Have you ever felt like you were invisible to others? Have you ever wondered if it was possible to disappear from sight without any external device or intervention? If so, you are not alone. There are many people who have reported experiencing human spontaneous involuntary invisibility (HSII), a phenomenon where they become unseen and unheard by others, even though they are physically present and unaware of their condition.
In this article, Donna Higbee, CHT, will explore some of the cases and theories of HSII, based on the research of hundreds of stories from people who have encountered this phenomenon.
By Donna Higbee, CHT
In the summer of 1994, I became aware of a very strange phenomenon, human spontaneous involuntary invisibility, which was apparently happening to people in the U.S. When I checked with other researchers and discovered that a number of them had also heard of such cases, I decided to place an inquiry letter in several well-known journals, asking other researchers and the general public if they had any experiences of this nature that they would like to share with me.
Besides the publication of my inquiry letter, my inquiry was placed on several of the Internet bulletin boards. The letters began pouring in, giving me a broader picture of this phenomenon. I want to share a few stories with you and pass on some of the information I have come across during this past year.
My inquiry letter told the story of Vera in Ventura, California, who tried to get assistance in a post office, only to be completely ignored by other customers and the postal clerk. I have kept in touch with Vera and she has had other apparent invisibility experiences in stores and other public places. Sheila in Roanoke, Texas, continues to have invisibility experiences, some of which have occurred in restaurants and at the airport. Glenda in Fort Worth, Texas, has had these experiences occur in a cafeteria and a movie theater. Most of the cases that I have researched have been in the U.S., although I do know of cases in England, Europe, Australia, Puerto Rico and Brazil.
In every case I have heard about or personally researched, the person is physically still present, although unable to be seen or heard. From the point of view of the invisible person, the world looks normal and they have no idea that they cannot be seen or heard by people around them. I will address how this might occur a little further along in this article, but first I want to give a few examples below. The quotes are directly from experiencers’ letters to me.
Jean in Tucson, Arizona, wrote me of her experiences. She has had them occur in the library when she attempted to check out books and in clothing stores. The following is a quote from her letter, showing the humor with which she deals with these occurrences. “I’ve had this happen in stores, in restaurants, and many places.
I remember joking to a friend of mine one time that I felt like I could walk into a bank, help myself to a pile of bills and no one would ever see me because I was invisible. There is no physical reason why I should be. I’m taller than average for my sex and age group (I’m fifty-five years old and 5’9″), referred to as good-looking, and I’ve always worn my hair red. You wouldn’t think a tall woman with red hair, high heels in a purple dress and dangle earrings would be invisible, would you?”
Or the story from a thirty-seven year old man, Peter in Gloucestershire, England, who was at a private party in 1987. He walked upstairs to use the bathroom and was followed by a woman who also wanted to use the bathroom.
The woman motioned for him to go first and she stood outside the door to wait her turn. Peter used the bathroom, opened the door and walked out into the hallway, closing the door behind him. He went on down the stairs and walked over to some friends and started talking to them. They all ignored him completely. He though they were playing a joke on him, so he walked away and found his girlfriend and asked her for a cigarette.
She, too, acted like she didn’t see or hear him. Peter was getting angry by this time and thought the joke had gone too far. He decided to walk back upstairs and catch the woman coming out of the bathroom and ask her for a cigarette.
“…I walked back up the stairs and, on reaching the bathroom landing, I came across the girl again who was standing outside the bathroom door, clearly still waiting for me to come out. When she saw me, her face dropped in surprise for clearly she thought that I was still in the bathroom.” Peter returned to the party downstairs and everything was normal again and he was able to be seen and heard. When he questioned his friends and girlfriend as to why they had ignored him, they all swore that they had never seen or heard him. Obviously the woman upstairs had not seen him come out of the bathroom and go downstairs.
Then there is the case of Melanie in Ventura, California, who became invisible while sitting on her own livingroom sofa and staring at the wall, lost in her own thoughts. Her husband was walking around the house looking for her but could not see her sitting there, only several feet away from where he was walking. This lasted for approximately ten minutes, then she was suddenly visible again. Her husband was quite upset with her and thought she had been hiding from him. She assured him that she had been sitting there all along, but to this day, he does not believe her.
Or, how about Jannise in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who has had a number of invisibility experiences throughout her life. The one reported here lasted longer than usual. As a teenager, she fell in with a group of friends who decided to see if they could actually steal something from a department store and not get caught. As luck would have it, the entire group was caught and taken into custody, including Jannise.
