Why some people tend to "listen to the dead"

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A new scientific study published January 18 sheds light on "hearing from the dead." The researchers interviewed 65 mediums and 143 "average" people for this.

In a new study, published in the journal Mental Health, Religion & Culture and published on January 18, 2021, researchers are interested in the paranormal phenomenon of "listening to the dead." Scientists have identified traits common to people who claim to be capable of "clairaudience," a term closely related to clairvoyance, which involves hearing sounds from the afterlife.

Researchers at Durham University (UK) conducted a survey of 65 so-called "clairaudients", members of the National Union of Spiritists, a British spiritualist organization, and 143 "ordinary" people, part of the general British population.

A natural tendency to absorb

They then discovered that so-called "clairaudient" mediums shared a natural tendency to absorb, the ability to immerse themselves in mental or imaginary activities, or to experience altered states of consciousness. Mediums were also more likely than average individuals to have experienced unusual auditory phenomena, especially during childhood.

"Spiritists tend to report unusual hearing experiences that are positive, that start early in life and are later able to control. Understanding how they develop is important because it could help us better understand distressing or uncontrollable experiences of hearing voices," he explained study co-author Dr. Peter Moseley of Northumbria University in a statement. Because if the "clairaudient" mediums perceive hearing voices as something positive that they have been able to take advantage of, it is not like that for everyone: some people find the experience more onerous and then sometimes receive a diagnosis with a mental illness.

The researchers gathered detailed descriptions from psychics of how they perceive these "voices" and compared absorption levels, propensity for hallucinations, aspects of their identity, and belief in the paranormal.

Individuals turned towards the paranormal and little affected by what we think of them

They found that among the spirits surveyed, 44.6% claimed to hear voices coming from spirits on a daily basis, and although these voices were mainly heard in their own heads (65.1%), 31.7% said they had heard spiritual voices They come from inside and outside of your head. A large majority (79%) said that auditory spiritual communication experiences were part of their daily life, occurring both when they were alone and when they were working as a medium or attending a spiritualist church.

Compared to the control group, the results showed that spiritists were more likely to believe in the paranormal and less likely to care about what people thought of them. Most of them had the opportunity to hear voices for the first time when they were young, on average at the age of 21.7 years. They also reported a much higher level of absorption than the general population. The mediums surveyed also said they were more likely to have "unusual hallucinatory-like auditory experiences."

"Our results speak volumes about "learning and desire". For our participants, the principles of spiritism seem to make sense both from the extraordinary childhood experiences and the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practicing mediums," said Dr. Adam Powell of the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University, lead author of the study. "But all these experiences may result more from having certain early tendencies or abilities than from believing in the possibility of contacting the dead if enough effort is made," he concluded.

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