Just how powerful, weird, and magical can our minds
get? I’ve been hunting around this
theme for a while, and I’m still not sure about what the limits are. We know the mind can do all sorts of
curious things (especially to our health). But how far can it go?
We can direct and consciously try to control our own bodies. But can the
mind directly produce effects on physical things outside our own bodies?
That would take us into the realm of paranormal psychokinesis—unexplained
physical phenomena. Evidence for
such is various, ranging from positive results in dice-throwing experiments to reports
of spectacular healings. I want to
single out the poltergeist (“noisy spirit”) as a particularly interesting item
on the menu of paranormality.
Interesting is the dual personality of the poltergeist,
traditionally seen as mischievous haunting spirits; today the phenomenon is often thought to be the unconscious actings
out of emotionally disturbed youngsters—paranormal, but not coming from outside
this world. It turns out there are
poltergeists where no disturbed children are involved, and where it looks like
the poltergeist effects are caused by external, independently intelligent
Poltergeists come in all shapes and forms, and in some cases
wreak havoc on one’s sense of
reality. It is hard to conceive of
a power and intelligence that can dance around and manipulate physical reality
the way the poltergeist apparently.
I draw on A. Campbell Holms’ The
Facts of Psychic Science for one of the strangest cases that occurred in
Stratford, Conn., in 1850, and lasted for over a year and a half in the house
of the Rev E. Phelps. Phelps lived
with his wife, two teen age girls, two younger boys, and a maid.
It began on a day that the family came home from
church. All the doors had been
locked but when they came home the front door was wide open; everything in the nursery
was in disorder, with chairs on the bed and things moved around and missing.
Later in the day, a nightgown was found on the bed with the arms crossed as if
to represent a corpse. Dr. Phelps
put the nightgown and other objects that had been tampered with in a trunk,
locked the trunk, and locked the door to the closet where he placed the trunk,
placing the key in his pocket.
Fifteen minutes later all the material locked away appeared outside the
bedroom door. The door and the
trunk were still locked. The
objects somehow made their way through solid matter (such are called apports, matter through matter, and are
repeatedly reported to occur in poltergeist cases). That was the first day. The following days for a year and a half, new, weirder, and
more destructive phenomena took place.
reporters, neighbors and others came on the scene and witnessed the phenomena. At breakfast objects were thrown around the table. On the
fourth day, Phelps, his wife and a friend, locked themselves in the sitting
room, during which time forty-six objects dropped onto the floor from nowhere,
nails, keys, blocks of wood, pieces of tin, etc. The next day the terrible poundings began that would climax
with blood-curdling screams that came from nowhere. A chair rose in the air and then hit the floor again and
again with marked violence. Stuffed effigies appeared that were made out of
pillows and other objects from the house.
Soon after hats and clothing were found hidden in the house. On one occasion
a hat was seen ascend a stairway by itself. The young boy Harry was terrified when levitated into the
air, and was once found suspended helplessly in a tree. Seventy-one panes of
glass were broken. Mrs. Phelps
suffered pin pricks all over her body as she tried to sleep. Dr. Phelps and
Harry while driving in a closed
carriage when they were pelted by rocks (that somehow entered the closed space
of their carriage).
I’ve touched on just some of the details of this case. The literature of poltergeists is full
of such strange phenomena, including incendiary, bell-ringing, and
water-spewing poltergeists. There are two points I want stress about
poltergeists, easily one of the most fascinating of phenomena. The first is to stress the incredible
degree in which the poltergeist can subvert our idea of what is physically
possible. The second is that the
intelligence behind what we call poltergeists can get quite nasty and
These two points are worth stressing in light of the growing
realization that we’re being visited by what we might call poltergeists of the
sky or unknown aerial phenomena (UFOs and UAPs). Again, these entities shatter our assumptions as to
what is physically possible and have proven themselves in many cases to be
nasty and destructive. In
comparing the two sets of phenomena, it’s hard to avoid feeling that they’re connected and
possibly emanate from the same order of unknown reality. The question about the linkage between
parapsychology and ufology needs to be probed more closely. The U.S. government is opening up to the
reality of UFOs; it needs to open up to the realities of the paranormal. There
is a gigantic picture of what may be going on that needs to be confronted. More on this front is coming.