by Cat Ward ( on Vardogrs, which talks of apparitions of people before they arrive, so to speak. So, you may see a vision of your friend that then disappears only to become a reality later when the actually physically arrive. So, once again an apparition of the living perhaps rather than the dead. Something which could be seen perhaps as a premonition of events that were soon to occur. Ward details a few examples in her blog on this and also references ‘Phantasms of the Living’ too. The point being these experiences seem to be so vivid in their nature that they were often mistaken as real. Once again the intent in the cases mentioned by Ward, seems to be given as the commonality here. As Ward mentions intent is a form of emotional output, so once again emotions come into it too.

The point here being that in the cases of Vardogrs there may well be intent and indeed an emotional tie, but that intent may not have been conscious. In fact the unconscious aware of what was to occur later may have projected the information or even communicated the information telepathically. Thus the witness of the Vardogrs is more a recipient of information transmitted telepathically and which they then decipher in relation to their own localised environment. We often get caught up with a physical (so to speak) aspect, which could potentially project an apparition or manifest one similar to the concept of a ‘Tulpa’ as Ward mentions. Either way it’s an interesting point and once again like the Andrew Green case shows us that we shouldn’t be so quick to determine all apparitions as being related to the dead. A point, which in itself lays a huge amount of query at the door of Ghost Hunters who often relate any activity to potential spirits that have physical past relationships with the location. We need to determine the source before we can truly discern the who! If indeed there is a who.

So, if that tree falls…

If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound? Of course it does, but like paranormal investigation, if you’re not measuring the right elements then you sure as hell can’t prove it. Equally and perhaps from a more spiritual perspective, if you had a strong connection to that tree that falls, then perhaps you would feel its demise. Perhaps you might have a precognitive dream showing you the tree crashing to the forest floor. As odd as all this seems, it’s important we look at other philosophical possibilities as well as psychological, physiological and environmental too. The very reality of true psychical phenomena is a determined dynamic, which requires certain aspects to align before we witness that all important activity. It’s this lack of simultaneous evaluation that probable means we often miss a heck of a lot of activity, in my opinion.

These ‘psychical phenomena dynamics‘ can often be seen in séance room type experiments. This is due to the focus being in one space, generally a room around a table. The people involved often have a common trust and belief, I’m talking here of more closed groups now – similar to the Scole Experimental Group. There also is an understood process or approach to the session that all involved buy in to – again the Scole Experimental Group and Philip Experiment being prime examples. It is often in these environments we see some interesting phenomena occur. All of which is due to this probable ‘psychical phenomena dynamics‘; it can even be seen in some investigation teams too as they work closely in a tight trusted group. However as they change aspects like the environment the dynamic is shifted slightly and then less activity may occur.

So, the question still remains though; is it power of spirit or power of mind? What is the source or indeed sources of this phenomena? In order to really know we need to discuss the topic, gather the data and start really looking for those patterns – together. That way we should be able to determine the true nature of ‘psychical phenomena dynamics.’    

Over to Sarah…

As it now seems that we are far into philosophical debate around the concepts of the paranormal. What do you think? Perhaps a good time to hand over to Sarah Chumacero. Sarah will then comment on what I’ve written and add her own thoughts too in a post on her website ‘Living Life in Full Spectrum‘, but this discussion shouldn’t end there. Please feel free to get involved and comment below.

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