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Podcast Blog Counterpart – A Critical Look at Joe’s Dream Visitations
This is the blog post counterpart to Episode 6 of The Seeking I Life Exploration Podcast. If you haven’t yet listened to this or watched the video version on YouTube, you can either do that first, or listen as you are reading this to help analyse each part as we go through. Joe kindly agreed to allow me to look very critically at his experiences in search for any non-paranormal explanations before jumping io conclusions. This is by no means a “debunking” or anything of that nature, but instead a very open minded but critical thinking approach. I will go through each of Joe’s experiences below, however if I miss anything or you have any useful points to mention or suggestions to add, please feel free to comment on this post or drop me an email.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at Joe’s claims. Be warned! It’s a long one.
Joe’s Visit with his Mother – 00:18
The first thing Joe mentions is the fact that this “dream” seemed to last much longer than other dreams he has had. There could be a few reasons to this: A) As he claims, this was a spiritual experience in which he visited his mother and as such took place in a place of “timelessness” as often described, B) This was a typical dream during which the REM state lasted longer than normal and so Joe perceived that indeed the dream lasted longer, C) This was a typical dream but much more vivid or indeed a lucid dream and so more memory of it was retained giving the illusion that it lasted longer as opposed to common dreams in which most aspects are forgotten and therefore seem short lived. Any option to me is equally possible.
The light tunnel is a phenomenon often associated with Near Death Experiences and have been attributed to a non physical gateway leading to another state of existence, heaven, hell, the afterlife etc. Another explanation is that due to lack of oxygen or Hypoxia, the light receptors in our eyes effectively stop working as they should and bring for the illusion of light. Add this to the experience of Vasovagal Syncope which is known to cause tunnel vision prior to loss of consciousness (and something I have experienced a few times in my life), also caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and you have a mixture which could cause a tunnel of light illusion. However, the main thing to note and I’m sure many have recognised by this point, Joe was not close to death and presumably had more than enough oxygen reaching his brain (unless for whatever reason he stopped breathing for a few seconds during the “dream”). Of course, during dreams we can simulate just about anything, so a tunnel of light is certainly achievable to our imaginations, even alongside the feeling of fast movement. So whether this experience was a real movement of consciousness to another “dimension/realm etc” or simply a dream hallucination is completely undecided at this point. Being completely calm during such movement however seems an unusual experience for a mind to simulate, especially at speed comparable to the speed of light. To me, if I was moving at this speed my brain would be flooding me with adrenaline and a cocktail of other chemicals to make me feel like I was about to die at any second! An anxiety response would be assumed, even in the dream state. Of course, perhaps this was just an unusual response or Joe’s mind was used to such occurrences during previous dreams, but I think it’s an extra detail to bear in mind.
Now he mentions that he instinctively knew that he was going to visit his mother. Regardless of how long ago his mother had passed away we can assume that her memory is deeply embedded in his subconscious as it would be for anybody. So after an experience of travelling down a tunnel, the mind may jump to the assumption that we are visiting perhaps the most important person who passed away, and I’m sure one of the most desired people to see. This could then pave the way to the expected experience being simulated in the dream as of course our mind and our expectations generally can create the environment in such a state, most notably so in lucid dreaming. Joe then goes on to say that his mother appeared to him in a place resembling her old kitchen whilst wearing a gown of light. It is often reported that dream visitations from spirits take place in familiar locations to confirm identity, and they are often seen wearing white or light-based garments so this is nothing unusual compared to many spiritual experiences. The question of course is did the setting arise from Joe’s subconscious memory of his mother’s kitchen as opposed to actually travelling to it, and did Joe’s mother actually appear to him or was it all in his imagination. Equally, if it was in his own imagination, does this make the experience any less “real”? Here I quote Albus Dumbledor: “Of course it’s happening inside your head Harry! Why should that mean… it’s not real?”
Again we come to telepathic communication. You can find my beliefs about this in the previous blog post for Joe here. But essentially, if we were to simulate communication purely in our minds, why go for telepathic communication over what we use every day of our lives, speech? It seems unlikely to me that a simple dream of 100% fictitious nature would decide to opt for telepathy over such a common method of communication. Of course, it’s possible that Joe’s previous experiences and dreams of spiritual nature influenced this as expectation that in this situation telepathy was previously used, but I’m not so sure.
