Understanding Medjugorje Apparitional Experiences: Medical and Parapsychological Perspectives
American Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2019, Pages: 126-141
Received: Nov. 16, 2019; Accepted: Dec. 5, 2019; Published: Dec. 11, 2019
Views 378      Downloads 261
James Paul Pandarakalam, Department of Psychiatry, Hollins Park Hospital, Warrington, UK
Article Tools
Follow on us
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.
Apparitional Experience, Terrestrial Memories, RSPK-like Activity, Mysticism, Discarnate Survival
To cite this article
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. doi: 10.11648/j.ajpn.20190704.17
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Pandarakalam J. P. Are the Apparitions of Medjugorje Real? Journal of Scientific Exploration 2001; 15 (2): 229-239.
Pandarakalam. J. P. Certain Parapsychological aspects of the Visionary Experiences of Medjugorje. Paranormal Review2006; 38: 14-21.
Pandarakalam J. P. Medjugorje Apparitional Occurrences; A Parapsychological and Spiritual Analysis. Journal of Spiritual and Paranormal Studies 2011; 34: 100-117.
Schewebel J. L. Apparitions, Healings, and Weeping Madonnas: Christianity and the Paranormal. Mahwah. N. J.: Paulist press, 2004.
Soldo Mirjana. My Heart Will Triumph. page 138, Cocoa, FL32922: Catholic Shop publishing, 2016.
Bartulica N. Medjugorje; Are the Seers Telling the Truth? A Psychiatrist’s Viewpoint. Chicago, LL Croatian Franciscan Press, 1991.
Cavar S. The first Months of the Apparitions in Medjugorje. Medjugorje: Ziral, 2000.
Gelder M., Gath D., Mayou R. Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford Medical Publicationsm, 1989.
Sims A. Symptoms in the Mind. London: Baillier Tindall, 1988.
Walter GW. The Living Brain. London: Penguin, 1961.
Hallson Peter (2006) A Modern Psychomanteum, Paranormal Review. April Issue 38, p 3-5.
Osis K. Symposium: Apparitions, A new Model. Research in Parapsychology, p1-7 London: The Scarecrow Press, 1980.
Duncan, L. and Roll, W. G. Psychic connections. New York: Delacorte, 1995.
Osty, E. Supernormal Faculties in Man. London: Methuen, 1923.
Roll G W. Pagenstecher’s contribution to parapsychology. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 1967; 61: 219-240.
Roll G W. Theory and Experiment in Psychical Research. New York: Amo Press, 1975.
Schwartz E, R. G, Russek G, S, L. The Living Energy Universe. Charlottesville: Hampton Road Publishing Company. 1999.
Stevenson I. The contribution of apparitions to the theory of survival. Journal of the American society for psychical research 1982; 76. 341-358.
Morse R D. The evidence for psychokinesis. Journal of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies 2011; 3 (34): 123.
Rhine L. Mind over Matter: Psychokinesis. New York: Macmillan, 1970.
Carpenter J. Projective testing on Tina Resch, October 1984. Paper presented at the Proceedings of Presented Papers: The parapsychological Association 36th Annual Convention 1993; 492-499.
Roll, G. W. Some physical and psychological aspects of a series of poltergeist phenomena. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 1968; 62, 263-308.
Roll, G. W. The Poltergeist. New York; Nelson Doubleday, 1972.
Roll, G. W. Poltergeists In Wolman B. B. (Ed) Handbook of Parapsychology, New York: Van Nostrand Rein hold, 1977.
Walker EH. Consciousness and Quantum theory. In White, J. (Ed.). Psychic Exploration. New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1974.
Owen, A. R. G. Can we explain the poltergeist? New York: Garrett, 1964.
Bender, H. (1969). Presidential address: New developments in poltergeist research. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association 1969; 6: 81-102.
Myers E. W. H. Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. vol. 1. New York: Longmans, Green, 1903.
Roll G W. The Poltergeist. New York: Paraview, 2004.
Gearhart, L., & Persinger, M. A. Geophysical variables and behaviour: XXX111. Onsets of historical and contemporary poltergeist episodes occurred with sudden increases in geomagnetic activity. Perceptual and Motor Skills 1986; 62: 463-466.
