Lewis Allen’s film The Uninvited opens with Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) narrating the story. He explains how locals in this British coastal town have come to live with and even accept ghosts. The narration quickly establishes the lyrical quality of this film. As the camera pans across the rough sea, the viewer gets a sense of isolation and the timeless primitive conditions that shape these shores.

This isolation serves to set into contrast the many secrets that the house and its former inhabitants shelter. The setting of The Uninvited is in keeping with traditional notions of haunted mansions. The house contains sinister secrets, but these secrets are kept obscured by time itself. In this regard, the film explores the mysteries inherent in the passage of time and how it relates to human consciousness. However, missing from The Uninviting are some of the overdone staple ingredients of today’s horror genre: grotesquely deformed entities, houses coming apart, psychopaths waving knives, and flying objects that are intent on creating a visual candy store of sorts.

Roderick continues his narration: “If one listens to the pounding of the waves long enough in these haunted shores, all your senses are sharpened, you come by strange instincts.” This line of thinking immediately suggests a comparison with city people anywhere, but most of all in London, given that Roderick and his sister, Pamela Fitzgerald (Ruth Hussey), are transplanted Londoners. This early disclaimer helps to set the stage for what will be an interesting look at modern life and whether modernity in fact desensitizes man to the subtle essences that inform the human condition. Clearly, the fact that Roderick and Pamela are not quick to grasp the early signs of the strange occurrences that take place in the house demonstrates that being a Londoner, that is, a city dweller, is a marked disadvantage when dealing with the supernatural. But my point should not be lost on a literal juxtaposition between country and city people, however. London, too, is said to be filled with active ghosts, if not ghost stories. Instead, what is at stake here is whether man has lost the ability to see beyond the daily demands of mundane reality.

The story takes place in 1937. The house that Roderick and Pamela are interested in purchasing has been vacant, on and off, for the last twenty years. The two encounter the house by chance, as they are walking along a deserted beach with their dog, Bobby. Bobby runs to the house, following him, they climb a cliff and encounter a mansion. The house is simply referred to as “Windward House.” The dog enters the house through an open window, as it runs after a squirrel. They follow the dog inside. As it turns out the house belongs to an old man, referred to simply as Commander Beech (Donald Crisp). When they meet the commander the next day, he tells them that five years before, some tenants had complained about strange occurrences in the house, and moved out. This comes as a warning that the house is sold “as is.” Of course, Roderick and Pamela play down this exchange. During their meeting with the old man they decide to purchase the house for what both parties consider to be a very reasonable price. The commander is reluctant to sell, but eventually does so, given that he cannot afford to keep it. He tells them that he had bought the house for his daughter over twenty years earlier. His granddaughter, Stella Meredith (Gail Russell), does not approve of his selling the property because it reminds her of her dead mother.

The first sign that something is wrong in the house is seen right after they move in. They enter an upstairs room with a huge glass window that overlooks the sea. The room is damp and cold and will remain so throughout the film. Roderick, who is a music critic for a newspaper, will use this room to compose his own music on the piano. The room is intended to serve as inspiration, given its expansive vista of the sea.

The next day, as Roderick is about to enter a small shop in town, he sees young Stella Meredith, the commander’s granddaughter. She informs him that she lived in that house until the age of three. When her mother died, the family moved out. Early on in the story the viewer is informed that her mother died by falling over the cliff in front of the house. The young woman tells Roderick that she can communicate with her deceased mother. Roderick is shocked by this statement, but he accepts it at face value.

The Uninvited is considered by many critics to be the very first Hollywood ghost story. It is also considered to be one of the best films in this genre. What some critics may view as a lack of sustained horror and freight is more than compensated for by its lyrical content. Such criticism, one suspects, may be more indicative of the critics’ bias for the roller coaster effect of films of the last thirty odd years than the inherent quality of the film per se. Filmed in 1944, and based on a novel by Dorothy Macardle, the film offers a sense of sophistication and measured suspense that has all but disappeared from most post 1970s filmmaking.

