JUNG’S PARANORMAL ENCOUNTERS: Why did strange events follow him?

Oct 26, 2023


Art Credit: Jano Tantongco jano.tantongco@gmail.com


If we lean into strange experiences with gentle curiosity, we may discover a level of psyche that acts directly on objects.

Many of us have uncanny coincidences like thinking of a friend at the exact moment they ring us on the phone, but what about physical things breaking apart for no reason or luminous apparitions at our bedside? We often explain them away to reduce our anxiety, but Jung found them fascinating. He maintained a scientific attitude while accepting strange phenomena he could not explain. Eventually, he created a psychology of radical acceptance that creates space for the unexpected, including each person’s unique soul.

Prepare to discover where Jung’s interest in the paranormal came from, what strange psychic events changed his relationship with Freud, how Jung used a séance to complete his university degree, which strange spiritual experiences changed Lisa and Joe’s beliefs, whether the collective unconscious plays a part in extra-sensory abilities and even more…


“I’m gathered with friends and family in an outdoor setting at our cottage. Accompanying us is a handsome fellow with long hair and his sister, whom I hope to flirt with. We’re preparing food for what seems like some festive celebration. My Aunt asks me to pass the cake for preparation, to which I sigh and reluctantly bring it to her. I can’t help but feel that I’m being selfish, but the truth is I can’t wait to get out of there. After bringing the cake, I decided to leave. As I pass through the community of cottages near the lake, I pass a pack of dogs that are somewhat hyena/dog in appearance, but they’re clearly domesticated, and I have no trouble. I go to my bed, lie down, and fall asleep. I open my eyes (unaware I’m still dreaming), and it’s night, but I can still see clearly under a full moon. In front of me, I see a bed just above the shoreline facing the lake with the dismembered body of the girl who attended the party. The white sheets splattered with blood, and only an arm and leg remain. Instantly, I feel a rush; electric fear, terror, and shame wash over my body like a tsunami as I feel I’ve done this to her. I wake up (unaware I am still in the dream) holding my dog curled up in a ball on the bed, which is comforting. Then I actually wake.” [Note: 2 years ago, in the same month, I had a similar dream of finding bones dug up at our lake with all the same emotions experienced.]


Dream School provides a gently paced program with live interactive webinars, an uplifting online community, thought-provoking audio modules, and guided journaling to deepen your experience. Lisa, Deb, and Joe crafted the program with you in mind and companion you through the process. “Step-by-step, we’ll teach you how to interpret your dreams.” Join the revolution of consciousness! Join Dream School and Transform Your Sleep into the Greatest Adventure of Your Life: CLICK HERE


Hey folks — We need your help. Please BECOME OUR PATRON and keep This Jungian Life podcast up and running!!










  1. Jamie Duncan

    oh my, what an amazing episode! I want to share a non-rational experience.

    For context, I was raised Southern Baptist, but leaned into interest in mysticism at a young age. My focus in undergrad was literature with a focus on creative writing, but I took a lot of religious studies classes, including a series on Joseph Campbell and Jung, Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal Workshop, and a seminar that allowed us to choose an area of study and the professor provided Jung’s writings on the subject (I chose the occult and UFOs). I was still very skeptical, searching a logical/rational approach to everything, and I started practicing Zen mindfulness meditation in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh, and joined a local meditation group led by someone who had been ordained at Plum Village.

    Over the years, I had several experiences (such as a dream about 9/11 a week before it happened), but I have had a series related to my spiritual practice that I want to share. First, in 2010, I took a group of religious studies students to visit our meditation group, where I had been practicing for a few years. I had an experience of heat (that I saw internally as red) building in my pelvic area and slowly rising up my spine, settling in my head around my crown, and then dissipating out the top of my head. It was so intense that I wanted to get up in the middle of our meditation and run out of the room, but I knew it was psychic energy, and I endured the experience and observed.

