As a secular rationalist who has utilised the Chinese Buddhist meditation techniques to put my mind in order, (and turn it the right way around), I must stress from the start that I neither ‘believe’ or ‘disbelieve’ in the notions of ghosts. Furthermore, as I do not follow, nor have I been influenced by the Judeo-Christian religion, I do not accept (or limit my experiences to) the often clichéd categories of ‘theist’, atheist’, or ‘agnostic’, and I neither ‘believe’ nor ‘disbelieve’ in a god-construct as a ‘first cause’ for existence, or as a psychological or emotional prop when times get hard. In fact, I view much of what passes as ‘religion’ as an interesting, but nevertheless misconstrued body of work premised mostly upon fantasy and myth. It seems to me that when humanity does not understand the machinations of the physical world, it retires into the confines of its own skull, and begins to worship random thought constructs that keep it warm on a cold night. However, I do acknowledge that usually well hidden aspects of religious teachings, do often contain the kernels of mind development techniques, but that these teachings are side-lined by religious authorities who simply wish to continue the religious domination of physical facts through the agency of myth. In a very real sense, the worshipping of ‘myth’ is not religion in the sense that religion is supposed to be a developmental device that ‘binds’ the aspirant with a higher goal, rather than condemn him or her to an earthly existence addicted to passing mental constructs.
Do paranormal events exist? From a strictly empirical perspective the answer is ‘no’. This means that there has never been a single ‘paranormal’ or ‘supernatural’ event observed as happening under the scrutiny of scientific conditions. This is because a so-called ‘paranormal event’ is defined as the momentary ‘suspending’ of the laws of nature. It is interesting to note that the ‘suspending’ of the laws of nature is exactly how the Judeo-Christian religion defines a ‘miracle’ and this seems to be the cultural base in the West for secular, paranormal events. Just as people believed ‘miracles’ happened during the religiously dominated medieval period, people living in the post-modern era continue this tradition and ‘believe’ that they too are also experiencing paranormal events. The modern academic subject of ‘Paranormal Psychology’ studies why people think they are experiencing paranormal events, and investigates (where possible) the physical circumstance surrounding the alleged event. To date, the vast majority of investigations have been solved as being the products of misconstrued natural events, hallucinations (singular or group), psychological or psychiatric dysfunction, and fraud. Although a small number of these investigations have not been solved, the circumstances surrounding them have not been declared ‘paranormal’ simply because there is no supporting evidence. The thinking is that these events will be explained as being ‘natural’ in due course.
The rational evidence, which is not premised upon religious faith, suggests that there is no such thing as paranormal events, and that what we are seeing is the reconstruction of a cultural religious myth repackaged for a secular age (similar to how Carl Jung explained that UFO’s were actually ‘halos’ re-imagined by Christians who were trying to come to terms with a modern technology that renders the teachings of the bible more or less redundant). Science defines reality in two ways; 1) Newtonian Mechanics which explains that the physical world is ‘measurable’ and clearly functions through cause and effect. The understanding of this cause and effect in many areas of physical life (including the atomic, and molecular) has allowed humanity to develop industry, medicine and advanced technology.
This advanced technology has enable humanity to ‘see’ into the atom and discern the sub-atomic particles and their peculiar behaviour. 2) Quantum Theory has been facilitated by the development of advanced technology that has allowed for the exploration of sub-atomic particles – which ‘appear’ and ‘disappear’ in the empty space that is being observed. Not only this, but sub-atomic particles (that appear unconnected) in physical space, effect one another without an observable medium that physically connects the two together. Of course, this does not mean that there is no connecting medium, but just that at the moment in the development of human science, no connecting medium has been discerned. This means that the macro-world as experienced by the bodily senses (and interpreted by the mind), is deterministic and obvious to understand through a developed mind. However, underlying the obvious surface-level of the world is a free-flowing void where sub-atomic particles arise and pass away in a non-deterministic manner. The physical world of human existence is both deterministic and non-deterministic, so although ‘nothing is certain’ (Heisenberg) at the sub-atomic level, everything is determinable (or ‘certain’) at the macro-level. What Western scientists have discovered through the use of advanced technology and experimentation, the Buddhist philosophical path assumes that it can realise through the extensive discipline of the body, and intense focusing of the mind, as if the Quantum vacuum (void) can be discovered by looking into the essence of physical matter (form). This happens because the ‘mind’ is focused (but not limited to) the brain, and the physical matter of the brain is the substance the Buddhist intensely studies through meditation.
