Episode 3 – Dream Visitations with Joe Carpenter
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This is the blog post counterpart to Episode 3 of The Seeking I Life Exploration Podcast. If you haven’t yet listened to this or watched the video version on YouTube, you can either do that first, or listen as you are reading this to help analyse each part as we go through. Joe kindly agreed to allow me to look very critically at his experiences in search for any non-paranormal explanations before jumping to conclusions. This is by no means a “debunking” or anything of that nature, but instead a very open minded but critical thinking approach. I will go through each of Joe’s experiences below, however if I miss anything or you have any useful points to mention or suggestions to add, please feel free to comment on this post or drop me an email.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at Joe’s claims.
Grandmother Reading to Children – 01:30
Joe starts by mentioning that his mother’s mother died in 1982, since when he started experiencing ‘visitations’ to and from her. When somebody we love dies, it is totally expected that we will dream of them and possibly of the incident and time of their death shortly after and possibly for an extended period of time depending on how close we were to them. This needn’t occur during periods when we are actually thinking of them that day or that night, the mind is very much like an iceberg, the conscious mind being the small percentage that shows above water, and the subconscious mind being the unseen majority. In other words, dreams may arise of the person from your subconscious mind despite you not have been thinking of them. Just something to be aware of and taken into consideration.
He goes on to mention that he meets his grandmother in a ‘glass house’ (in quotations as this was Joe’s attempt of describing an indescribable scene) reading to children. Many grandmother figures in society are often viewed as child-loving sweet old ladies who would often read to their grandchildren. Of course, this is not all grandmothers, many I’m sure are not at all this way and, having never met or heard much about Joe’s, we can’t assume that this was the case. Essentially this implies that if Joe’s
grandmother was indeed the stereotypical sweet old lady, it can be assumed that one’s mind would conjure up a familiar scene such as reading to children as described. He continues by stating that once he managed to get her attention, she told him to “Go back, don’t come here”. The reason is unclear currently, and we cannot make any conclusions as again I never met nor heard much about her from Joe. As for the glass house? No idea.
Joe tells that many times when he awakens from these ‘visitations’, he feels as if his body has dropped onto the bed from a height. This is a common experience I have myself had many times, known as a hypnagogic jerk. Essentially, it occurs when we are on the threshold of the waking state and the sleeping state, and results in a sudden spasm and feeling of falling which awakens us with a start. Does this mean that this is what caused Joe’s experience? No, not at all, just one possibility. Many mystical experiences such as the out of body experience also experience such a feeling when the ‘spirit re-enters the body’. It also seems worth mentioning that as Joe found it necessary to mention this point, we can assume that this rarely occurs at any other time other than after these visitations which certainly suggests that something unique about these ‘dreams’ is at play.
He eventually managed to communicate directly with his grandmother as he goes on to say, and let’s us know that these experiences will be important in later examples.
Grandfather in Italy – 06:10
Having gone to bed as normal that night Joe finds himself in Italy. As his grandfather was from Sicily he instantly knew that he was going to meet him there. He does so and finds him tending his roses in an overgrown garden. Anybody who knows about Lucid Dreaming knows how influential the mind is when in that world. A thought can change the nature of reality and create anything it wants, or anything the subconscious mind wants as is more often the case. As Joe associates his environment to similar of that of Italy, he naturally makes the connection to his Grandfather and indeed there he is. Could this be an expectant mind creating the scenario within a semi-lucid or simply very vivid dreamscape?
His Grandfather was very much into his garden, and had a greenhouse full of flowers, plants and fruit trees, but especially was into his Roses, so it’s not surprising that he was found tending these. Again, another possible connection Joe’s mind made, associating his Grandfather to Roses and creating that scenario visually. However it is commonly mentioned that dream visitations do included deceased people doing something they were known to do so that a recognition can be easily established, so we must bear both possibilities in mind.
Now things begin to get interesting as the matter of communication comes into play. It is often told that those who have spiritual or paranormal experiences communicate telepathically. It is a form of ‘speech’ which means nothing can be misinterpreted or hidden, and is an extremely common occurrence within these events. Unless Joe was savvy to such phenomena before this experience, would it not make sense that his mind would create a simulation of normal speech? Why would it opt for an unnatural form such as telepathy? The mind is comprised of memories, and so to display something it has never experienced seems very unusual. Of course, it is not impossible, very strange things occur in dreams that don’t follow the laws of nature, but simple things such as speech is not often substituted for something complex like telepathy. If we do have such dreams, often it is experienced as a voice inside the head, but Joe mentions that there was ‘no doubt to what was being said’ and was the first time he’s ever experienced anything like it. So it seems that this telepathy involved more than simple voices in the head (such instances could still raise doubt to what the speaker means).
The concept of No Time is also a very commonly experienced phenomena during spiritual experiences. I have never witnessed such a state myself and so can only look at anecdotal accounts from others who unfortunately describe it as “indescribable’. Again, perhaps Joe had learned prior of such experiences and his mind generated this to fit the expectations? I can’t say as I’m not sure if Joe has ever heard of this state before.
The Oil Burner – 09:25
I won’t lay out the experience here as it would take too long, instead I will just look at the points, so please listen along to the podcast or listen first and then come back.