The main virtue of this film, as is also true of another good film in this genre, Dead of Night (1945), is effective storytelling. Storytelling, or what amounts to narrative, is precisely what is missing from most of the films of the last thirty years. The drama and leisurely pace of these earlier films resemble literature more closely than their slash and shock counterparts. Gratuitous horror — that is, gore, dismemberment, on-camera murder and excess blood — has been the bread and circus offered to moviegoers for over the last three decades. This is a significant cultural shift from what was once a higher popular culture, to what has today essentially become the leveling of most art forms. Bread and circus never fails to work well as formulaic filmmaking. The serious danger in this is that while popular culture used to run parallel with high culture, today high culture has lost its ability to guide and inspire the lower forms of arts, especially when popular culture has descended to the greatest common denominator of aesthetic and moral vulgarity. Given a lack of historical perspective, unfortunately art loses the notion of an aesthetic reference point.

What is most exciting and rewarding in cinematic horror is that it completely transplants the discerning viewer to man’s primal condition. Once removed from the relative safety and security of our modern perspective, we are essentially forced to exercise our imagination.

The very notion of ghosts is a central and timeless aspect of many diverse cultures still in this day and age. This is not entirely difficult to see, if we engage our imagination in stripping our contemporary consciousness of its modern amenities. As we continue to conquer our physical world, it might be necessary to take refuge in the inner mystery that informs the human condition. The aesthetic possibilities of any art form that embraces this mysterium tremendum are truly enlightening, for what is essentially today a world-weary and bored mankind. What remains of paramount importance to this genre is the question of how much history is consulted by writers and directors. Film has a limited capacity to engage in commentary, when the primary purpose of this medium is seen as entertainment. Depending on how a particular film uses temporal sequences, themes and the overall impact of its written narrative, so too will its correlation to our active imagination. Interestingly enough, the less consideration that is given to the aforementioned elements, the more that film must rely on purely visual effects — to the great detriment of coherence.

Writing, as expressed in the narrative of film, continues to be a central component of all cinematic genres. After all, the camera must sooner or later “choose” or intend what it will film. Regardless of what some critics view as the role of action in cinema, let us consider that if narrative is absent in the horror genre, what remains is pointless and essentially vacuous action. Suspense is not garnered through action but through the direction and pace of the narrative. Even more important, what remains in the absence of effective writing is precisely the excessive reliance on the purely visual that, more often than not, cancels itself out on at least three counts: 1) an overabundance of directionless action, 2) the overlapping of the visual and the narrative, and 3) visual sequences that actually work to detract from all semblance of believability.

The Uninvited is believable precisely because it leaves a region of reality intact –unexplored –for the viewer to complete on his own terms. The film is suggestive but does not exhaust the possibilities of the real. This is true as well in Alberto Calvacanti’s direction in Dead of Night, a film that is often compared to The Uninvited. However, Dead of Night is not a ghost story, like The Uninvited. It is instead an excellent story that explores the nature of the paranormal and evil.

Dead of Night is the story of five people who come together in a country house to exchange ghost stories. One character, a race-car driver who has had a near fatal accident tells of his constant premonitions of dying. He has a vision, where a hearse driver outside his hospital window tells him that there is “room for one more inside.” Later on, after his release from the hospital, he sees this same man, as he is about to board a city bus. He decides not to take the bus after all. He stares at the bus in astonishment when, several blocks later, the bus is involved in an accident and falls from a bridge.

Both of these films are portrayals of normal people who encounter a dimension of the bizarre or evil that they have not solicited. For horror to be convincing in cinema it must not only frighten, but it must do so as a result of sinister intent. In Dead of Night, the main character tells those gathered around him that he has seen them all before, in his dreams. He even goes on to predict several actual events that will take place in that house in the following hours. Because the better films in this genre try to separate those characters who “believe” from the naysayers, there is always the necessary tension that allows for a real world situation.