Just before she died, Joe asked her to come and see him. This could mean that either this visitation is evidence that deceased people can indeed visit us during sleep and can do so willingly, or evidence that we can create dreams through expectation of such an event to occur. In other words, Joe had the experience because he knew his mother had promised to come visit him, and his mind created just that for him in a dream. I believe however, although not certain, that this experience took place a reasonable amount of time after her actual death, so one would think that such a visitation through mind simulation would occur at the peak of grief, just after her death, perhaps even that night? Perhaps, perhaps not.
I find it interesting that Joe saw a group of souls waiting to become human, and indeed creatures of places other than Earth as this is something that I was always curious about after reading about such things in Michael Newton’s books (Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls), which showcase several transcripts of life between lives hypnotherapy sessions, the majority of which give very similar or equal information. Perhaps Joe has read the books or heard similar things from other sources and his mind has incorporated these factors into his dreams? Again it’s possible but it seems a bit of a stretch, and certainly unfair to assume without knowing.
Joe then finds himself in his mother’s kitchen with his wife and his father. On questioning why his mother brought them along, she stated that she didn’t bring them, he did for his own comfort. I believe at this time his father and wife are both alive and well, so it’s unusual that they should appear in “spirit” if indeed this was the case. However it is well established in many spiritual beliefs and experiences that a large part of our being remain in the spirit form during incarnations on Earth, and are accessible in heightened states of awareness by our intention. In other words, when in the spirit form we can send for anybody we like just by thinking about them. Therefore, to me it makes sense that they may join Joe in this place, however I fail to see why he would need comfort from living people when in the presence of his mother. So perhaps this adds credence to the possibility that this whole experience was created within Joe’s mind, and the appearance of his wife and father were simply random recycling of gathered sensory information.Or just as likely and certainly true, I don’t know the full context of what took place and perhaps there was great significance in both people accompanying him at that time. Of course on recognizing the same question in his experience, Joe simply “waved his hand” and they vanished. Again, this is entirely possible in the current understood science of the spirit world (whether real or not) when dealing with the power and effect of intention.
We are now a little under half way through the discussion, I’m sorry it’s a long one!
Joe’s Back Pain Phenomenon – 11:05
During the above experience, Joe’s mother asks him how his back pain is doing, following his surgery and return to work as a diesel mechanic. She then grew to a large size and followed her arm down Joe’s back stating that he won’t have problems once we wakes up. He then travels very quickly back through the tunnel at such a speed that he fears that on reintegration with his body he’s going to have a very tough landing. At this point, he recognizing his previous perception of falling during sleep as his soul reconnecting with his body. As to whether this is the case or simply previous experiences of hypnogogic jerks is unclear. However on this occasion this feeling of falling did not take place and he did in fact simply wake up peacefully as normal.
On waking up, Joe is overwhelmed with awe that he just had this experience with his mother as he goes to the bathroom before going back to sleep at 5:00am. He wakes up again shortly after and gets ready to go to work at 6:00am. However as he does this he very suddenly halts with the realisation that for the first time in a while he has no pain in his back, and feels as if his body is being flooded with electrical energy (sans the pain of course). Now, if this is indeed accurate it begs the question, how can a physical ailment which has caused huge disruption for a while suddenly repair itself overnight, and why after a dream-like experience in which his dead mother runs her hand down his back claiming that the pain will disappear once he wakes up. A very sudden physical repair of such an ailment overnight already seems incredibly unlikely, and adding a coincidence of a related dream the night before begins to really leave the realms of credibility as a purely natural (physically natural) occurrence. In other words, if the account is accurate, to me this is strong evidence that indeed something objective took place during Joe’s “dream”. It is widely believed that we have an energy body which has direct influence over our physical body, but exists at a more subtle state. It goes by many sames such as the subtle body, energy body, spirit body, astral body etc with variations in understanding between individuals. To me, Joe’s claim sounds like his mother (now of course in pure energy body/spirit body form) added or repaired energy into Joe’s energy body which ultimately improved his experience in the physical. The mechanics of how this can be possible from a scientific point of view is unclear as we as of yet have no means to measure the energy body, and indeed it’s existence is very highly questioned in current science.
Another example of miraculous healing such as this comes from Dr Penny Sartori during my discussion with her earlier this year.
Dr Sartori is a very highly respected researcher in the field of Near Death Experiences, having previously worked as an Intensive Care nurse in Swansea, Wales, and thus heard many accounts of Near Death Experiences from those very close to death.
