In March 2016, “Shattered Reality Podcast” welcomed guest Michael Grosso, PhD to talk about his book, The Man Who Could Fly, which details the story of St. Joseph of Copertino’s very well documented levitations. It reignited an long time interest of mine on the subject.
The account I am about to relate happened about 5 am one morning when I was a child of about seven. I slept in a small bedroom off the kitchen of a two family house in urban NJ. I was sometimes afflicted with issues during the night involving intense vibrations in my head and the feeling that “others” were in my room attempting to pull me out of my body. It was terrifying. I was on my back lying in bed in the midst of one of these “visitations”. The back of my head and my shoulders were on the bed, but my feet, legs and derriere were being lifted on at least a 45 degree angle from the bed. I was literally paralyzed with terror.
Suddenly my father turned the light on in the kitchen. He was a shipyard worker and got up early to be at work. BANG! I fell back hard onto the surface of the bed. He heard me fall and yelled something to the effect of “What the hell was that?” and ripped open the vinyl folding door to see if I was OK. I was now fully awake and totally shocked by what happened. This could be categorized as a non-volitional partial levitation. I personally categorized it as several moments of blind visceral terror.
Levitation is said to be a form of psychokinesis in which people or objects are lifted into the air without physical support and may hang suspended or float about unaided. But if the levitation is non-volitional, who is causing the psychokinesis? This blogpost concerns human levitation.
There have been a number of documented cases of levitation throughout history, with the best documented happening within the Catholic Church. Michael Grosso points out that the reason for this is that the Roman Catholic Church keeps meticulous records, due to its connection to the Roman Empire, which also kept very good records. St. Joseph of Copertino’s numerous levitations happened indoors and out in front of thousands of witnesses over the course of years and were an embarrassment to the Church.
More recently in history we have a number of accounts of levitation by Scottish mystic and medium, Daniel Dunglas Home. Home, who lived from March 20 1833 until June 21 1886, was active in both the United States, Great Britain and Europe. He was one of eight siblings and a sickly child (as was St. Joseph of Copertino). As a child and adolescent Home had many portentious dreams of the deaths of people he knew.
Of particular interest to me is that Home spent much of his adolescence in the same area of the world (upstate NY) as the Fox sisters of Spiritualist fame and Joseph Smith, mystical founder of the Mormon religion, during the same general time frame. This area is well known for UFO sightings in the latter half of the 20th into the 21 Centuries.
There is much speculation as to whether Home actually levitated. The debunkers are very busy concocting ways that Home could have achieved his levitations, which were witnessed by hundreds of people, some of whom were leading scientists of the day, such as Sir William Crookes. One thing is true: just because something can be done by trickery does not mean that it was done by trickery. In any case, Home’s levitation was volitional levitation, that is, he chose to levitate. And levitate he did, on two continents, indoors and out.
One rather recent case of levitation happened in England to an 11 year old girl named Janet. This occurred in conjunction with the Enfield poltergeist activity in and around 1977. The case was documented by Colin Wilson in his book Poltergeist: A Study in Destructive Haunting. The poltergeist activity centered around a family with four children, but Janet was the one who levitated. Many unusual phenomena that run counter to the current theories of physics were reported in this case. It is thought that Janet’s levitation was not consciously volitional.
There are many cases of Eastern mystics who have purported to levitate, though these reports have not been documented to the satisfaction of Western standards. However, the reports are consistent and plentiful to the extent that there is even a yoga siddhi (paranormal gift) for levitation called laghima (weightlessness) which can be attained through meditation and breathing exercises (pranayama).
So who is likely to levitate?: children, saints and mystics. My conclusion is that in order to levitate one must believe that such a thing is possible. In today’s intellectual Weltanschaung filled with scientism and “Laws” of physics that are really theories, an average adult in the thrall of the mainstream mindset is unlikely to levitate. This is because of the rigidly held belief that it is impossible to do so. This rigid belief when held by a million minds can even affect the one mind that sincerely believes levitation can occur. Therefore a paradigm shift may be necessary before humans can routinely levitate.
On a more personal level, when I am in the midst of a lucid dream, I often find myself gliding around about 8 to 15 inches above the ground, sometimes through walls, surprising people I encounter. In one particularly vivid instance, I was levitating in front of a small group of people at what seemed to be an art gallery. It had happened rather spontaneously and I was not putting on a demonstration. I recall the feeling of first becoming aloft was rather like pushing off from the wall of a swimming pool. The funny thing that happened in this dream is that one of the onlookers called in a group of parapsychologists to investigate. When these four august gentlemen arrived I thudded back to the floor, unable to rise even an inch.
My levitation meditation: Lie flat on your back in a dark or dimly lit room. You can lie on a yoga mat on the floor or on a firm bed without a pillow. You should not be cold, nor should you be weighed down by quilts. I advise wearing non-constricting cotton knit pajamas or the like and covering oneself with a flannel sheet. Your arms should be by your sides but not touching your sides with palms face up in the manner of the yoga position Shivasana or corpse pose. Your eyes should be closed. Your breathing should be deep and consistent. Starting from your feet relax each part of your body consecutively, moving up to your head and ending with relaxing your brain. Notice then if any part of your body is cold. If so, concentrate on that body part, feeling it tingling and getting warmer. Now that you are relaxed, become aware of the plane of your body which is touching the floor or surface beneath you. Become aware of exactly where your body is touching the surface, and become aware that there is something that is neither the surface nor your body but a separate strata that is neither your body nor the surface. Concentrate your awareness on that strata that is neither the surface nor your body and feel that strata becoming thicker and your body becoming lighter. Continue in this manner for as long as you are able. You may then fall asleep or continue to meditate or gently rouse yourself from the meditation by counting downward from 10 to 1, with 1 being the state of total wakefulness.
Fahrusha is a professional intuitive and co-host of “Shattered Reality Podcast”.