Exploring The Correlates And Nature Of Exceptional Experiences In A Psychomanteum Christine Simmonds-Moore , Chase O'Gwin; Michael Steder; Elena Mayfield (Psychology, University Of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA ) C23
This study explored differences between synesthetes and non-synesthetes on exceptional experiences encouraged via a mirror-gazing procedure (the ?psychomanteum?). We also explored physiological, physical and psychological correlates of exceptional experiences in the psychomanteum. Thirty participants completed the study. All participants reported a prior experience with a ?ghost? and 15 people also experienced synesthesia. The procedure consisted of a 15-minute intention session (thinking about a deceased person) and a 45-minute mirror gazing session. The psychomanteum chamber was filmed (with an infra-red camera), heart rate variability (HRV) measurements were taken, RNG output data were collected and emf fluctuations were monitored for a baseline period and for the mirror gazing period itself. In addition, geomagnetic fluctuations for the study dates were downloaded after the study was complete. Participants pressed a button on a small keyboard that sent a time stamp to the computer if they experienced a sense of presence or strong visual imagery. Participants were interviewed and completed a post session questionnaire. Synesthetes reported marginally more ExE than non-synesthetes, but did not differ from non-synesthetes on the number of reported presences. Synesthetes did not differ from non-synesthetes on ratings of vividness, realness or the extent to which experiences were rated as taking up space. Creativity correlated with the vividness and realness of imagery. The RNG output correlated negatively and significantly with the extent to which ExE were rated as taking up space (synesthetes only). Both GMF and emf correlated with heart rate variability. GMF also correlated with the extent to which experiences were rated as taking up space (synesthetes only). Camera anomalies ("specks") were found for both baseline and psychomanteum conditions. There was a significant difference in the RNG output where there were anomalies compared to no anomalies for the psychomanteum condition only.