Ghosts, spirit guides, mental illness? There is any number of explanations for hearing voices. Gift or curse, the phenomenon is very real for some, and most cultures do not consider it normal. In his song Voices in My Head, Bruno Mars expresses the question “Is it strange I believe them again? Voices in my head.”
The most widely accepted theory for the cause of disembodied voices is mental illness. Whenever someone experiences sensory perceptions outside of the norm, society chooses to label them with any number of mental disorders. At first, the individual may be diagnosed with excessive stress. Post-traumatic stress syndrome is a condition attributed to individuals having an adverse psychological reaction to a highly stressful event. It is characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and hearing or seeing things that aren’t there. Schizophrenia is another mental illness associated with hearing voices. A schizophrenic individual may experience hallucinations or delusions. Schizophrenics are characterized by a loss of contact with their environment and a disintegration of personality. For many, hearing voices equals mental incompetence.
There are, however, those of the thought that hearing voices is the special ability to tune into beings from another plane of existence. Some people, referred to as sensitives, claim the ability to communicate with the deceased as well as inhuman spirits such as ghosts, guides, angels, and dark entities. The voices may sound like an echo or emerge as sudden and unexpected thoughts. Cases have even been noted where the voices appear as block print inside an individual’s head. Some individuals can have conversations with the voices, while others can only listen. Electronic voice phenomenon or EVP’s are sited by many as further proof of the existence of disembodied voices. EVP’s are said to be at a frequency unintelligible to the human ear, but may be audible to some sensitives.
“I knew the words couldn’t be real, but the sound of their voices still rang in my ears. I clasped my fist to my ears, blocking out the insanity trying to move in,” from the young adult fantasy novel Island of Tory. In the book, Arella Cline is haunted by the voices of her deceased parents after she is the sole survivor of a fatal car crash. Island of Tory is due for release by Loconeal Publishing in March 2012.