Expectation and ghosts

Expectation and ghosts

My acquaintance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM  (MWR  - see here) recently had a new, bizarre experience. Sitting down late at night it was important that MA did not fall asleep. Perhaps inevitably MA did fall asleep but only briefly. Someone put their hand on MA’s arm. Or at least that’s what MA felt. Except on waking, there was absolutely no one there!

This is the first time MA has experienced being apparently touched in this way during a MWR. What made it even more interesting was that MA was woken by the experience. It was as if MA’s own unconscious had woken MA deliberately because it was important not to sleep.  So, it appears  MA’s expectation affected how a MWR played out.

This made me think about expectation and ghosts. Suppose a witness visits as haunted location expecting to see ghosts.  Then the witness misperceives an inanimate object as a human figure while on site. Their expectation may bias how they misperceive the object. They might see it not simply as a human figure but one wearing historical costume, because they expect it. And because the figure is in historical costume it tends to reinforce the idea it is a ghost.

So in this scenario expectation did not make the witness see a ghost, that was misperception. But it affected what was seen. Expectation is often mentioned as important in ghost sightings and I think this provides a realistic scenario about how that effect might work.

Author :© Maurice Townsend 2022

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