Joe’s sudden freedom from back pain lasted an estimated 4 years after the dream before returning, subsequently leading to more surgery later on. Joe’s back situation is currently unknown but he certainly seems to be managing well!
Joe’s Skeptic Friend’s Account – 15:52
Any event which turns a skeptic into a believer of the paranormal always sparks my interest. Normally they are either selling a book or are all over the television/social media networks and so to me seem somewhat fraudulent or just out for fame and fortune. For most I’m sure this isn’t the case, but one should always be careful when somebody is selling something related to their experiences JUST IN CASE.
As James Randi says “There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.”
So of course Joe’s friend of a very long time was a non believer in anything paranormal in nature. A truck driver and business owner who I’m glad to hear is doing very well for himself. He and his father didn’t have a particularly strong relationship, and it seemed that everything he did was never good enough for his father who was very critical of him. One Wednesday night Joe finds himself on a quad-bike like vehicle in what seems to be an Arizona desert-like environment following a group of people. He instantly recognises that he is much more lucid than in a standard dream and so begins to take notice. Arguably, this increase in notice could begin to form an argument that the following took place due to his expectation and active input from his now conscious mind on the dream state. That’s perfectly acceptable and certainly possible, however it’s what comes after the dream that begins to question this theory. For now the “dream” is as follows.
He spots a hill and knows instinctively that he must go up there, at the top of which he meets a man and a woman. As he states in normal dreams one sees other people as clearly as if physically awake, however in this instance he noticed that unusually he could not directly look at these individual although he knew they were there and had an idea of who they may be. The analogy he gave was it was as if talking to somebody while looking at their feet. He also gives his experience of a strange sensation that the woman reminded him of his friend’s mother, even though he couldn’t see her and knew nothing about her. This confused Joe as he was aware that his friend’s mother was still physically alive. He is then given two visions as if through a virtual reality simulation of a pair of very specific bi-focal glasses which his friend’s father often wore, and a red Porsche 911, a car which Joe is aware his friend’s father used to own, although he’s never seen it. This is now clearly Joe’s friends father who gives him the message, “Tell my son, I am very proud of the man he has become today.”
On asking who the woman with the friend’s father is, Joe hears the phrase “20 years older,” and nothing else.
Later visiting his friend, despite Joe’s friend being incredibly skeptical and dismissive of anything paranormal, Joe continuously feels prompts from the father who is apparently encouraging him to give the message. He sends a text message that Thursday night, letting him know that he did indeed see his father. The following day, Joe receives a call from his friend, who earnestly asks if his father said anything, at which point Joe gives the message. As it happens, Joe’s friend was thinking the previous Wednesday about his father and whether he was actually ever proud of him, and almost in tears he tells Joe that he has gone from total skeptic to 100% believer.
Now, a couple of things to consider here. It is clear that at some point in Joe’s life and presumably many points, he would have seen his friend’s father. Therefore it’s not unreasonable that he would subconsciously associated bifocal glasses and a red Porsche 911 with him, a car Joe says he knew the man owned but never actually saw it. Most people know what one of these cars look like from video and image references so certainly it wouldn’t be difficult for our minds to create an image of it, even if we’ve never actually seen one in real life. Generally I find this account to be the weakest, in terms of evidence, when taken alone as there seems to be little content which could not be reasonably considered coincidental. Of course, the one strange thing is the fact that the day prior to Joe giving the message, his friend was thinking about his father and wondering whether he was proud of him To me, it is certainly not unreasonable to assume that this guy would be thinking of this regularly, especially as he had a relationship with his father in which he felt he could never impress him. Perhaps then, Joe had only a lucid dream which happened to match one of the times in which his friend was thinking about his father? This is still a rather strong coincidence, but in my view not outside the realms of plausibility.
This has been a very long post, and I hope everything was clear and easy enough to digest. To me, when taking into consideration the accounts from the first part of Joe’s story, my analysis of which you can find here, I see several pieces of evidence which currently seem to point to some kind of metaphysical origin to some, if not all, of Joe’s experiences. Of course, this evidence is anecdotal in nature and as such will not be taken seriously by many, however to ignore it entirely and dismiss it as fantasy would be truly foolish. I would love to hear your comments on this analysis and on Joe’s experiences. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or drop me an email with your thoughts!