Piercing the Veil

One night, drifting out of sleep, I opened my eyes to the door situated a few feet from my bed. A face was forming out of the darkness—out of the “snow” or “static” that one perceives in the absence of light. It lurched toward me with faint, phosphorescent eyes and I thought to myself “Ah, I’m having a hypnopompic hallucination.” Confronted by my wet blanket rationality, the spectre promptly vanished.

My reality pretty much goes by the book. Drug experiences aside, the above is about as uncanny as it gets for me, and this, I have to say, is pretty dreadful. I grew up fascinated by the paranormal and envious of those who seem to attract strange experiences. In elementary school I actively searched for UFOs and dreamed of being abducted, just so that I could see what aliens looked like, and though I’ve grown skeptical with age, my basic attitude hasn’t changed. I’d still like nothing more than to have some kind of otherworldly encounter, even if it could be explained, even if it were all in my head.

This isn’t a thread about getting to the truth, but for you to share your stories, because these interesting in and of themselves. Have you ever had a vision, visitation, premonition, encounter, or other extranormal experience?


Does missing time count? Because I have had a couple of those.

One, I was babysitting and sat down on the couch after the kids were in bed. I was sitting upright/a little forward in a bit of an awkward position as one does when they’ve just sat down. I saw a magazine on the table and thought – that looks kind of interesting – when the door opened and the parents came in. I commented that they were back early and they looked at me funny: several hours had passed and I remember none of it. I hadn’t even moved.

Two: I left for a class, in a hurry, because I was on the brink of being late. Spoiler, I was really late because an hour elapsed between my locking the door and starting to drive.

Like you, I am a skeptic who spent earlier years dreaming of something happening.

OTOH I am also a lucid dreamer (it’s not paranormal, it’s a trainable skill and is a fantastic one if you are prone to nightmares) who suffers from sleep paralysis. That last one is not fun. Nothing like feeling you woke up with someone on top of you, weighing you down and having to fight through several layers of waking to escape.


That sounds a little scary. I think I’d worry about my brain pausing itself in the middle of driving or cooking.

I have lucid dreams from time to time, but I never get very far before waking. Are your lucid dreams pretty elaborate?


I see things/hear things/smell things/feel things sometimes, usually when one would expect (ie when I’m tired or feeling run-down). At least some of these must have been waking dreams – I went through a long period where I wasn’t getting enough sleep. That was a scary time on a lot of levels.

The ones that interest me the most are the ones other people have experienced as well, without me mentioning them.

For a while I lived with someone who had a cat. I got used to seeing it out of the corner of my eye. Then I realised sometimes I thought I had seen it out of the corner of my eye, but it was in a totally different part of the house.

Then I started seeing it outside the house. It wasn’t a big deal for me; I’ve always had a big imagination, and I figured the real cat had habituated me to the experience.

I never mentioned it to my ex, because he’s one of those skeptics who does not deal well with fantasy outside of the confines of something clearly marked “fiction”. One day I was at his apartment, just hanging out, when all of a sudden he startled and backed away a few steps from where he’d been standing.

“You’ll never guess what I just saw,” he said.

“A little black cat with yellow eyes,” I said.

That led to a rather intense discussion, because he prized his ultra-rational interpretation of the world very much.

My take then, as now, is that we usually filter out a lot of the weird stuff, more than we did when a world full of gods and monsters was acceptable and normal. That there likely is a scientific explanation, but that either it’s not yet well-explored, or else not well publicised.

I’ve had several other incidents where something I saw but knew wasn’t there have been seen by other people without me mentioning it, or in fact without me seeing it when they did. There was another cat – a big orange tabby that seemed to enjoy leaping through my living room wall – and a construction worker who seemed to be wearing clothes from the 1920s or so.

So long as not too many of them show up at once, it’s just interesting and rather fun.


I see cats out of the corner of my eye when I’m tired, and occasionally figures when I’m walking at night—but only as really brief blips. Nothing has ever “materialized” for me.

