Halloween Special: C. G. Jung’s Spine-Chilling Nights in a ‘Haunted House’

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About Sommer_HPS

Dr. Andreas Sommer, historian of the human sciences at Cambridge University, UK. View all posts by Sommer_HPS

4 responses to “Halloween Special: C. G. Jung’s Spine-Chilling Nights in a ‘Haunted House’

  • Alan Borky

    Andreas I find this fascinating on so many levels but particularly because there seems to be a massive upsurge in people reporting to me either they themselves or friends/relatives’re experiencing very intense versions of much the same thing.

    Two females known to me for instance one with two daughters of her own’ve told me quite unaware of each other’s accounts much the same story of becoming so intensely aware of a presence moving through their place they literally became so terrified they pulled the sheets over their heads and lay their shaking till the dawn arrived.

    Both’re tough cookies the type who feeling threatened’d normally pick up a heavy or lethal object and go through the house try’n’o rout out any possible malefactors issuing every foul mouthed threat under the sun.

    On these two occasions though their sense was of something so eldritch and strange they couldn’t do anything of the sort and this in spite of the fact one of them was lying beside her sleeping daughter fully aware her husband was in the next room.

    I myself’ve experienced a life time of this sort of thing but reading the account you’ve given here I’m struck for the first time by certain features which’re highly familiar to me.

    The i) paralysis component the ii) enhanced olfactory component the iii) enhanced auditory component and the iv) types of presences sensed.

    In Jung’s case he senses first an unspecifiable presence then something akin to an animal the size of a dog rushing round the room.

    I myself’ve experienced the large dangerous animal presence effortlessly gliding round the room endlessly circling me but reading Jung’s version I had thes sense the whole senario reminded me of something my first thoughts being the possibility some women came to believe they were witches with an animal familiar precisely because they too were prone to this experience.

    Then it hit me what it actually reminded me of.

    If you translate Jung’s experience to a cave several thousand years ago this must’ve been the regular nightly experience of early mankind.

    Is it possible whatever else’s going on with these experiences in part they represent a recapitualtion of a key component of our earliest ancestors lives?

  • Sommer_HPS

    Thanks for this, Alan. “Recapitulation of a key component of our earliest ancestors’ lives” may cover some bits if you’re fine with the concept of inheritable memory. Jung’s almost purely subjective experience (if we dismiss his account of sceptical ‘Dr. X’s’ alleged experiences, or retroactively explain it in terms of the Dr.’s ‘unconscious will to believe’) might perhaps be explicable this way.

    But in better corroborated cases you get claims of collective perceptions of, say, objects floating about for minutes in bright daylight, stones penetrating windows and walls without causing any damage, and other things that sound too weird to be true (see characteristics of ‘poltergeist’ cases in an earlier post), but are so consistently documented throughout the centuries (often by ‘enlightened’ state officials, etc.) that you can’t help but think something objective is going on here.

    I’m a historian of science, not a scientist, so I don’t feel competent to make any claims of what’s ‘real’ and what’s not, but I really wish scientists (especially those making careers as reality policemen, or ‘Professors for the Public Understanding of Science’ and recently ‘of Psychology’, hint hint) would take an honest look at the very rich material rather than dismiss it as ‘superstition’ without knowing the literature, some of which is pretty sophisticated. Fanny Moser’s study is a case in point, as is Gauld, A., & Cornell, A. D., Poltergeists. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979, and many other texts.

    Just saying, though. 🙂

  • David Harley

    It’s forty years since I saw this, but I suspect you might find it interesting, if you can find a copy. It may well be available online.


  • Whewell’s Gazette: Vol: #20 | Whewell's Ghost

    […] Forbidden Histories: Halloween Special: C. G. Jung’s Spine-Chilling Nights in a Haunted House […]

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