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  • Writer's pictureHallie Swan

Paranormal Psychology

Paranormal psychology refers to experiences such as alien abduction, spirit contact, extrasensory perception, out of body experiences, past life experiences, and other psychic phenomenon. The only reason these experiences are classified as paranormal is because we live in a materialist culture that only validates the physical realm. Therefore, everything else falls into the realm of paranormal. But to societies and cultures that acknowledge the existence of more than just the physical dimension, these experiences are just “normal.”

The universe is infinite. We are infinite. Life is a mystery. Reality far exceeds our ability to wrap our minds around, or for science to track. It is not that extraterrestrials, spirit beings, or other unusual or supernatural phenomenon do not exist…. It is just that it is beyond the ability of our narrow and rudimentary scientific yardstick (and our acculturated perceptive abilities) to measure and sense. Western science is as of yet, nowhere near sophisticated enough to measure the sheer genius and magnitude of life. And yet, with the birth of string theory and quantum physics, it is just beginning to perceive the existence of other dimensions. The brain, the heart, and the human organism are by far more technologically advanced mechanisms than any man-made apparatus or intellectual explanation. Therefore it is highly likely that, as instruments of interface of this Great Mystery, we experience first hand beyond what is empirically provable.

There is so much science does not know. Just think about it… only 350 years ago, it did not know about bacteria or understand the spread of pandemic. And yet, science demands that we fit everything to suit it. It’s like saying you need to prove the orbit of our solar system using algebra alone. The question itself is problematic. It is far more likely that science is seeing one piece of the pie… a very small piece of a three-dimensional pie, and that other fields are picking up other pieces of this multifaceted tapestry. Together, (not as adversaries,) we see a more complete picture. I am not discounting science. I am just saying it is limited, and should only be used to complement other forms of wisdom. How can one describe color if the only unit of measurement they have is sound? To try and do so is problematic. You are trying to measure one dimension using another. They are essentially different doors of perception. There is a common language between colors and sound however, which is vibration. Both the physical realm and the spirit realm (and the various dimensions of consciousness) all share a common language, which is vibration. In other words, both science and the paranormal could be corroborated using the system of understanding of a vibrational universe. And that is what string theory and quantum physics are finally starting to do.

We can’t discount the paranormal, especially when we think about how miniscule humanity is on the spectrum of life on this planet. Modern humans have been here 200,000 years. For God’s sake… dinosaurs were here for 165 million years! What do we know? Who is to say that aliens do not exist? Who is to say that the spirit of your great aunt Fanny isn’t communicating with you through your oatmeal? Who is to say that inter-dimensional beings of folklore and legends are not actual very real creatures that vibrate at a different frequency than the physical dimension to which we are attuned and focused?

Our systems are like a radio receiver. Turn the dial slightly, and we can open our senses to a whole new and different channel or realm of reality. If you were watching Friends all your life, simply imagine switching the channel to Looney Tunes, and you meet whole new species of beings…animals who talk! For folks who their entire lives were too deeply immersed in the show to be aware of any other context, imagine realizing that life isn’t the show itself, but that you are sitting on a couch in your living room watching the show! And you can take a look around and notice the room, and realize you are a point of consciousness perceiving this whole thing and taking the show for granted as “reality?” The point is, there is infinite potential regarding consciousness and the multiverse, and so little we know about life itself. We have this paradigm and these systems that like to pretend they know what is going on. And their philosophy is rather primitive and juvenile…like something you’d see on the Flintstones, to continue the metaphor.

Lots of psychology likes to focus on childhood trauma and stay within the matrix, if you will, of one’s life story within this incarnation, and her or his identity and story. All of that is great, and is hugely helpful and important. But there is more to life than that. And some people, whether intentionally or unintentionally, open up the lid to all of the different possibilities of consciousness. Suddenly we become aware that we are, and consciousness is, way more than Joe Schmo the advertising agent with a wife an 2.5 kids. Some people open this lid through deliberate and intentional practices of meditation, consciousness-altering substances, rituals, metaphysical study, natural extrasensory abilities, or other spiritual practices. Others are confronted with this reality accidentally and involuntarily through spiritual crisis, trauma, near-death or crossing over experiences, alien abductions, substance use, possession experiences, etc.

As a therapist in the field of parapsychology and transpersonal psychology, I help folks navigate this incredibly beautiful and often overwhelming entry in to the field of the beyond the matrix. I also act as a bridge between the two worlds, helping you integrate and make sense of the vastness you open up to, and realize how to bring its wisdom in to your 3D life. This exposure to life outside of the sitcom … to study and investigate the architecture of consciousness itself, is a core and important part of the human experience. Getting beyond our story to investigate who the hell we are and what the hell we are doing here… how we got here and what on earth is going on is an instinctual human pursuit. These existential questions (not in the hopeless sense, but with a sense of awe, wonder, and humility,) are essential human questions. Although there may not be a straightforward answer, the exploration is a worthy cause. All of us experience the mystery of birth. All of us experience the mystery of death. We are all much bigger than our society would have us believe. And whether we have a curated or forced opening to these paranormal realms, I think it is important to integrate this perspective in to normal psychotherapy. Psychotherapy which takes into account the “beyond the matrix” realms is called parapsychology or transpersonal psychology.

