• Cat Ward

GHOSTS- IN OUR GENES?


This is a strange piece for me to write. Not due to its subject nature- that's fairly par for the course for me, and for how I think..

It's strange mainly because I have to "speak in another voice" here- I'm generally a voice that tries to present facts and objective material- names, dates, sources and reading references..but for this piece I'm speaking as just myself, a person who had an unusual childhood, and has had unexplained experiences throughout her life too..and is curious as to why those things happen to some people.

I was having a discussion with a friend not long ago about these experiences, and about why some people have so many of them, and why in quite a few cases it seems their family members- parents, grandparents and so on- have reported similar experiences.

Does heredity play a role in our extrasensory or paranormal experiences?

Is it something in our genes?

When I started writing this blog, almost a year ago, I wrote a sort of introductory piece, and explained a little about my somewhat unusual childhood, and some of the odd experiences I've had..

For me, it seemed perfectly normal to have grown up with a Mother who worked as a trance medium, and I never stopped to consider that not too many five-year-olds regularly attended "communication circles" as part of their weekly routine.

I related a few of my childhood experiences in that introductory piece- the large black cat I found sitting next to my bedroom wardrobe upon awaking early one morning, which promptly vanished when I went to pat it; the small objects which would occasionally relocate themselves without being moved by human hands; the time "something" strummed the strings of a small ukulele I had on the top shelf of my bedroom bookcase in the middle of the night.

Other unusual things happened throughout my childhood too- lights that would turn off or on of their own accord, and a memorable occasion when I was 13 when, alone in the house, I heard a loud noise in the kitchen and upon going to investigate its cause, I found that a collection of bottle caps previously located on the windowsill were now scattered across the floor.

The unexplained experiences have happened throughout my life beyond my childhood, too. There was the incident with the chip packet not long after my Stepfather's death, the series of odd coincidences one Melbourne Cup day over a decade ago, and then when I look at the things which have occurred since I first stepped into the world of paranormal investigation, that list can be added to again.

Even as recently as last year, there were other experiences- the time when, spending the night in a reputedly "haunted" hotel room, my door mysteriously locked itself when I stepped out for a moment, having left it unlatched- this was a little embarrassing actually, as nobody wants to find themselves stranded outside their room clad in nightwear, whilst a very amused hotel owner laughingly unlocks the door to let them back in!

And then there's the experiences I had during the 6 years I spent repeatedly investigating my beloved Old Castlemaine Gaol-the lights that would turn on or off unaided, and most memorably of all the time around the middle of last year where I spent over 5 minutes wrestling with an unlocked cell door, gave up the fight, but returned several minutes later to find that the door now swung open easily.

None of these experiences have ever left me uneasy..perhaps I live up to my name- cats are curious, after all!

I have always wondered why such things occur, though.

Recently, I wrote a small series of pieces about the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, and the strange experiences he had throughout his lifetime. In researching Jung, I naturally came across a few things about his family too, including stories that strange experiences apparently happened to his Mother, and also the report that his maternal Grandmother was considered to be clairvoyant.

This got me thinking about my own lineage, as my Mother seemingly had extrasensory abilities, and my maternal Grandmother too. As I discovered quite recently, members of my biological Father's side of the family also had similar experiences.

My Mother's memories of what my Father related to her about his family have been invaluable to me in this, as I never knew my Father; he died when I was an infant. As he was 26 years older than my Mother (he'd be in his 90's today), I also never knew any of my family members on his side: my paternal grandmother and great-grandmother were both long gone before I was born. My paternal Grandmother apparently had strange experiences, and her Mother was born with a "caul" across her face, which is considered in superstition to be a sign that the individual in question will possess clairvoyant talents.

Indeed, my paternal great-grandmother was considered a local "seer", in the town of Hawick, Scotland, where my Father spent his childhood, and was apparently regularly consulted by townsfolk on various matters.

It was wonderful to hear their stories, and it was these, along with the information about Carl Jung's family and their strange experiences, that really made me wonder about heredity.

I think there could be a couple of considerations as to how this may play a role though- one is purely to do with biological composition, and the other, not so much..


PHYSICAL AND GENETIC

Each of us inherits our D.N.A. from our parents- 50% of it from each parent.

Is there a particular combination of genes that may perhaps be responsible for extrasensory capabilities, or repeated paranormal experiences, in some people?

It's been known for a long time, and indeed confirmed by science, that certain mental illnesses can be hereditary..they're basically faults in the "hard-wiring" of our brains that can be passed on from parent to child.

