SO FAR I’VE LOOKED AT various elements of paranormality, showing how possessions, mediumship, ghostly encounters and premonitions can all find explanation in a wider unconscious information gathering process, the powerful effects of culture, a fragmentation of the mind into various personality traits, and a natural ability to hallucinate based upon this information.
Can this all come together in the poltergeist? We are told that the usual poltergeist infests a house. This is incorrect. It affects a household. Phenomena usually centres around a child. Some theorists argue that the initial prompter is some form of psychological trauma the child has experienced.
Effects can begin with disruptive behaviour. This disturbs the ‘culture’ of the household and a fear becomes prevalent. The child feeds on this and begins to display typical, but involuntary, mediumistic tendencies. This intensifies the fear and an alternative culture develops.
Unconscious information can attach to the fears and phenomena will begin to break out in a communal hallucinatory way, aping any locally known phenomena and classic poltergeist activity. In effect, a communal psychodrama is being enacted based upon the sum total of the minds involved.
This is why a skeptical researcher never sees phenomena, and why an exorcism can sometimes work. An additional mind has joined the production to ease the drama.
I’m convinced a poltergeist can be answered in this way. However, I want to take this ‘psychodrama’ idea out into the normal world. In effect, I am saying that a ‘culture’ can so easily develop in which behaviour can become conditioned by the culture itself.
A classic case is a cult, where a guru seems to totally dominate the very psyche of his disciples. The way they see the world changes from the way others see it. But having said this, I also believe that a cult merely shows the extremes of normal behaviour. A society is affected by similar alternative behaviours.
The religionist often seems to live in a different world to the scientist, for instance; and the same data can be seen in radically different ways. Could it be that the communal psyche that outs itself in the poltergeist is actually there all the time in society, defining how we think as groups and building alternative consensus?
Such an idea could answer so much in terms of human knowledge, disagreement and conflict. And if so, maybe none of us really know the world – just the hallucinated view decreed by the particular consensus to which we belong.
Click link, below, to return