The alien spirit
The testimony of a medium of our age
Among the most intense testimonies of the psychic relationship that exists between a medium and an entity that manifests itself and communicates through him, the book Il sorriso di Giano (Janus' Smile) by Corrado Piancastelli (1930-2014) is certainly very interesting. The picture that the entity Andrea presents to us about his existence in the spiritual dimension shows unusual aspects, in some ways totally unreal or alien, at least if compared to the dimension of our human life.
«We are spiritual forces coming from another world»: with these words, in 1946, the spirits entered the scene during the first complete trance of Corrado Piancastelli, then sixteen, as reported by the medium in his book Il sorriso di Giano (1991), which offers a direct and in-depth testimony on the complex relationships that may exist between the conscious Ego of a human being (Piancastelli himself) and a spirit – called Andrea according to his request (also known as entity A) – which manifested himself by voice (but not in direct voice) during the medium's incorporation trance, and entertained an inner dialogue with Corrado's Ego in the latter's conscious psychic activity. In fact, as Piancastelli wrote (page 118) «...in my case there is a double order of phenomena, that of Andrea's voice that appears in a so to speak hallucinatory form (that is: only I can hear it) and that of Andrea's voice that appears vocalized (that is: everybody can hear it) while I completely lose my consciousness». It should first be observed that during the trance, in which Andrea spoke with his own voice, Piancastelli was in a state of complete unconsciousness, as often happens to mediums, from which he only emerged at the end of the séance. So he could become aware of what had been communicated by Andrea only by listening to the recording of each séance. Thus, as the author expressed himself (page 191): «...I am no longer myself and no longer exist for myself or for the sitters, to whom the trance is shown instead of me». We have repeatedly noticed how our existence is that of the conscious Ego, so in the absence of consciousness nothing exists for our being, even if other people (as conscious beings) can observe and record the presence of our body and its behavioral manifestations: this is what usually happens during the sittings with mediums that go into a trance.
The autonomous nature of entity Andrea
The entity Andrea was not a secondary personality of Piancastelli, attributable to the psychic context of multiple personalities: we can speak of secondary personalities only in relation to psychic manifestations (more or less normal) that are self-conscious and independent of a main personality that manifests itself in the same body. But in this case the phenomena that occurred were not well understandable in the light of the physical laws we know: Piancastelli's personality was normally and consistently integrated, with his individual identity, while the personality of entity Andrea manifested itself only during the trance, to which Piancastelli subjected himself when he decided to do so. It is therefore preferable to continue using terms such as spirit or entity to indicate those personalized manifestations of unknown origin that contribute to the occurrence of paranormal events determined by mediumship: by the way, they are these entities who introduce themselves as spiritual forces.
As for Andrea, the only detectable physical phenomenon during the medium's trance was given by the particular timbre of the voice, quite different from Piancastelli's voice, as demonstrated by the spectroscopic analysis and the comparison with the voiceprint method performed in the early '70s by the G. Ferraris Institute of Electro-acoustics in Turin. Although in the past, during the trances of young Piancastelli, were often observed remarkable examples of physical phenomena of telekinetic type (PK), the mediumistic activity connected to the manifestations of entity Andrea – which went on for several decades, until the medium's death – consisted exclusively of verbal communications. The aspect that I now want to investigate is the relationship between that spirit and the conscious Ego of the medium, in relation to the elaboration of psychic contents that manifest themselves during the life of people involved in mediumistic phenomenology.
Conceptions related to survival
For a long time the idea of survival to body's death coincided with the hypothesis of a pure and simple continuity of consciousness and personal memory – even if in a different dimension from the physical – neglecting every problem related to the instruments through which consciousness and personal memory can continue to exist once the brain has been destroyed. For a more in-depth look at the problematic aspects related to survival, see the page dedicated to Saltmarsh's doubts. As well known, in the past the hypothesis derived from the Hindu culture was supported, especially by theosophists, that to our physical body an etheric body is associated, of subtle or – as we would say in our current language – energetic nature, equipped with instruments similar to those of the physical body and thus able to survive the death of the latter. The etheric body would have more or less the same features attributed to the soul by our Western religious culture, with which we are more familiar. However, at present we do not have any evidence to support this hypothesis beyond any doubt, since even most of the experiences classifiable as NDEs and OBEs – which produce non-ordinary states of consciousness, as well as some experiences induced by psychotropic substances – can not be referred in any case and with certainty to the absence of the cerebral instrument. On the other hand, it is well known that when a state that implies unconsciousness (as it happens during mediumistic trance) is produced in the brain, a complete blackout of personal existence results, and not the automatic replacement of our ordinary consciousness with a different type of consciousness, as it should occur if the etheric body were operating as a substitute.
