I know it sounds absurd but I am NOT crazy
November 14, 2019 3:39 AM   Subscribe

This question may offend if of a particular religion and if so I deeply apologize. I have been in my life deeply haunted by something and I dont know any other way to ask without sounding like a loony. I'm wondering if my belief that I am among ghosts and spirits and that I have a slight touch of ESP may be possible, or could it be proven? More on that ...

I've been feeling that tingle of a presence near me on random occasions that I couldnt explain until later. When I first moved to Iowa in my early 20s I moved into my apartment away from my Dad and it was in a central location but still I was alone. I had a cat and I noticed sometimes when it felt like someone had stroked my hair my cat would go berserk just out of nowhere. I lived there for three years and it happened often. I also had a time that my friends and I were in Kansas City visiting and driving in heavy Royals baseball traffic during a really bad rain storm. The highway was 4 lanes across and since we were from out of town, navigating the weather and driving slow we were in the lane closest to the exit. It seemed like a car trying to make the ramp just as we were passing it sped through four nearly 70 mph lanes of traffic and went through our vehicle to get to the ramp. I clearly remember hearing his passenger with her arm stretched in front of her screaming "Nooooo!" as they appeared on the right of us. Another instance when I moved into an apartment here in Kansas City about 6 years ago when I first moved in I could hear the sounds of little boys playing and a mother crying. I heard it all late at night and sometimes in my bed I got the feeling a body was spooning with me but it was a nightly thing for many weeks. I later learned there was a murder that had taken place in the building right behind mine in the exact identical apartment as mine was placed and it was a mother and her son along with a nephew and the mothers boyfriend. When I discovered the source of the sounds and sensations they stopped. I can explain why I have this feeling but I cant seem to make it make sense since no one I know can help me identify the spirits while they are near me. Oh I will also add that the day my Grandmother died the clouds came to me as an image of her face that I photographed but no one else can say they see her. Would there be anyone with knowledge of what this is called or how to clarify it for a good cause?
posted by The_imp_inimpossible to Religion & Philosophy (27 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Metafilter is probably not the place to ask this question as this is a very material reductionist group of people. I am an outlier here so I'll take this on.

This is a variant of being intuitive. Some would say it is a sign of mediumship but you can be sensitive to etheric energy without necessarily interacting with it. It is not recommended to take on mediumship without a lot of training.

Clairaudience is auditory based perception beyond physical reality. Clairvoyance is visual perception beyond physical reality. Clairsentience is perception beyond physical reality based on felt sense. Feeling a body around you is an example of clairsentience. Memail me if you want to discuss further.
posted by crunchy potato at 4:06 AM on November 14, 2019 [27 favorites]

Yeah, Metafilter is soooooo not the place to discuss this sort of thing. You probably want to look for more hippie websites to discuss this, really, though I don't really know of any to recommend you to for mediumship stuff. In my experience, if others haven't experienced weird shit happening to them, most folks have not been there and done that and thus are not going to be cool and froody with those of us who have and were totally sober and awake when the weird shit went down. And in my case, I've had eyewitnesses at times verifying that yup, that weird thing did happen. Hell, I even did a double take reading this wondering if you'd had a gas leak, except you keep having those experiences in different locations.

Spirits/ghosts/whatever aren't something I've had much experience with so I don't feel like I can advise you about it, but I am also a member of the Weird Things Happen To Me Club (really, we need pins and T-shirts) and so you have my sympathy.

Would there be anyone with knowledge of what this is called or how to clarify it for a good cause?

Witch. Seriously, read that book. It's not something that goes into ghost stuff so much except at one point, but if you are of this ilk, it really helped me to read and I'm telling everyone else I know in the WTH Club to read it as well. You have experiences/talent that "normal people" don't have and you need to seek out other club members to talk about it with.

I suppose you can also MeMail me, though I'm not an expert on spirit stuff so maybe I'm not what you're looking for. I've been reading up on clair stuff lately though, so could discuss that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:24 AM on November 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

What are you looking for when you ask for "proof"? If there were anything like scientific, objective, empirical "proof" for supernatural phenomena, they would without doubt be well established and known to everyone by now. There is not such proof.