What I’ve read is that our brains aren’t faithfully recording what’s around us as much as constructing a model. They’re “filling in the blanks” when our attention is directed elsewhere and queuing up what they expect to happen in advance of the actual moment, so there’s a lot of room for “computing error.” At least, that’s how I explain it to myself when I catch glimpses of things.

That makes a lot of sense. And, I wonder if that can be unlearned.

One thing I noticed in the aftermath of a traumatic experience was that everything suddenly took on meaning. As in, I experienced simple things like an arrangement of candles as obvious signs and omens. And it occurred to me that we live pretty sheltered lives, but our ancestors—who were living with life and death every day—might have existed in this same kind of heightened reality. Maybe the world seems less magical to us because we are, by comparison, sleepwalking through it.


At the house I was brought up in in Detroit, I used to see the cats out of the corner of my eye coming 'round the corner into the kitchen while I was doing dishes. These were the cats we’d had living with us; one reached 17, her daughter, 19 (four months short of 20!), and it was after they’d died. And the other cats we’d had too, that had been euthanized.

I asked my mom, before she died and while she was still fairly lucid, if she would turn off a particular light in our house after she died. She agreed. UNfortunately, the day she died, I left the light on, but my son, not knowing of our pact, turned it off. Nothing has happened since then, and it’s been over a year since she died.

I rather like getting older, stronger in many ways. The Crone, you know.


this is a good thread.

I’m a life-long skeptic and am not unusually drawn to the fantastic or supernatural (though I’ve still enjoyed it as a plot device in entertainment, but only when it was a good on its own merit–for me supernatural /=good in-and-of-itself) so unfortunately but maybe not surprisingly, I haven’t experienced much myself. I do remember having fairly intense deja-vu at times as a young boy, even before I knew there was a word for it, but it stopped happening before middle-school and I really hadn’t thought about those times in decades until I started thinking about something for this thread. It was so long ago that I don’t remember what any of the deja-vus were (that’s probably incorrect grammar but y’all feel me.)

I have experienced

but it was not supernatural-seeming given the situation. It was still a very weird thing to experience.

I was speeding on the highway with slick asphalt from a brief, misty rain. When I changed lanes, I spun-out across the right lane and got a great view of the oncoming traffic that had been behind me moments ago. The the next spin put me into the side of the mountain.


“Hey buddy, are you alright!?” Brain comes back online. My eyes are already open but they work now. A nice man is standing outside my passenger-side window. I very deliberately remove my grip from the steering wheel. Seat belt is on, I’m leaned into it. No actual head injury, including internal, which I know since the EMTs said I was all-clear according to their field-tests but that a hospital scan would be the only way to know if the brain had bumped into the skull. So I got one: nope.

The ol’ noggin just needed to shut off and re-boot, it seems. I was just out long enough for the man who saw it to pull-off, get parked, and jog over to my car, so maybe a few minutes at longest. But it was fuckin’ weird.


I had a ghost cat for a while. At least 4 other people saw it too. As in they reached down to pet a cat that wasn’t there or asking me upon entering my apartment when I got a cat. I didn’t. There was no cat.

I had moved to Calgary from Toronto 4 years previous and had given up my cats to a newly married couple. Unbeknownst to me, after the birth of their baby my female cat had gone “crazy” (she had always been a bit twitchy) and had decided the baby was hers and the husband was a threat. She attacked him repeatedly, but being a 6lb cat was easily bested. Until she went for his throat one night while he was sleeping and he needed stitches. They took her to the vet and were advised to have her put down, the chances of her being adopted was slim, and it was doubtful that she could be retrained, so they did. I didn’t know this.

I just know that suddenly I had a ghost cat. I was newly single and living on my own and while falling asleep or waking up I would feel the unmistakable feeling of a cat jumping up onto the foot of the bed and walking up it and settling as a warm purring loaf on my chest. I wrote this off as me just being sad and lonely.

Until other people saw her and tried to pet her.

When I went home for a visit and saw the husband he apologized for not telling me about them putting down the cat, and was rather surprised when I burst into tears. When I got back to Calgary, I had one more “visitation” and then she was gone.

