Odd Physical Phenomena

 

We are used to ourselves, and to the way our whole bodies are marvelously engineered–the hinge, pivot, and ball-and-socket joints; the apparatus for speech that shapes sounds into words conveying abstract meaning; the brain and spinal cord commanding our little finger to move on our whim; and even the little pocket of extra flesh in our elbows that presumably allows us to bend our arms freely. These are just a few of the daily wonders we live with. Yet sometimes, our bodies behave strangely, forcing us to take more notice. For me, sleeping and dreaming is territory for the uncanny, but that’s not the only place I’ve experienced odd physical phenomena.

Nighttime Hallucinations: I remember these starting from when I was about nine or ten. They increased in my early twenties, and now seem to have mostly faded away. My best explanation is that I unluckily opened my eyes when I was dreaming, and saw characters from my dreams parading around me. I say “unluckily,” because these were mostly unpleasant creatures: bugs crawling over me, spouse with his head replaced with that of a dog, menacing canine-ish creature in the fan. Others were just creepy: A young girl in Victorian-era clothes playing on the floor of my room when I was nine, and years later, instead of a lamp, a miniature woman in a Civil-War era green dress standing on my bedside table. Whenever I witnessed these things as an adult, I’d think, “Okay, I’m really awake–my eyes are open–and it’s still there, I’m still seeing it.”

Sounds Inside the Head: Occasionally toward bedtime, I’ll sense a snap or bang, and know that it came from in my head, not outside of me. Common sense prevails, and I opt to go to bed without consulting Google.

Subconscious Problem-Solving: I’ve found that when I’ve hit a wall trying to figure out something for work, the most effective path to a solution might be to stop thinking about the problem altogether. I simply let go of it and turn my attention to other things, in one instance even purposely giving the conundrum to my subconscious. After perhaps a day or two, the answer just comes into my head. If I’m remembering right, the time I fed the problem to my subconscious overtly, a complex solution emerged in full detail. This might be something to try next time you have writer’s block.

Weird Injuries: When I was 13, my knee popped out during a competitive game of four-square. I had to be assisted out of the venue feeling like my whole being was subluxated and inflamed.  Weeks later, a couple of kids wrestling on a hayride accidentally kicked out my knee. From then on, either knee can surprise me by suddenly giving way, to varying degrees of severity. When it really happens good, I hear a deep crack as I go down. This, in spite of an orthopedic specialist telling my parents that it would stop once I finished growing. Fortunately, regular exercise keeps sudden collapses at bay, although the knees get sore if I try to ride a stationary bike or do other unaccustomed activities. Then in my twenties, I started getting the mystery lumps around my knees. These would be dormant, then appear suddenly and keep me from straightening my leg, or wedge into the side of my knee so I couldn’t budge the lump or move my limb without laughing loudly in the excruciating pain it caused. One doctor solved the puzzle–these mobile lumps are called “joint mice,” and are actually pieces of cartilage that broke off at the moment of knee trauma. He seemed keen on operating to remove them, although he, like the orthopedic doctor years before, warned me off surgery to tighten up the knees.

Song Vibrations: My friends and I discovered a strange thing we could do with our voices. Back when I was eight or nine, with no TV or electronic toys, we sometimes liked to cluster together and belt out songs as loudly as we could. I noticed (and presumably they did, too), that our voices would meet and clash in the air and produce a new sound–a vibration that was a different note than what we were singing. We were probably all on a different note, technically, but the point is, it sounded different from what we were singing. It was like taking paint colors and mixing them to produce something brashly different from the original input. Try it sometime–if you can stand the din.

I might add more examples of odd physical events in the comments–feel free to describe yours, too.

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  1. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    That’s a very busy mind you have there, Sawatdeeka.  In a party, your mind would sidle away from my boring mind.  

    • #1
  2. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    That’s a very busy mind you have there, Sawatdeeka. In a party, your mind would sidle away from my boring mind.

    Ha, ha, ha. I’m not quite sure how to take that.  

