In this paper we shall take an extract from a most fascinating book, entitled “Visions of Immortality”, the incredible findings of a century of research on death, by Ian Currie, Element, 1998. Large paperback @ UK £9.99 USA $15.95. It comes from a lengthy chapter on Possession, not by evil spirits, but by the dead. (Mainly from pages 248-250) Once again, no assessment will be made of the material at this stage, but it is presented to add to the whole picture. We find that we cannot agree with all of the author’s conclusions, but the material he presents is of the utmost importance to all who are interested in learning about the existence of the spirit after death.
Dangers of the ouija
In looking at published accounts of possession cases, I have been struck again and again by how often such cases result from experimentation with ouija boards and automatic writing. The act of deliberately “opening” yourself to communication with the dead, in innocence and without due regard for the danger involved, seems to attract many of the sort of dead you would never want to meet. For dying apparently does not change your basic character. If you are a vicious, cruel person, consumed with hatred during life, so you will be in death.
Possession can happen
I have used the recent personal experiences of many different people to demonstrate that possession is not a mere fantasy from the superstitious past. It can and does occur today, just as it always has. And it is my opinion that the legacy of such experiences, accumulating over the centuries, can go a long way toward explaining the extremely widespread human fear of the dead. As the experiences in this chapter show, we have every reason for fearing some of the dead.
Can we make any useful generalizations about the basic dynamics of possession? An examination of a large number of published cases suggests that we can.
In what “condition” are the possessing dead?
Here we have to distinguish between deliberate and inadvertent possession. Inadvertent or accidental possession usually seems to involve actual ignorance of one’s own death, and can be accompanied by varied states of consciousness. Such possessing entities can be in an unconscious stupor, which may intermittently be inflicted on the victim. Or, they may be conscious, with either no, or minimal, sensory input. Some such complain of existing in “dense darkness” or in a “mist.” Still others have a full, normal sensory awareness of the physical world with which they are completely familiar. Those who exist in mist or darkness frequently state that they have been drawn to a “light.” This “light” seems most commonly to be the “aura” of a psychically sensitive person, but it can also be the aura of someone not known to be psychic. As the light seems to offer a refuge from darkness and permits visual perception, it may be “entered,” an act which can apparently trap the confused entity within the aura. The possessing entity is now in a position to influence the embodied person, who may or may not be aware of this influence. As the “trapped” entity must now “go about” with the embodied person, intense anger and frustration may be directed at this person, who is seen as “imprisoning” the dead individual. The entrapment may proceed from the aura to actual blending with the body of the living person. The possessing entity may then regard the body as its own. In other cases, the presence is aware that there is another unwelcome tenant—the original owner—which it may try to drive out. All of this can be intensely distressing to the embodied person.
Deliberate possession, on the other hand, seems usually to be perpetrated by dead human beings who know that they are dead. This knowledge, however, does not prevent them from being “stuck” at the level of the physical world. All that they can perceive is what we perceive from the vantage point of our own bodies, although some can also see other entities in the same condition as themselves. Existence in this state proves highly frustrating, as it is normally impossible for them to manipulate the physical world in any way. As this state of impotence frequently seems to be accompanied by normal physical desires for sex, food, and so on, it leads, logically enough, to determined efforts to obtain control of a body in order to fulfil their needs. In the most malevolent cases, there is a sadistic desire to torture, dominate, and drive to insanity or suicide the originally embodied personality, using, if necessary, a diabolical capacity for deception.
But why do some of the dead end up like this?
Here we are on much less certain ground, although interested investigators have offered some generalizations. It is claimed that any intense personality trait or desire can “hold” you in one of the states described above:
- ·• obsessive hatred for persons or specific situations;
- obsessive love for any person, object, way of life;
- earthly desires: for food, sex, liquor, drugs, power, money, clothing, life-styles, revenge, the physical or mental torturing of others, and so on;
- any negative general personality trait such as greed, lust, selfishness, religious fanaticism, exaggerated self-absorption, and so on;
- ignorance of the fact of life after death, or fixed but incorrect ideas about its nature.
It is also claimed that the victims of possession may in a sense bring it on themselves by having personal characteristics similar to those “holding” the dead; this “attracts” compatible deceased persons and makes it easier for possession to occur.
A good many cases can be cited in support of each of these generalizations. But we cannot say they are the only causes, because such qualities would, in various combinations, apply to virtually all dead and all living persons. And because other evidence proves that all of the dead are not possessors, and all of the living not possessed, we must simply confess our ignorance of the real causes of possession. Possibly it is a question of the degree, intensity, or nature of the commitment to these characteristics for both the living and the dead victims of possession which causes it to occur.”