Roll G W and Gerhart, L. Geomagnetic perturbations and RSPK. In Roll, W. G., Morris, R. L. & Morris, J. (Eds). Research in Parapsychology Metuchen. N. J: Scarecrow, 1973.
Persinger M and Cameron R. A. Are earth faults in some poltergeist-like episode? Journal of the American society for Psychical Research, 1986; 80: 49-73.
Radin D. I., & Roll, W. G. A radioactive ghost in a music hall. Procedings of the 37th Annual Convention of the Prapsychological Association of University of Amsterdam, 1994.
Roll, W. G., and Nichols A. A Haunting at an army post. Proceedings of the 42nd Annual convention of the Parapsychological Association 1999; 253-270.
Roll, W. G., and Nichols A. Psychological and electromagnetic aspects of haunts. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association. 2000; 364-378.
Persinger M. Mystical and Religious experinces as artifacts of temporal lobe function: a general hypothesis. Perceptual & MOTOR Skills 1983; 57: 1255-1261.
Persinger M and Roll W. In Haunting and Poltergeist: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Jefferson, N. C: McFarland, 2001.
Joines W. A wave theory of psi energy. Research in Parapsychology1975; 147-149.
Wolman B. Handbook of Parapsychology, New York Van Nostrand Rein hold, 1977.
Stevenson I. Are Poltergeists dead or are they living? Journal of American Society for Psychical Research 1972; 66.
Auerbach L. Haunting and Poltergeists. Oakland, CA: Ronin Publishing, 2004.
Laurentin R and Joyeux H. Scientific and Medical Studies on the Apparitions at Medjugorje, Dublin, Mount Salus Press, 1987.
Laurentin R. Medjugorje Testament. Toronto: Ave Maria Press, 1998.
Friegerio L, Mattalia G., Bianchi. L. Dossier Scientific Su Medjugorje. Marzo, Associaziono Regina della Pace, 1986.
Kraljevic S. The Apparations of Our Lady at Medjugorje, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1984.
Pandarakalam J. P. Understanding La Salette Apparition. Journal of Spirituality and Consciousness Studies (2015); 38: 25-35.
Walsh TW. Our Lady of Fatima. New York: Macmillan, 1947.
Sharkey D and Debergh J. Our Lady of Beauraing. St Meinard, Indiana: Abbey Press, 1973.
Suel G and Miller O. She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Three volumes). Cleveland, Ohio: St Joseph Publications. 1981.
Greene M. The voices and its Disorders. London: Pitman Media, 1980.
Gallgher B. The Medjugorje Message, Number 95, January, 2011.
Bubalo J. A thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. Illinois: Friends of Medjugorje, 1987.
Holt J. Nicola, Simmonds- Moore Christine, Luke David and French C. Christopher. Anomalistic Psychology. Basingstokw: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
Braude S. Immortal Remains. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.
Sudduth M. Super-Psi and the Survivalist Interpretation of Mediumship. Journal of Scientific Exploration 2009; 23: 167-193.
Beichler E. J. To Die For: The Physical Reality of Conscious Survival. Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2008.
Heath Rae Pamela, Klimo John (2006) Suicide, What really happens in the Afterlife? California: North Atlantic Books.
Vandersande WJ. Life After Death: Some of the Best Evidence. Colarado: Outskirts Press, 2008.
Tymn M. The Articulate Dead. Lakeville MN: Glade Press, 2008.
Cunningham P. The Apparition at Medjugorje: A Transpersonal Perspective. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 2011; 43 (1) part-1: 50-76.
Broughton S. Richard (2002). Book review on Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Journal of Scientific Exploration 2002, 16 (2): 295.
Houran James & Rense Lange (2001) Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland.
Beichler E J. To Be or Not to Be! A Paraphysics for the new millennium. Journal of scientific exploration 2001; 15 (1): 33-56.
Haraldsson Erlandur. In Memory of Karlis Osis. The Journal of Parapsychology 1997; 61 (3): 253-255.
Tymn M. Proof Has Many Faces. The Search Light, The Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies 2017; 26 (3): 15.
Fontana David. Is There an Afterlife? A Comprehensive Overview of the Evidence. London: O Books, 2005.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186