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Inactive
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    That’s a very busy mind you have there, Sawatdeeka. In a party, your mind would sidle away from my boring mind.

    That’s quite a picture you paint with that second sentence, Kent. Well done.

    • #3
  4. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Your vocal phenomenon sounds like “beats” as when two guitar strings are plucked and give a sound close to, but not exactly, the same pitch. I noticed something like this one day as I took off from a stop light in my three-cylinder Geo Metro with a four-cylinder Honda Civic accelerating beside me. Very strange.

    I think I have something like the joint mice on my thumb knuckles. I saw a hand specialist about them once and after hearing his description of a surgical procedure and being told that he could not assure me that they would not come back, I decided that they don’t bother me enough to go through with it.

    • #4
  5. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    I must be boringly ordinary. Then only odd things I can remember are what are commonly called “lucid dreams” and “false awakenings”. Neither is a common occurrence. 

    • #5
  6. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I used to experience a terrifying paralysis while waking (otherwise uneventfully) from sleep.  It’s actually not rare, but was not widely acknowledged or whatever in the 1970s.

    It’s a mild sleep dysfunction in which the thankfully sleep-disconnected motor command system is slow to reconnect upon waking.  Nothing exciting there, but when you wake and realize that you are utterly paralyzed, not dreaming, the excitement is first-rate.  I recall experiencing how physically exhausting it is (bear with me) to just will yourself to move when it is not possible.  No muscles budged, and presumably no nerve impulses were sent.  But I consciously (and in futility) willed my arm or leg to move, and I recall that the mental effort was noticeable, and limited in duration.  I’ve borne a mild fascination with how the mind moves the body, and how the mind (at least as we experience it, nuff said) is truly its own thing.  An illusion, mind is a remarkably complete illusion.  Nothing drove this home like feeling my strength ebb when doing nothing more than mentally try very hard to convince a quite unmoved body part to even twitch.

    It happened rarely but with some frequency when I was a child.  Also in my late twenties, a couple of times.  Hello stillness my old friend.

    • #6
  7. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Django (View Comment):

    I must be boringly ordinary. Then only odd things I can remember are what are commonly called “lucid dreams” and “false awakenings”. Neither is a common occurrence.

    What are false awakenings?  Is that when you think you’re still awake, but you’re actually asleep and dreaming?  That happens to me frequently when I’ve finally gotten back to sleep after awakening in the wee hours. 

    • #7
  8. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Sawatdeeka, I would not categorize night hallucinations or sub-conscious problem solving as “odd physical phenomena”.  And I might not even describe them as “odd”.

    The advice to “sleep on it” whne presented with a difficult decision, or problem, is common advice.  I can attest that I have experienced clarity of decision, or solutions to problems that had previously left me tied in knots prior to a day or two of good rest.  

    Like you I had “night visions”  growing up as a child, particularly in one bedroom. Later in life, my sister who later occupied that bedroom, also spoke of her visions, while sleeping there. Mine were very similar in appearance to hers, but terrified me, she felt communal with her visions and described them as a black wispy mother with child seeking help or protection. I thought they were coming to get ME. 

    I also have had psychic connections with my Mom and a former wife.  One night i woke up at 2AM, and told my wife something had happened to my Mom.  She told me to go back to sleep… unable to shake the thought, I called my parents early the next morning.  My Dad answered and without explanation said, here talk to your mother… She had been very sick, Dad took her to the hospital, she was given an IV for dehydration and other meds, then she clams that she felt me come to her in the hospital, and she felt completely better – at 2:00 AM.  She had told Dad about it, as I had told my wife about it.  

    I subsequently was divorced from the wife above, but later I had a deep feeling that something had happened to her, called her son, and was told she had a mild stroke the evening before, and was now resting comfortably.

    I call those odd too.  

      

    • #8
  9. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    I must be boringly ordinary. Then only odd things I can remember are what are commonly called “lucid dreams” and “false awakenings”. Neither is a common occurrence.

