‘”Get up there’s someone in the house” a voice said, confusion followed as I tried to distinguish if I was dreaming or awake. “Get up there’s someone in the house”. I was awake. Immediately I listened for something. Nothing. I felt tired and irritated I had scared myself awake with a dream. It was 4 am I had to be up in two hours. I flopped back in bed, limbs landing back into the nice warm patches. I put the duvet over my head to try and block out the imprint of the red digital alarm clock, even though the image of the time, now in green, was actually burnt into the back of my eyelids.
“Get up there’s someone in the house”. Who was saying that? It kept saying the same thing, clearly and calmly. I knew for certain at this point, it wasn’t me and I wasn’t dreaming. My heart began to beat outside of itself. It was so deafening I couldn’t hear anything else. Maybe I had better get out of bed and check this out. I crept across the bedroom floor to avoid creaking the floor boards and headed for the closed door. Bare foot across the carpet, tiptoeing as quietly as possible. I reached out for the door handle and pulled the door slowly open as to avoid the sound the carpet made as it caught the underneath of the door. I listened. I heard the creaking of floorboards in the living room. My heart felt like it had stopped. My breath stopped. The urge to swallow loudly increased. “Shit! There IS someone in the house” I said.
This was one of my Exceptional Experiences (EE). I was 19 years old, living with my mother and younger sister. I had awoken in the middle of a burglary-in-progress. I recall it was difficult to dial the police from my mother’s bedroom phone because my adrenaline had kicked in and my hands and legs where moving uncontrollably. I also recall our Jack Russell, who would normally go off like a rocket for urban foxes sniffing around our bin, but who now stood quietly at the top of the stairs watching ‘someone’ undo our snip, bolt and chain on our front door to make good their escape. Two police cars screeched to a halt outside the house, just moments after they made a run for it. The burglar must have only just broken in when I was alerted and managed to leave the unfilled swag bag behind.
I did go on to share this EE with friends and people I met along the way. Some believed my experience was ‘God‘ or my ‘Guardian Angel‘ looking out for me. Others were more logical and told me it was my ‘unconscious‘ letting me know I was in danger. Some shared with me similar experiences they had been through. Of course some people think I am bonkers when I talk about this experience and I can often see eyes glaze over as they go elsewhere. For me, this EE transformed my view of ‘reality’ as now I ‘knew’ I was connected to something bigger than me. This is the moment when an EE becomes an Exceptional Human Experience (EHE), it has a transformational quality.
I am currently doing a research project for my level 5 counselling diploma on Exceptional Human Experiences by writing an EHE autobiography and I will be presenting it briefly to fellow counsellors in May or Jun 19. Alongside my experiences I am interested exploring other people’s ‘autobiographies’ too. Reading about other people’s experiences helps us understand our own and it may help us realise we have had more than we realise. It may even reveal a common thread. For many reasons, particularly in the western world, we don’t talk about these experiences. Some people dismiss EEs through fear, whilst some people write them off as oddities, impossibilities or find the person recollecting their as experience as ‘questionable’ as what they are hearing doesn’t sit well with their logic. Some people are diagnosed mentally ill or deluded.
If you are interested, I have designed a survey with 5 questions to help with your autobiography. You may not be able to answer all of them as they may not all be applicable. It may take you some time to complete, so its not a one-sitting-kinda-survey. Perhaps you could take the relevant questions to a separate word document for a while. You can ask to remain anonymous or perhaps give me a coded name that I could use if I should discuss any of your experiences or publish any of your experiences in my research. Thank you in advance for your help.
Rhea White explored over 150 EHE’s using other peoples research, and then categorised them into five broad categories: