The etheric place: Notes on finding the supernatural at the boundaries of sleep

  • Adam Powell Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University
  • Christopher Cook Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

Abstract

Whilst conducting qualitative studies with both Christians who report hearing supernatural voices and Spiritualists who report ‘clairaudience’, we have encountered numerous instances of what appeared to be hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences being deemed spiritual by our participants. Taking place at the boundary between wakefulness and sleep, these occurrences involve voices, visions, and tactile phenomena. We note that they also seem to have common characteristics that may distinguish them from other reported spiritual or religious experiences: 1) Clear and external aurality when involving voices, 2) Ambiguous messages or initial meanings, and 3) Later attribution to a supernatural agent.

Author Biographies

Adam Powell, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

Adam J. Powell is a Research Associate in both the Institute for Medical Humanities and the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.

Christopher Cook, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

Christopher C.H. Cook is Professor of Spirituality, Theology and Health in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.

Published
2021-01-08
Section
Articles