    What are false awakenings? Is that when you think you’re still awake, but you’re actually asleep and dreaming? That happens to me frequently when I’ve finally gotten back to sleep after awakening in the wee hours.

    When one dreams that he wakes up. 

    That has the makings of a great horror story where the main character repeatedly “wakes up” only to find he’s still in the nightmare. 

    • #9
  10. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Django (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    I must be boringly ordinary. Then only odd things I can remember are what are commonly called “lucid dreams” and “false awakenings”. Neither is a common occurrence.

    What are false awakenings? Is that when you think you’re still awake, but you’re actually asleep and dreaming? That happens to me frequently when I’ve finally gotten back to sleep after awakening in the wee hours.

    When one dreams that he wakes up.

    That has the makings of a great horror story where the main character repeatedly “wakes up” only to find he’s still in the nightmare.

    Also the makings of several cheesy movies.  I refer you to the 1980s :-)

    • #10
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    There are more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of in a materialistic philosophy.

    • #11
  12. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    There are more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of in a materialistic philosophy.

    That’s cheating.  In a materialistic philosophy, there is no Heaven.

    • #12
  13. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    For a few years I had night terrors from time to time. Something was over me in my sleep. Only to wake and know it’s presence. I would arise violently. I am convinced demons took an interest in me for awhile. Truly disturbing. 

    Hope they are not reading this. 

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    For a few years I had night terrors from time to time. Something was over me in my sleep. Only to wake and know it’s presence. I would arise violently. I am convinced demons took an interest in me for awhile. Truly disturbing.

    Hope they are not reading this.

    Psalm 23. That’s what I use.

    • #14
  15. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    That’s a very busy mind you have there, Sawatdeeka. In a party, your mind would sidle away from my boring mind.

    Ha, ha, ha. I’m not quite sure how to take that.

    I did have a power nap this afternoon. Hallucination-free.   

    The last sentence was a way of saying, at our ongoing Ricochet party, “I’ve talked enough about me–tell me about yourself.” 

    • #15
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    The last sentence was a way of saying, at our ongoing Ricochet party, “I’ve talked enough about me–tell me about yourself.” 

    I’m so busy!  It’s hard.

    But in 1997 in Limuru, Kenya, I heard things that were not physically there.  And a shower curtain moved without physical cause once while I was praying.

    I could maybe remember two other oddities from high school, but my memories are a bit more faded there.  Let’s just stick with the demons in Limuru, shall we?

    The point, I think, was ANYTHING to take my eyes off of the Messiah.  If you’re making the mistake Lewis describes in the Preface to Screwtape Letters which is opposite to the mistake of presuming there are no demons at all, you’re getting it wrong.  Return to the Cross.  Return to the Gospel.  Pray without ceasing.  Memorize Psalms.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Live by the Ten Commandments, the book of Proverbs, and the letters of Paul, and the demons should be only a minor nuisance or less.

    If you want expertise on the subject, read Michael Heiser or listen to everything in The Lord of Spirits, a very fine theology podcast.

    That’s about all I got, and already more than I have time for.

    • #16
  17. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Sawatdeeka, I would not categorize night hallucinations or sub-conscious problem solving as “odd physical phenomena”. And I might not even describe them as “odd”.

    The advice to “sleep on it” whne presented with a difficult decision, or problem, is common advice. I can attest that I have experienced clarity of decision, or solutions to problems that had previously left me tied in knots prior to a day or two of good rest.

    Like you I had “night visions” growing up as a child, particularly in one bedroom. Later in life, my sister who later occupied that bedroom, also spoke of her visions, while sleeping there. Mine were very similar in appearance to hers, but terrified me, she felt communal with her visions and described them as a black wispy mother with child seeking help or protection. I thought they were coming to get ME.

    I also have had psychic connections with my Mom and a former wife. One night i woke up at 2AM, and told my wife something had happened to my Mom. She told me to go back to sleep… unable to shake the thought, I called my parents early the next morning. My Dad answered and without explanation said, here talk to your mother… She had been very sick, Dad took her to the hospital, she was given an IV for dehydration and other meds, then she clams that she felt me come to her in the hospital, and she felt completely better – at 2:00 AM. She had told Dad about it, as I had told my wife about it.

