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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD Clinical Psychology, DPhil., MA (History)


The Lucid State of Precognitive Episodes: Intrusions or Not? (Part One)

Paul Kiritsis - Thursday, June 19, 2014

The time is definitely rife for an attempted elucidation of precognitive dreams and other lucid states associated with extrasensory perception in terms of a more scientifically cogent paradigm than the one currently offered by the introspection of hermeneutics. As any academically and scientifically sound thinker would proudly assert, any phenomenon hoping to cement itself in the eternal library of natural laws and facts must become permeable and accessible to the investigative methods of multiple disciplines. This is how scientific integrity is gained and maintained. For this, we would need to introduce cognitive neuroscience into the equation and attempt to correlate the chief phenomenological features of the “psi” phenomenon with underlying physical, chemical, and biological substrates.

This isn’t an easy task by any stretch of the imagination and may inevitably end up raising more questions than what it can answer. Newtonian science, for one, strongly resists the possibility that telegnostic projections[1] may exist based on the mechanistic assumption that mind and consciousness are embodied by the brain. Its explicit assertion is that spontaneous and random activation of information encoded by the synaptic junctions is what facilitates mental activity in conscious and nonconscious states like waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Against such stringent parameters there can be no mental exchange between nonlocal minds. The relegation of “psi” functions to the subjective wastebasket of pseudoscience, magical thinking, and to the farthest peripheries of critical inquiry has inevitably influenced the level of financial support for “psi” research along with the amount of funding government agencies and academic institutions are prepared to throw into such enterprises. How many functional neuroimaging[2] studies conducted in the last decade or so have attempted to quantify alterations to glucose metabolism, chemistry, electrical firing patterns, and cerebral blood flow in various brain regions during a remote REM-period[3] of lucidity? Not one comes to mind.          Nonetheless, our knowledge of the neural correlates of conscious states has advanced enough in the last few decades as to offer, at the very least, a rudimentary theoretical sketch of what might be happening in the brain when nonlocal data is being received telepathically.

In the following investigation, I will present seven distinct episodes of precognition or extrasensory perception. The first three are spellbinding fruits from my critical investigation into precognitive dreams entitled, Dreamscaping Without my Timekeeper (2013); the second three are preternatural dreams described by John William Dunne (1875-1949) in the posthumously published Intrusions (1955); and the third is an uncanny higher-order hallucination of a schizophrenic gas pipefitter relayed by the clinical psychologist Wilson Van Dusen (1923-2005) in his publication, The Natural Depth in Man (1972). Following the detailed descriptions I will ascertain their underlying uniformity and internal consistency based on an analysis of content and form; and finally, I will utilize what is already known about the chemical and physiological correlates of integral conscious states like waking, sleeping (non-REM), and dreaming (REM) to make further extrapolations regarding specific physical conditions which must be present for a level and kind of consciousness inclusive of “psi” to manifest.

We begin our journey with an exploration of a dreamscape belonging to a young woman from Greece with a decisive psychic opening. Hers is an incredible case that defies all rational thinking and analysis. In the first segue she is walking along a shore peppered with familiar faces. One of them, a very close friend by the name of John, is seated atop a boulder with his head in his hands, crying. “Why are you late?” John asks her. “I’ve been here my own. Why have you come last?”

Some two and a half years afterward she awakes into a correlated dream wearing a long black coat, an indication that winter has finally arrived. She and John are holding hands and walking along a shore, towards a wooden jetty. They stop rather abruptly before an assortment of old buildings and faded signs bounded by secure wire fencing to keep trespassers at bay. John places his head against the fence and curls his fingers around the metal wiring. When he releases his grip she can see rivulets of blood coursing along the length of his palm. Suddenly he’s not beside her anymore; he’s somewhere up ahead. She panics and jolts into a sprint in order to catch up, but he motions for her to stop. He walks up to her and places his hands on her shoulders, squeezing them tightly. “I have to go on alone from here. You should not follow me, I must go on alone.” She starts crying, pleading with him not to go. He vanishes from sight.

