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Durham University

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Publication details

Powell, Adam & Cook, Christopher C.H. (2021). The etheric place: Notes on finding the supernatural at the boundaries of sleep. Journal for the Study of Religious Experience 6(1): 45-51.

Author(s) from Durham


Whilst conducting qualitative studies with both Christians who report hearing supernatural voices and Spiritualists who report ‘clairaudience’, we have encountered numerous instances of what appeared to be hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences being deemed spiritual by our participants. Taking place at the boundary between wakefulness and sleep, these occurrences involve voices, visions, and tactile phenomena. We note that they also seem to have common characteristics that may distinguish them from other reported spiritual or religious experiences: 1) Clear and external aurality when involving voices, 2) Ambiguous messages or initial meanings, and 3) Later attribution to a supernatural agent.