A Transliminal ‘Dis-Ease’ Model of ‘Poltergeist Agents’ | Annalisa Ventola

Annalisa Ventola, Executive Director of the Parapsychological Association, presents a transliminal model of ghostly episodes, based on a multi-laboratory meta-analysis relating poltergeist experiences with transliminality.

Previous research scrutinized the individual and collective predictive power of several psychometric variables used in the academic literature to profile haunters — individuals reporting personal experiences that they attribute to ghosts or haunted houses. Contrary to much literature on the correlates of general paranormal belief and experience, this research found no evidence that self-reported haunt-type experiences were connected to obvious cognitive deficits in the percipients. Instead, the onset or features of the haunt-type experiences were significantly associated with transliminality, i.e., “the hypothesized tendency for psychological material to cross thresholds into or out of consciousness.”

This construct is currently conceptualized as a manifestation of neuroplasticity, or enhanced interconnectedness between brain hemispheres, as well as among frontal cortical loops, temporal-limbic structures, and primary or secondary sensory areas or sensory association cortices. Thus, a transliminal model of haunters implies that these anomalous experiences are linked to a particular psychometric profile and derive from, at least partly, hypersensitivities to and amalgams of internally- and externally-generated stimuli.

The proposed transliminal model is consistent with many studies that identify an “encounter-prone personality” grounded in a thin or permeable mental boundary structure. Testable implications of this premise can guide future research. Moreover, additional analyses with respondents from the general population (including pre-teens and adolescents) are required to evaluate more thoroughly the relationships among transliminality, anomalous experiences, age, and gender.

Overall, the Transliminal Model of Ghostly Episodes (apparitions, haunts, and poltergeists)— with an emphasis on subclinical “dis-ease” states — seems very promising in helping to explain the psychology of focus persons in poltergeist cases. This view aligns to the general psychometric correlates of assumed agents per the available academic literature, some of the demographic aspects of agents, the presence and impact of psychological tensions in childhood that can characterize the biopsychosocial settings of agents, and empirical data suggesting a positive link between transliminality and putative psi ability.

Presented at the “62nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association” on July 4, 2019, Paris, France; program chaired by Ramses D’Leon. Download the Abstracts at https://www.parapsych.org/articles/37/483/2019_pa_convention_abstracts_of.aspx

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Published on July 12, 2021