    I kept this to myself for years, until I met my second wife, a yoga teacher, who explained to me it was kundalini energy. I completed a masters degree in Religious Studies in 2015, with a focus on gnosticism, Christian mysticism, and the other hermetic and other texts to come out of Alexandria and the area around 2000 years ago. In 2017, just before my daughter was born, I found myself in a crisis, understanding that I had hidden things from myself and started to trust my intuition and discovered quickly after that my wife had had an affair over the previous two years. Our marriage fell apart, and I pushed myself into tools I thought would help me: I found a Jungian therapist and started practicing yoga and meditation, and reading Tarot cards on a regular basis, to heal and reconnect to my depth.

    I met my current wife in 2020 and she introduced me to The Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras and our conversations became our mutual spiritual journey.

    In 2022, I felt torn. My daily mindfulness work was getting boring, and seemed to have no depth. I was entranced by Vedic literature, the chanting and singing in the practices, and bothered by the fact that the mindfulness movement provided no context for the experience I had had with kundalini energy.

    In October 2022, just over a year ago, I had the experience. At that time, I lived separately from my current wife, who was then my fiancee. It was a Saturday morning, and my children, who stay with me on the weekends, were upstairs playing in their room. I had just completed my morning yoga, a hatha flow, and then sat on my meditation pillow to meditate. I had been practicing something new in meditation, intuitively calling to my higher Self to answer to me in some form to give me guidance, because I felt confused and unmoored. I do so this morning, and ended by bowing forward in prayer and supplication, and then raised myself and opened my eyes while breathing out slowly. Before me stood the Buddha, a tall Indian man with bare chest and loops of beads around his neck and arms. He wore a flowing robe over his shoulders and about his waist. His hair was long and piled on top of his head in a cone shape. His face was clean and smooth, his eyes were slightly open in the relaxed liminal gaze, and a slight smile touched the right side of his lips. His hands were held up in a mudra. Most importantly to me at this point was the fact that he appeared to be a shimmering, scintillating rainbow, as if the figure were made of vertical panels of stained glass, each about an inch wide, together making this whole image. I stared agape until the image faded. (Honestly, he looked just like Adiyogi-Shiva as the bringer of yoga).

    I immediately searched everything I could think of to explain what had happened, and all I found was that the mudra was a Buddhist hand gesture of transference of wisdom, from teacher to student.

    Over this last year, I have journaled about the experience many times, and saw it, tentatively, as a way of bridging my interest in Buddhism and Vedanta, understanding that Buddha was a Brahman; but this was not satisfactory. My reading became more focused, and I read “The Gnostic Jung”, Jung’s collected essays in “The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga”, and I started reading “The Red Book.” I also purchased Machiel Klerk’s “Dream Guidance” after your interview with him on the podcast, and all of my practices began to converge on rituals to ask my higher Self to guide me. I then had a series of dreams where my Self, as a double, appeared in my dreams, and then I found a Tricycle: Buddhist Review article on “dark meditation”, which sounded more like depth work than anything I had ever read in Buddhism.

    This article, written by Lama Justin von Bujdoss, introduced me to Vajrayana Buddhism, a form of Buddhism that originated among magicians on the edge of society in India, solitary practitioners who operated in opposition to the ethics- and practice- centered temples, offering what would become known as tantric practices that included chanting, magic, and guru- and deity-worship. I found a Tricycle Talks interview with Ken McLeod about his new book “The Magic of Vajrayana”, and realized I had listened to him before and scoffed at it; now I was overwhelmed by how his descriptions matched my experiences. I looked for a local teacher and was brought to tears when I found that Lama Justin von Bujdoss, the author of the “dark meditation” article, was leading a Vajrayana retreat in my state, at the same retreat center I have frequented over the years; further, he is a chaplain and manages a chaplaincy group, a career I have strongly considered shifting to as a late-career shift into retirement.

    Lastly, I found Vajrayana chants and meditations among the resources I already use, and I started reading the McLeod book, all to shift my practice in preparing for the greatest impact when I attend the retreat this December. I have been dumbfounded by the repeated description of gurus and deities in Vajrayana practice who each display the gestures and tools that identify them, but ALL are described as wearing scintillating robes, all the colors of the rainbow, just as I had envisioned.

