People have reported experiences with ghosts from antiquity; Jung documented his encounters with mysterious sensed presences. How do we make meaning of such experiences? Are they visitations from external beings? Could they be related to unconscious reactions to toxic substances, auditory subtleties, or erratic electromagnetic fields? Neurological evidence links the stimulation of specific brain regions to feeling a ghostly presence. Stress, extreme hunger, physical hardship, loss, isolation, sleep deprivation and mental illness also correlate to ghostly experiences, perhaps related to a lowered threshold of consciousness. Although there is no scientific proof of ghosts, age-old belief in soul survival extends credibility to the existence of ghosts. Jung offered no definitive answer to this question, but felt that since the unconscious possesses subtle powers of perception it could project a visionary picture of a psychic situation. Ultimately, experiences of ghosts are, like dreams, psychic facts.
“I’m at my aunt’s house. I’m sleeping there, and my daughter is having a sleepover with her friend in a different room. When she wakes, she comes over for a good morning hug and a kiss. I think about how nice that is. I’m drawing something on a piece of paper – two treasure chests, and some other things. I’m very intent on showing her the two treasure chests. I draw lines around one to show it’s glowing. I think she’ll be interested in them. “
Seven Sermons to the Dead: Jung’s visionary material published in an appendix to his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
Wolfgang Pauli: theoretical physicist and pioneer of quantum physics with whom Jung met and worked.
Henri Corbin: a French philosopher, theologian, and professor of Islamic Studies; the mundus imaginalis refers to an imaginal level of reality that animates all life.