    I subsequently was divorced from the wife above, but later I had a deep feeling that something had happened to her, called her son, and was told she had a mild stroke the evening before, and was now resting comfortably.

    I call those odd too.

     

    I have not had those experiences of a connection with knowledge of someone else’s disaster but I know others who have had, including my daughter, who once woke in the night exclaiming that “something is wrong with Grandpa,” who had just had a heart attack. Probably we’ve all experienced a name popping into our heads and then hearing from that person and not knowing whether it was coincidence but maybe suspecting that it wasn’t. When I was much younger I used often to have a name pop up and then minutes later run into that person.  It was a game I liked to play when I was in an area where I knew no one, and it was enough to give me a sense of immaterial connection, something that has helped me in my work as a massage therapist working with people in pain.

    • #17
  18. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    This is normal, but amazing: on my walk this evening, I thought for a few seconds that I was hearing a bear. I got a shot of adrenaline, icy hot right around my diaphragm.  I assume this  is to equip me to react quickly, I hope not foolishly, to a hostile bruin, should it appear.  I didn’t get the unpleasant side effects I usually get from a dose of this stuff after a close call in traffic. After a driving incident, I get prickles in the back of my neck as I settle back down. 

    And what about that white-hot rage that renders you nearly insensible and makes you feel as if the only way to get satisfaction is to strike out?  I noticed this feeling as a kid while I was beating up on my little sister (she probably deserved it ;-) and realized that what I was doing could have long-term consequences. So, even when operating in our “primitive brain,” we must have a kernel of reason still active. These days if it starts happening, I monitor myself, knowing from my forty years ago experience with my sister, and other memories, that it’s likely I won’t be proud of any decisions I make in that mode.

    I’m betting that the two phenomena I’ve described here are related. 

    • #18
  19. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Sandy (View Comment):
    Probably we’ve all experienced a name popping into our heads and then hearing from that person and not knowing whether it was coincidence but maybe suspecting that it wasn’t. When I was much younger I used often to have a name pop up and then minutes later run into that person. 

    As I’ve said under one of my posts before, I frequently predict–correctly–who will comment on what I’ve written. For me, this is just intuition, after years of reading individuals on Ricochet. In other words, it’s a symptom of spending way too much time online.

    Sandy (View Comment):
    When I was much younger I used often to have a name pop up and then minutes later run into that person.  It was a game I liked to play when I was in an area where I knew no one, and it was enough to give me a sense of immaterial connection, something that has helped me in my work as a massage therapist working with people in pain.

    This is all very interesting. 

    • #19
  20. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    The 3rd note thing is physics or math or both. Harmonics and Overtones. In my experience, the fundamental tones, those being intentionally played or sung, need to be in good tune to produce the overtone. So I’d bet you and your friends had good voices. It is very cool when you get to hear this.

    • #20
  21. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Marythefifth (View Comment):

    The 3rd note thing is physics or math or both. Harmonics and Overtones. In my experience, the fundamental tones, those being intentionally played or sung, need to be in good tune to produce the overtone. So I’d bet you and your friends had good voices. It is very cool when you get to hear this.

    Thanks for this perspective! 

    Besides belting out songs for fun, we did participate in  frequent singing practices to perform for our parents. We rehearsed in five-part harmonies. 

    • #21
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I’ll need to come back to this, but here are two things you (and several others here) may appreciate knowing:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

    and

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploding_head_syndrome

    Edited to add: Neither is a terrible symptom of some dread disease or demonic possession. Both are fairly normal things.

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    BDB (View Comment):
    I used to experience a terrifying paralysis while waking (otherwise uneventfully) from sleep.  It’s actually not rare, but was not widely acknowledged or whatever in the 1970s.