    In “Psychology of Kundalini”, Jung says he had patients experiencing symptoms he could not explain until he understood kundalini; but he also says the Western world is essentially Christian, and we cannot seek meaningful religious experiences from an alien culture. I used to hold this as truth all through my study of world religions, and sought a mystical experience within that Christian framework. However, these images and experiences have taken me over without my foresight or desire, and my view of reality has been rattled, as if I am being warned not to ignore the path laid before me. And finding Western teachers of Vajrayana who understand depth work seems all the more relevant to my spiritual path. I find myself still looking at the guru- and deity-worship as speaking to aspects of my unconscious, the archetypal energies, and, ultimately, my ordering principle, the Self, and it does not change the practice.

    However, I’m perpetually struck when reading descriptions of experience that match the experiences I had before gaining the context to understand them, and that is what I wanted to share today.

    I apologize for the long message, but thank you for the opportunity to share. I love your podcast and it has helped me understand so much about what I have been exploring these last few years. I am indebted to the work you do!

    • Mamie Allegretti

      Hi Jamie,
      Have you listened to Swami Sarvapriyananda’s lectures? He’s an Advaitan (Vedanta) monk who is the resident swami at the Vedanta Society of New York. He gives fascinating talks on Vedanta. He’s a lively speaker as well.

  2. Mamie Allegretti

    Hello Lisa and Joseph,
    A fun episode. I love this topic. I have a story. I was about 22 years old. My grandfather had just died right before Thanksgiving in 1990. I was living in the same house as my grandfather – a 2 family house. I lived upstairs and he lived downstairs. All of his things were still in the downstairs apartment. One day around Christmastime that same year, I went downstairs to his bedroom. I knew he had a lot of Christmas music and I was looking for some of his cassettes. In his bedroom, I said OUT LOUD to him, “Grandpa, I’m just looking for some Christmas music.” At that moment, a music box which was across the room began to play!!! Well, I was so shocked that I just ran out of there like a bat out of hell!!! Later I told my mother what had happened. She was never one to go in for a lot of “woo woo” so I wondered how she would react to my experience. I even debated not telling her because I was afraid her reaction might spoil my thought that it really was my grandfather there with me. To my surprise she just said, “Well, your grandfather loved you very much.” Another “spooky” incident…My mother-in-law died in her house about 3 years ago. The whole family sat with her for about a week before she died. I think it was the day after she died, my sister-in-law was looking for a photo of a family member. She looked all around the entire house but couldn’t find it. As I watched her running all around looking for this picture, I just had this intuition that the photo was in a certain place. Unfortunately I didn’t listen to myself and look there. However, later on my sister-in-law found the photo in the exact place I had intuited. Well, that was a real lesson for me NOT to ever ignore a gut feeling. Was my mother-in-law trying to tell me where the photo was? Perhaps so! My other sister-in-law has worked for hospice and she has many many stories to tell, too. I totally agree with you Joseph that being open to these incidents truly enchants the world. And why not be enchanted? And who knows what they are but I tend to think that, just as in dreams, it’s often the FEELING tone of these incidents that can guide you in making meaning of them. Thank you again for your work.

    • Zechariah Thompson

      Hi! This episode was my first listen of “this jungian life”, and loved the concept of how the unconscious could play a part in extra-sensory abilities resulting in these strange paranormal like occurrences. To reiterate what Lisa said in the podcast, I too like to keep an air of mystery in my perspective of the world. I resonated with the stories of strange kinetic instances. Throughout my life I’ve had small events that have happened without explanation, like my bedroom door locking from the inside with no one in the room, doors closing, and floors creaking from above. However, two stories in particular stand out to me from the rest that aren’t so small.

