If you’re a fan of the supernatural in horror fiction or in real life, you might have heard of spiritual mediums who can talk to the dead. Such people, known as clairaudient or mediums, believe they can transcend realms of living to hear people’s spirits talk to them. Now, scientists are trying to explain why certain people might believe in clairaudience.
Durham University researchers figured out why some people adopt spiritualist beliefs, like hearing the dead, and some do not. It has to do with having an active sense of hearing and feeling.
A little background on this particular “Supernatural talent.” Clairvoyant are people who claim they can “see” the dead or clairsentient meaning they can “Sense” or “feel” the dead. These two categories were not a focus of the study. The team wanted to learn only about clairaudient i.e. those who hear the dead.
Sixty-five clairaudient spiritualist mediums were surveyed from the Spiritualists' National Union. In another group, 143 regular people who had never claimed to be clairaudient were surveyed.
Mediums are often known to report unusual auditory experiences, like hearing unexplained voices, even at younger ages.
A theme emerged from their observations. Those from the spiritualist group were found to have a proclivity for absorption. It is defined as “a trait linked to immersion in mental or imaginative activities or experience of altered states of consciousness.”
When they search for a meaning behind these unexplained voices they often turn to spiritualism, said the researchers. As spiritualism is a belief system that says human beings don’t cease to exists after death but continue to survive in the form of souls.
Dr Adam Powell, lead author, said it is a way to resolve extreme childhood experiences. The gifted mediums are simply gifted with extreme sensory feelings and it is an example of learning vs yearning. The unexplained phenomenon of childhood becomes their tenet when they start to practice the art of medium.
In the study, they tried to analyse how mediums experience spirit “voices.” Then it was compared to hallucination-proneness, levels of absorption, aspects of identity, and belief in the paranormal.
Around 44% reported they hear the dead daily. Whereas, 33% said they had experienced an audience with the deceased in the last day. 79% of them reported it is now a regular part of their life and can happen anywhere, whether at their work as a medium or time alone in church or home.
Additionally, 65% accepted the voices were coming from inside their head but a minority reported that they also hear voices from the outside.
The last parameter tested was belief in the paranormal. To not much surprise, mediums rated much higher than the general population in their supernatural beliefs.
To conclude, a high level of absorption, combined with proneness to such auditory phenomena and a belief system lead to reports of clairaudient communications.