I think people interpret experiences in many different ways, brains are complicated, etc., and never rule anything out. But as yet, what we have in these stories is subjective experience. We have never yet identified anything that can be verified by widely respected, independent testing. So I'm not sure what kind of validation you are looking for - perhaps just the language or finding other people with similar stories or a framework for understanding your hard-to-categorize experiences - but scientific proof is not likely to be possible, and not necessary. In constructing these experiences as you have, you're squarely in the realm of the subjective, of the experiential, of conjecture, of belief.
posted by Miko at 4:27 AM on November 14, 2019 [13 favorites]

Your understanding of the world being permeated by invisible forces and presences is very in line with how many people around the world make sense of it. Whether "real" or not, that is a place that [probably most] human beings explore, live in, and create their complete selves.

That is a kind of proof that you can live a healthy life with this unprovable understanding. I'm not saying you will always get sympathy or support, but if you can own it, go for it. Do no harm, cha cha cha.
posted by Glomar response at 5:36 AM on November 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

I forgot to add that you may want to research the term empath also. I have had experiences being around buildings where large groups died in a fire and felt the anguish. I have had encounters of various kinds, difficulty with old energy on thrift store objects, feeling the stale energy in unused corners of places, lots of felt sense experiences that I just don't discuss with material reductionist people because they won't understand, don't have a frame of reference for it, will think I'm nuts or experiencing confirmation bias or in some way invalidate an experience that was subjectively valid. I have no need or desire to make up an experience of someone else's turmoil and pain, but people will assume all sorts of things if they aren't open in a similar way.

Emotion can leave an imprint on areas. Empath is a term for an individual who is unusually sensitive to emotional energy. And yes, reading about witches might help you as well.

There is no proof for any of this, as it is not a physicalized situation and we don't have the means to measure and hold metaphysical phenomena to scientific rigor. Western science is materialistic not metaphysical.

While not about paranormal events specifically, this book does go into some of the science around subtle energy phenomena.

Heart Math institute has tried to suggest proof of ancillary aspects of these phenomena. But more in the sense that group consciousness with shared intention can affect a situation across a distance, not related to disembodied astral phenomena.
posted by crunchy potato at 5:52 AM on November 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

If it is something that has happened to you, happens to you, and seems likely to continue into the future then "proof" is sort of beside the point. It’s part of your life and you should integrate it.

Unfortunately the whole topic comes under the heading "The Less Is Known About Something The More Is Said About It". No one has ever come up with a generally accepted explanation.

Being a material reductionist I chalk up my experiences to synethesia involving all of the human senses and probably one or two we haven’t worked out yet. I try not to get hung up on it though. Not everything needs an explanation.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:19 AM on November 14, 2019 [10 favorites]

You might find reading about Spiritualism to be interesting. There is a book (one of many, I am sure), called Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead.

It is still very active, per this NY Times article from 2018.

Mae West, and many other famous people, were drawn to Spiritualism. West claimed to have seen dead people, and to have written all of her movies while in a trance. She was friends with Amelia Earhart, who famously invited her to a seance.

I started reading about Spiritualism because my grandmother had a relative who was heavily into it years ago. He used to hold seances on a regular basis. My grandmother sort of rolled her eyes at it, but it was a huge movement (aside from the obvious frauds that used table tapping and other things to simulate spiritual activity).

I have known people who have had similar experiences, such as waking up and seeing a relative, and later discovered that person had passed away. Obviously it's subjective, but these kinds of experiences appear to be very common. You might look at Reddit and do a search for paranormal stories, there are plenty of threads there with that kind of thing. It pops up on AskReddit pretty frequently.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:22 AM on November 14, 2019

If you research spiritualism and related fields, just be cautious if you encounter anyone who claims to be able to collaborate with you or instruct you, especially if they ask for money.
posted by zadcat at 6:28 AM on November 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

If you want to learn about how paranormal events are investigated, check out the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. They have investigated many,many events, so far, they have not found solid evidence, although I think they have documented some interesting anomalies.

I'm mostly a skeptic, but it seems to me that humans and other animals could have senses that are subtle and not documented. Some animals sense subtle vibrations before earthquakes, barometric changes that portend weather, Clever Hans understood his handler's subtle body language,though he didn't actually understand math. Plants have been discovered to communicate more than previously thought, in unusual ways; the world is not fully known or understood.

You may be a person who's very good at learning small details and putting them together. I don't mean that to sound dismissive; intuition based on a body of small bits of information is pretty slick. You may be very creative and able to imagine things very fully, again, that's a special trait.