My subject reports that there was a three month hiatus between the second and third visionary experience. In the third and final instalment of this precognitive series, she’s stopped by a very handsome pilot whilst walking along the shore. “What are you doing here?” she asks him. “I wanted to talk with you and you’ll need to remember the words I’m about to utter,” he replies. “I want you to remember that you’re made of steel; that you’re very strong; and that you should not fear anything.” He keeps repeating these words over and over, trying to drum them into her. “Look who I’ve bought you,” he tells her. Within a split second Lucas, her spirit guide, appears. “Oh, you’re both here,” she exclaims, overwhelmed with exuberance. Lucas approaches her with a solemn expression on his face. “Why have you forgotten me as of late Lucas?” she asks him. “Why don’t you come anymore? Why don’t you tell me who you are, or where I might be able to find you?” Lucas takes a seat beside her and says, “We’re not one, we’re three. I’m constantly beside you. Every time you shudder, get goose bumps, or feel a bit strange, it’s because I’m with you. I’ve sent the dogs so they can protect you. I’m not hurt,” he says, lifting his shirt up, “so don’t bother looking for me in the hospital. I want to remind you that you’re made of steel and that I’m always there supporting you.” She has an intuitive feeling that he’s just about to tell her to awake. She starts crying, pleading for him not to go. He forces a smile in an effort to shroud his own melancholy. “You must awake and remember what I’ve been telling you Iolko, you must awake.”

Only two weeks would elapse before these horrific premonitions finally manifested. On 28th January 2013, my subject’s best friend John suffered a major cardiac arrest, an incident which deprived him of his life. Initially, she was undecided if she should attend the funeral; would she be swept into the vortices of hysteria, into a plane of irrationality from whence there would be no return? In the end she survived the traumatic ordeal, taking comfort from words uttered by the ethereal Lucas and the pilot. Further insult to the deep wounding was incurred three months later when John’s mother lost her extended battle with leukaemia. Due to spacial limitations in the graveyard his mother could not claim a resting place beside her beloved son, and so an edict was passed that the two should be buried together. The proximity of the two deaths made my subject feel as though she was living the same lamentable horror twice over. Only after the passing of these events did my subject understand the allusion to ‘steel’; being composed of anything else, she declares, would not have been enough to withstand the devastation forces of such a tragedy. 

The subsequent three visions are excerpts from Dunne’s Intrusions. In the first experience, the formless dream energy moulds itself into a beautiful landscape, incidentally a sandy hillside with gentle slopes. Having at once orientated himself to the scene, Dunne sees that he is casually seated atop a boulder equidistant from the summit and the foothill.  Prominent along the latter is a watercourse that winds its way athwart the wraithlike terrain like an iridescent snake. A set of very recognizable footprints can be traced from their origin near the water to the boulder on which he now reposes. Moreover, rays of brilliant light emanating from a source behind him pierce every possible crevice and depression, but halt somewhat abruptly and anomalously at the riverbank. Beyond the horizon demarcated by the eddy exists a contrasting world of shadows comprised of palpable individuals with ambiguous physical characteristics. The landscape is a powerful allegory for the imperceptible continuum of sparse and opaque dimensions permeated by the same animating nonphysical energy, or something to that effect.

For Dunne the overarching significance of the allegory is in its profound eschatological revelation, the implication that he has successfully crossed over the dimensional bridge leading to the land of the dead. Sitting and ruminating on the rock, he suddenly becomes aware of a phenomenal presence behind him. This mysterious persona is none other than God himself, that transcendent force whose nature and form obstinately resists perception and enumeration. With recourse to his intuitive faculties, Dunne can intuitively feel that God is deeply absorbed in a type of work most unfathomable to the human intellect. Held temporarily in the mind’s eye, the image of an ensconced God bending over to empower a cosmic machination in a reality beyond physical space and time possesses him completely. It rapidly dawns upon Dunne that the darkness saturating the living world is God’s shadow. What in the formative stages appeared as an anomalous effect in the unfolding of natural law had by now become an epiphenomenon of divine handiwork; the dark shadow enveloping the living world like a glove was simply the result of God’s unfathomable action.

