I have had a few clairaudient experiences where I heard a voice, not with my ears, and with no one around. It was like the voice was in my head. The first time I was in my 20’s. I had a vivid dream all in red with snakes forming a caduceus, and at the end of the dream, I heard a booming man’s voice, “things are not what they seem”. This is a very old message, attributed to Phaedrus in Socrates’ time, and often spoken about in occult circles. Years later I discovered an artist in the Seattle area, named Richard Stine, who heard a similar message, “The world is not what it appears to be”. This message presaged my interest in the paranormal, and for Stine, his interest in metaphysical art.
Another time, I was in the middle of a difficult post-doc research position, and I woke up in angst one morning, asking myself, “Who am I?” I heard a woman reply, “India”. I shook this off, and asked again, “Who am I?”, and I heard the woman reply again, “India”. I told my brother about this experience, and he left a copy of Yogananda’s book, Autobiography of a Yogi, on the kitchen table, whereupon I spent many fruitful years exploring Indian spirituality. In Hinduism, the question, “Who am I?” is an important scientific question, and is answered, the Atman, known as the Real Self – the soul or eternal core of the personality that survives death.
In this same time period, I heard a man’s voice say, “get a faculty position”. I thought to myself, I’m not going to listen to some unknown man talking in my head, so I dismissed that good advice! I spent three more difficult years in another post-doc, before finally getting a faculty position.
So what are these voices? In the medical profession, ‘hearing voices’ is classified as an auditory verbal hallucination. With mental illness, these can be dark voices, causing chaos, fear and negativity. In parapsychology, on the other hand, clairaudience (“hearing the inaudible”) is common among psychic individuals or Mediums, who communicate with Spirits or the deceased. I have less experience with Spirit communication, but in the two times that I have heard from Spirits or ghosts, the voice emanated in the environment, not in my head.
John DeSouza, in his book, Clear Hearers, notes that there is a third type of ‘hearing voices’, found in ordinary people. He calls the voice in our heads, the Great Voice, which can be distinguished by its positive effect in our lives. DeSouza theorizes that the Great Voice may be own Eternal Self, “the Prime Soul version of your present, temporary self”. The Great Voice makes itself known during times of crisis and high emotion, altering our course for the better, helping us to reach our potential.
According to DeSouza, the Great Voice can warn us of impending danger in time for us to avoid it. As an ex-FBI special agent, DeSouza tells of times where the voice protected him in difficult situations (e.g., “Do not go in”). My sister heard the Great Voice directing her away from a bee hive before it was disturbed, protecting her, while other individuals were stung.
DeSouza cites the Hearing Voices Movement, with Support Groups for people who hear voices, see visions or experience tactile or other sensations (which includes many energy healers! LOL).
DeSouza J (2017) Clear Hearers. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Stine R (1996) The World of Richard Stine. New York, NY: Welcome Enterprises