Psychic voices – one possible origin

Psychic voices – one possible origin

I’ve had an odd experience from time to time that feels somehow like it’s a mind trick. But since there’s nothing exceptional about me I’m pretty sure everyone can do it. It is best illustrated by an example which happened to me recently.

I was approaching a ticket machine at a railway station. A young woman near the machine was talking but I wasn’t paying any attention to what she was saying. In these days of mobile phone head sets it's common to see people apparently addressing no one. But then, as I looked towards her I suddenly realised, to my surprise, she was talking to me. She had just finished talking so I had no idea what she’d said. So I replayed what she’d said in my head! I could hear her voice quite distinctly and the words she said. She told me the ticket machine wasn’t working and I’d have to go to another one behind me. I thanked her (out loud) and did as she said. I then went and checked the ticket machine she said was faulty and indeed it was. This kind of incident has happened a number of times down the years and it has always turned out to be correct.

I’m sure there is an official name for this phenomenon but I call it ‘memory replay’. I can’t find anything about it on the web but I’m probably not using the correct terminology. It only works for a short time after I’ve heard something so it probably involves short term memory or even working memory. I find it remarkable because I am not actively listening before I do the replay. And yet I can replay it like a sound recorder with the sound of the original voice not my ‘inner voice’.

Unfortunately, the effect does not work to order. I can’t walk down a street and suddenly think, the last person I just passed looked interesting, what were they saying. Instead, it happens once in a blue moon and it is always something that is important to me that I missed. So even though I’m not actively listening, some unconscious process IS and it’s looking out for important information.

I think this phenomenon is related to the unknown voices heard by my acquaintance (MA) who experiences microsleep with REM (MWR – see here). MA hears what sound like snatches of casually overheard conversation by unknown voices (see here). My feeling is that is exactly what they are. I think we hear things and remember them without really listening to them, unless they are relevant. I’m sure if the woman at the ticket machine had addressed my by name, I’d have paid attention instantly. The fact that I heard the replay in her voice supports the idea that the MWR voices have a similar origin.

So how come MA can recall such things much later whereas I can only do it for a few seconds after the event. Well. I do it consciously whereas MA is using MWRs which use the unconscious. So do we all store all these overheard conversations indefinitely while not able to consciously access them? I doubt it very much. I suspect MA’s ‘messages’ are all recent memories. With luck MA might be able to trace a future ‘message’ to its likely recent source.

Anyway, what has all this to do with anomalous phenomena? In the case of MWRs I think these could easily be taken as psychic messages by some people. The replaying memories phenomenon adds supporting evidence to the idea that we passively remember things we paid no attention to at the time. These memories can be either replayed instantly or recalled later through things like MWRs.

I think memory replay could itself be interpreted as paranormal too, in the right circumstances. Supposing, in my experience, I never noticed the young woman. I might nevertheless have replayed the memory and thought it a psychic message giving me useful verifiable information.

Out of interest, has anyone reading this ever replayed recent speech without listening to it first time round? And does anyone know what this phenomenon is really called?

Author :© Maurice Townsend 2021

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