    Right. This is one form of sleep paralysis (linked above). I was no more than five the first time I experienced it. The thing that sawatdeeka describes in her paragraph about nighttime hallucinations is another form, as is what Keven Schulte described. They are all forms of malfunction in the process between sleeping and dreaming and waking. As you said, it’s not rare.

    Besides what has already been described, one can hallucinate a menacing figure standing near the bed or aliens. One might also wind up quite paranoid after a bout with it and need to check every nook and cranny of the house to ensure nobody is hiding behind the drapes or in the shower stall. It’s a lot easier to handle once one knows what it is and what causes it. (I’m still looking in the shower stall for those aliens, though.)

    Here is one simulation:

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    sawatdeeka: Sounds Inside the Head: Occasionally toward bedtime, I’ll sense a snap or bang, and know that it came from in my head, not outside of me.  Common sense prevails, and I opt to go to bed without consulting Google.

    The common name for this is exploding head syndrome. I linked the Wikipedia page above. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten up to find out what just fell down or where the car crashed.

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    sawatdeeka: Subconscious Problem-Solving: I’ve found that when I’ve hit a wall trying to figure out something for work, the most effective path to a solution might be to stop thinking about the problem altogether. I simply let go of it and turn my attention to other things, in one instance even purposely giving the conundrum to my subconscious.  After perhaps a day or two, the answer just comes into my head. If I’m remembering right, the time I fed the problem to my subconscious overtly, a complex solution emerged in full detail.  This might be something to try next time you have writer’s block. 

    Everyone should know to do this or how to do this. The subconscious mind is a wonderful donkey engine willing to do work while we sleep. Elias Howe used something he saw in a dream to create the sewing machine. There are thousands of examples throughout history.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    sawatdeeka: Weird Injuries:

    Sometimes, a body just has a minor weakness like cartilage around the knees. Sometimes, it can be a sign of something larger:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehlers%E2%80%93Danlos_syndromes

    Likewise, a lot of other diseases, some with a genetic basis or inclination, can show themselves in very strange ways and not be understood for what they are because of it. Celiac disease and lupus (SLE) are good examples where someone may think they have a certain problem, but it’s something totally different.

    • #26
  27. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Arahant (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Sounds Inside the Head: Occasionally toward bedtime, I’ll sense a snap or bang, and know that it came from in my head, not outside of me. Common sense prevails, and I opt to go to bed without consulting Google.

    The common name for this is exploding head syndrome. I linked the Wikipedia page above. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten up to find out what just fell down or where the car crashed.

    I didn’t realize Wikipedia was so interesting. I can’t watch the video–looks too creepy. It’ll give me ideas. 

    • #27
  28. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    One thing I’ll never forget was when I got the “flu” once.  I don’t know what it was but I’d recently been splattered in the face with fresh blood and I got so sick that I lay semi-conscious in bed with weakness and body ache for more than 5 solid days.  I remember that I got out of bed twice in five days to drink orange juice and to pee.  I think I was near death, but who knows.  One night I was unable to sleep due to the pain or ache, but I was too weak to groan or to move, and I became aware of four white men — I mean white clothes and white skin and pale grey shadows describing their features — standing near my bed talking among themselves, when one saw me looking at them he said to another, Tell him to bend his left leg and bring it forward across is right leg and put his left arm in front of him, and the pain will go away.  The other man said this to me, and I struggled to move my leg as they said, and as soon as I moved my arm the pain went away, and I slept for another half a day.  I’ve always wondered if they were angels or an hallucination.  But I tend to think they were angels, and that, yes, I was probably on the verge of death.

    When I was up and around again, I had lost, I think, 22 pounds.  And all this time a hurricane raged around me and I had no one to call.  I remember the general date because when I awoke Homestead AFB was gone.  Bad week.

    • #28
  29. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Flicker (View Comment):
    I’d recently been splattered in the face with fresh blood

    ???

    • #29
  30. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    BDB (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    I’d recently been splattered in the face with fresh blood

    ???

    Yeah, I was going to say, what do you DO for a living?  

    Thanks for the compelling story, Flicker! 

    • #30