Andrea also takes up the hypothesis of the soul, attributing to it the role of a device that allows the spirit to connect with our psychophysical instrument to be able to take advantage of the experience of human life (the equivalent of the perisprit in the spiritualist doctrine). To the spirit is attributed a kind of eternal existence in a dimension congenial to it, from which it would detach itself – using techniques unknown to us – to make experiences (or cycles of experiences) in dimensions that could not be accessed directly because of its nature. So the soul would be the tool that would allow the spirit to experience the physical and psychic dimension of this world. According to Andrea the soul would not cease to exist with the bodily death, but would retain part of the psychic experiences and memories of our earthly life, which would be further elaborated after death and possibly used for a new life: this idea also echoes the reincarnation and the cycle of rebirths of Hindu culture. Only when a cycle of vital experiences is ended can the spirit get rid of a soul that is no longer useful, letting it die, if we can express in this way. I do not wish to go further into the doctrine explained by Andrea: I limit myself to observing that many issues related to the psyche as a human phenomenon subject to manifest itself even outside the human condition (without the brain tool), are not sufficiently elaborate and less than ever resolved satisfactorily. Instead, I would like to focus on the relationship between the spirit and the conscious Ego, also in the light of the hypothesis supported by Andrea, as we have – about this relationship – a remarkable amount of facts and evaluation elements that allow us to draw some conclusions not completely far-fetched.
Does the spirit have its own autonomous consciousness?
First of all, we ask ourselves the question of whether the spirit has its own self-consciousness and whether it can autonomously access psychic dimensions. According to Andrea's communications, the answer to this question should certainly be affirmative: Andrea thinks, reasons, speaks and communicates as a human being with his own personality and his own intellect. However, in order for Andrea to manifest and express himself in our dimension, it is necessary that the conscious Ego of the medium be fully deactivated, and that the mental resources of the medium (and in part, perhaps, those of the sitters) may be used to a certain extent by the communicating entity. As I have already observed on some occasions, the use and contamination of psychic elements coming from the medium and the sitters during the communications of spirit entities is a constant in all mediumistic séances. The same spirits claim that they are not able to communicate with us if not using the psychophysical tools that are made available to them: such tools include both organized language and memory. On the other hand, if this were not so, there would be no need for mediums, trances and loss of consciousness, not to mention the physical transformations (weight loss, muscle contraction, breath asthma) to which the medium's body can be subjected during a séance, as highlighted by literature on the subject.
The spirits' power
Therefore, according to what Andrea states, spirits manifest themselves as operators capable of interacting with our physical world by withdrawing energy from the human psychophysical instrument. There seems to be no doubt about the fact that they belong to another dimension, given that under ordinary conditions they are neither perceivable by our senses nor detectable with instruments at our disposal. As for the value of the communications and teachings that come to us through them, it is very controversial, as we have noticed many times, both because they are often contaminated by typically human psychic elements, and as they are not always subject to validation checks. This does not mean that spirits can not know many things and circumstances that then turn out to be correct (such as what is written in line x of a certain book on the shelf of a library), but they never give us clear and verifiable clues on how they are able to obtain this information in our dimension. We must conclude that the spirits, in their dimension, appear to us as entities endowed with self-consciousness, intentionality, and probably even more complex forms of psychism than ours: but for these reasons, with respect to us human beings and the mental activity that distinguishes us, they can be considered as true aliens, while being able to interfere with our mental activity and exert some influence on it.
Does every human have a spirit?
To return to Andrea, his statement that each of us has a spirit can be examined starting first of all from the existential condition of this individual spirit during our human life. About it, a first immediate observation is that Andrea does not seem to be the spirit of Corrado Piancastelli. The otherness (and the alienity) between Andrea's consciousness and Corrado's one is total, as reported in the aforementioned book. Regarding the trance there is no doubt, according to what the medium wrote referring to his trance state: «Where are you, Corrado, my soul and body, who knows you anymore... I am there, an inert puppet for an hour or two, lent to a soul not mine» (page 191). As for the inner dialogue, and the ways in which Andrea manifested himself to Corrado's consciousness, there are explicit declarations by the entity that lead to rule out his identification with the medium's spirit: «You... and I are two different things. I am not the result of some device of your mind and from this position I can see everything necessary to reconstruct the truth of things and facts with a logic that is not human, because in my structural nature there are neither space nor time». And just further Andrea reiterates his alien status with respect to human beings: «I find myself in a different logic, I live with other laws, I have nothing to do with humans» (page 47). That Andrea is not the result of some device in Piancastelli's mind is also proven by the complex explanation on the limits of human knowledge exposed (almost dictated) by the entity to the medium (when the latter was sixteen), some passages of which are quoted in the book (pages 42-44).