This is perhaps nowhere more in evidence, for instance, than in Curse of the Demon, where Dana Andrews plays a scrutinizing positivist psychologist. Dead of Night, too, employs a Doctor who explains away the experiences of the other characters as either coincidences or downright irrational misperceptions. Where The Uninvited concentrates on questions of the spirit world and evil, Dead of Night spreads out these two themes throughout the five episodes with added attention to the nature of dreams. The latter film explores the question of whether dreams can foretell the future. As they sit around the room, the psychologist asks Mr. Craig (Mervyn Johns), who claims that he has dreamt this exact moment, to tell them more about his dream. Mr. Craig answers: “Trying to remember a dream is like…how should I put it? Being out at night in a thunderstorm. There’s a flash of lightning and for one brief moment everything stands out vivid and starkly.” Yet whether in a dream or in a waking state, the “insight” that the dream reveals is comparable to what Abraham H. Maslow describes as a “peak experience,” where “the peak experience is felt as a self-validating, self-justifying moment that carries its own intrinsic value with it.” (1)

Both of these films feature a spirit that tries to communicate something to the living. In one of the episodes of Dead of Night, a young woman tells how she was once playing hide and seek in a house that she was visiting, where she encountered a little boy in a second floor bedroom. The boy was crying and she tried to console him, but before she could find out what was wrong, she was called and went back downstairs. When she told her story to the owners of the house they were shocked and told her that the little boy had been deceased for quite a long time.

Another interesting aspect of ghost stories and stories where dreams and premonitions are conveyed in cinema has to do with how effectively the relationship between past and present is conveyed. In most films, ghosts are portrayed as trying to undo a past wrong that was done to them or other parties. In this respect what these ghosts desire is justice more than revenge. Films that deal with dreams are more concerned with predicting future events. In these films, dreams are utilized as the medium between the present, or the immediacy that is lived-time and time as a projection: the future. The Medusa Touch is a particularly disturbing example where a man, played by Richard Burton, not only sees the future but can also control it to a terrifying degree.

We also encounter a character’s ability to predict the future in Dead of Night, wherein a woman tells the story of an experience that took place several weeks after she became engaged to be married. In this case the future is predicted in the reflection of a mirror that she bought from an antiques dealer as a gift to her fiancé. When the man looks in the mirror, he sees the room behind him become transformed into another room. This goes on whenever he looks in the mirror. The illusion is one of a dark room with a fireplace. The man tells his fiancé, “Every time I look in it, I see that room.” The mirror also has a debilitating effect on him that makes him lose his will. In this episode the spirit of the dead and the premonition of the future come together. At first, the woman begins to doubt the man’s sanity and tries to correct the matter by forcing him to look into the mirror and see that there is only the expected reflection behind him. She succeeds, and shortly thereafter they are married and move into another house. Soon after, the man begins experiencing the same thing once again. The woman finds out that the antiques dealer had purchased the mirror and the bed at an estate sale. A man who was viciously and pathologically jealous of his wife murdered her and then cut his own throat. When the newlywed woman returns home, the man, who by now has become possessed by the spirit of the dead man, tries to strangle her. As this is going on, she looks in the mirror and actually sees the room that her husband has described many times before. Meanwhile, the doctor tries to explain away her experience by negating that people can become possessed by objects, and by negating the possibility of the supernatural altogether.

The signature episode in Dead of Night has to do with the psychologist conveying a story of a murder case that has puzzled him for some time. In the story a ventriloquist named Maxwell (Michael Redgrave) blames his problems on his dummy, Hugo. In a nightclub act, Hugo takes over the show, as the audience is amazed at Maxwell’s proficient skill. But after several minutes of rude and aggressive behavior, people begin to dislike the show and wonder if the ventriloquist is not insane. Once inside the dressing room, Hugo bites Maxwell.

Another staple characteristic of encounters with the paranormal in cinema is the isolation that is felt by the character who cannot tell anyone what he has seen because he does not quite believe it himself. Yet this is not very different from ordinary, real-world experience, where the most commonplace existential communication can often prove to be difficult or impossible. As we watch a character attempt to communicate what in reality seems absurd, we also explore our own understanding of what it is that we feel and think, and how we, too, from time to time, have become trapped by the failure to make ourselves understood. The French philosopher Louis Lavelle has left a lasting contemplative legacy of this vital human concern. Lavelle writes in The Dilemma of Narcisssus, “It is a mistake to think that the world of bodies is common to all, while the world of the spirit is private and individual. For in the first place, the world of bodies is public only because it is a spectacle readily apprehended by our minds; our physical being, on the other hand, is eternally isolated from the physical being of everyone else, and is continually shot through by impulsions which are ours alone, impulsions which we cannot dominate, and which we cannot wholly communicate, nor completely hide, or perfectly know, nor can we remain entirely unconscious of them.” (2)

In addition, the inability to communicate our experiences to others is a question of private versus public existence. In today’s milieu, where there is an excessive and incessant desire to blur the lines of demarcation of these two modes of existence, it becomes impossible to believe that perhaps what others experience might actually be very different from what we witness. The impossibility of this vital conviction is exacerbated by the destruction of metaphysics by positivistic epistemology and the politicization of all aspects of human existence.

While in a London hotel, Maxwell receives the visit of an amateur ventriloquist who was present at the aforementioned show. The visitor, a man named Sylvester Kee (Hartley Power), has become enthralled by Maxwell’s talent — even though he comes to suspect that the ventriloquist might in fact be insane. He has witnessed too many of Maxwell’s unexplainable skits. Maxwell becomes increasingly frustrated by Hugo’s behavior and what the dummy is doing to his sanity. The next morning Maxwell finds Hugo inside Sylvester’s room. Maxwell accuses Sylvester of theft and shoots him. The fact that Sylvester does not die is an important factor in communicating the awkwardness of these events to the psychologist who is telling the story.

When Hugo is brought to Maxwell, in his prison cell, the dummy tells him that he wants to start working with the wounded man. Maxwell proceeds to destroy the dummy. To make this even more bizarre, although it is a “merely interesting psychological case study” according to the doctor, the psychologist and a prison attendant witness this exchange through a small glass window in the door of the prison cell. In a final attempt to restore Maxwell’s sanity, Sylvester is brought into the prison cell. When Maxwell answers some questions posed to him, the voice that is heard is not Maxwell’s but Hugo’s. Hugo gets the upper hand in this story, and the case is closed as one of insanity. Maxwell is in fact possessed by an evil spirit, “Hugo’s,” as is Stella in The Uninvited, when she attempts to run off the cliff.

Dead of Night ends with a brilliant portrayal of suspenseful suggestion, when Mr. Craig kills the psychologist in the living room of the country house, where the stories are being told. In an unexpected plot twist, Craig is awakened by a telephone call from the owner of the country home he had dreamt about, asking him if he could come for the weekend to go over some architectural plans. It turns out that he was actually dreaming. Dead of Night ends where it begins, in a maze of premonitions that the subject himself has not solicited. (3)

Consider that technological development tends to create the misguided impression that somehow we have changed the basic composition of human existence. One has only to imagine the world of primitive man and wonder how they viewed supernatural phenomena. A sensible and open-minded approach to this concern can enlighten us somewhat as to what it is that we do know for certain about the essence of human life. Placing the scientific method aside, however, existence nonetheless continues to exhibit a stubborn acumen that displaces the best of our rational conceptions. The non-rational is as central an element of human existence as rationality and science. It is important to realize that the non-rational does not mean the irrational, or what is commonly considered contrary to reason. Perhaps it is due to the very fact that science has given us tremendous comfort, lengthened our lives and answered many riddles of a materialistic bent, that man has seemingly turned his back on such questions. T.K. Oesterreich best explains this in his seminal work, Possession: Demoniacal and Other:

The dominant conception of the present time is that no psychic life supervenes except in the presence of a material vehicle and that no spirit, either pure or possessed only of an etheric body, exists in this world. Now this idea, which has become one of the most firmly established constituents of our present-day outlook on life, is completely new as measured by the standard of history. (4)

Actually, this is a question that the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973), may help us to shed some light on. Marcel conceives the nature of thinking to be two fold. On the one hand, we have what he refers to as primary, and on the other, secondary reflection. Primary reflection is always of a conceptual nature. It is analytical and possesses an objective character. Here, the thinker serves as a rather neutral recipient of the concerns, as it were, of mind or intelligence itself acting as an autonomous entity. The main focus of this kind of thinking revolves around the very notion of objectivity. By objectivity it is meant the act of judging the structure of reality in such a manner that this can be encountered and thus verified by anyone. The nature of a problem, then, is what Marcel has in mind in this respect. The problem can be set up so that anyone with the proper ability, if not method, can dissect it and thus effectively solve it. Problems, Marcel argues, are always solvable, this, regardless of their complexity. A problem, then, can be defined as being made up of a question to which man lacks a technique. Know-how – knowledge – comes about through the possession of technique, whether this has to do with gardening or astro-physics. Hence, whatever cannot be solved is not technically considered a problem for the scientist. On the contrary, problems are those that admit of a solution. Of course, optimism is always a central component of this rational process. And, frankly speaking, there ought to be no denying this condition of reason, given that this is part of the spirit of discovery. However, this rational process should contain a space for questions that are not readily exhaustible. A refusal to admit this becomes a delusional arrogance — one that begs the question: “If only we come to possess the proper technique, then we can overcome any problem.” (5)

This is not exactly what takes place in The Uninvited, though. It is true to say that initially Roderick and Pamela are faced with a kind of “problem” in the disturbances that they experience in the house. After all, these rumblings that take place throughout the house bring about a practical level of annoyance that require a solution. Most of the film revolves around seeking an answer to the concern, which Stella has in regards to her communication with her departed mother. It is correct, then, to say that Roderick and Pamela do eventually come to an understanding of what is maligning the new inhabitants of the house. That is, they come to believe that the presence is Stella’s mother. In a greater sense, and this is where the epicentre of the film lies, the whereabouts of the disembodied departed, is never solved.

The supernatural genre depicts problems which the main characters are affected by and which they attempt to solve. Yet in the better films the protagonists go blindly or naively searching for answers that eventually overwhelm them. It is important to keep in mind that even when these strange occurrences are understood and “solved” there nevertheless still remains the question of “why” this other dimension exists in the first place. This is more a question of cinematic convention than intent. If we consider that Roderick and his sister Pamela do not accept the existence of ghosts at the beginning of the film, we are then prepared to witness how their convictions change. Yes, it is true that they are scared at first, but they also learn to live with the ghosts that inhabit their home. Eventually, it is important for the film to shift the dramatic attention from the fact that there are ghosts in the house to what they are trying to communicate to young Stella. This change of mind or acceptance of the spirit world is also a change of conviction. Roderick and Pamela are thus confronted with the sublime. Oesterreich adds:

Together with consciousness of the presence of spirits it produces an impression of horror, of something sinister, and in general all the sentiments of tremendum of which Rudolf Otto has given an excellent analysis, demonstrating also their importance in primitive religion. (6)

This, then, is what Marcel refers to as the difference between the nature of a problem per se and a mystery. The nature of the mystery is such that it always assumes the reality of “essences,” which intuition presupposes. Marcel’s thought begins by presupposing that there may be a limit to what reason can uncover. He writes in Metaphysical Journal:

April 2nd, 1916

This morning, on a clear and marvelous springtime day, I glimpsed that the notions of so-called ‘occult’ knowledge, against which ‘reason’ claims to revolt, are in reality at the root of the commonest day to day experiences which we take for granted: the experiences of feeling, of will or of memory. Who would be prepared to question that the will ‘acts’ as suggestion, as magical suggestion? Does not the experience of memory imply the real and effective negation of time? It is all obvious — too obvious for the twilight condition of our psychology. (8)

Is this not also Hamlet’s problem, when he says: “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt in your philosophy?” Marcel has written a great deal on the notion of communicating with the dead. For instance, in an article titled “The Origins of My Philosophy” found in a book edited by Martin Ebon titled Communicating with the Dead, Marcel speaks about a particular personal experience. He tells of how he went along with the family of a deceased French soldier to a medium and how the dead man communicated starling information, insight which no one present at the table could have possessed. The soldier described how he had died, along with two other soldiers in his company, whom were later identified by French authorities.