Science – whether ‘Newtonian’ or ‘Quantum’ – is not myth but established fact, even if we admit the caveat that science is not a finished product, but a process very much in perpetual motion. Quantum Theory – although often co-opted by religionists to justify their belief systems – is neither ‘mythology’ nor ‘theology’. It is the product of a discerning mind observing and stripping-back the multitudinous layers of physical and Quantum existence. This is the basis from which I investigate my (two) experiences today that happened to me as a child. Although these experiences could be construed as ‘paranormal’, I am of the opinion that they are primarily ‘psychological’ in origin.
Experience One – Aged Two (1969) – Oxfordshire
My constructive memories start at around two and a half, and just before this time, my parents inform me that I used to come into their bedroom in the middle of the night, and say that there was a man standing in my bedroom – which was a small single room located across the landing. They would investigate and find no one, but I was allowed to sleep in their room every time this happened. When my family moved from this home, we were contacted by a friend who informed us that our old house had been in the local press. Apparently the new tenants who moved in after we left, reported seeing a WWII RAF pilot in the bedroom I used to sleep in. He apparently manifested halfway through the floor (as if he were standing on a different level to that which the house was built on). Historical research revealed that this area of Oxfordshire was once a WWII RAF base prior to the building of a new housing estate.
Experience Two – Aged Eight (1975) – Devon
I slept in a large bedroom situated at the back of the house. I would wake-up in the middle of the night because I thought that I heard movement in the room. Looking-up I would see numerous people dressed in what I would describe as ‘Elizabethan’ dress – they seemed to be walking along a road or lane, more or less taking no notice of me. This housing estate dates back to WWII and was apparently built by German Prisoners of War. Before this, the area was farm land. I had this experience a number of times for about a year – and then my family moved house and the visions ceased. Afterwards, my family was contacted by the next tenants who had moved in. They asked us whether we had seen anything strange in the house, as they had been so frightened, they left to live elsewhere. They slept in my former back bedroom, and said that they used to hear noises and that on one night, a tea-set securely stored to the back of the top of a wardrobe, suddenly shot across the room and smashed into pieces!
I think that the phenomenon of lucid dreaming more or less explains these experiences. This occurs in a state of awareness that exists between the waking and sleeping state, where dreams manifesting in the mind, appear to the experiencer as if they are happening in the surrounding physical environment. In other words, events that seem to be concrete and real are mental constructs and are only theoretical imprints on the surface of the mind of physical events that may or may not have actually happened in the real world. In Elizabethan times, for instance, people obviously walked up or down roads and lanes, but this fact does not mean that they were doing so in the 1970’s, in a bedroom in Devon! Many WWII RAF fighter-pilots died whilst protecting the UK from Nazi German invasion, and many of these brave men would try to pilot their badly damaged aeroplanes back to their bases. Many of these men were also severally wounded whilst doing this. They attempted this because of the lack of RAF aeroplanes in the UK – making even a damaged Spitfire or Hurricane extremely valuable. Whether or not I saw a WWII pilot in Oxfordshire in 1969 – I do not truthfully know, although it is curious that others said that they did. It is further curious that others also said they experienced strange happenings in Devon after my (remembered) experiences. It could be that statistically people experience strange things quite often, and that a correlation between ‘witnessing’ events is being assumed where none actually exists. It could also be that chains of events are being inversed – or remembered back to front – placing the events in the wrong order or out of logical sequence. The apparent corroboration of my experiences by people unrelated to me, or unfamiliar with my experiences, would need to be subject to investigation to see if they are ‘real’ or simply ‘imagined’ events such as those used to justify religious experiences or ‘miracles’. As it stands, I do not know if these testimonies are correct or not.