Of course the fundamental question begging to be answered was that if the divine shadow encompassed the living world, then why didn’t any of the living inhabitants take any notice of it? How could they remain oblivious to something draped over their eyes and bodies, their very lives? As he ponders these questions an allegorical angel materializes a few yards to the left in a space just beyond the field of his vision; in an attempt to keep the representational tendencies thematically consistent he uses his imagination to shape the nebulous entity into a conventional cherubic form replete with prominent wings and white garments. Dunne’s bewilderment and curiosity with humanity’s ignorance continues to proliferate like a ruptured bypass pipe until it can no longer be contained. “Look! Look!” he exclaims, “God’s shadow! It’s everywhere! It’s all around them! Why, why don’t they see it?” The angel’s succinct albeit unanticipated response is, “Because it has no edges.”

The second vision is preceded by a protracted period of psychic self-flagellation and angst. One evening, a fictional narrative entices Dunne into philosophical speculation about the future of Homo sapiens, incidentally the only species on the planet bold enough to draw a distinct and lucid self-congratulatory line between their own kind and all other creatures on the planet. He ponders how Mother Nature, that eccentric madwoman most unapologetic of her randomized actions, might react to this flawed, conceited, and detrimental perception of ourselves? Would she inevitably come to the conclusion that there was something intrinsically wrong and that the Homo sapiens would have to be thrown back into the melting pot? Might she awake one day abreast the insight that conceit was tantamount to leprosy in the animal kingdom and should be quashed before it can infect anything else? What if humanity was nothing but a creative offshoot of Nature’s temporary insanity, something that was so inconsequential in the wider scheme of things as to have escaped her more detailed scrutiny? Having done a remarkable job of impressing the world’s collective concerns upon his own conscience, Dunne is finally swept into the vortices of sleep.

The enigmatic angel must have been eavesdropping on his philosophical soliloquy, for he was the first thing to manifest at the inception of the first dreamscape. Everything about Dunne proceeded to shape-shift, eventually coagulating into the same physical environment as the one envisioned in the first preternatural dream. The magnificent hillside with the subtle slopes was there; so too was the boulder on which he’d reposed. Across the eddy the living still meandered about, oblivious of the paraphysical realms beyond. A somnolent darkness had now descended over the landscape, matching the negative emotional appraisals Dunne experienced before falling asleep. In a desperate bid to dispel his budding unrest our shrewd protagonist beckoned the angel, “How can I be sure that it is going to turn out all right for us?” After a pregnant pause, the embodied Wisdom offers the following guidance: “I can tell you this. Always remember this. Whatever the game is, you had a hand in the making of it… It is likely–that you would have made it…” Spurred by some ambiguous inner revelation, Dunne interrupts with the words, “yes, I see! Turn out wrong for ourselves?” whilst at the same time the angel makes a purposive correction in the phrase’s inflection from plural to singular by uttering, “turn out wrong for yourself?” The amendment stipulated roused much uncertainty in Dunne, leaving him flabbergasted, speechless, and mentally absent in a way which made it permissible for the authoritative figure to abscond.

In the third and final ‘intrusion’ the allegorical angel appeared amidst portentous environment ravaged by diabolical tempests. Here Dunne narrates that the complete absence of light made perusing the gently sloping hillside, the eddy, the shadowy world, and every other imagined aspect impossible. In fact, the only thing visible was the angelic paraphernalia–a fold of white garment flapping about in the mournful wind. Surmising that this was probably the last encounter with the embodied Wisdom, he clutched onto the garment in what was probably his boldest sentimental act yet and then probed the depths of his mind for an appropriate and worthwhile question, for a dilemma of substance. “Christianity, is it true?” he finally uttered. “God lets it be true for those who want it to be true,” the angel responded.

