Very strangely, many a modern scientist is a kind of person of a hundred unreasonable taboos. A judge of submissions to a scientific journal will be very likely to refuse publication to almost any scientific paper reporting or suggesting something like alien abductions, UFOs, apparition sightings, extrasensory perception, precognition, out-of-body experiences, prophetic dreams, faith healing, inexplicable seance events, clairvoyance, telekinesis, Bigfoot sightings, signs of design in biology, spooky inexplicable patterns, psychometry, signs of design in the universe, evidence for ancient aliens, inexplicable trance phenomena, mysterious organism sightings, poltergeist activity, intercessory prayer successes, motions of galaxies in conflict with standard cosmology, inexplicable water phenomena, channeling, reincarnation, inexplicable knowledge of the dead displayed by mediums, alleged miracles, spiritual possession, near-death experiences, as well as fifty or a hundred other phenomena. There exists a culture in much of academia in which the serious study of such topics is for all practical purposes prohibited. It's almost as if the libraries of academia had bookshelves labeled like the ones below:
Let us look at some interesting reports from the countless volumes which our "read only what supports my beliefs" professors refuse to look at. In the posts below I have described well over 200 cases of people who reported seeing an apparition of someone who had died, but whose death was unknown to the person seeing the apparition:
25 Who Were "Ghost-Told" of a Death
A Thomas Savage reported at a large conference in 1817 that a wife saw an apparition of her husband about the time he was murdered. At the time she was with three other people, who apparently all saw the apparition. We read the following:
"The moment before the spirit disappeared, my sister cried, ' He is dead, he is dead !' and fainted away. The boy ran to his father, and wept, because he would not stay a short time. After this, we received a letter, sealed with black, (the dark emblem of mortality), bearing the doleful but expected news, that on such a night my brother-in-law was found weltering in his blood, in returning from the mess-room. Life was not quite gone ; the last wish he breathed in the ears of those who surrounded him was to see his wife and child. It was granted him in a certain sense ; for that very hour in which he died in the island of Minorca, that same hour he appeared to his wife, his child, and eldest sister, in Doncaster."
In a nineteenth century work we read this account:
"A little before Michaelmas, 1763, my brother George, who was a good young man, went to sea. The day after Michaelmas-day, about midnight, 1 saw him standing by my bed-side, surrounded by a glorious light, and looking earnestly at me. He was wet all over. That night the ship in which he sailed split upon a rock, and all the crew were drowned."
In the same work we read this account:
"On April 9, 1767, about midnight, I was lying awake, and 1 saw my brother John standing by my bed-side. Just at that time he died in Jamaica."
In the same work we read this account:
"During the celebrated Peninsular campaign, as a lady, whose son, a French officer in Spain, was seated in her room, she was astonished to perceive the folding doors at the bottom of the apartment slowly open, and disclose to her eyes, her son . He begged her not to be alarmed, and informed her that he had just been killed by a grape-shot, and even showed her the wound in his side ; the doors closed again and she saw no more. In a few days she received a letter, which informed her that her son had fallen, after distinguishing himself in a most gallant manner, and mentioning the time of his death, which happened at precisely the same moment the apparition was seen by her."
Jan Hunter reported in 2014 an account of seeing a Mr. Strictly dressed differently from the many times she had previously seen her:
"When I was growing up in north London, our two neighbours — rather aptly named Mr and Mrs Strictly — were a familiar sight. You simply never missed them, thanks to their eccentric dress-sense. They were an elderly couple who always stepped out in immaculate, but stiffly formal attire...One morning, when I was a 24-year-old teacher, I raced out to my car and saw Mr Strictly standing by the gate. I stopped in my tracks because, for the first time ever, he didn’t have his hat on. Instead, he had a mass of wild, white hair — I remember noticing the individual strands which were blowing in the breeze. That sense of frivolity seemed to match his mood because, as he turned and smiled at me, I saw a happiness that I’d never seen before. He looked at me as if to say ‘I’m free’ — the sense of release was almost palpable — and I noticed his shirt-sleeves were rolled up, his studded collar had been removed and his shirt and waistcoat were unbuttoned. What’s more, his hands were casually in his pockets, which I’d never seen before."
Hunter then found out that this Mr. Strictly had died ten days earlier. At the same site we read of a librarian reporting seeing a book-loving man she did not know was dead:
"She almost gave a start when she saw me and blurted out: ‘Oh Pam, the most funny thing just happened. Your Dad was wandering around the shelves looking for something to read, but when I looked away for a second, he totally vanished. I don’t know what happened to him — and I’m worried.’ The colour drained from her face when I told her Dad had passed nearly a week before. She was utterly insistent she’d seen him."