      1. I was in my early twenties living in a two bedroom apartment in and older brick four unit building. It was a normal Saturday day and it was midday. My roommate and I were talking in our small kitchen that was adjacent to our living room, when an abrupt shattering filled the room and instantly silenced us. We didn’t know what happened exactly, but our ceiling light fixture was missing and thousands of glass shards were scattered. Our light was a standard simple glass dome covering two bulbs. The energy in the room was eerie, my roommate and I looked at each other nervous, scared almost despite the bright sun coming through the windows. To do this day I don’t know how it broke. I even looked outside to see if there were kids outside with a bb gun to find some sort of explanation. The way the tiny shards were laid everywhere, it was as if the glass broke or even exploded at the ceiling first and then fell.

      2. It was a late summer night, might have even been past midnight. I was a teenager hanging out with my coworkers after the ice cream shop we worked at had closed hours before. That summer we spent many of our nights driving aimlessly in the Pocono mountains. On this particular night we decided to visit a cemetery. This cemetery had a back story of being the resting place of a mass burial from a plague that had hit a nearby insane asylum. The cemetery was a rectangle in formation with an abnormal set up. It was about 200 feet by 100 feet, flat, and set about one mile into the woods with one entrance at the end of a dirt road. It had one rather imposing twenty or so foot white cross set at the center edge with smaller white crosses lining the perimeter of the grass before the woods started on any side. If you stood in the middle and spun around, the crosses would be facing and surrounding you. I drove my car with two friends up that dirt road. We drove straight through, parking in the center of the opening with our backs toward the entrance about 100 feet in. I distinctly remember telling my friends that I’m leaving the door open, the car on, and the headlights lit in case I need to get out of there. We start walking around for a few minutes and my friend says that we should turn the lights off because the high beams are going through the trees and the local campus police on the other side of the woods might see. I concede and turn the lights off. We start walking again and suddenly I jolt my body completely around in response to a blood curdling scream. My body is shaking as I see my car driving in reverse at an eerily fast speed, turn 90 degrees, with the back of the car running over a few of the smaller white crosses, before coming to an abrupt stop that yielded in the front door slamming shut. After a few minutes of gathering ourselves and deciding what to do, we had no choice but to retrieve the car and leave. I get to the car and nothing was in the car. We quickly realized that the front of the car was directly in front of the exit and we only had to turn right to leave. I still don’t understand how the car went from park to reverse as that car specifically was a car that when put into reverse the car automatically started to drive and you would have to control the breaks to stop it. The car was stopped on a flat ground for several minutes as we were walking, so there is no understanding in my mind that the car wasn’t in park. The next day as we gained our confidence and curiosity overwhelmed us we went back to the cemetery during daylight. We walked around reading the crosses, some of them eerily named, one even saying “unborn baby.” We saw the tire marks and the crosses that were ran over and we did our best to stand them upright. One cross read Zimmerman, which stuck with me. Fast forward a few months later into Fall. I was at my grandmother’s house and she has this notorious trunk full of pictures from generations and generations before. I was rifling through and found some old photos of a family. Each photo had a marking of a name and a date. I flipped this photo over and the back was blank. I said to my grandmother, who are these people? She responded, oh those are old relatives of ours, the Zimmerman’s.

  3. michael Blankschen

    Hi As usual loved the show- my story: I was celebrating the end of a training program devoted to reconstelating the archetype of the Healer in psychotherapy and a group of us gathered on a member’s roof top to continue to talk- as we were sitting in a circle talking of our experiences a gold flash went off soundlessly about 10 feet above our heads- we jumped up and ran ro the edge to see what had happened and there were 2 men looking up at us asking what we had done- no building nearby that anything could have come from

  4. Mamie Allegretti

    Hello again,
    I just remembered that you can see a picture of Jung’s knife that broke into 4 pieces on page 181 of Jung’s Letters, Volume 1. He’s reflecting on this incident in a letter to J.B. Rhine who conducted ESP experiments in the 60s. I think the story of Jung and Freud and the bang from the bookcase is perhaps my most favorite story about Jung. I just sit and imagine the look on Freud’s face and how that incident must have put a crack in his worldview at the very least!!! I imagine the huge kick that Jung must have got out of it. 🙂 I’d also add to Joseph’s point (I think in the synchronicity section of the podcast) that idealist philosopher Bernardo Kastrup, in his book Decoding Jung’s Metaphysics, cites particularly interesting passages in the CW where Jung posits that the the material world arises from the psychic and not that the psyche or mind is an epiphenomena of brain function. See Kastrup pages 75-79. I agree with Kastrup that it’s unfortunate that Jung didn’t elaborate on this further. Anyway, thank you again!