They were taken to the police station and one by one were questioned; all, that is, except Jannise. Although she was standing right there, no one paid the slightest attention to her; not the police, the guards, or the office personnel. She finally just got up and walked out of the police station without ever being questioned or anyone attempting to stop her.
When she later talked with her friends about what happened in the police station, “…they didn’t even recall me being taken into custody at the department store. Yet I rode in the police car with everyone else, and they thought I was still at the store.” No one had seen her from the moment the police had arrived on the scene in the store until some time after she had walked out of the police station unhindered.
What actually is happening? Why is this occurring? We don’t have answers for these questions yet. But in trying to learn more about invisibility, I came across some information which I want to share with you.
Human invisibility has been written about for centuries. Indo-European and pre-Aryan shamanistic beliefs accompanied the peoples who eventually migrated into the Indus Valley (approx. 2,500-1,500 B.C.E.). Here, men and women of great spiritual attainment, superior knowledge, and extraordinary powers came to be called rishis.
The Vedas, which form the basis of Hinduism, emanated from the teachings of the rishis, starting around 1,000 B.C.E. In these texts, we find descriptions of the rituals and techniques of the Hindu priests, sounding very much like the magical and shamanistic abilities of the old sorcerers, magicians and shamans. Later in Hinduism, around 700-300 B.C.E., we find the secret doctrines, called the Upanishads, which were written for students.
Within the Upanishads, there is a section called the Yogatattva, which gives the rich mystical philosophy of the discipline and theory of practice for attaining knowledge of the essence of God. A serious student of raja yoga was taught that certain supernormal powers, called siddhas, were a natural outcome of gaining mastery over one’s mind and environ-ment, and were used as valuable indications of the student’s spiritual progress.
One of these yogic siddhas was human invisibility. Patanjali, author of the Yoga-sutra, which is one of the earliest treatises among the early Indian writings, attempts to describe the process whereby human invisibility occurred. He says that concen-tration and meditation can make the body imperceptible to other men, and “a direct contact with the light of the eyes no longer existing, the body disappears.”
The light engendered in the eye of the observer no longer comes into contact with the body that has become invisible, and the observer sees nothing at all. There is not a lot written about how this occurs; the explanation of the process whereby invisibility was brought into being was most likely left up to the teacher to impart to the student directly.
We move ahead in time and find that from the thirteenth century on, numerous texts in Europe refer to similar abilities, performed by sorcerers and magicians who had the power to make themselves invisible, like the shamans (both ancient and modern), and the yoga masters in India. Some other cultures in which shamanism (and the ability to vanish) has played a major role are the Aborigines of Australia, the archaic peoples of North and South America, and the peoples in the polar regions.
Next we look at Rosicrucianism, which started in Europe in the fifteenth century. Among the papers of that time, there are a number of them that talk about invisibility. A brother in the Rosicrucian fraternity wrote a paper on how to walk invisible among men, and there is evidence that this was being taught in those early days.
H. Spencer Lewis, the founder of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis in San Jose, California, stated that one can gain invisibility with the use of ‘clouds’. He says that clouds or bodies of mist can be called out of the invisible to surround a person and thus shut him out of the sight of others. According to Lewis, this secret practice is still taught in the mystical schools of today. The written literature on this subject supports the statement that the cloud is the basis of the Rosicrucian invisibility secret.
Interestingly, a man named John Macky, who was an early Masonic leader (the early Masons were believed to be an offshoot of the Rosicrucians) taught a method whereby any man could render himself invisible. Another offshoot of the Rosicrucian fraternity, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, left manuscripts describing the ‘Ritual of Invisibility’.
These manuscripts talk about surrounding yourself with a shroud, which is described as looking like ‘a cloud’. It is said that Madame Blavatsky, of the Theosophical Society, witnessed this invisibility for herself and was actually given the secret, thereafter accomplishing this for herself on several occasions in front of witnesses. The literature on the Spiritualists in the U.S. shows that there is no doubt they, too, knew about the cloud and its creation.
So, just what is this cloud? We are looking for something that is between empty space and actual physical matter, something unseen by the naked eye but very much in existence. The Rosicrucian Manual tells us that “the first form into which spirit essence concentrates preparatory to material manifestation” is electrons. When spiritual essence gathers into very minute focal points of electrical charge (due to certain conditions), we have the creation of electrons.
Science reports that such a cloud of free electrons will absorb all light entering it; it will not reflect nor refract light waves, nor are light waves able to pass through a human being. Consequently the observer’s eye sees nothing there and the person surrounded by such a cloud is invisible. Since light is necessary for human sight, when there are no reflected or refracted light waves bouncing off a person and hitting the observer’s retina, the person is not able to be seen and is not visible under normal circumstances.
