I have to admit that I am a regular listener of the late night George Noory radio show – “Coast to Coast AM.” Many of the topics discussed on the program, such as the supernatural, extraterrestrial life, other dimensions, physics, higher states of consciousness, out of body experiences, spirits, guardian angels, and the “end times” have all been covered by the scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
I have been studying Swedenborg’s explanation of these various, but related topics for almost thirty-five years. It is my personal belief that he offered the best answers to the mysteries behind these rarefied phenomena.
For instance, he has written more about the non-physical world of spirits, demons, and angels, and provided more details about this realm than anyone else in history.
So what can Swedenborg bring to the table?
Many listeners have called in to the George Noory show to share their experiences of the strange phenomenon called nighttime paralysis. It is a condition where people wake up at night and are unable to move or breathe. In this condition, many people describe sensing something ominous in the room. Others even wake up to find a “witch” or “old hag” sitting on their chest (seemingly the cause of their being unable to breathe).
In one of his anatomical works, The Fibre, Swedenborg describes nighttime paralysis as a type of nightmare (incubus) by which the cognitive function of imagination is immersed in phantasms, such as the appearance of a spectre upon one’s chest. This extreme state of phantasy has a direct effect on the flow of blood, which corresponds to one’s state of mind. In other words, Swedenborg attributes the physiology and mechanism of this phenomenon to a change of blood flow that stifles the normal functioning of the cerebrum and the lungs.
Are “trickster” entities involved? Or is this simply the mind playing tricks from a change in its brain chemistry? Swedenborg would answer “both.” During his mystical and theological journey in later life he discovered that spirits can indeed flow into the thoughts and ideas of human brain activity. This top-down spiritual causality becomes embodied in brain chemistry and the changes of state in the brain’s neural structure.
In his voluminous theological work Arcana Coelestia (Heavenly Secrets) Swedenborg offers this explanation to what is going on when individuals see “shadow” people:
“There are spirits who by means of phantasies induce appearances that seem to be real. For example, if anything is seen in shadow, or in moonlight, or even in daylight, if the object be in a dark place, these spirits keep the mind of the beholder fixedly and continually in the thought of some one thing, be it an animal, a monster, a forest, or any other thing; and so long as the mind is held in this thought, the phantasy is increased, and it grows to such a degree that the person is persuaded, and sees just as if the things themselves were there, whereas they are nothing but illusions.” (AC n. 1967)
However, Swedenborg insisted that the spirits causing this situation in the human cerebrum—from a realm beyond space and time—are real.
I have just scratched the surface of all the non-ordinary phenomena Swedenborg covered in some sixty volumes of work, ranging from physics, anatomy and neuroscience, to the reality of heaven and hell. That is why I predict that Emanuel Swedenborg will become the most widely-read individual of the 21st century!