The works of the astronomer Camille Flammarion on paranormal phenomena are must-reads for any serious scholar of parapsychology. Those works include the three volumes of his monumental trilogy Death and Its Mystery (which you can read here, here and here), his work Mysterious Psychic Forces (which you can read here), and his great work The Unknown (which you can read here).
On page 87 of his work The Unknown, we read the following:
"One day, in his students’ chamber, he, being perfectly awake, had a clear vision of his father, exactly as if he were standing there. The vision lasted but a moment. My friend had no reason whatever to expect his father’s death. Yet he, who was by profession a tuner at Tours, had met with a terrible accident. In assisting to take a piano up a staircase, it had fallen on his body and crushed him, so that death ensued. Now, after he received this news, Ferdinand could well understand how the moment when he had seen the apparition coincided with that of his father’s death."
On page 100 of the same work, we read the following:
"My mother was sitting in a room in the lower story of her house, either knitting or sewing, when suddenly she saw before her her eldest brother, who lived in a village in the arrondissement of Toulon, about twenty-five miles distant. Her brother, whom she recognized perfectly, said ' Adieu,' and disappeared. My mother much excited, hastened to her husband and cried, ‘My brother has just died !’ She knew he was ill. The next day or the day after, news reached them of the decease of my uncle, which happened in the afternoon, precisely at the time of the apparition."
On the next page we read this account by a P. Busserole of seeing an apparition in a train station, following a kind of seizure:
"The figure of my father appeared and disappeared, and at the same moment the thought came to me — was borne in upon me — that I could not refrain from expressing it in these words : ‘ My father is now dying.' I had the idea fixed in my head all night as I travelled onward. I tried to make myself entertain another conviction. I arrived at rny home, which was in the Department of La Charente, about six in the morning. There they told me that my fatlier had died at six o’clock the evening before. About an hour before his death he had several times earnestly asked for me, and my absence caused him to shed tears. This coincided with the moment I had seen his apparition in the Redon station."
On page 110 we read this account from an Emma Lutz:
"My father for seven years had been on bad terms with his son, and did not even know where he was living; he appeared to this son two hours before his death. My brother, as he left his chamber at seven o’clock, saw our father about two yards away from him, and asked him affectionately, ‘ Why have you come here ?’ My father answered, ‘ To look lor you,’ and disappeared immediately....It was December 3, 1889. I was at that time sitting beside the bed of my father, who was asleep. At nine o’clock he died with out having regained consciousness."
On page 157 we read this account from a Wekecian Biliowsky:
"I was a student at the University of Kieff, and, though young, was already married...My adored wife was suddenly taken ill with influenza, and though she was so young she sank under it rapidly. Paralysis of the heart carried her off as suddenly as a flash of lightning. My father was living at Pulkowo. He knew nothing of the illness of his charming daughter-in-law, but he knew she was with me at Moscow, so that great was his surprise to see her standing 'beside him, as he left his house, and for a moment she accompanied him, then she disappeared. Seized with fear and anguish, he sent us a telegram at once to ask after my dear one. It was the very day of her death."
On pages 163-164 we read of a Mrs. Wheatcroft who saw an apparition of her soldier husband:
"Towards morning of the night between the 14th and 15th of November, she dreamed that she saw her husband ill and anxious, at which she immediately awoke with her mind much excited. It was bright moonlignt, and as she opened her eyes she again saw her husband standing beside her bed. He was dressed in uniform, his hands were pressed against his breast, his hair was in disorder, and his face pale. His great black eyes looked at her fixedly, and his mouth was contracted. She saw him, and all particulars of his clothing, as distinctly as she had ever seen him dtirmg her whole life; and she remembers to have remarked between his hands a piece of his white shirt, which, however, was not stained with blood, he seemed to lean forward with an air of suffering, and he made an effort to speak, but did not utter a sound. The apparition lasted about a minute, then it vanished....In the following month of December, a telegram announcing the death of Captain Wheatcroft was published by the War Office in London. It said that he had been killed before Lucknow, on the 15th of November."
On page 91 of The Unknown by Flammarion we read that a sister cried, "It's brother Francois!" and ran to greet her brother, "but at the moment when she should have reached him he disappeared, which frightened her terribly." At the same hour another sibling of this brother heard the brother's voice saying, "I am about to die," followed by "I am dying," followed by "I am dead." The siblings later learned that the brother had died on the same day as these events.
A Dr. Kerner states the following:
"We need not be surprised at these phenomena, when we remember that dying persons — when the soul is yet in the body, but the spirit is free — have it in their power to appear, in their own image, to distant friends. Thus did a relation of my friend. Dr. Seyffer's, appear to him, at the moment of death ; as did also his academical friend, Prince Hohenlohe, to Dr. Oesterlen."