The final example isn’t a dream but a higher-order hallucination. These are private sensory experiences with clinical content that is highly feeling-related, nonverbal, and symbolic; more often than not we find that experiences of this type possess intellectual, cognitive, and creative merit, far surpassing the understanding and IQ level of the patient through which they’ve manifested. Able to sensitively guide the patient through the tidal waves, earthquakes, and whirlwinds of madness with utmost respect for personal conscience and volition, their intrinsic worth is definitely priceless. At this point I surmise that alarm bells have gone off inside your head and that you’re slightly bewildered about my decision to group a pathological experience with dream sequences of persons who are of psychologically sound health. In all truth the two are analogous to chalk and cheese, you say, so how might one actually be connected to the other? Had I been ignorant of developments in cognitive neuroscience I would have agreed, however as I shall elucidate in the analytical component of this article, the REM-bound state (dreaming) and the hallucinatory aspect of psychosis partake of the same physiological imbalance and provisional chemical instability buttressing a unified brain-mind state. They are quintessentially derivatives of the same neural process. Psychosis is pathological dreaming during the waking state and non-pathological dreaming is a normal psychosis. We’ll delve much deeper into that later.  

One of the most awe-inspiring higher-order visions in the anecdotal literature today was described in some detail by Van Dusen in The Natural Depth in Man (1972). The hallucination in question took the form of a supernal lady with a mental and aesthetic dexterity to rival the mythical Muses, Sirens, and water nymphs. Going by the mysterious epithet of, “An Emanation of the Feminine Aspect of the Divine,” this spirited lilliputian entered the perceptual field of an elementary educated gas pipefitter with the sole intent of lifting him from his depressive and delusional slumber. Communicating through the gas pipefitter who had no understanding of mythical, religious, and historical contexts, Van Dusen stresses that his multiple dealings with the beautiful lady went far in convincing him that she was, without any reasonable doubt, a master of hermeneutics; she frequently produced cosmic images, letters, and universal symbols from within herself and described the implications of archetypal myths that were unbeknownst to the clinical psychologist. On one occasion she orchestrated a Buddhist wheel mandala by intricately knotting together human bodies and then allowing it to roll across the office; on another she accurately reflected an inner mental state that would have been concealed from any other mortal observer with the image of a flaccid phallus; and on another still she demonstrated her extrasensory powers by stipulating in a straightforward fashion that a bypass valve and differential pressure was behind anomalous variances in the temperature of water coming from the same drinking fountain. She mimicked her planetary constituent, the rocky and crater-filled moon, when it came to answering queries–thoughtful questions were accurately mirrored by answers with philosophical latitudes while the lighter breed would be reflected by playful and mischievous answers. Compared with the majority of the populace, she was a beacon of eternal wisdom. According to Van Dusen there was simply no way that an individual of the gas pipefitter’s level of intelligence, understanding, and cognitive capacity could ever engender or conjure such a ‘hallucination’, not unless some external agency was involved.  


[1] Obtaining knowledge of distant events allegedly without use of normal sensory mechanisms.

[2] Functional neuroimaging is the use of neuroimaging technology to measure an aspect of brain function, often with a view to understanding the relationship between activity in certain brain areas and specific mental functions.

[3] REM or rapid-eye-movement sleep is the stage of sleep associated with dreaming. REM sleep is characterized by eye movement, increased respiration rate and increased brain activity. REM sleep is also referred to as paradoxical sleep because, while the brain and other body systems become more active, your muscles become more relaxed, or paralyzed. Dreaming occurs because of increased brain activity, but voluntary muscles become paralyzed. Voluntary muscles are those that you need to move by choice, for example, your arms and legs. Involuntary muscles are those that include your heart and gut. They move on their own.

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