One of the chapters in the book we’re working on, Visions: A Thoughtful Guide to Common Paranormal Phenomena, deals with voices that people hear.
Carl Jung treated patients who heard voices. One of the most interesting cases, which he talks about in his autobiography, was that of a schizophrenic older woman who heard voices “distributed throughout her entire body, and a voice in the middle of the thorax was ’God’s voice,’” Jung writes.
He told her that was the voice they should rely on, because this particular voice made sensible remarks and enabled him to manage this patient. One time the voice in the thorax, God’s voice, told the woman to allow Jung to test her on the Bible. So for the next seven years, once every two weeks, Jung assigned her a chapter in the Bible to read and then tested her on it. “In this way,” Jung wrote, “her attention was kept alert, so that she did not sink deeper into the disintegrating dream.” After six years, the result of Jung’s technique was that the voices that had once been everywhere throughout her body were now just on the left side. The right side was totally free of them. He concluded that she was cured, but only halfway.
Through his work with patients like this woman, he realized that paranoid ideas and hallucinations hold a kernel of meaning. “A personality, a life history, a pattern of hopes and desires lie behind the psychosis….At the bottom we discover nothing new and unknown in the mentally ill; rather, we encounter the substratum of our own natures.”
It would be interesting if psychiatrists or psychologists conducted a study of mediums in the spiritualist town of Cassadaga, Florida, where most of the residents hear voices, communicate with the dead, and constantly are honing their skills. In Cassadaga, this is considered normal. Business as usual.