I strongly agree that there are an extraordinary number of charlatans, as well as individuals who embrace any form of woo they encounter; I have some friends like this who are smart and interesting, but have a strong belief system. Just because it differs from mine doesn't mean I shouldn't respect them. Work at thinking critically, learning from a wide variety of sources, and decide for yourself. The caution would be that I have met people who declare themselves empaths, intuitives, etc., and who use this to manipulate people and/or gain special privileges. Whatever else you embrace, make sure you embrace honesty and integrity.
posted by theora55 at 6:44 AM on November 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

I have spent more hours than many people in unusual states of perception, both chemically induced and not, where I experience things that other people don't. For some of that time I absolutely was crazy; for most of it, absolutely not. The most parsimonious explanation I've been able to come up with that fully satisfies my own drive to understand myself and my place in the world around me is roughly as follows.

The human brain is a general-purpose pattern recognizer, categorizer and labeller, and each of us uses the brain we have to recognize, categorize and label patterns that we perceive in the behaviour of the Universe of which we are parts.

It is not, in my opinion, possible to make absolute, definitive pronouncements about the behaviour of the Universe other than that there is some and it's ongoing. So-called objectivity is, in my view, nothing more than an exercise in consensual judgement: if it is possible to demonstrate to anybody willing to undertake the exercise that it's useful to recognize, categorize and label some bit of universal behaviour in a certain way, because that behaviour shows up reliably and repeatably under specified conditions, then we do that and we call that particular behaviour "objectively real" and we call descriptions of it "true".

Inherent to the act of recognizing, categorizing and labelling perceived patterns is the deliberate choice of how much detail to ignore. One true feature of the behaviour available to us to perceive is that if we look closely enough at any part of it, we can find and start to list differences between that part and others like it.

It's possible to get into a mental habit where ignoring such detail as is necessary to make all perceptions fit into predefined "objective" categories feels like something we need to do in order to achieve a well-reasoned, rational belief system. Many people do this, end up mistaking their internal (though widely consensually supported) model of how things are for a set of absolute truths about how things really are, and become quite upset on encountering others with similarly strong attachments to their own models when it turns out that the two models don't fully agree.

But the fact remains that no two people's internal models ever will fully agree. Because the difference between them - quite a big difference, as it happens - is that each person's internal model of the way the Universe works exists as a pattern of behaviours inside their own human brain, and is therefore ultimately private to them. There will be a large degree of overlap, because there is a large degree of commonality in the way we occupy our world and the organization of the bodies we use to do that, but expecting somebody else's model to map cleanly onto mine to an arbitrarily detailed extent is something I no longer bother to do.

So if your model of how the world works includes ghosts and spirits and ESP and mine doesn't, that doesn't make either of us wrong in some objective sense. We just understand the world in different ways. And that's fine. As long as your model is saving you more anxiety than it causes on its own, you've no reason to abandon it.

Quite a lot of what generally gets described as supernatural, and quite a lot of perceptions that don't seem explicable by means of what we generally think of as our usual sensory apparatus, seem to me to proceed from the completely understandable desire to recognize, categorize and label unusual and private experiences in much the same was way as we're accustomed to doing for those more amenable to consensus. Personally, I'm happier to file the occasional genuinely weird experience under "weird experiences" and let it go at that; I prefer to apply my tendency to systematize and explain stuff more to things I can find a practical use for, but you do you.

One danger in trying to set up a systematic belief system that covers unusual experiences is that there are only so many words we can use to talk about this stuff; which means that there's a much greater chance that two people discussing e.g. ghosts will each be using the word "ghost" to refer to a feature of their internal model that overlaps only fairly weakly with the other's.

The relative rareness of people willing to entertain serious discussion about unusual experiences also does tend to make people who regularly have those experiences an easy target for folks keen to exchange a sympathetic mien for large amounts of hard earned cash, as zadcat wisely points out.