Call it what you will, but other people saw her, and it felt like a goodbye to me. :slight_smile:


I had some dream visitations from dead relatives: mother, brother.

Two nights ago I had a dream visitation from a woman I knew only marginally but visited some, who died in 2003 of a brain tumour. She stood, dressed in light grey, medium grey, white and red, and I lay on my back sprawled in an alley. She beamed – all my dream visitations have people beaming beatifically as if they’re forever removed from any hurt or distress – and said she was very happy I was her friend. I stood and approached her and she gave me a hug.

The brother was the weirdest. He apologized for leaving, he said “it happened very very fast, there wasn’t time” and I had an image of a shadowy misty forearm and hand entering his chest and pulling “him” out as he flatlined in the Panasonic Hospital in Osaka, Japan. He appeared as a four-year-old, wearing a blue T with a white round collar, and said to me, his arms out, palms facing me: “Touch me, I’m real!” And as I pressed my palms to his, an electrical current travelled through him and into me around my heart, giving me a jolt.


On more than one occasion I have heard, without earbuds or headphones, “Ecstasy” from Spacemen 3, while the similarly hearing-enabled family members near me claimed to have not. From my bedroom I could hear my computer in another room start up at 2:30 am. Just that one track. Then it stopped, no more music. I thought someone got up to turn it off. I asked, after apologizing for the music, and they shook their heads: no they didn’t hear anything. I’m wondering why it’s that one song, I hardly ever listen to it. I don’t intentionally seek it out to play.


Anyone else have lights burn out or go off when you pass by them?

This is a family trait for me and my siblings. For me its streetlights, too many to be coincidence go out when I pass by underneath them. MrPants even notices. And when I was leaving Calgary to come back to Toronto I crashed at friends for the last two months to save money. She’d not changed a lightbulb in a year. Within a month I’d had to change them all. I didn’t know that lightbulbs could last years, they’ve always been something I just grab monthly. (CFL’s now last longer but nowhere near the years they’re supposed to, maybe one if I’m lucky. Mr.Pants stockpiles lightbulbs now.)

Also, the day my Mother passed away, and we were all in the house waiting (home deaths are good if you can swing it), three lights went out at the same time and my brother came downstairs and said it was time, she was going.

I don’t think this is spooky so much as electrochemical, and no, I can’t control it, but gotdamn is it spooky when you’re walking alone at night and a light goes out as you walk under it!


I have the opposite phenomenon. A light will be out, like from a fuse or a power outage, and I will enter and the light will come back on. I do think now there’s such a sense as ‘electroreception’: it may be why I get shivers down my spine when a stranger passes by my seat on a bus, why I feel I’m too close to some people proxemically, while with others I can get very close to them and my social anxiety just dissolves. As if I am on a remote or hard to get frequency but for the 1-2% who can attune to it, the vibrations emanating from my frequency are strong.


Ha! I wonder would happen if we were in a room at the same time! :wink:


My perspective is that there isn’t anything “supernatural” because that is not a meaningful term, but that the universe and existence is simply a very weird place. For example, the contemporary view that matter is 99.99999% empty space, or that I am a revolving door of trillions of organisms who think they are a person are weirder than most of what I hear described as paranormal.

The only thing that happens to me that I can’t explain easily are intense feelings of precognition/deja vu. And what defies explanation is that I can document vivid impressions several times of a time, place, situation - and then years later, find myself living that scenario. It seems to involve me remembering real-world details I could not have known years ahead of time. But “then again”, I think of all memory as an illusion that people use to tie their senses and impressions together so that they feel like they are an individual, with a cohesive identity. I don’t trust it.

Sometimes I go through times when I am extremely sensitive to events happening around me, sensing things which are incredible subtle. Like I could be on my third floor apartment cooking, and suddenly know that “Hey, Matt is dropping in for a surprise visit!”, and then seconds later Matt is ringing the doorbell. Or I can be showing off some artwork to people and scream “Hey, look out!” a second before we hear screeching brakes and a crashing car a block away. But I cannot try to do it, it only works if these impressions work on the very far edge of conscious awareness. I need to remain completely nonchalant about it.