The Uninvited is a classic supernatural “whodunit” in that it initially attempts to get to the bottom of a supernatural problem using rational means. This is important in setting up the total puzzlement, which the protagonists will find themselves amid later on in the film. For instance, during their first night at the house cries are heard coming from a room in the second floor; Roderick walks out of his room followed seconds later by his sister. This scenario is probably enough to scare any viewer. Given that it is an early scene, in order to have some degree of realism, the director has Roderick calmly state, “There’s a logical explanation for this.” His sister counters by asking, “What is it?” To which he answers, “I can’t give it to you right now.” This fair amount of incredulity must be allowed to take place in order to set the stage for a further conversion of the protagonist to take place. How this conversion takes place is a central component of this film, as a dramatic work.

Stella, who is twenty years old, has not returned to Windward House since her grandfather took her away. He does not want her to return to that old house because, as he tells Roderick, “A house can be filled with malignancy, malignancy directed at a certain child.” Roderick does not ignore this ominous admonition. Even though Roderick cannot be certain of any complicity between the commander and a ghost, he realizes that things do not add up. He begins to think that perhaps this ghost has something to say and is seeking an audience. Disregarding her grandfather’s advice, the young woman returns to the house on the invitation of Roderick and his sister. In a scene where Roderick plays a serenade for her, as the piece turns sad, she gets up and runs away. In fact, this room is always frigid, the flowers wilt and Roderick complains of having lost his inspiration for writing music whenever he enters it. At about this very same time, Lizzie (Barbara Everest), the caretaker, screams, saying that she’s seen the ghost of a woman.

This story, like The Changeling, for instance, is essentially about a ghost that seeks justice — that the truth be known — but which it cannot readily communicate. We can say that the disembodied spirit in both of these films is encapsulated in its own spiritual world without being able to liberate itself from its past life in the physical plane. Much of this is also encountered, for instance, in Enrique Anderson Imbert’s wonderful short story, El Fantasma, where the soul of a dead man cannot contact the members of his family nor can he communicate with the souls of the dead.

In The Uninvited, we learn that Stella’s father was a painter who had an affair with a Spanish gypsy and portrait-model named Carmel, who posed for the painter. As the story progresses, we come to realize that Stella’s grandfather is the bearer of a terrible secret that the ghost wants known. Roderick sets up a séance at the house along with a Dr. Scott (Alan Napier), his sister and Stella in order to attempt to communicate with the ghostly woman. During the séance Stella goes into a deep trance and assumes the voice of Carmel, who tells the party present to go and talk to Ms. Mary Holloway (Cornelia Otis Skinner), who was the family nurse at the time. Ms. Holloway is currently running a nursing home, even though she is insane.

In effect, this film does great justice to the ancient Greek philosophical quip about appearance and reality. There is always an investigative angle to the better horror films that employ reason and deduction until the protagonist is convinced that this is a fruitless approach and something else must be at work. The protagonists in these films rarely come out at the beginning proclaiming alliance to the supernatural in any form or guise. Instead, there is always a reluctance to accept what cannot be easily explained by buying time, consulting experts, and utilizing common sense and reason. The Uninvited is inspired by a superbly intelligent script that asks: can such disembodied entities actually exist? The film works from the assumption that spirits exist and if they ever return, they do so from a need to communicate. Pamela makes this clear when she says, “If a spirit comes back is it for some particular purpose.” (8)

After the séance, all present, including Stella, fall under the impression that Stella’s mother Mary Meredith will protect the young woman from the evil that Carmel is perpetrating. Subsequently Roderick, Pamela and Dr. Scott decide to visit Ms. Holloway at the asylum. At that moment, they discover that Stella had been staying there at the bequest of her grandfather. While Ms. Holloway stares at a painting of Mary Meredith, she tells them that the young woman has taken a train to return to Windward House — knowing full well that the house will be uninhabited at the time. As they leave Ms. Holloway in a delusional frenzy, they come to the realization that she sent the young woman there so that she would jump off the cliff.

