How to authenticate a genuine astral encounter

How to authenticate a genuine astral encounter

or: How to be sure a person genuinely “saw” a ghost

Look into a clear night sky and you will see a million things that are no more. You will see stars that “died” millions of years before we existed, in fact, before this planet was “born.” Life and death, existence and nonexistence is a commonplace spectacle we see for ourselves in the night sky, just above our heads. We are accustomed to seeing the inexplicable!

Some people suggest that “seeing is believing” — but is “seeing” the only way to prove a thing exists? Anyhow, experienced detectives will tell you that there is nothing less trustworthy than an eyewitness. And it’s most likely because we “see” with our brains, not with our eyes! Our brains “put together” the image it wants us to take away from an experience. Later, our rationality attempts to make sense of it.

As primates, our field of vision is remarkably limited — so astral energies only manifest to us within a narrow field of vision. (Many stars, for example, will not be visible to us within our natural range, although they will manifest themselves in other ways.) We must use the same reasoning when we speak of phantasms. (Note: I use the word phantasm because it comes from the root-word phantazein which simply means to “make visible”.)

I prefer not to use the term “ghost” because the word comes with way too much baggage. The word ghost is interrelated with dead people in a way that over-complicates things: for example, wraiths are supposed to be visitations from dead relatives, etc. Let’s not go down that path…

Here I want to concentrate on astral encounters, that is: astral, in the sense that these are things that have a non-physical presence but are perceptible to us (like some of the stars above); and encounter in that it’s a thing that must be defined as an “unexpected experience.”

The 14 interrogative questions listed below are designed to ascertain whether the witness experienced a genuine astral encounter. We are not trying to prove that the witness is a fabulist or a fabricator, since the witness is likely to believe that what he or she “saw” was real but, nonetheless, incredible, and anyway the experience was so strange that it cannot be conveniently put into words. So be nice to your witness and give him or her leeway when they try to explain something that might be just as incomprehensible to them as it is to you.

But the general rule of thumb is: if a witness revealed a close encounter with something that is not astral in nature (in other words, what they witnessed possessed some kind of physical presence, however unlikely) — it can be ruled out. Similarly, if they took part in some experience that had been provoked, foreshadowed, or premeditated in a way that expected a certain outcome … simply put, they went out “looking for something spooky to happen” (so it wasn’t strictly speaking an encounter) — it is most likely fallacious.

Fourteen ways to prove/disprove a genuine astral encounter

  • Was the witness with others, and were they planning to “see” spooky things? Yes, then
    Doubtful
  • Did the witnesses go to what ghost-hunters call an “active location”? A haunted inn, an abandoned school, a cemetery, etc. Yes, then
    Doubtful
  • How great was the intention or desire of the witnesses to “see” the spectral apparition? For example, was it at a time or place that the witness considered sacred? A holy day? A day of remembrance? A time or a place of special importance? Yes, then
    Doubtful
  • Had the witness either a) just woken up or b) felt sleepy/drowsy and ready to sleep? Yes, then
    Doubtful
  • Has the witness ever asserted skills or talents in clairaudience, clairsentience, and clairvoyance? Yes, then
    Doubtful
  • Had the witness been “playing” with ghost-hunting equipment, perhaps a spirit board, an EMF (electromagnetic field meter) electronic voice recorder, a full spectrum camera, etc. Yes, then
    Doubtful
  • Did the witness witness any unusual or unexplained hot or cold spots? Just because we can’t see a power source doesn’t mean it’s not there. Perhaps the sense of thermoreception in your witness detected something abnormal. If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Did the witness find unexplained odours? There could have been an indefinable, sweet and perfumed scent that the witness had never experienced before. As above, just because we can’t see a power source, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Did the witness do anything that might be considered “eccentric” by ordinary folk, before or during the encounter? Phantasms are inquisitive about bizarre or freaky behavior, so they tend to manifest themselves at such times, as if they want to “join in”. If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Are toys or children’s play things involved? Phantasms like to play and the simplest and most modest toys fascinate their curiosity. If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Did the witness hear any inexplicable noise? Have all natural causes of those noises been ruled out? If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Did the witness perceive unexplained shadows? Have all the natural causes of such shadows been ruled out? If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Did the witness notice any apparent change in the air’s density, i.e. smothering, stifling, clogging, airless? If yes, then
    Genuine
  • Were pets, especially dogs or cats, behaving strangely or abnormally before or during the encounter? Other creatures have an extended field of vision. Dogs and cats hear higher pitched noises than us. They also have an advanced olfactory system (sense of smell) and, like many animals, can sense seismic activity. If yes, then
    Genuine

Words: @neilmach 2020 ©

Please let me know how you get on! Tweet me @neilmach

Neil Mach is author of “So You Want to Write Fantasy?” and host of the Myth & Magic fantasy writer’s podcast.