In the western world, we like to think in terms of “real” and “not real”… real and imaginary…. Real life and just a dream. What if those other perceptions were all as real, just of a different vibrational frequency? In other words, if you go to the Looney Tunes channel in your sleeping life, then come back to Friends when you wake up, does it mean Looney Tunes isn’t real? Does it mean that it’s not still playing simultaneously alongside Friends on a different channel as you are watching it? It’s important to stop thinking in terms of real and unreal, and instead in terms of gradients of reality.

So, who are we to stake a claim that aliens do not exist? Especially when indigenous traditions around the globe have been validating their existence since their beginnings? And especially when, the colonial agenda has squelched indigenous voices and whitewashed history? The mainstream gets fed a very thin and limited stream of history, and we are being told that it is the whole story. If you dig under the surface just a little bit, on alternative news outlets on the internet, you will find there is so much more out there. There are countless testimonials of people who have extraterrestrial contact, have life after death experiences, remember their past lives, have accurate premonitions of the future, communicate with animals and other species, etc. The media likes to forefront satirical and irreverent versions of this phenomenon, with shows like Long Island Medium, Finding Bigfoot, etc. as a way of invalidating the paranormal field. But this kitschy, sensationalist, trivializing, objectifying, and exploitive tourism is only one faction of the field of paranormal phenomenon, which is actually profound, mystical, and more intimate at a soul level than anything most people have ever experienced. It raises some serious existential questions and forces us to completely reorient our sense of reality and our place in the universe.

Why is it that shamanic traditions around the globe, despite having no contact with each other, had universal experiences and accounts of the spirit realm? What is Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology exactly, and why does it fall somewhere between fantasy and history? Could it simply be that people of the past possessed the perceptual capabilities to commune with other dimensional beings with as much vividness as physical reality? Could it be that mermaids, elves, trolls, dragons, angels, centaurs, and the like are actually preeminent species as real as humans and trees, but that our ancestors disavowed them and shut down certain doors of perception? It is said that we only use 10% of our brains… what about the rest? Who chose to so heavily prioritize the physical dimension anyway?

It is important at this point to acknowledge that many people get hijacked into this expanded awareness. It is not by choice, but by force. Although it is not the majority, some people are violated or undergo invasive and traumatic experiences. These experiences can be terrifying. I do not want to romanticize other entities or realms as all unicorns and fairies (although those exist too). There are of course, just as in this dimension, unwell people who can take advantage and abuse others. That is why discernment is so important. We can carry this principal into our inter-dimensional relationships. When someone has an involuntary and traumatic experience, there is the added trauma of returning to a completely unsympathetic and stigmatizing world that will most likely pathologize her or him. This can be a very isolating and confusing experience. All of that being said, I believe the number of “negative” experiences people have in this realm is largely due to us not having our sea legs. In other words, if we came from a culture and context that accepted these experiences as part of daily life, we would have the competence, skill, and tools to navigate them. We would have the support of experienced and approving elders. We would have the language to talk about them. There would be a syntonic ideology to accept a contactee’s experience in to its flow, so that she or he is not swimming upstream against her or his community, or ostracized as crazy. From that foundation, we can have a rational conversation about it. If we came from a healthy empowering culture that encouraged us to trust ourselves, If we had a calm and hospitable environment to return back to, if we listened to marginalized voices, if we had harmonious relationships with all living beings including plants and animals and were already versed in interspecies communication, without the stress that comes with rugged individualism, if we had sane and holistic mental health treatment, if we had collectivist approaches to helping people who need extra support … these experiences would be a whole lot less traumatic. This is comparable to psychedelic integration. The emerging field of psychedelic integration support helps people who come from dissonant cultures synthesize their experience by validating their experience and helping them find resonance with a broader inter-cultural mythos (as well as helping them restore balance in the areas of environment, body, mind, spirit, and community). Having such “paranormal” experiences, and affirming them forces us to see how profoundly dysfunctional our society really is.

