Further insight into this understanding is provided by Clinical Psychologist Wilson Van Dusen (Van Dusen 1974) who worked for 16 years in Mendocino State Mental Hospital in California.
He observed, “Most of my patients seemed fairly sensible except for their hallucinations which invaded and interfered with their lives”. Further these auditory hallucinated voices would “find a weak point of conscience and work on it interminably” and “their malevolence and persistence in undermining the patient was striking”. Van Dusen again “their voice quality can change and shift, leaving the patient quite confused as to who might be speaking. When identified as some friend known to the patient, they can assume this voice quality perfectly”.
Just as our accountant Patrick experienced in the Crows Nest case study.
“Patients may have three or four most frequent voices”. Van Dusen tells us, “that perhaps 80% of these voices are persecutory and evil in intention, these voices lacked the ability to reason sequentially or think abstractly. Their voices were extremely repetitive and would attack an individual for years over a single past guilt. Indeed these low intelligence entities are a good deal sicker than the patients.
In contrast “one patient described a higher order spirit who appeared all in white, radiant, very powerful in his presence, and who communicated directly with the spirit of the patient to guide him out of his hell”. “In one case I encouraged the patient to become acquainted with these helpful forces that tended to frighten him. When they did so their values merged into him, and the evil poltergeists, who had been saying for months they would kill him, disappeared.
In a paper entitled Auditory Hallucination Coping Strategies (Carter, McKinnon & Copolov 1996) I came upon this curious statement “Playing games or musical instruments, focusing on something other than the voices, and listening to songs were the methods rated most highly as being at least partially successful.”.
The strategies with the highest percentage of users claiming complete success were singing, using earplugs, and playing an instrument. Using earplugs to block a hallucinated voice? Very odd!
Professor Charles Tart to the rescue again. “Any effect, whether interpreted as “physical or “non-physical” is ultimately an experience in the observers mind” (Tart 2000). So the mentally ill are psychic and not coping with it. These persecutory voices may be ongoing night and day and would wear down anyone who lacked the knowledge and self confidence to cope with them.
Further on the issue of asking for help from guidance in the spiritualist model here is what Van Dusen observed in his mentally ill patients:
“An unusually cooperative patient led me to ask if I could talk directly with her hallucinations, I did, and she gave me their immediate response”.
In these dialogues with the hallucinations Van Dusen learned of two orders of experience self styled as higher and lower. In most patients one higher being would contrast to four or five lower voiced beings.
“The higher order beings were light, as bright as the sun with a symbolic language richer than the imagination of the patient, these powerful and impressive Christ like beings respected freedoms and would withdraw if they frightened the patient. These light beings were supportive, genuinely instructive and communicated directly with the inner feelings of the patient”.
Van Dusen would always encourage his patients to approach the higher order beings because of their great power to broaden the individuals values far beyond the patient’s comprehension.
The higher order claims power over the lower and demonstrates this at times.
Van Dusen describes this as the struggle between good and evil.
He also reported the great consistency in what was reported independently by different patients. Also “the differences in the experiences of schizophrenics, alcoholics, the brain damaged and the senile were not as striking as the similarities”.
Another consistent finding was that patients felt they had contact with another world and objected to the term hallucination because they experienced this as real in the same way that skilled spiritualists do.