How to give a great podcast interview

Here at Myth & Magic we create a weekly podcast specially developed for fantasy authors and fans of fantasy fiction, and we would like you to join us!

Yes, we welcome writers, artists, poets, bloggers, journalists, illustrators, short story contributors, or any creative person who splashes about in the crazy world of fantasy fiction to join the fun. What’s your story?

Come and do a podcast with us!

No matter if you are a newcomer, an enthusiastic amateur, or a best-selling master novelist, we would like to hear your experiences, anecdotes, ideas, and best practices. Our interviewer is a professional journalist and is eager to take your call and have an pleasant conversation. And this will be a great time to talk about your latest project, reveal your new book, or promote your recent activities.

If this is the first time you have done a a radio-type interview, don’t worry, you are in accomplished and sympathetic hands. Neil is a welcoming and hospitable listener. He will make things very easy for you, so you can deliver a clear and effective message to our many listeners.

Your list of questions will be sent in advance and you will choose the date and time of your conversation, so your podcasting experience will be stress free.

Here are some tips for giving a good podcast interview:

  • find a quiet place in your home and tell everyone you will need silence for 30 minutes
  • turn off noisy machinery, washing machines, electric fans, air conditioning, telephones, alarms
  • have a bottle or mug of water nearby to wash your mouth regularly and keep hydrated
  • your topic is “you” a subject you know well, so smile and be unhurried, this is easy-street
  • you can put oomph and dazzle into a jaded voice by smiling and using hand gestures
  • but if you use hand gestures, try not to hit the table or thump things
  • your answers must be expressed in words, uh-huhs or nods cannot be seen on the show
  • if your day is not going well, ask to postpone or delay the interview till a later time
  • the podcaster will adapt to your needs and solve your concerns, just ask
  • it is normal to be a little nervous, but do not dread it, it is purely a chat
  • the Myth & Magic show host will send questions ahead of time, so you can prepare your answers
  • there will not be any sneaky questions, the podcaster will not try to “catch you out”
  • there will be no unpredictable questions either, it’s just a congenial chat
  • sometimes an answer comes out “wonky” so, if you’d like another run at it, just ask
  • bloopers, gaffs and errors can be edited-out, so if you think you made one, just say so
  • if the podcaster has not asked a question you are eager to discuss, just tell him
  • the podcaster will ask about your new book, so be prepared to plug away!
  • the listeners will want to know where they can get your book, so be prepared to share quick links
  • an interview takes energy, so you will be zapped (albeit in high spirits) right after. We advise you to factor in a little rest-time
  • the interview format is light and easy, to help you relaa-aax
  • prepare for an abrupt start, the podcaster will most likely go “right into it”
  • your first question will be a workaday enquiry — how is the weather? What are you doing?
  • We recommend you use Skype or Duo (or another video link) so you can look the interviewer in the eye and chat happily. Don’t worry, the video image is not shared (only the sound)
  • if you’re new to skyping, don’t worry, the interviewer will be kind and patient
  • Find within yourself answers that might:
    a) expose a little of your inner being
    b) express a creed or philosophy that you appreciate
  • your interview will be produced, so mistakes, bloops and smudges will be engineered out, although your answers will be left intact (unless you asked the interviewer to skip them)
  • If you have questions, misgivings or second thoughts about an answer you gave, contact the podcaster as soon as possible and explain your concerns before the show “goes live”. We will edit any dodgy answers out, if you ask
  • we recommend you share your interview with friends, family, followers on all your social networks

Have a great time! Get involved! Tell your story!

SEND YOUR PITCH HERE: or tweet or DM on Facebook

Come on! Let’s get this done. Contact us today

Check this recent podcast interview on Myth & Magic with Guardians Of The Realm author Amanda Fleet : https://tinyurl.com/y5gfnrlt

About Neil Mach

The busy English novelist Neil Mach writes stories about strong women, independent loners, individualists, and other outsiders whose feats are triggered by loyalties and whose actions are animated by a sense of duty… he lives in Surrey England, with his wife, by the River Thames. He has two grown-up daughters and hosts the Myth & Magic podcast show for fantasy authors