The Peculiar Existence of Psychic Phenomenon

Paranormal Activity - Orange Mist Cloud at Old Alton Bridge
Orange Mist Cloud at Old Alton Bridge***

By Karen Barna

Exposure to the paranormal is not an uncommon characteristic to the human condition. In fact the study of paranormal activity has spawned the creation of an academic journal dedicated to its investigation, The International Journal of Parapsychology. What has lead me to this arena of strange and peculiar interest is paranormal activity is still debated against in the scientific community, and so, remains controversial simply because man hasn’t been able to adequately explain or understand it, and I believe this adversarial state is due in part to the fact that certain individual’s cannot recreate this state for themselves. That it exists as an extra-sensory state outside of certain people’s bounds infuriates certain people of science.

One peculiar condition that exists is the proclivity of some people to, more often than not, be more consistent in their intuition, hunches, and gut feelings. These individuals always seem to be uncannily accurate, their hunches prove to be harmonious and in agreement with the facts. This phenomenon is what M. Scott Peck referred to as synchronicity in his book, “The Road Less Traveled; A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth”. The unitary definition of love means the realization that I am human and you are human, to love humans means to love myself as well as you and to be dedicated to the human spiritual development is to be dedicated to the race of which we are a part, and this therefore means dedication to our own development as well as “theirs.” We are in sync with our environments, and the world, when we are existing in a state of harmonious affection that is rooted in mutual true love, support, and respect for our neighbors. The challenge that is placed before us is to continue in that love regardless of the ignorance that may be thrown at us. In my previous post on “Why We Lie” only 5% of the people who tell lies say their lies are for altruistic reasons. This means they lie to protect the other individual from being hurt or experiencing hurt feelings. Where 80% of our lies are told to protect ourselves in some way, either to hide a mistake or misdeed, or for financial gain, or for some other reasons designed at protecting the self.  Now M. Scott Peck’s book title makes more sense “The Road Less Traveled”.

Connected to paranormal phenomenon are “incidents” of what some people believe are paranormal events of coming in contact with spirits, ghosts, premonitory dreams, and like events, which are connected to and believed to be, paranormal phenomenon. Take for example the following case,

“One evening in Missoula, Montana, a detective on patrol casually remarked that he felt that the Super America on Orange Street was going to be hit that night – a risky prediction, considering the low incidence of robberies in this mall western town. A half hour later it was robbed! Other officers have staked out buildings or followed vehicles on gut feelings to be proven correct by foiling criminal activity in progress.”

If we consider M. Scott Pecks idea of “unitary love” we may be able to create a theory that implies that the positive feelings and actions people consistently perform to protect people from wrong doing can create a state of psychic awareness, a sixth sense if you will, a sense that may just be safe-guarding. Consider the following case as an officer whose premonitory dream of his death actually came true,

“In another incident in Montana, a police officer on night shift told his partner about a dream he had the night before in which he responded to a disturbance call involving weapons in a particular area of town. Once in the house (in the dream), the officer walked down the stairs of the basement, whereupon he woke up. Later that night the officer and his partner were dispatched to a disturbance involving weapons in the area of town indicated in the dream. The officer followed his partner down the stairs to the basement when his partner’s riot gun accidentally discharged, hitting the officer in the head and killing him instantly.”

Dreams have been used in prophetic ways throughout history and have acted as aids in helping us to interpret our relationships and have helped us to navigate our environments as well. Connected to this notion of a sixth sense. Consider the next case,

“An investigator for a rural fire department was at the scene of a motorcycle accident in which the cyclist’s neck was broken. The investigator was holding the victim’s head steady until the ambulance arrived. As he was doing so, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned his head around to see who was there and to his surprise no one was there. He shrugged it off and went back to applying a steady tension on the victim’s neck. He then felt a tapping on his shoulder. He turned, and again no one was there. Feeling uneasy, he looked up behind him and saw a misty shape, and it struck him that it was the victim’s “spirit”. The victim died shortly thereafter in the hospital.”

The same investigator who reported the above incident also experienced another paranormal event one in which he believes the dead person he was trying to resuscitate was trying to make contact with him,

“[He] was applying CPR to an older woman. He definitely heard her say, even though she was DOA, “Please stop.” He had the distinct impression that she was trying to tell him to stop because she wanted to die. He continued CPR only to again hear her say, “Please stop.” this so startled him that he stopped.”