It pays to remember that nobody has more expertise at perceiving your own perceptions than you do; if you're looking for some kind of proof that the ghosts and spirits you're perceiving have the same kind, though perhaps not the same degree, of consensual perceptibility as rocks and trees and sound and light and radio, you're going to need to work fairly hard on finding reproducible conditions under which they become perceptible before you start exploring the abilities of others to perceive them under similar conditions. And nobody else can do that work but you, regardless of how much they're willing to let you pay to claim that they have.
posted by flabdablet at 7:01 AM on November 14, 2019 [14 favorites]

You might be interested in the field of neurotheology, which studies the regions of the brains activated during paranormal or religious experiences, and tries to see if they can be recreated through things like magnetic stimulation, in same cases to great controversy [See: the God Helmet].
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 7:09 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Token Metafilter not-at-all materialist/reductionist/etc (very-self-aware) hippy reporting in. Not that it matters but I'm also a stereotypical hard science enthusiast STEM-person. Turns out memes aren't always true and the two can be separated.

I certainly don't think you're crazy, and if these feelings aren't concerning to you or negatively affecting your life in a "I'm not OK, I need to see a doctor" kinda way I don't see an issue. Tons of people believe "crazy" stuff as part of an organized religion in ways that are completely normal and healthy and I don't see why personal metaphysical-y beliefs shouldn't be regarded similarly. They certainly have a healthy cultural history, and I have a sneaking suspicion (backed up by experience) that most, or at least many more than you might expect, people have woo-y beliefs but they're the easiest thing in the world to weaponize against others so it's near-impossible to openly discuss.

That said what's your goal here? Are you looking to "prove" it to yourself? To others? What good cause, and is the idea of using what you experience for a good cause why you want to prove it?

Your Woo Is Not My Woo (YWINMY) (also I made that phrase up just now it isn't real). I've never experienced what you're talking about but I've certainly experienced similarly Weird Things that shape my view of Everything. But from my perspective it's just that - *my* relationship with Everything. Does my relationship with Everything suggest anything about people who aren't me, like How The World Works? Who knows. I consider that question irrelevant.

Personally, if I did experience something like you do, I don't think it's my place to involve anyone else. I think a very important factor not to be overlooked in this decision is that you *will* (unintentionally) cause people to get hurt. It's up to you to decide if you're OK with that and if it's worth the risk.

(basically what flabdablet said except they said it better and responded while I had this typed-but-unsubmitted in a minimized window lmao)
posted by ToddBurson at 7:18 AM on November 14, 2019 [11 favorites]

Also worth noting: it ought to go without saying, but frequently fails to, that the simple act of noticing things that other people apparently don't notice, or of experiencing things that other people don't or won't describe experiencing themselves, is not in any way a mark of crazy.

Everybody does that.
posted by flabdablet at 7:23 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Finally, worth pondering: you're looking for proof, but what would proof look like to you?
posted by flabdablet at 8:52 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I used to be a very strong skeptic until I read Phenomena by Annie Jacobsen. The author did deep research into the declassified archives of US Army and CIA ESP/televiewing programs and experiments.

I came away from it believing that ESP/etc phenomena are real, but we can't predict, control, or rely on them. Some people are more sensitive than most, some people can strengthen their abilities, but ESP isn't exactly useful.

Another thing I took away from that book is the belief that some humans are deep coded for belief and some are deep coded for skepticism. That's just how our brains are. That coding (how deep varies from person to person) can change through significant life events, but is often untouchable by casual experiences and conversations.
posted by itesser at 9:28 AM on November 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

You may be interested in this actual, scientifically valid study that proved either ESP is real or methodology is broken.

The final version of Bem’s paper was scheduled to appear in the March 2011 issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In advance of its release, the Cornell communications office put out a story on the work, which it called the cap to Bem’s career. The work “gladdened the hearts of psi researchers,” it said, “but stumped doubting social psychologists, who cannot fault Bem’s mainstream and widely accepted methodology.”
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:12 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sometimes when our digestive bacteria 'talk' , we feel things . Bacteria are aware of other bacteria and utilize at least four dialects , they have been with us for so long that they are us . Once I became knowledgeable about this my spooky experiences had an explanation . A theory of language acquisition that possess some people more than others.
A mighty E.Coli R. or something like it, is our god .
posted by hortense at 10:16 AM on November 14, 2019

I can't favorite ToddBurson's comment enough. This is your reality. So????

You know how annoying religious people who won't shut up are? Don't be one of them. You do (your) woo. But take the advice of my grandmother, the least woo woman on earth--until Grandpa came and visited her every night after he died. "Believe anything you want. But never give anyone money." She was speaking of televangelists at the time, but it applies to all manner of gurus and allegedly spiritual things.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

We are tiny specks in an infinite universe and there's so much we haven't learned yet. Just because something can't be explained now doesn't mean that there isn't an explanation. We just don't know it yet. That's how I feel about things like this.

