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Unraveling the mystery of the eerie presence

Added Fri, 06/10/2023
Дата публикации
Fri, 06/10/2023

Have you ever felt an inexplicable presence in a room when you were completely alone? Many people have experienced such eerie sensations, but they cannot understand and explain them. However, recent studies shed light on the scientific basis of these unearthly phenomena.

A look into the past

Back in 1894, the Society for Psychical Research (OPI) conducted one of the most extensive studies of paranormal phenomena. As part of the study "Census of Hallucinations", more than 17,000 people in the UK, USA and Europe were interviewed in order to find out the prevalence of seemingly impossible visits that portend death.

The results of the SPR study were striking: one in 43 respondents reported that they had similar experiences. This indicated that such meetings occur too often to be a mere coincidence.

In 1886, the SPR also published the book "Phantasms of the Living", which recorded 701 cases of telepathy, premonitions and other unusual phenomena. Among them were such stories as the story of the Reverend P. H. Newnam, who was warned by his nocturnal presence in New Zealand not to go on a boat trip. Later he found out that all the participants of this trip tragically drowned.

Although these publications have been criticized for lack of scientific validity, they have opened up new possibilities for understanding these unexplained encounters.

Scientific research

Many of the experiences collected by the SPR resemble a phenomenon known as hypnagogy - hallucinatory experiences that occur on the verge of sleep. It has been suggested that some religious experiences recorded in the 19th century may have been based on hypnagogy.

The feeling of presence is closely related to sleep paralysis, which affects about 7% of adults at least once in their lives. During sleep paralysis, the muscles remain motionless as a remnant of REM sleep, while consciousness remains active and awake. Studies show that more than 50% of people suffering from sleep paralysis report that they encounter the presence of a person.

Interestingly, while in the Victorian era, the presences recorded by SPR were often comforting or benevolent, modern examples caused by sleep paralysis usually cause a feeling of anger.

A global phenomenon

Nocturnal phenomena are not limited to any particular region or culture. Different societies have their own stories about such meetings. For example, Portuguese folklore tells of a "little monk with a pierced hand" (Fradinho da Mao Furada) who penetrates people's dreams. The Yoruba people in Nigeria believe in Ogun Oru, whose presence is believed to be the result of enchantment.

The paradox of paralysis

The question remains open: why does a sense of presence arise in sleep paralysis? Some researchers suggest that this phenomenon is facilitated by the unique features of awakening in such an unusual state. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by fear, even without hallucinations, which makes it a painful experience for most people.

Expert opinions

Dr. Mary Aiken, a cyberpsychologist, explains:

"Our brain is complex and prone to failures. When we encounter something that does not fit into our idea of reality, it can cause us to feel anxious and search for answers."

Renowned neuroscientist Dr. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran adds:

"The brain is capable of causing unusual experiences that may seem supernatural. Understanding the neural mechanisms underlying these experiences can help debunk paranormal phenomena."

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