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Altered States and the Expansion of Awareness

Growing up in the rural countryside of Western North Carolina, it’s not uncommon to see a variety of different kinds of wildlife. Deer, wild turkeys, black bear, and a host of other creatures that are common only to those who look for them abound, and yet are often overlooked by those whose eyes aren’t trained to spot them along roadways, at the edges of forests, and around farmland where food for many of these animals grows in abundance.

Once I reached my teenage years, I recall being amused at how many of my friends seemed unaware of these animals that typically were all around us at any given time. As we’d go careening off down a country road somewhere, I was always the one that would spot a skittish doe as she foraged along the edge of the treeline nearby. Other times, I would chuckle at the flocks of turkeys that could be seen flapping about in cornfields in broad daylight of mid-afternoon. What was often funnier to me, however, was that my friends almost never saw these animals.

“You mean to tell me you didn’t see that turkey we just drove past?” I might remark something along these lines about one of the stray hens my friends in the car would always miss. Altogether, it seemed evident to me from a fairly early age that there were a lot of things in the world that, in order to be seen, really had to have somebody that was willing to look for them.

If we apply this manner of thinking to other subjects, it might stand to reason that there are a variety of things about our world, and perhaps reality in general, which require more active participation in order to be observed. Recently, a friend and listener of my podcast, The Gralien Report, wrote in with a story along these lines, in which he felt that experimentation over the years with psilocybin–the active hallucinogen within “magic mushrooms”–had expanded his awareness of the world in such a way that he and his friends who had done the same experienced things in reality which others did not.

James, the listener in question, told me a story about an unusual experience that occurred during a camping trip many years ago with his friend, who he calls “Jack.” While gathering firewood in preparation for that night, the two men observed three golden spheres, which they judged to each be roughly the size of a softball, hovering in the sky in a triangular formation. Up until that time, neither of the men had ever observed anything they would liken to a UFO.

“We stood there for a solid two minutes before we said anything, and the spheres didn’t budge,” James remembered. “I had the sensation we were being watched like the spheres knew we were there. Jack was freaked, but he composed himself and did his best to hide his fear.”

Sometime later, James returned back to the field to look for the spheres, which remained precisely where they had been earlier, hovering in a perfect triangular formation. At this point, James felt an overwhelming sensation that he was being watched and began to grow uneasy.

“Even though this was a time we were experimenting with hallucinogens, we were stone sober when we spotted the spheres,” James said. Later that evening, the two men decided that taking a small number of mushrooms might calm their nerves, which did work up until around the time they went to sleep. However, after laying down in his tent, James began to feel the same overpowering sensation of being watched again. Later that night, he awoke to the sound of footsteps outside his tent, which he recalled being unmistakably human, or belonging to some other bipedal animal.

“I always wondered if our experimentation with hallucinogens had anything to do with our sighting that evening, and now with further reading and research, I heavily suspect the two were connected.” James further noted that after the experience while camping, he and his friend Jack “never touched mushrooms again.”

It’s anybody’s guess whether the use of mind-expanding substances like this could make an individual more prone to having experiences that fall outside the ordinary. Modern science would tell us that such experiences–if occurring while in a state where reality is augmented (such as the case with hallucinogens)–would inherently make the narrative less reliable.

Alternatively, could it be that some people who have undergone the mind-altering effects of hallucinogens are in some ways more capable of perceiving unusual things, whether or not due to a sort of “heightened” or expanded awareness? Again, the thought comes back to mind of one having more or less experience growing up around wild animals, and hence possessing a greater ability to spot them in their natural habitat.

Whether or not one is seeking to have an experience that some might call “paranormal”, there is at least some degree of precedent for the idea that controlled use of mind-altering substances can lead to positive changes in a person’s perception of reality. Studies conducted over the years at John Hopkins University have shown that psilocybin administered to patients during studies had the capacity to affect their outlook on life, and improve their attitude, especially when going through periods of stress or doubt.

A general change in attitude or perception, in other words, might indeed have an effect on one’s experiences in life. Whether or not such things played a causal role in people’s experiences with unusual phenomenon (i.e. UFOs, etc), it could certainly be the case that a person who, after experiencing the lasting effect of an induced altered state, would have an outlook on reality that is more open to having such experiences. 

The question of whether altered states of consciousness may have a relationship to people’s experiences with the unexplained has often been raised by researchers–academic and laymen alike–over the years. Maybe understanding that relationship, and the potentials it has for teaching us new things about consciousness, makes it a worthwhile endeavor for future study.



Enfield poltergeist: one of the most famous and mysterious paranormal phenomena, is still considered a mystery

The Enfield Poltergeist is still considered a mystery, but experts on the unknown do not get tired of trying to solve it.

Fans of horror probably watched the movie “The Conjuring 2”, as well as the series “The Enfield Haunting,” but they hardly know that these on-screen horrors are based on an absolutely real story. A series of paranormal events took place in the city of Anfield in 1977. The poltergeist, who terrorized a single mother and her children, was shot on photo and video equipment, but this did not help to get closer to his solution.