My SIL goes to a Spiritualist church. It's deeply fulfilling for her.
posted by Ruki at 1:06 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

You are not crazy.

It sounds like what you may be looking for is (a) someone to listen to you about your experiences, (b) someone who can "compare notes" with you and repeat similar perceptual phenomena with you under controlled conditions, and/or (c) to learn to understand or control the phenomena so that they don't cause you distress.

I'd suggest seeing if you can get together and talk with some properly-trained witches from an initiatory Wiccan tradition (e.g., Gardnerian or Alexandrian -- only because I know that the training usually includes this stuff). This may be harder than it sounds; I just checked the Witchvox directories for Missouri and Kansas and found only one Gardnerian coven (no endorsement expressed or implied, use your judgement, etc).

Or PM me and I'll refer you to a Mefite friend who has been organizing small-group Skype chats about this kind of stuff (and has had extensive cloud experiences similar to what you describe).

I didn't know about the Augusten Burroughs book that jenfullmoon recommended but it seems that I need to go read it.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:06 PM on November 14, 2019

Also worth noting: it ought to go without saying, but frequently fails to, that the simple act of noticing things that other people apparently don't notice, or of experiencing things that other people don't or won't describe experiencing themselves, is not in any way a mark of crazy.

Everybody does that.

This is true and important. I have no opinion to express and no particular authority to speak on what is real or what is possible, and no interest in pretending to know what you have or have not experienced. but I urge you not to be seduced by rhetoric about "empaths" as though empathy is not a general human property possessed and accessed by every single one of us, with a very few injured or unwell exceptions. to say you are an "empath" is to say you are a person. there is no enlightenment to be found among any self-styled elect or elite, no matter how warmly they welcome you.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:45 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

All I want to say is please don't believe anything people tell you, here or anywhere else, unless they have evidence that it's really true or unless it really aligns with your own beliefs. Anybody can say anything they want, and they can make it sound authoritative, logical, wonderful, and/or inherently true. But those things do not make it true.

Believe what you want to believe, but don't believe something that someone else thinks you should believe. When people don't follow this advice, they are vulnerable to coming under the influence of domineering, ambitious, and/or aggressive people, and even self-proclaimed gurus, and even to joining a cult (which by my definition is a group that has very unconventional views and requires very strict conformance with/to those view - I know someone who joined a cult in his twenties, and thirty years later when he got out, his life was in shambles...no skills, no job, no income, no social life, no family).

Why am I telling you this? Because there could be people who see the question "my belief that I am among ghosts and spirits and that I have a slight touch of ESP may be possible, or could it be proven" as an opportunity to put their own ideas in your head, and those ideas might not be in your best interest.
posted by Dansaman at 10:54 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just because something can't be explained now doesn't mean that there isn't an explanation. We just don't know it yet.

I agree with that. I also think that a need to have something that feels like an explanation for every experience, no matter how unusual - even for experiences that occur literally once in a lifetime for one person only in the entire history of ever - causes more problems than it solves.

The sole point of explanations, as I see it, is to fit experiences within a wider understanding, thereby giving us a greater likelihood of being able to predict what we will experience given reasonable expectations about our future circumstances.

But in order to achieve this, an explanation needs to be reliable. Every time we mistake a Just So story for a reliable explanation, especially if what we're looking for is an explanation of an unpleasant experience, we can end up wasting an awful lot of effort and anxiety on pointless avoidance of the circumstances identified by that Just So story as contributory to that experience.

There's a point of diminishing returns with explanations. The rarer any given experience is, the less likely we are to get a useful payoff from seeking an explanation for it.

And this is why I think it's good policy to remain as open to rare experiences as possible while not wanting something that feels like an explanation, but more than likely isn't a reliable one, for any of them; life is random and wild and there's a joyous riotous beauty in that for those with eyes to see it.

It's also good policy to test any explanation that does occur to us, by asking it for specific predictions about specific circumstances and then checking the resulting experiences against those predictions. That way we have some chance of retrieving genuinely useful understanding from the sucking morass of Just So stories that all of us spend our entire lives slogging through.
posted by flabdablet at 11:18 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Finally, worth pondering: you're looking for proof, but what would proof look like to you?