If we can inherit that different hard-wiring in that context, could there perhaps also be the possibility of heredity coming into play in the form of predisposition to paranormal experiences? Are the brains of people who have repeated paranormal or extrasensory experiences throughout their lives perhaps just wired differently due to that having been passed down from their parents, and their parents' parents, and so on?

This is not to say that just because one's parents or grandparents may have had psychic abilities, or paranormal or extrasensory experiences, we should thus consider ourselves psychic or clairvoyant..whilst I've had many odd experiences in my life, I tend to think my "extra senses" aren't quite playing their A-game!

And another quite important consideration- there's familial beliefs to take into account here too, as these could also have an effect upon our own beliefs and our perceptions of our experiences.

Nonetheless, it's still an interesting possibility to consider, when we look at the large number of reports from people who have had paranormal or extrasensory experiences, and who state that their parents or grandparents also had those. A simple internet search using the search term "are psychic abilities genetic" provides quite a few accounts in that respect. Could our predisposition to unexplained experiences be passed down? and how?


COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS AND MORPHIC FIELDS

There's another point of consideration to be made as to heredity here, which relates to it, but in a slightly different way..

Carl Jung and Rupert Sheldrake, both great minds in the parapsychological field, explored a similar concept in their work and theories, although their theories bear different names.

Jung's theory was the "Collective Unconscious", and Sheldrake explored "Morphic Fields"..but both theories seem to posit similar hypotheses at their core- that the beliefs and experiences of ancestral predecessors leave behind energetic "information", stored non-locally to our minds, which is accessible to those of the same species- the same "family".

Perhaps that terminology could be refined further too, and broken down into the sub-category of actual genetically-related family. With regards to my own family, I have a large number of ancestors who either believed in such things as the paranormal or the unexplained, and/or had experiences with such things.

Although I never knew most of those ancestors, could I have possibly telepathically accessed and learned from their own beliefs and experiences- those which had been left behind as a sort of energetic "residue", somewhere in what H.H. Price termed the psychic ether?

Could those ancestral beliefs and experiences have shaped or influenced my own beliefs and experiences, without my being aware of their having done so?


AND A LITTLE PURE SPECULATION..WHAT IF??

Going into very speculative territory here, there's other factors that I think could perhaps be considered, although no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find any actual scientific studies that would illustrate my point.

What if there's some other factor of our biological make-up that may be a contributive factor too?

What if that may be due to hair colour, or eye colour? Perhaps it's due to blood type? Every minute aspect of our biological make-up comes with differences in our composition which may often be minute, and may thus be overlooked for correlative purposes or studies..but what if somewhere there's a correlation, however minuscule, between any of those different aspects, that could perhaps be a factor in the equation which would explain why some of us have repeated unexplained experiences?

I'm a blue-eyed redhead, and have type A blood..My Father's side of the family was mostly red-headed and blue-eyed too..as that side of my family is Scottish, that's no surprise!..unfortunately, though, I have no idea as to their blood type.

There are many anecdotes about redheads, and indeed we were thought unusual in many cultures- often redheads were considered witches, vampires, or just plain unnatural..blue-eyed people have quite a few superstitions attached to them too, and for some reason blue eyes were regarded with suspicion in some cultures...but why? Is it just that our colouring is rare?

There are a few facts I could throw at you here too- blue-eyed people are more light-sensitive, .and redheads have a higher pain threshold (and a greater resistance to anaesthetic)..but is that all there is to it?

Jung was dark-haired and dark-eyed, and I have no clue as to his blood type, nor as to the hair colour, eye colour, or blood type of his ancestral lineage- but I hope you can see the point I'm trying to make.

What makes us our own unique selves is due to a very complex biological equation..and what if some contributive factors to paranormal, unexplained, or extrasensory experiences happens to lie within the basic components of that biological equation?

The results of a survey conducted upon unexplained experiences using such purely biological and hereditary factors, with beliefs, values, and thus assumptions taken out of the equation (if possible), would make interesting viewing, I think- although there may be a very difficult time had in finding correlations, and of course no correlation may exist at all- this is purely speculative, after all, as is much in this field!

Surveys have been long conducted from a psychological, belief-based, or emotional point of view..what might be shown if we could take those out of the equation, and go instead to the true basics of our composition?

Could it ever be shown that ghosts are in our genes?

Feel free to tell me your thoughts on this in comments!


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