Lincs Paranormal Research Team


Thought Forms

“Mind it, and it will matter.”

“Be careful what you wish for, as it may well happen.”

Phrases we’re no doubt all familiar with but do we ever really stop to wonder if it could be true? Have you ever tested the theory and really used the power of thought to bring something about?

Amongst all the research that is undertaken into the subject of the paranormal, perhaps the most fascinating and ever emergent field of data is that of the study of the human mind. Its capabilities are seemingly endless, and as we are frequently reminded by scientists, the human mind generally functions at only ten percent of its capacity. 

 If we take a look at the sphere of mental health, we see many cases of apparent ‘hallucination,’ or the brain’s facility to ‘create’ something from its subconscious. However, hallucinations differ from ‘thought forms’ in a fundamental way – the definition of hallucination, is "an apparent perception of an external object when no such object is present." But a ‘thought form’ is something manifested from either a single or collective consciousness that can actually be witnessed and experienced by others. A “Non-physical entity which exists in either the mental or astral plane.”

There is a very interesting hypothesis that some hauntings are in fact the ‘thought forms’ of people who’ve lived in or visited a place, believing it to be haunted. The story is passed from one person to the next, (rather like Chinese whispers,) until it gathers such momentum and reputation that the subject of the story is thereby given substance and form by the level of intense attention it receives.

A. R. G. Owen says in his book Conjuring Up Philip, "In 1973, a group consisting of eight members of the Society of Psychical Research in Toronto decided to find out more about these mysterious [PK] effects....The group was an ordinary cross-section of the population: an accountant, an engineer, an industrial designer, a scientific research assistant, and four housewives. None of them claims to be a medium."

"(1) The Toronto group produced raps and table movements, of an apparently paranormal nature, in full light, in many places, with different tables.

(2) They did not designate any one person as a special communicator, nor did they believe that any single member of the group was a medium or had more power than any of the other members. In fact, any combination of four of the original group was able to produce the phenomena.

(3) They do not believe that their communicator was a discarnate spirit. Their common focus of attention was an invented character, a product of their own imaginations."

(Philip, the invented character, has performed in full light in a documentary film and before TV cameras and a studio audience.)”

‘Philip’ began as a rather jolly entity and everyone reported seeing the same cheerful countenance and described the same friendly personality. However, he then started to change. The group noticed that his demeanour grew sour and sinister which in turn was matched by his features. Clearly, the entire process was heavily influenced by suggestion, each member of the group being involved in the initial construction of Philip, and as the experiment progressed, the more imaginative amongst the group perhaps influenced the rest with their own fears or expectations controlling the actions of their creation.

Owen goes on to say that “The group had motivation and expectancy....they were able to create an atmosphere of harmony. This was more than just a 'good friends' feeling; the group members have come to regard themselves as a family, and they behave together very like a closely knit family.

Philip was held entirely responsible, and it was remarkable how quickly the members took to addressing the table as Philip."

"Positive and expectant thought were absolutely necessary to keep the phenomena 'alive'."

"There was a definite correlation between the affirmation of the group mind as to the desirability of a specific question being pout to Philip and the loudness of the raps, which seemed geared to the actual affirmative or negative nature of the response."

Perhaps the most interesting result of the experiment to me is the fact that having set out to deliberately invent a ‘ghost’, the group’s collective consciousness then proceeded to latch on so tightly to the idea, that seemingly it became more difficult for them to distinguish reality from the creative prowess and sheer strength of their own imaginations.

In fact "…During the summer months of 1974 when the Philip group had a rest, individual members of the group reported inexplicable and unusual poltergeist-type happenings in their own homes." Writes Iris M. Owen with Margaret Sparrow in Conjuring Up Philip

Now in this case, we are expressly told by the author that “They do not believe that their communicator was a discarnate spirit.” However in other cases where the witness to paranormal phenomenon has not been involved in any prior establishing process, would it not be fair to say that belief and suggestion could be playing a large part? Belief is a powerful drug and one that invests all the senses in the process of proving a perceived reality to be genuine, sometimes even if you were there at its very conception. However, does the fact that the Toronto group began to behave all too readily as if they believed it to be ‘real,’ (claiming to ‘see’ Philip for themselves and quickly attributing poltergeist and séance phenomena to him,) actually mean that he became real?

The ability to project thought and manifest it is a well documented phenomenon throughout the world. In Tibetan Shaman traditions, the act of meditation is often used to ‘visualise’ and thereby commune with the student’s tutelary god. After a time, the Yidam does materialize, and gradually takes on a similar quasi-reality as the spirit monk.

Geoffrey Ashe says in his book The Ancient Wisdom, "If the concentration of thought and will is powerful enough - perhaps a joint effort by many people - a human tulpa [thought form] can be more than a phantasm. It can come into being by normal birth, as a stable physical form with personality. It is then called a tulku or 'phantom body'."

There is a philosophy amongst theosophists, new age practitioners, Hermeticists and some clairvoyants that each thought we have emits a vibration, and instead of disappearing, these vibrations continue to echo and pulsate into infinity. No thought is ever ‘lost.’ If this is so, then the vibration of each thought sent out into the ether must directly affect others in its vicinity. So if we accept that someone is able to create a ‘ghost’ from pure thought, and concentrates implicitly on it, giving it form, features, a personality and a history, then within that framework it’s logical to assume that the potency and clarity of the initial thought would indeed enable it’s vibrations to be felt and experienced by others, long after the original thinker/creator had departed. After all how many of us had an ‘imaginary friend’ when we were little? At the time they appear very real and although they may not be physically ‘seen’ by the rest of the family, they assume a very large part of everyday life. For example, it becomes habit for the rest of the group to ‘include’ the imaginary friend in collective activities, i.e. often having a place at the table set for them, or going on an outing.

The same body of knowledge claims that thought-forms can have the ability to assume their own energy and can seem to be intelligent and autonomous. This would fit with the experiences of the Toronto group and the subsequent poltergeist activity they observed individually after their group experiments had come to a conclusion. Poltergeist phenomenon has indeed been attributed to the sheer force of the human mind in some cases, particularly where it has been experienced around young women who are going through the extreme changes of puberty. Perhaps the level of brain activity that occurs during this often volatile emotional time does indeed send such violent thoughts out into the atmosphere that their vibrations are potent enough to affect inanimate objects.

This brings forth myriads of new questions about the sheer creative power of the human mind. If it’s possible to actually manifest a human form, (albeit a ghostly one,) simply by thinking of it, then is it possible that some of the hauntings we hear about are in fact the product of someone’s psyche? More importantly, are they all of our own creation? Given that most ghost stories are passed from person to person, it’s something of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation as to whether the thought form or the phantom came first.

We may never know whether hauntings and poltergeists are all the direct result of the human mind, however it’s a fascinating hypothesis to explore and one that should not be overlooked in the field of paranormal research.

Sarah J Greenway 2005 (LincsPRT member 2004-2010)