It all started when the children of Peggy Hodgson – 13-year-old Margaret, 11-year-old Janet, 10-year-old Johnny and 7-year-old Billy – began to complain to their mother that the furniture in their rooms moves at night. At first, the mother considered this a childhood fantasy, but when she saw how the heavy chest of drawers moved away from the wall by itself, and then fell into place, she had to believe in the incredible. Neighbors came to them – the first witnesses of inexplicable phenomena.

Experts came to understand the strange events and captured the frightening tricks of the poltergeist.

The mysterious something that lived in the house was rampant more and more – things flew around the rooms, dishes hit the walls, little Janet was thrown into the air.

The cries of children and the fright of those present seemed to amuse the invisible joker. And his tricks became more and more meaner and meaner.

Janet was especially hit. She now and then fell into a trance and spoke in other people’s voices. All this was recorded in the most conscientious manner in the photo and video.

Researchers who first encountered such a clear and aggressive spirit did not know how to help the Hodgson family.

After a year and a half, the poltergeist calmed down, and since then has reminded only in the nightmares of the younger members of the family. But things no longer flew, and the furniture did not move. 

The “favorite” of Poltergeist Janet, even having matured, recalled with trembling that period of her life.

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Vatican chief exorcist describes signs of devil obsession

Image: © Hernán Piñera

The main Catholic exorcist, father Gabriel Amort, who died in 2016, said that he had met the devil 60 thousand times in 30 years. The book of his colleague Marcello Stantsione, “The Devil is Afraid of Me,” describes priestly exorcism sessions and signs of obsession, reports the Daily Mail.

The exorcist claimed that he once encountered Satan in the morning of 1997 – then a young Italian was brought to his office in Rome. Amort noted that the possessed knew only his native language, but the spirit inside him spoke excellent English. The priest began a session of exile and demanded that the devil give his name. “He was shocked when he was told that the spirit is Lucifer himself,” the newspaper writes. When the exorcist ordered Lucifer to leave the Italian, the body of the young man tensed, ascended over the floor for several minutes, and then collapsed into a chair. After this, Satan admitted defeat and named the exact day and time when he left, Amorth said.

Father Amort became a student of the exorcist in 1986, and already in 1990 founded the International Association of Exorcists. First, he conducted sessions in the temple of the Holy Stairs, then moved to the headquarters of his order. According to Stationion, Amorth was famous for his sense of humor. “Amorth’s favorite joke was this:

“ Do you know why the devil runs away when he sees me? Because I’m uglier than him, ”” the memoir says.

The exorcist admitted that many of the people who came to him for sessions had mental problems that the psychologist best coped with. At the same time, he called several “symptoms” of obsession – headaches, stomach cramps, which can easily be confused with a common disease. The priest said that the devil hates Latin and prefers to speak English, even if the obsessed person does not know the language.

According to Amorth, 90 percent of the obsessed are Satanists, or people addicted to witchcraft sessions. In addition, he noted that the devil is often infused in middle-aged women who have a weakness for fortune telling.

Sessions of the expulsion of the devil are in great demand in the Vatican. In February 2018, it was reported that because of this, a special course in exorcism was taught at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum in Rome.

The Vatican approved exorcism in 2014. Then the Catholic Church officially recognized the existence of the International Association of Exorcists. The organization, led by Amort, who died in 2016, now has about 400 members, 240 of them from Italy.

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The “cursed” doll was found abandoned in Mexican river after being burned by frightened neighbors 

This sinister human-sized ventriloquist doll was mistaken for a dead body when it was pulled out of a river by villagers in Mexico. They were so scared that they decided to burn her. Unfortunately, the doll, found wrapped in a blanket in the small town of San Antonio La Esperanza, did not burn, and therefore the community decided that it was “cursed”.

In the photo of the doll, one eye is blackened and burned, and the other is bright blue and covered.

It’s reclining jaw gives the doll an eerie look. The human mannequin was initially mistaken for a dead body, but, fortunately, it soon became clear that it was not real when it was deployed from a shawl.

However, it remains a mystery who was the previous owner of the creepy mannequin and why this man tried so hard to get rid of it in such a strange way. According to local media reports, after several attempts, the villagers finally managed to burn it.

Since then, the story has reached the filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro , known for filming such dark science fiction films as “The Shape of Water” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which tweeted some photos of this scary doll.
Local journalist Cesar Buenrostro challenged the idea of ​​a supernatural presence and stated that the locals could not burn the doll on the first try, because it was crude. Once the doll was dry, it became easier for them to set fire to it, he said.

Buenrostro and a YouTube journalist known as the “Oxlack Investigador” visited Julio, the man who made the doll. He said that he sold it many years ago, but could not remember who bought it.

According to Julio, the doll was made of epoxy, which is difficult to burn.

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