Jun 6, 2015

Elaina: A Followup

                                           image credit: my blog                                       

Back in February, Jennifer wrote a report on Elaina, one of our more fascinating cases. She has continued to communicate with us off and on--something that is rare for people who write in. I was intrigued by some things Jennifer mentioned and so I wrote Elaina. Like me, she has experienced "levitation", or out of body experiences. Here is one of her stories, best told in her own words.

The first time it happened I was staying at my step mom's family's house for Thanksgiving. My sister and I were sharing a basement room that was unfinished and had these fluorescent lights that took a second longer to turn on and would kind of flicker and warm up after you would flip the light switch up. My sister was on pain meds because she just had surgery on her wrist, so she was sleeping pretty heavily most of the time we were there. I went in the bedroom to sleep one night and she had been sleeping for a while already. I went to sleep and then fell into this feeling that I was floating up to the ceiling without any control of my body. I was trying to make sense of it and could only decide that some bad spirit had control over me…I didn't really have a reason why. I felt my body being shoved into the corner of the room. Nothing hurt, I couldn't see a spirit, I was just scared. After not much longer I came back down onto the bed, but I realized I was re-entering my body. I felt my spirit sliding over the sheets and coming back into myself- I was even more scared when this was happening. I was totally aware but couldn't move or talk- which made me wonder if it was a sleep paralysis dream. I woke up right when it was over and was terrified. I laid there for a second thinking about what had happened and what's REALLY weird is that the lights came on- with ease. I thought it was a ghost. I walked over to the light switch and it was still down. I flipped it up and the lights stayed on. I flipped it down and they went off. I was so scared that I slept on the couch next to my dad (I was 24) haha.

      That last part of her story really resonates with me. When I was 16, one night I was awoken by the sound of pounding on our tin roof. My eyes popped open and I saw a ragged, hunched over figure, about 3 feet tall, running by my bed. Something about its presence and appearance was totally terrifying and overwhelming. It seemed so inhuman and Other. The next night I was so frightened that I had to sleep in the same bed as my mom. These kind of experiences get to the very center of our fears and greatest aspirations. I think some part of us wants to have them, is attracted to them and so we take off flying into the night or suddenly see something that seems to be pure evil.
      Elaina (somewhat ambivalently) connects her floating experiences to the presence of ghosts or spirits. In once instance she deliberately tried to have an OBE but by connecting to it through ghosts. According to her:

...it didn't really work. In my dream I went to a piece of land that I knew someone had died on in a tragic way. I fell asleep next to the spot where a man was burned alive. I tried to sense what happened and connect with his spirit. I saw a brief glimpse and when I woke up (in my dream) I was scooted 3 or 4 feet from where I fell asleep. I think that was maybe an experiment to see whether or not it was something else controlling me. Ive had many dreams where I kind of push off each foot and float for a while. I would love to learn how to control this and what its about.

      It's significant to me that she tries to make this connection to the dead. Perhaps some deeper part of her wants to engage with people who have passed and help them. I've heard some compelling reports of this, most notably an experiment with an OBE'r conducted by Alex Tsakiris over at the Skeptiko podcast.
      Elaina also has what she calls a recurring dream where she travels a long distance to meet a guide. I'm guessing this is more than a dream. She says, "I've always been very comfortable with the idea of being close with spirits, so it wouldn't surprise me if I had some sort of connection with the afterlife or other dimensional brings...or aspects of myself." This sounds like a gift.
     I think that, like many of us, Elaina is at once intrigued by, drawn to, and scared of these other realms and beings that show up and mess with our minds, bodies, and light switches. Perhaps this is how they get our attention, by doing something to upset our normal safe little worlds of waking and sleeping. It's probably also our Self, patiently drawing us away from body during that one third of the day where our egoic priorities suddenly no longer matter. We're taken into a place where we must surrender but also take charge and meet a strange destiny.

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