For centuries, levitation has been associated with religious, mystical, or magical practices. For example, according to Catholic tradition, some individuals who were later declared to be saints were said to levitate when in a trance or state of ecstasy or rapture. Many believers in levitation say that this phenomenon is caused by psychokinesis, whereby a person’s mind can affect the physical world. Levitation (from Latin levitas "lightness") is the process by which an object is suspended by a physical force against gravity, in a stable position without solid physical contact. According to some accounts, 230 saints had this ability to varying degrees. Saint Teresa of Avila (1515– 1582), for example, wrote about how she would levitate in church. In some Eastern religions, levitation is said to be a skill developed by practicing certain breathing techniques and mental exercises to produce the altered mental state necessary for self-levitation.

The most famous was probably St Joseph of Copertino, born in 1603 in Apulia, Italy, who reached a state of religious ecstasy that allowed him to defy gravity. He is said to have levitated over a hundred times in his life, and it was the demonstration of his rapture-induced ability in front of Pope Urbain VIII that led to his canonisation. Eastern philosophies and religions teach that levitation can be achieved through a devoted study to fully harness the body’s life force. This natural energy is called ‘Ch’i’ or ‘Ki’, and is said to be controlled by extensive yogic training. The phenomenon of ‘yogic hops’, where a person can make short levitational movements using transcendental meditation is also advanced by Eastern teachings. The focus is placed less on extreme emotion, but more on visualisation and breath control to summon up all latent energy within the body.

One person who became famous for levitating in public was Daniel Dunglas Home, a British medium who lived in 1853, when he levitated several times without seeming to be able to control his movements. Later, however, he seemed to grow skilled at choosing where, when, and how he would levitate, even giving demonstrations before large audiences. In his most famous demonstration, which occurred in December 1868, he went into a trance, rose from a chair into the air, floated out a window, and then hovered outside the window for a few seconds before floating back inside, landing on his feet, and sitting back down in the chair.

Home’s séances also involved the levitation of tables, chairs, and other objects, as did the séances of many other mediums of his day. At the time, this was attributed to spirits who were called into the séance room by the medium. Skeptics suggested that Home used some kind of mechanical device to levitate himself and various objects in the room, or that someone had in some way caused the witnesses to experience hallucinations.

There is no proof, however, that cheating of this sort occurred. Moreover, witnesses insisted that they had not been having a hallucination when they saw Home go out the window. Adding credibility to this insistence is the fact that three years later, one of the most esteemed scientists of the nineteenth century, Sir William Crookes, saw Home levitate and declared that, as hard as it was to believe, he knew that his eyes were not lying.

Skeptics suggest that instead of triggering actual levitation, the altered mental state is causing hallucinations that make the experiencer only think that he or she is able to fly. This does not explain, however, why witnesses to public levitations insist that they saw the experiencer rise from the ground. Some psychics believe the power needed to levitate ourselves is a naturally inherent psychokinetic power.

Sources :
100 Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy;
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;

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1 comment

admin said...

Very interesting, i wish i could fly...

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