As they arrive at the house, Roderick and his sister hear screams and immediately see Stella running for the edge of the cliff. Roderick manages to grab her, as Stella holds on to the roots of a tree. Once inside the house, the ghostly apparition of a woman shows up. This ghost is probably one of the most believable and toned-down examples of apparitions found in films in this genre. Of course, the suspense reaches its climax at the discovery that Stella’s mother is not Mary Meredith but Carmel. After his affair with the portrait model, Stella’s father shipped his mistress to Paris where she could have the child in the absence of scandal. The child was brought back to Windward House. However, Carmel could not live without her child and thus returned to claim the baby girl. Mary Meredith tried to wrestle the baby away from Carmel and throw the child over the cliff, but it was she who actually fell over the cliff. Thus, the film effectively “solves” the problem of the interaction between the two ghosts present in Windward House and their affliction of the human inhabitants.

What remains as an accepted cinematic convention is the notion that spirits exist in ways that perhaps the protagonists cannot explain. Of course, this latter concern cannot be addressed in detail without turning the film into a documentary on the supernatural. The film ends with Roderick telling the ghost of Mary Meredith that they now know the truth and that she should leave Windward House. This suggests a meeting of the two realms: the visible and supernatural, but also a realization that lack of understanding does not have to be synonymous with fear.

Endnotes

  1. Maslow, Abraham H. Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1968.
  2. Lavelle, Louis. The Dilemma of Narcissus. Translated by William Gairdner. Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1993, p. 210.
  3. Greenhouse, Herbert B. Premonitions a Leap into the Future. Bernard Geis Associates, 1971, p.244. Research into the diverse aspects of the paranormal made considerable inroads with the creation of laboratory experiments and controlled case studies in the early 1960s. Also, see: Psychic: A Challenge for Science. Edited by John White. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1974. In this insightful encyclopedia Twenty-nine aspects of research into the paranormal are brought together.
  4. Oesterreich, T.K. Possession: Demoniacal and Other Among Primitive Races, in Antiquity, The Middle Ages, and Modern Times. Secaucus, New Jersey: The Citadel Press, 1974, p. 376.
  5. Barret, William. The Illusion of Technique: A Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization. New York: Anchor Press, 1978.
  6. Oesterreich, p. 377.
  7. Marcel, Gabriel. Metaphysical Journal. Translated by Bernard Wall. Chicago: Gateway Edition, 1952, p. 130.
  8. See: Arthur S. Berger. Aristocracy of the Dead: New Findings in Postmortem Survival. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1987. Mr. Berger argues in a chapter of this informative work titled, “The Neglected Angle” that perhaps at the center of all arguments that negate the immortality of the soul lies the fallacy that survival after death is a universal phenomenon. He writes, “A pair of widely held assumptions, however, like blinders, seem to have narrowed the view of survival researchers and prevented them from studying the attributes of communicators. One of these assumptions is that, if there is survival after the grave, all people will survive equally. There will be no exceptions. In the words of one respected student of the subject “survival” is automatic and universal.” He then goes on to say “Both these assumptions are not only unnecessary for the investigation of the survival problem, but, if false, either or both may have severely retarded the search for evidence, p. 23.

About The Author

Dr Pedro Blas Gonzalez is a writer and philosopher who holds a PhD in Philosophy. He has written five books: Human Existence as Radical Reality: Ortega y Gasset’s Philosophy of Subjectivity; Fragments: Essays in Subjectivity, Individuality and Autonomy; Ortega’s The Revolt of the Masses and the Triumph of the New Man; Unamuno: A Lyrical Essay and Dreaming in the Cathedral.