(I decided to give an extra day or two between postings, just so it didn’t feel like I was spamming. On with the blog of ghostly phenomina! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! )
Every now and again a medium featured on a local TV show seems to slip up and mention he sees an apparition of someone the person being read insists is still very much alive. Has the medium lost his edge, or is he perhaps faking the whole thing?
Astral traveling or out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, doppelgangers, thought forms, crisis apparitions (and some would argue even zombies) can all fall under the category of “living ghosts”. With the exception of zombies, living ghosts are meant to be an un- or subconscious projection of a living person’s spirit/essence into another location. They mostly occur when the projector is asleep, daydreaming, or in a trans-like/meditative state. Here are a few descriptions to help understand the differences between them (but do keep in mind these are very short paragraphs – there are multiple books, websites and societies dedicated to each phenomina!) :
- Astral traveling/out-of-body experiences: These can be interchangeable terms, although astral traveling is generally considered a voluntary act, while an OBE is more spontaneous. In both cases the traveler in usually either asleep or in an altered state of consciousness and experiences a sensation of leaving the physical body behind. Some people report seeing a silver cord connecting the solar plexis areas of their physical and astral bodies. This cord is infinitely stretchy and remains in-tact so long as the physical body is alive. For some people the sensation of leaving the body and maybe floating above it is as far as the experience will go. However more adept practitioners (and those people who are open to the idea of having such experiences), may be able to travel great distances around the earth with nothing more than a thought. These astral bodies are sometimes picked up on by people who are sensitive to subtle energies (such as mediums) and can be mistaken for regular ghosts.
- Near-death experiences: Very similar to astral travelling and OBEs, a near-death experience is a temporary ejection of the spirit at the time of death. A person in the grips of this phenomenon may later describe looking down on their body, watching as people try to resuscitate them. There is usually a sense of calm/detachment and sometimes curiosity over what is occurring below them. Details from this point vary – the person realizes that they’re not quite done with their time on earth and willingly returns to their body; there is a white light that the person wants to approach, but they are told (either by a disembodied voice, or by a relative/friend who is deceased) that they have to return; there is a tunnel leading to the light which they begin to travel down, but are ultimately turned back; the person is surrounded by loved ones (sometimes angels or religious figures) who express immense joy at seeing them , but tell the person that it’s “not their time”. It is generally accepted that, unlike astral traveling or OBEs, the spirit of a person having a near-death experience is restricted to the general vicinity of their body and the area leading up to the white light.
- Doppelgangers: A living person’s spirit double that may, according to circumstances, be able to take a type of physical form. Doppelgangers fall into one of two categories – harmless, or a herald of death. The harmless versions are most times an unconscious projection of a person’s will, focus or desires. This entity is clearly visible to others (regardless of their level of psychic development), but the projector rarely sees it. Which is a good thing, as the theory goes that when a person lays eyes on their own doppelganger it becomes a herald of their impending death. (If you should ever take one of the official “Ghost Walks” in Victoria, British Columbia, be sure to ask the guide about the doppelganger sightings in Beacon Hill Park.)
- Thought forms: Also known as ‘tulpas’ in the Tibetan esoteric tradition, or ‘golem’ in the Jewish magical tradition, these are man-made ghosts – entities given a form of life through the sustained focus of the human mind. These artificial entities are created through intense concentration and other rites. If not treated with due care and diligence they can develop a measure of sentience and become troublesome. They can be difficult to dissolve once they reach this stage.
- Crisis apparitions: Many people can attest to having accurate feelings about their child or other loved one being in terrible trouble. Crisis apparitions are one step beyond this phenomenon, where the visage of the person/s in danger appears to friends, relatives or simply to people close enough to help. This seems to be an involuntary act of projection on the part of the victim, similar to a doppelganger effect.
Excellent examples of all of these can be found in ‘The Complete Book of Ghosts’ by Paul Roland.
So, have you experienced any of these phenomena? Or do you know a story of someone else who has? Don’t be shy – I’d love to hear about it!