I dont know if proof is the right word. I dont even know if clairsentinence would be what I'm describing. I guess it's more of a conundrum of how do I process these intuitions that come at me when I'm not sure why I feel they concern my life but I'm cognizant of them nonetheless so maybe it means something in a higher realm. For instance the young boys and mother may have needed a peaceful passing they didnt have before? I'm not trying to sound enlightened or even searching for a gain from it at all I just believe someone with such a sensitivity might have some purpose for it.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 11:53 PM on November 14, 2019

more of a conundrum of how do I process these intuitions that come at me when I'm not sure why I feel they concern my life

Well, perhaps I can hose that down for you a little bit.

One of the strong lessons I took away from being mad for a while was that things feeling true - deeply, incontrovertibly, obviously true - is not at all the same as those things actually being true.

I know from hard-won personal experience that intuition, though a very powerful tool when wielded with skill, makes an utterly incompetent master. Since recovering from psychosis, I have made a conscious policy of checking my epiphanies before relying on whatever it is they're purporting to teach me, and my life is the better for that.

Now, as I hinted above, I am in no way saying that your own unusual perceptions are indications of madness. An exhilarating rush of epiphanies that clearly required no testing was part of my own psychotic experience, but in no way definitive of it.

What I am saying is that I feel quite lucky to have had it demonstrated to me in ways that I really cannot find any workable counter-argument against (and believe me, I've tried!) that the firmness with which I hold any given belief about what is real and what is not cannot be, in and of itself, a guide to the likelihood that that belief is in fact correct. There is no substitute for cross-checking. The work must be done and cannot and should not be avoided.

It's hard to avoid telling ourselves stories that feel as if they allow us to slot our odd experiences into a conceptual framework that makes sense to us, but the danger in letting ourselves do that is that we can end up interpreting every odd experience as supporting evidence for some utterly bogus conceptual framework which, once we're committed to it, winds up causing us more trouble than it saves.

So when I experience the sensation of somebody being present but I can't immediately confirm that somebody is in fact present using other supporting evidence, then rather than ascribe some kind of objective reality to that presence, I prefer to file that experience under "unusual, unexplained" and get on with my day. It's kind of fun to make up Just So stories about the lives of the people whose presence I seem to have sensed, but I think it pays to remind myself that really that's all I'm doing when I do that.

I know for a testable fact that my own embodied brain is perfectly capable of generating quite a wide variety of unusual, unexplained experiences with no help from anything outside itself, and that it will occasionally do this whether I am mad or whether I am not. So filing all the weird stuff under "internal special effects" rather than "spirits and ghosts" certainly helps me sleep at night.

As you might also have gathered by now, my personal conceptual map doesn't really run to "higher realms"; as one with a fundamentally egalitarian bent, I find the hierarchical implications of that kind of layering personally distasteful.

There's just so much I don't and never will understand about this realm. I'm flat out trying to organize and systematize the things I do understand; deliberately imposing an organization on things I absolutely don't understand - an organization that pretty much has to be arbitrary anyway, precisely because of that lack of understanding - strikes me as a waste of effort at best and counterproductive at worst.

Every single location on this planet has touched the lives of countless people. I can think of no sound justification for deciding that the presences I might feel in any given spot are those of people whose stories I've subsequently learned of from somebody else. To me, it makes more sense to assume that the sensing of presences is just one of those things like recognition of faces that my brain is predisposed to do, and that a low but nonzero rate of false positives is only to be expected.

Does that help at all?
posted by flabdablet at 3:38 AM on November 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

I have a touch of second sight- I have predictive dreams every so often, I can find lost objects sometimes, and I've dabbled in mind altering drugs and spiritual exploration. I lucid dream often and used to have sleep paralysis very often. I know some of it is being observant (lost objects) but I've seen enough strange shit to know that strange shit happens. Get used to it but don't count on it,
posted by vrakatar at 5:41 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've had experiences similar to yours, noting observable echos of past human trauma in the places where they took place. I'm convinced, with no evidence beyond my pretty reliable gut instinct, that this is display is one-way. The ghosts are essentially tape recordings, and I don't have the tools to re-splice them or to erase the trauma that caused the recordings to imprint in the first place. But to ease my own mind, I've set flowers out and wished peace to people who were here before.
posted by Scram at 8:15 AM on November 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

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