Gerald Ollison's Ghost in the Machine
Experiences with the Sacred
Firstly, I don't have the luxury of nonbelief. I've had one (fucking profound) ufo sighting, various psychic flashes and several so-called ghost experiences (one notable experience which left physical traces I showed a friend afterward, and another which took place with another witness present).
I'm not defending this particular video. I wasn't there and I dunno. But when I hear people say they don't believe I feel a responsibility to chime in. I won't try to convert you; but I feel we are really doing ourselves and our collective experience of reality a disservice, if we don't at least cop to some of this mystery which is here.
I have to admit, because I've experienced some pretty bizarre stuff first hand, that I might be more gullible than the next guy because I'm, by default, willing to entertain the possibility more than many. Also though, if you have had these kinds of experiences it pretty much changes you in other ways. First, you are overwhelmed. At this point, you either deny it (because you need to live with a solid definition of things); or it moves you, inspires you, in some way. . . You are aware of the depth of the mystery of it all, because you have been touched directly by it. If you are stable, you don't so much as loose your footing as become comfortable with balancing amidst the uneasiness of it; and, if you are inquisitive at all, you will attempt to study it. You won't find any answers, but you'll see that there are plenty more experiencers out there who are attempting to ask more questions, and who aren't afraid of being ridiculed for showing their investigative results.
Specifically, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) has been a pastime since the spiritualism of the early 1900s. Alexander Graham Bell was one of its most famous proponents. To this day, people go into graveyards, old prisons and condemned insane asylums with their tape recorders on, and they record (what seems to be) nothing for hours... but later, when they play the tapes back, they've recorded often eerily clear voices speaking and shouting all kinds of craziness. And since security cameras have become prolific, ghost video recordings have also become commonplace. Google EVP and you'll find many of these recordings online.
Generally, our culture chooses, for the most part, to abide by beliefs from within the context of a deductive, scientific perspective. We do live in a society of choices, so this is not the only context or perspective available to us, by any means. We are surrounded by churches and other alternative philosophical institutions, but livability with each other in our western North American society (and now the world) demands a way to reconcile our religious and philosophical pluralism. We seem to use science as a kind of uneasy, but mostly safe mediator; a peaceful neutral alternative to the philosophical differences which otherwise divide us. The proof in science is materialistic. It comforts us that we can touch it, show it to each other.
But ironically, our materialistic Newtonian Clockwork view of the world is actually a century out of date. It's no more than a mythical doctrine itself. Decades old experiments in quantum physics have already explained that we are either particles or waves, depending on what we expect to find when we go looking; and that we are all connected through the subatomic fact of quantum entanglement. In other words, the universe is what we perceive and expect it to be, and you and me and everything are literally one-and-the-same: We really are all One... and isn't this how many define God?
The result? While previous millennia may be accused of not having the correct (scientific) explanations behind their collective experience, we of the post-enlightenment era may be the first, because of our deference to materialistic science, to deny our collective experience altogether.
I'm not making an argument to be gullible (like me). I am making a case, for everyone I know and our society at large, to become less afraid I guess, and to become more openly accepting of, what I have come to call, experiences with the sacred...
And before you take that word 'sacred' and think I'm going all new agey on you-- believe me, nothing could be farther from the truth. I don't really consider myself of that ilk... at the same time, because of the scale, the magnitude, the bigness, of the possible truths these experiences infer-- and as a witness myself, what else can I call it?
And I'm not alone... Not nearly...
I know people don't like polls. I know, with some people they just don't trust them 'cause they think they're slanted, or it's just, like, Zzzzzzzzzzzz-snoozetime... But the actual population numbers these particular polls suggest have always floored me, and I know a lot of people don't know about these so I gotta bring this up. It really is going somewhere, so please bear with. I'll keep it short.
Firstly, I'm gonna note both UFO and ghost polls, because I'm not certain myself how separate the events are or how they divide up (and It's not widely known, but lots of people who are UFO experiencers also see their deceased acquaintances). Also, regarding mental illness (some of you think this is a mental issue). I'm just gonna throw this out there: It is determined that schizophrenia affects roughly one percent of the population; numbers for depression are higher, around nine percent, if I recall.
From a 2007 Associated Press-Ipsos Poll-- 23 Percent (that's roughly a quarter of everyone you know) either say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one's presence. Most likely candidates for such visits include single people, Roman Catholics and those who 'never' attend religious services. More who say they're liberals (31 percent), compared to those who consider themselves conservatives (18 percent) report actually seeing a specter.
In August 1997, in a survey conducted by independent researchers in five Canadian cities in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, the independent research consortium has found that 9.6% of all Canadians believe they have seen UFOs. This translates into nearly 3 million people who said they were UFO witnesses.
The present US population I think is approximately 301,139,947, so the following numbers I insert below are those you'd get if you extend the poll numbers throughout the actual population.
Dig this, from a September 2002 Roper Poll:
One in seven Americans say that they or someone they know has had at least one "close encounter" of the "First," "Second," or "Third" kind.
One in five Americans (60,227,989) in general say they believe that humans have already interacted with extraterrestrial life; 57 percent of those (34,329,954) believe that abductions have taken place... And of those who believe in abductions..?
One-third of those who believe in abductions-- 11,328,884-- claim to have experienced, or know someone who experienced, a Close Encounter of their own.
Let's just for the hell of it, waaaaaay overcompensate, and let's do the incredibly inequitable thing, and minus our 3,011,399 schizophrenics from the number above and you get: 8,317,485 (02.76 percent) people in the US who we know are 'not' schizophrenic, who say they personally, or know someone who says they have personally, experienced a close encounter of their own.
That's like three percent of everyone you know.
Three percent of everyone you know, 3 out of every 100 persons you pass by when walking on the street, about the same size as the population of Los Angeles, who are not sick with dopamine imbalances, and who are probably trustworthy in about a thousand other ways that you know-- knows someone or has had, and may continue to have on a regular basis-- an experience with sacred.
Yet we deny it as a society. It's a cultural suppression of the wildest kind. It's an innate birthright of our identities as humans for all we know, and we are not allowed to share it, or feel we can acknowledge it in any meaningful way.
No wonder we have gone from spiritual adepts, to inepts. No wonder we're all so neurotic-psychotic.
These experiences may not be real the way we commonly accept, but this is not to say that they aren't as physical as the nose on your face. These experiences are often observed by multiple witnesses. It is not widely known that the 'revolving and falling sun' in Fatima was not only witnessed by 70,000 people in the vicinity of Cova da Iria, but also by others in the surrounding area of over 20 to 30 miles! These events often leave physical traces, though the collective wisdom won't often acknowledge this either.
They are part of our collective so-called myths, religions, fairy tales and legends. These experiences directly mark the bodies and the minds of the experiencers themselves, and indirectly mark us all, whether you choose to acknowledge it as real or not.
Happy Holy Days