January 30, 2009

The Survival Muse

RELIGION - Paranormal survival stories:

Charles Lindbergh claims that during the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight in 1927 he was helped by vague forms aboard the Spirit of St. Louis who offered reassurance and discussed navigational problems.

James Sevigny broke his back, arm, nose and tore ligaments in both knees during an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies that dropped him 600 metres. He claims an invisible being urged him to survive, telling him what to do. He painfully made his way to a camp, where skiers found him.

On September 11th 2001, Ron DiFrancesco was on the 81st floor and the floors below him were on fire and the stairways filled with choking smoke. He was slipping into unconsciousness when a voice told him to "Get up!" and he sensed a physical presence encouraging him. He jumped through the flames and raced down to the plaza before the tower collapsed. He survived, one of only four people to escape from above the 81st floor.

John Geiger, author of "The Third Man Factor", has documented over a hundred cases of a Survival Muse that encourages people to survive the horrific, with some people claiming it was a dead relative, Jesus or Buddha helping them to climb, run, jump or swim to safety.

Spiritual or religious people, no matter the faith, say they were helped by a divine companion, while agnostics see it as a brain function that promotes survival, Geiger says. Religious people are more likely to claim it was a divine figure, whereas atheists and agnostics more likely to describe it is as a helpful presence.

One theory is that it is a coping mechanism, a mental process for calming and separating the person from the horrible experience. "Just as we have a biochemical response to stress through adrenaline, this is a mental process that helps us survive," says Geiger.

Whether it is an angel or alien or a survival mechanism is for people to decide for themselves, he says.

Muses are not just limited to survival. Some people also claim to feel the presence of dead relatives, children have their imaginary friends and even Romanticist artist William Blake claims he was inspired by angels and Jesus.

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