Understanding Medjugorje Apparitional Experiences: Medical and Parapsychological Perspectives
Background. The continuing apparitional events at Medjugorje in Bosnia offer an opportunity for sceptics to gain fresh insight into an alleged mystical-cum-paranormal phenomenon. Initially, the apparitional experiences occurred in a collective manner ruling out the possibilities of psychological and spiritual artefacts. Ostensibly, according to the percipients, an active apparition—that has inserted itself harmoniously into our three-dimensional world—is manifesting itself at Medjugorje. In this respect, science is hindered by the lack of both theoretical tools and the vocabulary to handle mystical and paranormal events. Apparitional occurrences involve apparitional experience, the apparition and social events. The apparition is beyond the parameters of science and only apparitional experience can be scientifically studied; social events are more important to social sciences and theology. Aim. To test the postulation that visionary experiences involving RSPK, or RSPK-like activity may be instances of apparitions at the physical site and find the results applying this criterion along with other distinguishable features specific to Marian apparitional experiences. To evaluate the different psychological, parapsychological, psychopathological views usually held against true apparitional experiences. Method. Observational and quantitative studies attempted accepting the limitations. Selective survey of the scientific and journalistic literature including previous reviews has been carried out to collect different interpretations which also help to form a framework for an informed conclusion. Results. The voice extinction and sensory disconnection exhibited by the Medjugorje witnesses could probably be explained as a manifestation of psychokinetic-like activity of the apparition. Unlike other generic apparitional experiences reported in the scientific literature on parapsychology, the percipients and the apparition at Medjugorje partake in back and forth communication for extended periods of time. It is obvious that these are not self-generated. Medical studies indicate that there are dual modes of perception proving an inward cum outward apparitional experience. These apparitional experiences have the same pattern as those the officially authenticated Marian apparitions of the past. Additionally, the terrestrial memories revealed to the percipients prove the identity of the apparition as the Mother of Jesus. Apart from the spiritual and religious implications, Medjugorje is thought to be at the forefront of a revolutionary paradigm shift in the field of consciousness studies that may be unprecedented in scope. Psychiatry is currently founded on medical reduction and will have to make many adjustments according to the paradigmatic shifts in cognitive sciences; mental health professionals should be tuned to these on-going mystical happenings.
James Paul Pandarakalam,
Understanding Medjugorje Apparitional Experiences: Medical and Parapsychological Perspectives, American Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
Vol. 7, No. 4,
2019, pp. 126-141.
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