How is this cloud created intentionally? That is difficult to say. There are references to and descriptions of invisibility and its creation in the writings of secret societies, but most people don’t have access to these writings. One could go to India and become an apprentice or student of an Indian guru or teacher to learn these techniques, but that probably is not practical in modern life. To the everyday person, the knowledge of how invisibility works is a mystery.
With this being the case, just how are people having experiences of spontaneous involuntary invisibility? I wish I had the answers, but we are still in the midst of our research. If indeed they are forming the light-absorbing, free-electron cloud around themselves, they are doing it unknowingly and without knowledge of the method. Since some kind of focused mental thought process must be employed to make the cloud form around oneself, then it might be that these people are doing this unconsciously.
At the start of my research, I was interested to see if there was a correlation between human invisibility and people who report having experiences with non-human entities. It is known that invisibility is one of the components making up the abduction phenomenon. The first several people who came to me with invisibility experiences were abductees, and I hoped to show a link between abduction and human invisibility.
But as I continued to get letters from people having experienced invisibility, I could see no direct link between the two. It seems that just as many non-abductees are having these experiences as are abductees. There is the possibility that those reporting to be non-abductees simply haven’t remembered their experiences and are, indeed, actually abductees. If this is the case, it will be difficult to give accurate findings. At this point, I am simply calling for more data and hoping that some patterns become obvious.
I find it interesting that the people having these invisibility experiences seem to be people with higher than average psychic abilities. Possibly they are able to traverse other dimensions and command natural forces, knowingly or unknowingly. Researchers of the paranormal are having a field day as people are reporting experiences with what they term ghosts, angels, extraterrestrials, and interdimensional beings. Spontaneous involuntary invisibility is just another mystery to add to the lot.
In our culture, we have sayings such as “she looked right through me,” “they acted like I wasn’t even there,” etc. There are several reasons why someone might use that kind of phraseology. There has been the supposition that minorities, and to some extent women, are somehow less in our society. Thankfully, this attitude has been undergoing a change in recent years. But a person who falls into a category that society has traditionally considered less in importance might take on the sterotyped role and believe it to be true to the extent he feels so unimportant that, to him, people don’t even notice him.
He feels invisible. Another reason could be the mental health of the person involved. Severely depressed people can experience what is termed nihilism or the feeling of such uselessness and worthlessness that they feel invisible to people around them. A person with extremely low self-esteem might feel he is unworthy of being noticed, therefore he feels invisible.
In these cases, the feeling of invisibility is a subjective one on the part of the experiencer and is not necessarily based in fact. And I think we have all had the experience of a person simply not paying attention to us and not seeing us or what we were doing. But if we were to go up to them, stand directly in front of them and speak to them, their attention would be drawn to us and they would interact with us.
The phenomenon of human spontaneous involuntary invisibility is quite different. My research has shown the people to be well adjusted, well educated and taken totally by surprise at the occurrence of invisibility. Often it takes several such occurrences before they realize that they are truly invisible during certain times to other people. They attempt to interact with those around them and simply can’t be seen or heard.
This produces frustration and, in many cases, a sense of fear at something which they don’t understand. There is a big difference between a person purposely not interacting with you because of some cultural or personal reason versus a person not interacting with you because he can neither see nor hear you. A case in point: I recently had a phone call from Joe L. in Fullerton, California who was very bewildered and needed to talk about what was happening to him. He had just returned from a restaurant where he was seated at a table by himself drinking his tea after having finished his dinner.
Joe was sitting forward in his chair and intent upon something happening out the window and did not notice a man pass behind his table and take his jacket from the back of his chair. When he finished his tea, he stood up to get his jacket and found it missing. He reported this to the maitre d’ and was told that the man who turned it in had said no one was sitting at the table and he assumed that the party had left, so he turned in the jacket. Joe had had several such invisibility occurrences within the past three months and was quite disturbed over them. As I continue to get letters and phone calls, I realize that there is much more to be learned about this fascinating phenomenon.
For those readers who find human invisibility interesting, I want to recommend a little paperback book entitled, Invisibility by Steve Richards. This book goes into much greater detail about how the electrons absorb light and how you can create this cloud around yourself. Since I’ve not attempted to do this, I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it seems well researched and is most interesting.
By Donna Higbee, CHT, source: The Research and Writings of Donna Higbee