But then, what would be the relationship between a spirit and the conscious Ego of a human being associated with it? As I said, every time we talk about survival we forget to explain what is supposed to survive: almost always the reference is to human personality as it formed in the course of our earthly life, with its own character qualities, baggage of memories and that particular organization of psychic tunings that identifies every person. But all these elements are intrinsically linked to the functioning of the psychophysical instrument with which we experience this life, and to the environment with which our mind interacts: so how could the transfer to another dimension of this identity package of psychic experiences and memories be achieved, once the body and the brain have dissolved? Here lies the real problem, and it is no coincidence that Andrea states that there is a «abysmal difference between his (the medium's) brain and my thinking» (page 89). The alienity of the spirit with respect to human psyche is reaffirmed more than once by Andrea, and in no uncertain terms, since he can even speak about the anguish of incarnation: «Because anguish it is: the Spirit has a nature that is not suitable for bodily matter and the condition of living on Earth is not congenial to the Spirit» (page 204). And also: «We are made up of two realities, but we perceive only one, that which manifests itself in the world» (page 45).
As for the ways in which the spirit's human experience occurs, «the Spirit forgets its original nature as soon as is incarnated; thus the consciousness can not discern and sees the existence of life in the living body alone» (page 204). However, it seems that the spirit can maintain a certain influence on consciousness also during earthly life, since it must be kept in mind «the existence of a spiritual nature in the higher consciousness, not to be confused with the low consciousness, that of everyday's brain activity, that is of animal origin» (page 60). And also: «Your Spirit is like any other Spirit not belonging to the world... the Spirit transmits to the brain signals that must then be decoded» (page 201). Piancastelli too considers the problem of the interaction between the spirit and the human brain, when asks: «how does this my brain receive the Spirit? ...it is not only about the Spirit of Andrea, but also our Spirit that today lives within our body» (page 103). The spirit is prone to being trapped in earthly life (assuming that this experiment depends on its own will), as mentioned by Andrea: «The body is a trap; necessary, but still a trap... because it prevents the Spirit from being itself» (page 185). Some of Andrea statements hint at a possible motivation: «The Spirit comes on Earth... to experience nature» (page 194).
About death Andrea says: «the death of consciousness does not exist in any part and it is not even possible to hypothesize it» (page 78). Here obviously by death is meant the final and permanent annihilation of consciousness at the end of human life, since temporary interruptions of our consciousness are certainly possible – as we have seen – during our life, and we start living in this world in a completely unconscious state (at least, this is what usually happens). But about the spirit's identity after death, Andrea states at an even greater depth level: «I am a field of energy that approaches you taking form of language... although not having with you and other men anything in common as regards passions, feelings, emotions, memories, language, metaphor, irony, time and space... I am just like what will survive of you when you will be dead» (page 47). Furthermore he declares: «I have no... human memories» (page 89), or that in its dimension the spirit has no human-like emotions (page 95).
The spirit as a thinking intellect
The picture that emerges from the previous statements can mean only two things: one is that the spirit is reduced to a pure thinking intellect, whose existence appears to us in gray, so to speak, if compared with the varied and colorful world of feelings and emotions that enrich our psychic life here in this world. And therefore, despite the tribulations, discomforts and misfortunes we are exposed to during this incarnation, all in all it seems that the game is worth the candle (especially if a person has a rather rich and interesting life, which is undoubtedly possible since not all human lives are the same). Human life would therefore allow the spirit to make experiences that in its dimension are precluded to it, and this would also explain why – as Andrea says – there are so many spirits ready to queue to incarnate: it almost looks like a lottery, in which everyone is ready to buy a ticket in the hope of winning the prize of an interesting and satisfying life!
The spirito as consciousness of different psychic dimensions
The other alternative is that the spirit, in the dimension that is proper to it, is aware of psychic experiences that imply a sensitivity, an emotionality and forms of feeling different from those that we human beings experience in this life. In such case, spirit life could be gratifying also in the spiritual dimension, and the sole reason for incarnation could be found in a sort of exploratory need towards alternative experiences that take place not only on this planet, but also in possible other worlds, with all the pros and cons that such experiences could entail. It is evident how, in such a case, only a direct comparison with the existential experience in the spirit dimension could account for the value and interest of human life.
The fade of the human condition
In any case, does it make sense to deal with the problem of survival? Yet during this lifetime, we transform ourselves to some extent day after day, losing with the passing of the years many of the psychophysical resources we had in our youth and conforming our vision of the world and of life to the experience gained. But in the context of the continuity determined by our conscious Ego, we get used to this kind of existence day after day, so that in the end it may seem that the ending of the human condition has a traumatic and dramatic flavor: in fact, it is our body that wants to live, at least as long as life is pleasant and interesting to him/her. Under certain circumstances the intention to die can also prevail, which deserves attention and sympathy, with all due respect to those who want to deny any value to suicide in principle. But since death inevitably comes to anyone who was born, we just have to wait to know, that is, to directly experience what will occur (or what will not happen). So, just as «there is a psychic ego produced by the environment (including the brain...) in which we recognize ourselves and are recognized in the affective and behavioral reality of the world» (page 67), it is also true that through the description of the alien spirit suggested to us by Andrea «the Spirit has been freed from its matter and from the human form with which our desire had imagined it» (page 61).
As I have already observed, at least two problems remain open on which Andrea does not offer sufficient insights: one concerns the evolution of the phenomenon through which life has developed in this world (and perhaps in a multitude of other worlds in the universe), and the other dealing with the functioning of the psychophysical instrument through which we experience the different tunings of the human psyche. Often the complexity of these phenomena, which in large part escape our understanding, is trivially liquidated under the label of materialism, despite the fact that – as we have already seen – matter is only the alphabet with which the book of life was written, but the meaning and plot of this book have a completely immaterial character, being constituted by the continuous increase of information that progressively organizes the physical dimension. The immaterial character of the psyche is then evident in itself: the human psyche, as a whole, is a universe of which each of us experiences a range, albeit limited, of tunings. The reasons why the psyche, as we know it in the course of our human life, must present all those so controversial aspects related to perceptions, sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts, joys, sorrows, happiness and suffering, completely escape us. Even Andrea did not offer many explanations about it, as if these were matters that did not concern him: according to him all these phenomena constitute, so to speak, the other face of God, that of which one can not have experience in the spiritual dimension. There is no doubt, however, that from the point of view of the human condition this other face of God contains all the good and the evil of this world, at least as far as we can perceive in the uncertain light of our intellect.
We must recognize, in the end, that every conscious experience is a psychic experience: it may be that the spirit is lured and captured inside the human psychic phenomenon (what for him/her could be the equivalent of a hallucinatory experience performed under the effect of a psychoactive drug), but we may also think that the spirit could not prescind from particular forms of psychic experiences which occur in other dimensions and involve a conscious Ego. Such experiences, however similar or different from human ones, would still represent an aspect of the game created by an unidentified Creator. Andrea's statement, according to which «with death you lose your Soul because it is of a material nature and therefore you will also lose your historical memory» (page 107) thus becomes alienating to the highest degree, just as if the spirit were an inhabitant of another world who has nothing in common with us human beings. The psychic experience is not of a material nature, contrary to what Andrea says, and any hypothesis of survival, to have a shred of meaning, must take into account the possibility of transferring the identity of the conscious Ego into another dimension, also through the evolution of our psychic experience. Otherwise, the idea of survival would become so abstract that it would lose any concrete connotation in relation to our human life: only the alien spirit would exist, which has nothing to do with us, and therefore when we die, we just die.
Differences and contrasts
To conclude, I would like to point out the enormous difference between the conscious experience in the spiritual dimension described by Andrea and many of the experiences witnessed by those who had an NDE: the latter, as we have seen, are characterized by a psychic intensity much richer and more emotionally involving than normal human experience, and it is precisely this aspect that makes them so meaningful, interesting and unforgettable. Contrary to what was affirmed by Andrea, one would say that the spirit is truly thirsty for psychic experience, but for a much more refined and qualitatively evolved psychic experience than what is usually offered by the human life. From this point of view, Andrea makes the depressing effect that a depressed person could do. The hypothesis of a spirit freed from any form of psychic experience seems to me reductive, unconvincing, and – at least as far as I am personally concerned – completely devoid of interest and allurement. I think that what the spirit tends towards is an evolutionary link with those aspects of the psyche that are more congenial to it, freed – this yes – from the negative and heavy aspects.
The existence game
This seems to me the meaning of existence: a certainly enigmatic and mysterious game, not easy to solve or perhaps only playable but not solvable. A game created by unknown and perhaps unknowable to us entities, on the nature of which we are free to create all the illusions we like, but whose real essence escapes us, so that we are also allowed to question their very existence. But it is precisely because we find ourselves involved in this plan, precisely because we are obliged to take part in it, that we can reveal and understand some aspects, albeit very limited, of the game itself, some glimpses and some traces of the rules that allow us to advance and score some points in our favor. And the prize of the game seems to me to be the qualitative evolution of the psychic experience, which must be – so to speak – conquered by overcoming the difficulties and trials in which we are involved. Difficulties that are not the same for everyone and on which it is not possible to give common rules: in fact the game is organized in such a way that – at least in this dimension – for some players it can turn into a real nightmare, from which the sooner you get free, the better. At the same time, prisoners as we are of this human psychic experience, our most authentic essence aspires to a qualitatively better experience, regardless of the ways and means by which we try, often unsuccessful, to obtain such result here in this life. If this essence is the spirit, then it must be recognized that the spirit desires not only to explore the human psyche, but to derive a form of gratifying experience from the interaction with it: the development of our experiences throughout this life and in other dimensions can only be discovered by continuing to exist.