In her long fascinating book The Night Side of Nature, Catherine Crowe cites an account, saying that she can vouch for its authenticity. The account is that a son and mother sailed from Jamaica towards England, leaving the husband behind "quite well" in Jamaica. On the ship the son said he saw the father. The mother reported the incident to the captain, who recorded the date. Shortly after arriving in England, the mother found the father had died during her voyage.
In the same book on page 167 we have one of the earliest published accounts of out-of-body experiences. We read this (in which "somnambulic patients" refers to people put in a deep trance through hypnosis:
"The girl at Canton, for example, mentioned in a former chapter, declared, as do many somnambulic patients, that, whilst their bodies are lying stiff and cold, they see it, as if out of it ; and in some instances, they describe particulars of its appearance, which they could not see in the ordinary way. There are also numerous cases of sick persons seeing themselves double, where no tendency to delirium or spectral illusion had been observed. These are, in this country, always placed under the latter category; but I find various instances recorded by the German physiologists, where this appearance has been seen by others, and even by children, at the same time that it was felt by the invalid. In one of these cases, I find the sick person saying, ' I cannot think how I am lying. It seems to me that I am divided, and lying in two places at once.' It is remarkable, that a friend of my own, during an illness in the autumn of 1845, expressed precisely the same feeling; we however saw nothing of this second ego; but it must be remembered, that the seeing these things, as I have said in a former chapter, probably depends on a peculiar faculty or condition of the seer."
The claim about the German physiologists is a very interesting one, suggesting cases in which a person might have a sensation of an out-of-body experience at the same time that some apparition of him might be seen by other people.
Serious scholarly study of the paranormal is a multi-year project that requires reading hundreds of long volumes filled with original eyewitness accounts and experimental reports. In reference to my first paragraph, I must emphasize that we should always assume (unless there is clear evidence to the contrary) that any professor talking about any aspect of the paranormal is a person who knows very little or nothing about such a topic. Given the extremely strong taboos in academia against all aspects of the paranormal, your default assumption should be that any scientist or professor talking about the paranormal has never seriously studied the topic he is talking about. We should only assume a professor or a scientist is a serious scholar of anomalous phenomena if we can find online writings in which he displays abundant study of original source materials relating to the paranormal. A large fraction of all science professors these days are "straw-hole scholars" with an extremely narrow field of study, and when they speak of things "outside of their straw-hole," they often go seriously wrong. But many a professor will briefly and dogmatically lecture us about deep spooky topics he has never seriously studied, like some plumber lecturing you about nuclear physics, or some truck driver lecturing you about cellular biochemistry.
Now, a professor might argue that while he has never studied apparition sightings, he has studied things that shows they must be groundless. He may claim that he has learned various things that show that the human mind must purely be a product of the brain, and that such things show there can be nothing to reports of a human soul or spirit appearing outside of its body. But such claims of knowledge would be unfounded. There are no such claims that stand up to critical scrutiny.
To the contrary, none of the chief aspects of mind and memory can be credibly explained by neural activity. Scientists have no credible theory of memory storage, and they sound silly when they try to explain such a thing by muttering empty phrases such as "synapse strengthening." as strengthening is not storage. There is nothing in the human brain resembling something that could write or read memories, and no neuroscientist can credibly explain how human learned knowledge could ever be translated into synapse states or brain states. While memories can last for 60 years, the synapses which scientists appeal to as a place of memory storage are very volatile things that do not persist for years; and the proteins that make up such synapses have average lifetimes of only a few weeks. Humans can form permanent new memories instantly (much faster than the time it takes for synapse strengthening). No scientist can give a credible explanation of how memories can last for decades, nor can he provide a credible explanation of how a human could instantly recall a memory using a brain lacking any feature that could allow such instant recall (the brain lacking anything like a read mechanism, an indexing system or a coordinate system that might make possible instant recall). Neuroscientists lack any credible explanation for such things as thinking, spirituality, imagination, self-hood and creativity. Nor can any neuroscientist explain how memories and intelligence can persist very well with little impact when a patient suddenly loses half of his brain in a hemispherectomy operation to stop seizures. Low-level neuroscience findings suggest the brain is too slow and too noisy to be anything that could explain human mental phenomena.
Until all such things are credibly explained by the neuroscientist, he has no business at all dismissing apparition sightings. In fact, apparition sightings, evidence for out-of-body experiences, and the too-little-studied low-level factual findings of neuroscience (not to be confused with the unfounded high-level dogmatic claims of neuroscientists) are all in good agreement, all suggesting that human mentality must involve some great reality very different from brain activity.