Although we may be dealing with different dimensions, many of the same laws apply. That means, looking closely at your relationship to certain beings. How do you empower or disempower yourself in your relationship with them? As foreign as it may feel, can you overcome the shock factor or your impulse to catastrophize or sensationalize in order to make civilized and peaceful relations with them and potentially learn a lot? Many of these beings are more spiritually evolved than us. Those ones have a lot to teach us. Not all beings are benevolent, healthy, or highly-evolved however, just because they are subtle. It is of course, important to practice discernment as we would in any relationship. So much of how we perceive them (as friendly or dangerous) depends on the paradigm and ideology in which we were raised. It is interesting to think about how we as a species might respond to alien contact (in the way most people expect it to happen. i.e. in a spaceship). We are a culture fixated on war. We are armed and anticipating antagonistic relationships. Our energy stamp is fear. This is our modus operandi and our cultural conditioning. This is the exact opposite vibration you want to hold for productive interspecies communication. Our culture will have us believe that strength comes in guns and defense. Actually, the highest form of strength is peace and harmony. That takes a hell of a lot more courage and sophistication. We only need to look back in history to “first contact” (which was comparable to extraterrestrial contact in its novelty) and the absolute mess we made to see how dangerous and destructive our fear reflex is. Do we have the strength, self-mastery, wisdom, and capacity to handle such an influx of power that offers itself with paranormal contact? Do we have the ideological infrastructure to support these experiences on a mass scale? That is a rhetorical question…

We need only to look at how we maintain our relationships with other species (not even of other dimensions) to predict how we might react to extraterrestrial contact. When we objectify animals as “game meat” or trophy, when we demonize wolves and mountain lions as “predators,” I don’t have much hope for us in terms of successful, peaceful, rational, or symbiotic first contact with interdimensional beings. We are seriously handicapped when it comes to communication skills. It is just good to know that we often enter in to these experiences carrying this fear reflex. It is like a filter through which we see things. Knowing our propensity towards fear, resistance, and self-defense, when these experiences happen to us, we can separate our filter from the actual content of the experience. We can reevaluate our knee-jerk reaction to villainize, and open ourselves to actually examine the quality of the encounter. We can open to the possibility of learning something beyond the known, and forging healthy relations.

I am not as experienced as some contactees or mediums, but I would like to offer myself as a resource to anyone interested in getting acquainted with these realms, who has had such experiences and doesn’t know how to proceed, or anyone who is interested in peaceful communications with our brothers and sisters of other dimensions. As a therapist I help normalize clients’ experiences. I also help connect them with resources and communities of contactees and experiencers. I can also help you contextualize your experience in the larger mystery of life and empower yourself.

To close, I want to share a story from one of my favorite teachers of all time, Dagara elder and medicine person, Malidoma Some:

"In the culture of my people, the Dagara, we have no word for the supernatural. The closest we come to this concept is Yielbongura, "the thing that knowledge can't eat…In Western reality, there is a clear split between the spiritual and the material, between religious life and secular life. This concept is alien to the Dagara. For us, as for many indigenous cultures, the supernatural is part of our everyday lives. To a Dagara man or woman, the material is just as the spiritual taking on form…

I decided to do a little experiment of my own with "reality" versus "imagination" when I was home visiting my village in 1986. I brought with me a little electronic generator, a television monitor, a VCR, and a "Star Trek" tape titled The Voyage Home. I wanted to know if the Dagara elders could tell the difference between fiction and reality. The events unfolding in a science fiction film, considered futuristic or fantastic in the West, were perceived by my elders as the current affairs in the day-to-day lives of some other group of people living in the world. The elders did not understand what a starship is. They did not understand what the fussy uniforms of its crew members had to do with making magic. They recognized in Spock a Kontomble of the seventh planet, the very one that I describe later in this story, and their only objection to him was that he was too tall. They had never seen a Kontomble that big. They had no problems understanding light speed and teleportation except that they could have done it more discreetly. I could not make them understand that all this was not real. Even though stories abound in my culture, we have no word for fiction. The only way I could get across to them the Western concept of fiction was to associate fiction with telling lies.”

I find this story so beautiful, and may it be a teaching to us all. Reality vs. nonreality is just a cultural concept. Those of us in the pragmatic western world take it for granted as a fact of life. But it is a perspective as cursory as Christmas.

I invite you to open your mind, to the infinity of possibility, of this huge and miraculous life.

Below are several resources for experiencers who are seeking support, or for anyone interested in broadening their horizons.

In love, blessings, and with gratitude for all our friends, Hallie

Official First Contact (Information on Extraterrestrial contact. I recommend the interviews):

Ryan Cropper (Videos on Astral travel):

Passport to the Cosmos (A book by psychiatrist John E Mack about working with clients who have had alien encounters).

Books by Drunvalo Melchizedek (about ancient civilizations and sacred geometry)

The Spiritual Emergence Network (practitioners and resources for those experiencing an overwhelming spiritual opening):

Joan Ocean (Whales and Dolphins as interdimensional beings):

The Hearing Voices Network and The Icarus Project both offer education, resources, and groups for people experiencing nonordinary sensory phenomenon that is often diagnosed as mental illness :

Madness radio ("Personal experiences of ‘madness’ and extreme states of consciousness from beyond conventional perspectives and mainstream treatments"):

What a shaman sees in a mental hospital (an article with excerpts from Malidoma Somé):


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