Another weird area is that I can often predict people’s body language with uncanny precision. But the irony is that I am a bit autistic and have trouble interpreting “body language”. I can walk along in public, quietly talking to somebody and point out “That person there is about to look around, and then pull up their pants. That one is about to touch their nose. This one is going to see us, and then start fidgeting with their phone. This one is about to laugh with their friend, but then wonder if they lost something, and check their pockets.” It gets pretty weird sometimes. One time, at my previous job, our manager was having a meeting with their manager and a few other people. I was whispering quietly to one of my colleagues and predicted the head honcho’s every movement and gesture for a good five minutes. But personally, I don’t understand or use any of that info. Sure, I can predict it, but it just seems to be spontaneous, with no conscious reason or meaning behind it.


My dad had something similar. He had the tiny screwdrivers to replace his own watch batteries; they lasted 3 months instead of the usual 1-2 years. Wind-up watches were worse: they would seize up, gears irrepairably stuck together. It was weird, because he was one of those intuitive mechanics who could fix most anything.

I have the light bulb thing happen if I’m ill or stressed out. Otherwise they work mostly okay.


(Trying to share this again on a different browser. I love the mission and idea of Firefox, but I don’t like the massive memory leaks and waiting three minutes for my keyboard input to show up on the screen.)

The day after my brother’s cremation, I entered the tatami room where he had lain with lilies on dry ice in state (of slow decomposition) while his family waited for me to fly in from North America, and felt warm pressure on my shoulders among the strong lingering fragrance of the lilies. I could not work up any sorrow or tears for my brother, the last of my immediate family, while I was in that room. I left the room and when I entered the hallway my imouto met me there, intoning “Brian has returned. He’s sleeping on the couch in the living room.”

“He’s noncorporeal, Ayako. Why would he be sleeping?”

“He’s travelled a long distance!”


I studied Cognitive Studies in college, and yoga since I was 20 years old.

After so many years of studying out we perceive the world around us and within us, and how we push the limits of those perceptions, what amazes me is not that we have these extra-ordinary experiences, but that we are unaware of how inconsistent our ordinary experiences are. It is amazing the willful ignorance that it takes for us to:

I think, in fact, it’s pretty easy to figure out why we have these experiences. We are either able to perceive things at the limit of our normal perception due to some kind of hyper attention on sensations we normally are not aware of, or we are paying attention to some kind of phantom experience.

Now for my own thing that I am trying to explain:

My yoga teacher taught a workshop at a retreat center one year. I assisted him and it was an especially “on” workshop for him.
I noticed a visible aura around him when he was speaking.
I’m not a big “aura” person, so I found this odd. My experience of it would come and go. It just looked like a light around him.
Later at a meal, somehow several of us got on the topic and other people said they had noticed Erich’s aura as well.
We thought, “Well, maybe that was a trick of the light.” Erich’s super tall, so we got the tallest person in our group to sit on the stage where he’d been teaching and set up the lights to see if we could replicate the effect.
But we couldn’t.


Have you been, ah, on intimate terms with any Norse thunder gods recently?
(oblig Dirk Gently reference.)


My mother in law has something weird where if she has two fillings of the same type of metal, or if she eats with actual silverware, it creates sparks in her mouth.


I’ve had moments of deja vu, mostly when I was younger - only minor inconsequential stuff but noticable nonetheless.

I’ve also managed to stick my hand in a commercial fryer without noticing. It was covered in oil but only went a little red.

I gave up smoking by waking up one morning and not being a smoker. 11 years later and still no cravings.

I remember watching a film fairly late at night (I’m pretty sure it was Marusa No Onna) and I don’t recall reading any of the subtitles in the last half hour or so but perfectly understanding what was being said.

I’m sure there are valid explanations for all of these, but having spent several years being entirely unconvinced by reality* (a side effect of long term depression and whatever learning disability I have) my conclusion is that reality is, at least slightly, malleable.

*It’s all very well not believing in reality but unless you have something to replace it with you may as well play along