Spiritually evolved people, by virtue of their discipline, mastery and love, are people of extraordinary competence, and in their competence they are called on to serve the world, and in their love they answer the call. They are inevitably, therefore, people of great power, although the world may generally behold them as quite ordinary people, since more often than not they will exercise their power in quiet or even hidden ways. Nonetheless, exercise power they do, and in this exercise they suffer greatly, even dreadfully. For to exercise power is to make decisions, and the process of making decisions with total awareness is often infinitely more painful than making decisions with limited or blunted awareness which is the way most decisions are made and why they are ultimately proved wrong.

How are we to interpret the phenomenon found in the human condition called “second baptism”? This peculiarity can also be considered a paranormal phenomenon. During a spiritual second baptism a person comes in close contact with the “holy spirit”, the arm of god that blesses and unites and marks “his people“ as his own? Second baptism is primarily a Christian religious concept. What inferences can we draw about the person’s character who has truly experienced this phenomenon? Does it imply the individual is spiritually mature enough to be considered acceptable before the presence of “god”? Or does it imply something else? Whatever it’s meaning the spiritual beliefs found in religion and religious ceremonies have been utilized as therapeutic treatment for the human psyche for millennia. Belief in a god supports a person’s health and wellness across the lifespan. The recent birth of the field of psychoanalyst have uncovered some of the deep rooted secrets that have created man’s need for religious following. Anthropological studies, some conducted by Bruno Bettelheim, have made provocative statement referring to rudimentary forms of religious beliefs and rituals, “We cannot draw definitive conclusions as to their origin by studying the characteristics they exhibit today. Still, there is hardly a more fascinating topic for speculation; our curiosity leads us to wonder what were the forms of man’s first religious thoughts and rituals and what were the emotional needs they were meant to satisfy.” But the field of psychoanalysis has begun to uncover the reasons and causes for disturbances and distortions found in the human psyche, ones that create a repetition drive, ones that battle the life instinctual forces of sadism and masochism.

To be considered spiritually evolved as a person, an individual must past through various stages of death and rebirth. This is precisely what religious study allows for an individual to do. Here is a simple list, roughly in order of their occurrence, some of the major conditions, desires and attitudes that must be given up in the course of a wholly successful evolving lifetime:

1. The state of infancy, in which no external demands need be responded to
2. The fantasy of omnipotence
3. The desire for total (including sexual) possession of one’s parent(s)
4. The dependency of childhood
5. Distorted images of one’s parents
6. The omnipotentiality of adolescence
7. The “freedom” of uncommitment
8. The agility of youth
9. The sexual attractiveness and/or potency of youth
10. The fantasy of immortality
11. Authority over one’s children
12. Various forms of temporal power
13. The independence of physical health
14. And, ultimately, the self and life itself.

When we reach a state where all these desires and attitudes have been completely relinquished, we can say we have evolved fully and spiritually as a person and we are ready for ultimate death in the relinquishing of our self and life itself. However, during our lifetime, the actual state of our evolution is incumbent upon the age at which we find ourselves. It shouldn’t be solely in old age that we find ourselves reflective. We are all at various stages of evolving as a person. The tendency to avoid challenge is so omnipresent in human beings that it can properly be considered a characteristic of human nature. We teach ourselves to do the unnatural. Another characteristic of human nature, and one that perhaps makes us most human, is our capacity to do the unnatural, the capacity to transcend and hence transform our own nature.

*** Constructed in 1884, the Old Alton Bridge connected Lewisville to Alton, Texas. The turn of the century brought a black goat farmer and his family to a residence just North of the bridge, and a few short years later, Oscar Washburn was known as a dependable, honest business man. North Texans endearingly began to call him the Goatman. But the success of a Black man was till unwelcome, and Klansman in the local government turned to violence after he displayed a sign on Alton Bridge: “this way to the Goatman’s.”
One night in August 1938, with their headlights off, Klansmen crossed the bridge, dragged the Goatman from his family, and lynched him over the side. Peering over into the water, his murders saw a rope, but not his body. In a panic, the Klansman returned to the Washburn residence, and killed his family in cold blood.
Since the disappearance of the Goatman there have been many strange sightings on and near Old Alton Bridge. Some say his spirit still haunts these woods. Locals tell the story and follow it with a warning: those who cross the bridge with no headlights will be met on the other side by the Goatman.
After numerous abandoned automobiles and missing person, a new bridge was constructed directly downstream. But Old Alton Bridge, the Goatman’s Bridge, remains still open to foot traffic. It is under surveillance by the Paranormal Investigators of North Texas and the Denton County Paranormal Investigators.

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