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|Subject: CLAIRAUDIENCE Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:31 pm|| |
The faculty of ‘‘clear hearing,’’ the ability to hear sounds inaudible to the normal ear, such as ‘‘spirit’’ voices; a faculty analogous to clairvoyance, but considerably less frequently met with.
One such incident occurred to the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. He saw a light and heard a voice. As he later told of the events, ‘‘They that were with me saw the light and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him who spoke to me’’ (Acts 23:9). Perhaps the best-known case is that of Joan of Arc (see Jeanne D’Arc). She was not the only martyr who heard the voices of saints and angels urging them to perform some special task.
In Spiritualist circles the faculty is claimed by mediums, but distinction must be made between the ‘‘inner voice,’’ through which mediums are supposed to receive communications from the denizens of ‘‘the otherworld,’’ and an externalized voice comparable to an actual physical sound. Frequently some such physical sounds form the basis of an auditory hallucination, just as the points of light in a crystal are said to form points de repère around which the hallucination of the visualizer may shape itself.
Clairaudience is considered a rare mediumistic gift, but the phenomenon has been known from ancient times: ‘‘The prophet that is in Israel telleth the king of Israel the words the king of Syria speaks in his bedchamber’’ (2 Kings 6). The experience of hearing inner voices was described in the age of animal magnetism by one of Dr. G. Billot’s somnambulists: ‘‘At first, I feel a little breath like a light zephyr, which refreshes and then chills my ear. From that instant I become deaf, and I begin to be aware of a little humming in the ear, like that of a gnat. By giving close attention I then hear a small voice which says to me that which I afterwards repeat.
‘‘A biographer of the poet William Cowper wrote that the most important events of Cowper’s later years were audibly announced to him before they occurred.’’
The difficulty in where to draw the line between subjective and objective experience is illustrated by the following narrative of Vincent Turvey in The Beginnings of Seership (1911): ‘‘One afternoon a few weeks ago I went to sleep on the sofa; after a time, probably about forty minutes, I became aware that there was an indistinct conversation going on somewhere near me. Knowing that all my people were out and that my house stands detached in its own grounds, I wondered what it meant.
Then I realized that I was asleep and was ‘hearing’ clairaudiently, and that those who were conversing were not ‘spirits,’ but someone inside me and someone outside me, and yet part of me, because both voices were ‘Turvey’ in language, etc. I caught no sentence, save here and there a word or two such as ‘understand— no condition—not yet,’ etc., then I heard the sentence:
‘But you had better wake it up now, as there is a man coming to the house in a minute.’ I woke and had just enough time to
throw off my rug and smooth my hair with my hand, when the
front door bell rang.’’
Clairaudience is either spontaneous or experimentally induced. Seashells are used for the latter purpose; most people can hear what sounds like the murmur of the sea in a shell. But the clairaudient medium soon distinguishes other voices, may hear distant friends speaking, may hear part of a conversation he or she has already heard or will soon hear, and may interpret the communications as messages from the dead or from the living. The medium Arthur Ford was well known as a successful platform clairaudient in the United States, whereas Estelle Roberts had a similar reputation in England. Marjorie Livingston published several books on esoteric matters that she clairaudiently received.
Clairaudience fades imperceptively into the inspiration experienced by many artists. Many poets and novelists have also claimed that they ‘‘received’’ their material rather than consciously constructed it. In like measure, musicians often report initially hearing in their head a new composition, which they then reproduce for their audiences.
Hollen, Henry. Clairaudient Transmission. Hollywood, Calif.: Keats Publications, 1931.
Roberts, Estelle. Forty Years a Medium. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1959.
Revised as Fifty Years a Medium. London: Corgi Books, 1969.
Sharp, Arthur. F. The Spirit Saith. London: H. H. Greaves, n.d.