First of all, the bright light was not seen by the eyes. Again, in dream states we usually ‘see’ from the point of view of our eyes, however it’s common to also have a camera-eye view from outside the body. This is another experience shared commonly within spiritual occurrences, especially during the out of body experience or astral projection. As our eyes aren’t actually involved when we are asleep, it is understandable that we would not feel pain or blindness at any brightness of light in our minds, although we can simulate pain during these dreams. Have you ever had a dream where you’ve been injured and actually felt the pain?
Why does that room make Joe feel nervous? It could be that some ‘bad energy’ inhabits the room, but it’s more likely to me that it was a place that just made him feel creeped out. You know the feeling, sometimes it just happens and our body remembers it, even after years of being away from it.
Now Joe says something very important, that these experiences are years apart from each other. This lessens the strength of evidence that these dreams occur recently after the death. If the dreams were to happen frequently over years, this is different, however Joe suggests that these are abnormal dreams with gaps of many years in between. In addition, the fact that both mentioned dreams with his Grandfather that happened years apart follow a very similar situation as opposed to just seeing him in various different random environments may suggest that there is some kind of structure involved rather than the general random nonsense the mind produces. Perhaps the first dream was so memorable that it influenced the next? But I don’t see why if the dream was that influential it took years before another came to pass.
The main point of the experience, what about the furnace? It was originally an oil burner in the first dream but now it’s a furnace, which is later validated by his mother telling him that it indeed was originally a furnace before it became and oil burner. Oil burners and furnaces are very similar devices so perhaps the mind just generated this instead, and the whole validation segment was nothing more than a coincidence. Weirder coincidences have occurred. But what about the unborn baby who was disposed of in it? Well, if we listen again, all that happened was that the grandfather pointed into the furnace, before Joe became too uncomfortable to continue. The link between it and the unborn baby was made by the mother and sister, and was not displayed in the dream other than the fact that there was a furnace in it. So perhaps to say that this was clearly a sign is a bit of a jump, it seems more than possible that a furnace coincidence plus putting 2 and 2 together gave false evidence of a sign.
The name of Joseph being given to the baby prior to its death is certainly interesting, but Joseph has always been a common name so to me this is nothing phenomenal. As to whether this indicates a reincarnation I would say not so personally, but again we don’t know. But now we have 2 coincidences to play with, the furnace and the name Joseph. Add this to the apparent continued structure of 2 dreams years apart from each other and we start to question whether the mind was 100% involved in fabricating the scenes.
The Brickyard – 18:43
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of unusual occurrences in this experience which suggests anything paranormal, but we’ll take a quick look at it. So Joe meets his uncle who was previously a Mason in a brick yard. The red bricks he mentions that seem alive are certainly unusual but by no means outside the scope of the mind’s capabilities, although the type of Red Joe describes as a colour he’s never seen in this life does give something to think about. Unfortunately we can’t think too much on this as it’s another point that unfortunately can’t be described reasonably in words. It is often said that loved ones come through to us in familiar situations, as with Joe’s grandfather earlier, as a way of instantly identifying who they are or showing something they wish to convey. It is also a common thing for the message they would like you to give is “I’m happy”. When we think of messages from the dead, this is generally the most common alongside “I love you”, so whether this was a true visitation or not, there isn’t really much solid data to suggest so.
The Medium – 24:10
There is really not much to be said here other than if true, it is certainly suggestive of some kind of paranormal capability. The God telephone I’m not so sure about and to me may indicate some kind of mental disturbance before indicating an actual communication between the woman and the divine, not that it’s impossible, but for an unknown person to mention that Joe is already aware that his mother is not yet ready for her own judgement purely from random chance is incredibly unlikely. The only real way she could do this would be if somebody Joe told his experience to relayed it to her. Something which I don’t believe happened, at least form Joe’s knowledge. This is something very far from the usual mediumship nonsense quote such as ‘she says she loves you’, ‘she says she’s happy’, ‘she’s always with you’, and is instead very specific to an actual occurrence ie Joe’s dream experience. It also happened as a result of a phone call from the number given in her book, and therefore not a pre-arranged meeting. I don’t see therefore what kind of hot reading could have been done, and the information given certainly doesn’t fit with known cold reading methods. We cannot know for certain that she was not tipped off about the information, or that she found it somewhere, but certainly it is a valid piece of evidence to be considered. Being told that you doubt yourself all the time is like being told you worry a lot, it’s something common to almost everyone and so is a very general statement.
There is one more experience including Joe’s mother in a shower robe of light, but this seems of little significance other than she finally had made it past her self-judgement and was cleansed, so I will end this write up here. Please feel free to listen to the rest of the podcast from here. So what’s the conclusion on this first part of the discussion? Well, I would say that we can’t conclude anything without knowing Joe’s background, earlier experiences, and those of the people involved with the visitations. We can generalize and say that most of the dreams can be attributed to the mind’s creations with a couple of added coincidences, and that there are certainly maybe one or two points that may suggest otherwise, but to do so means ignoring essential information about Joe and those deceased people he knew. Certainly the accounts are interesting and thought provoking, with several points that indeed do suggest a little more than 100% mind creations. If you are in the mindset that ‘Anecdotal evidence is not evidence’, I’m afraid I must disagree with you. In the field of dreams and dream visitations, what other types of evidence is there?