Greg Taylor, Author of the Month for January 2008
Her Sweet Murmur (cont.)
By Greg Taylor
The Mystery Remains
What are we to make of this? We have numerous 'boundary' or paranormal experiences, all which appear to consist of definite sounds (enumerated previously in mystical literature, as above). What's more, these 'sounds' appear to be subjectively perceived, but sometimes originate from some objective source, as evidenced by the group experiences.
There is some evidence to suggest that these sounds are caused by stimulation of certain parts of the brain. For instance, it is known that sufferers of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy also experience a remarkably similar set of sounds:
Simple auditory phenomena such as humming, buzzing, hissing, and roaring may occur if the discharges arise in the superior temporal gyrus; and olfactory sensations, which are usually unpleasant and difficult to define, can signal the start of seizures in the Sylvian region or ento-rhinal cortex.
The comment about olfactory sensations should not go unnoticed either, considering many paranormal encounters also involve smells (from sulfurous to the sweet smell of roses). Most readers will also be familiar with the research of Dr Michael Persinger, who claims to have elicited 'entity contact'-like experiences via magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobes — in fact, Persinger's modified motorcycle helmet, fitted with magnetic induction devices, has been nicknamed 'The God Helmet'.
At face value then, it might be surmised that all of the experiences listed in this essay are simply hallucinations, created by a malfunction of the brain. But a closer examination prompts more questions. How do we explain the the 'group hearing', such as that of Fatima? Persinger would have it that some electromagnetic field was present, affecting the brains of all that were in the vicinity, although varying depending on the exposure. But then how do we explain the Wollaton fairy report, or the tale of Marina Fry, who with her sisters saw the little man in the tiny red car. In both events, the sound was heard by a group, but the same thing was also seen — and in the case of Marina Fry, we have the added complication that the sound was heard differently.
Furthermore, the reports of celestial music at the time of death — again, heard subjectively — confound the hallucination explanation, and also Persinger's EMF theory. Apart from some over-construed physicalist explanation (describing a state of group catalepsy or similar), there is a real possibility here that the explanation we must face is that there is another facet to the death experience (and also, obviously, to paranormal events in life) which is thus far unexplainable.
Such experiences lend weight to the idea that the brain is certainly involved in these border phenomena, but that it is mediating or receiving the experience, rather than creating it (as a hallucination). If so, we are faced with a real mystery — what is the origin of these various phenomena? Whatever it is, it appears to be connected to everything from UFOs and mystical experiences, right through to our fate after death. We would do well to pay more attention to the crossovers between the various branches of paranormal research in future.
Greg Taylor is the owner/editor of the online alternative news portal, The Daily Grail(www.dailygrail.com), and is also the editor of Sub Rosa Magazine. He is interested and widely read in topics that challenge the orthodox worldview, from alternative history to the mysteries of human consciousness. Greg currently resides in Brisbane, Australia, and has recently published his first book. The Guide To The Solomon Key is a guidebook to the esoteric history and locations likely to be included in Dan Brown's next book.