Sitting in the library today, reading a book while I sipped a cappuccino, I could look out the window at the park next door. The sun was shining warmly on the lush green grass and the fountain splashed cool clean water. The passage I was reading described a crater in the center of a populated area now reduced to gray ash and black scorched earth. As I often do, I tried to imagine the scene from the book superimposed upon the view outside.
It is easy for me to imagine a scene that I’ve already seen depicted in the media, especially television. I grew up with the fear of nuclear winter and have seen all of the movies with vivid “re”creations of what an explosion might do to a city or a town. Looking out at the park, I couldn’t stop my eyeballs from seeing the happy reality, but I also pictured the devastation as an overlay on the scene in my mind.
Similarly, on the walk home from the library, I noticed a parked car with a person in the driver seat, motionless. Shaded by trees, his upper body was only a silhouette to me. My mind filled in the scene with images from various TV shows in which a passerby finds a dead body still sitting in a car. I found myself approaching the car with the serious intent to investigate further — until he moved, shattering the illusion and bringing my mind back into alignment with physical reality.
In an earlier post, I tried to express the need for a new verb for this kind of “extra-seeing” that takes place inside the mind. It is somehow more than imagination and yet less than hallucination. For my own purposes, I’m calling it “mindseeing”. In that post, I also mentioned examples of synesthesia, and in a nifty bit of synchronicity today I ran across an article about how it may be a factor in people who see auras. The reporter dismisses the notion of this “talent” being a case of ESP, treating it instead as empathy diverted into visual data. Or rather, data that the mind reinterprets as an overlay onto the visual scene internally.
Without any instruments to measure empathy, how might we prove that these psychics are really picking up sensory data and not using extra-sensory perception? Are they any better at reading people’s moods than people who don’t see auras, even trained therapists or counselors? Would this talent be considered paranormal-seeing or “paraseeing”?
And what of ghosts? Is it such a stretch to say that people who are mindseeing or paraseeing such apparitions are really picking up sensations and converting them to inner pictures? Forget about dust specks and reflections and other tricks of the eye that show up on film and light-sensitive digital devices, because those are examples of ordinary seeing.
I went to a psychic fair a long time ago and saw a booth where people could get a picture taken of their aura. It seemed silly to me then, and it seems ridiculous to me now. Auras and ghosts cannot be seen, nor can they be photographed. They can only be mindseen or paraseen.
Cameras can only see.