  5. Nancy Joan Hess

    Love this episode. Two events I will share:

    The first took place at age 24. I had a dream about a tiger approaching me. I was on the other side of a screen. As the tiger lurched towards me, I woke up, terrified, and at the exact same time, the screen in my bedroom window completely popped out and fell to the ground.

    The second event took place a few years later. (This event is similar to Lisa’s) I woke up in the middle of the night to find a woman (I can describe her in detail) circling my bed. I knew it was a ghost. I could not move. She leaned over me, her head came close to my face. Then she quietly turned around and left the room.

  6. Adriana Bobadilla

    I love the show and this episode was amazing. I have listened to some parts over and over again! Thank you for the amazing work you do.
    I want to tell a story.
    My cousin passed very unexpectedly in 2021. He was found on his bed in the morning. My sister, who is a Jungian analyst, was very close to him. We were all like siblings more than just cousins, but especially my sister and he shared a deep connection. The night after he died, my sister and her husband were sleeping. Suddenly, they both were woken by knocking on the door of her bathroom which opens to the backyard. They both went to see who it was. The door is made of glass. They turned the light on and there was no one on the other side. They went back to bed thinking it had been some noise outside that they heard. Then the knocking came back. They went to the door again, turned the lights on. Nothing. No one was there. They were about to go back to bed when they hear the knocking again. Coming from the door. No one was outside. But there was knocking on the door as they were standing looking at the outside of the door. My sister went to the door, opened it, and said “please come in.” Then waited for a little while, closed it, went back to bed. No more knocking.

    • Mamie Allegretti

      Hi Adriana,
      That is a very common experience – that after a death there is knocking at a door. Doors and windows seem to be experienced after a death. I had a cat that died. Soon thereafter I dreamed that he was outside my living room window looking in at me. I had the FEELING that he wanted to come into the house.

  7. Mamie Allegretti

    On page 64 of Marie Louise von Franz’s book On Dreams and Death there is a dream by an old woman:
    “She sees a candle lit on the window sill of the hospital room and finds the candle suddenly goes out. Fear and anxiety ensue as the darkness envelops her. Suddenly, the candle lights on the other side of the window and she awakens.” She then dies at peace. On page 63 there is another dream involving a revolving door. Doors and windows represent thresholds between dimensions. By the way, On Dreams and Death is a great book. Very interesting. 🙂

  8. Erin

    Loved this ep! Fascinated by the idea that tumultuous or stressful periods in life can produce these inexplicable external phenomena. Like a previous commenter, I too anticipated 9/11 but not from a dream, but rather a dreadful, anxious energy that consumed me for the weeks preceding that something horrible was going to happen and a lot of people were going to be hurt. I was convinced that my family was going to die in a tragedy (I was in third grade).

    My junior and senior year of high school were very melancholy and marked by stress at home. I fantasized about “running away” and anxiously awaited graduation and college. One day while standing in front of my mirror, sending little prayers into space that good things were coming soon, the wind-up music box on top of my tv began to spin and play music! I had not touched it in years.

    In the days before my wedding, I opened the door from inside the house to the garage to make sure the larger garage doors were closed before heading to bed. I hesitated hitting the garage door button, because as I peered out into the night I saw someone standing in the driveway. My instinct was it was my fiancé or father finishing up something and I should leave the door open. As I focused, I realized it was a woman in skirts, but she was opaly and sheer, and her white dress looked very old. I thought immediately this was the “sad pond lady” the neighbor’s sensitive daughter used to talk about who wandered around the community pond in her wedding dress. Terrified at how clearly I saw her, I slammed the garage door button, slammed the man door, dead bolted it, and sprinted upstairs breathless.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *