This article was originally posted on The Lucid Hive
I once recall going through a period in life where I used to watch a lot of motivational videos! One that still stands out for me was by former NFL star Ray Lewis. I remember this video most because something he said made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He was accused of a double homicide that occurred near his limousine. In relation to having to fight for his freedom, he recalled: “They arrested me… and the first night I was in jail, a whisper came to my ear and it said: ‘can you hear me now?’ And that’s the only time, the real time, that I heard God that clearly.” This resonated with me a lot because I had once experienced a whisper whilst I stayed alone in a friend’s room. After going through the night awake with an intense feeling that someone was watching me, I fell asleep only to wake with a whisper in my ear that called my name. Upon opening my eyes, a man starred at me from a chair that was now facing the bed. Nobody else was in the house apart from my visiting mother, who was downstairs asleep in my room. Then the man simply vanished.
It seems that potential auditory hallucinations such as hearing your own name whispered are more common than many would think. A plethora of famous individuals such as Charles Dickens, Philip K Dick, Joan of Arc, and Anthony Hopkins, have all been reported to have heard voices when no one else was around. This phenomenon is also written about in the Bible, where Samuel was awoken hearing his name being called by God (1 Samuel 3:4-8). Whilst hearing voices can be associated with mental illness and trauma, growing evidence suggests that the phenomenon can often occur in healthy individuals.
Now of course many of these experiences are reported near falling asleep or waking up, perhaps being hypnopompic or hypnogogic hallucinations. There are also other ways that we experience ‘hearing’ sounds. Just as pareidolia can cause us to see images and patterns in random/vague visual stimuli, the same is true with sound, whereby patterns can be heard in otherwise unconnected sound stimuli. For instance, someone might hear whispers when alone because their brain interprets such patterns in the monotonous whirring sounds of an electric fan.
Apophenia, of which pareidolia is a ‘type’, suggests that when these connections are made they can be given further meaning through the unmotivated ‘abnormal connections’ that are attached to them. Those investigating Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVPs) can for instance seemingly pick up ‘voices’ in recordings of white noise whilst asking questions, and come to the conclusion that Auntie Margaret is trying to speak to remind them about taking the bins out.
Apophenia, in hand with the power of suggestion, can make others also hear the same words. One such instance of apophenia occurring across a large population was in 2008 in the United States, when a Fisher Price toy called Cuddle ‘n Coo was claimed by some to say: “Islam is the light,” amongst its baby noises. At the height of the Islamophobia wave that was sweeping the country after 9/11 the media was also creating unique patterns from mostly unrelated subjects, by associating anything to do with Islam with terrorism; some in the US population had been primed to hear these fears exercised through what were otherwise random baby cooing sounds.
It should be no surprise as well that some studies have shown that those that believe in spirits are more likely to hear such voices in random patterns compared to those that don’t believe; the phrase I want to believe somehow seems relevant here (although I am always trying to link X-Files into any conversation, even when the topic is completely unrelated!).
But what if some of these voices, whether from the internal ether or from outside (if you even make those kind of distinctions), were from something more? What if angels, guides or spirits spoke to us and no one was listening? Going back full circle to my story about when my mum visited; the next day my mum left and I stayed in my room again, whilst my naturally sceptic friend came back to stay in his own room which I had previously stayed in the night before. We had no contact until the next morning when he came downstairs looking very tired. I asked him how his weekend in London had gone and he told me that he was exhausted and couldn’t sleep all night because he felt that someone was watching him from the chair.
Just as aspects of purported shared dreams can point to some forms of wishful thinking and pattern filling by dream tellers, waking life can also do the same. Yet, whilst there are many cases of shared dream details that cannot so easily be explained by mainstream conventional logic, there are also details of shared waking-life experiences that cannot be so easily explained too. Hand in hand these anomalies raise interesting questions.
Speaking of anomalies, did I mention that England are in the European championships final today? Come on England!
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!
Dan, aka Dream Prophecies
Where every dream has a purpose – if you want to wake up, go to sleep.