Nanci Trivellato | Examining Non-Ordinary Phenomena Experienced During Childhood

Which are the signs that favor diagnosis as “a child who perceives reality differently, embracing non-ordinary experiences”, as opposed to “a child with psychological or mental conditions”? How these so-called psi phenomena affect individuals during childhood and later in their adult lives?

Despite the considerable research that exists about human non-ordinary abilities, little attention has been given to the understanding of psi phenomena when experienced during childhood. On the other hand, competing views on children’s non-ordinary experiences often confuse and worry parents, receiving diagnosis ranging from mental disorders to theories of “advanced beings”. Motivated by her personal experiences during childhood, and subsequent interest in the study of consciousness from a non-reductionist and multi-dimensional perspective, the author has promoted over the years a specific investigation on this subject, aimed at examining a population as diverse as possible to allow room for different descriptions and interpretations of the phenomena. In a first exploratory phase, in-depth interviews were conducted with children and adults from thirteen countries, belonging to different religions and cultural backgrounds, who claimed to have had non-ordinary experiences during the period of their childhood up to 14 years old. The professions of the adults interviewed included, among others: four medical doctors, five engineers, five musicians, and nine administrators and economists, of whom two were PhDs occupying high profile positions in a government department of their country. Using mixed methods methodology during this first phase of the study, a number of interesting phenomena were examined, including: night terrors, visions, auditory perceptions, isolated sleep paralysis, invisible friends, out-of-body experiences, premonitions, and uncontrollable fears. This led the author to subsequently design appropriate psychometric scales to quantify fear and several of the subjective phenomena examined. In this work, the obtained data will be discussed and illustrated by describing some extremely significant real cases. The author’s ultimate motivation with her analysis is to help parents and professionals distinguishing the signs of a sensitive child having non-ordinary perceptions, from those of other possible conditions or disorders.

Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration Conference in Broomfield, Colorado 2019.

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Published on February 3, 2020