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Metaphysics & Psychology

Did Shackleton have a guardian angel ?

March 8, 2015 | Comment icon 10 comments



Shackleton and his men didn't feel as though they were alone. Image Credit: PD
The feeling of an unseen presence during life-threatening situations is not as uncommon as it sounds.
The tale of Ernest Shackleton's doomed Antarctic expedition and his subsequent trek across the freezing wilds in an effort to find help for his stranded crew is well known, but what isn't as well documented is the fact that he and the two other men who were with him encountered the uncanny feeling of an unseen presence accompanying them as they trekked across the mountains.

They later described it as like having a fourth man alongside them, an invisible companion who joined them on the trip.

The presence seemed to stay with the men until they'd reached the whaling station at which point it disappeared. Disturbed by the experience, Shackleton later vowed never to speak of it again.
Despite the unusual nature of what the men described the feeling of a presence is actually not that unusual during certain life-threatening situations. Author John Geiger recently wrote about the phenomenon, which he refers to as the "third man", in a new book detailing dozens of similar experiences from people who have found themselves alone in the wilds or in severe danger.

While many dismiss the phenomenon as a hallucinatory defence mechanism, there are other examples such as sleep paralysis in which the feeling of a presence isn't quite so benevolent.

It's possible that the same feeling Shackleton and his men experienced could also account for tales of guardian angels, spirits or other paranormal presences reported over the centuries.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Ryu 7 years ago
I guess if I was walking in the bitter cold, enduring life-threatening conditions then it may be possible that my brain would start to create all sorts of hallucinations. Maybe, in some manner, it is the brains way way to stave off loneliness in such a dreary environment.
Comment icon #2 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
On 20 May 1916, Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley, and Tom Crean reached Stromness, a whaling station on the north coast of South Georgia. They had been walking for 36 hours, in life-threatening conditions, in an attempt to reach help for the rest of their party. They did not talk about it at the time, but weeks later all three men reported an uncanny experience during their trek: a feeling that “often there were four, not three” men on their journey. http://www.theguardi...-felt-presences My FAVOURITE tales are those of Shackleton...I mean just his journey and of course the 'other man' is icin... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Professor T 7 years ago
strange "presences" by perception and definition are something one senses as an external entity.. Just saying... Hallucination is not the only possibility.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Ryu 7 years ago
strange "presences" by perception and definition are something one senses as an external entity.. Just saying... Hallucination is not the only possibility. But it IS the most plausible and likely. There are plenty of sensations the body can produce making it seem like the stimulus is from the outside when it actually originates inside. The body does odd things when stressed.
Comment icon #5 Posted by spud the mackem 7 years ago
When you have been in a life threatening situation and a "presence" helps you out of danger you will believe . You'll never walk alone, if you believe. I believe.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Professor T 7 years ago
But it IS the most plausible and likely. There are plenty of sensations the body can produce making it seem like the stimulus is from the outside when it actually originates inside. The body does odd things when stressed. Perhaps.. In your paradigm, yes.. These kind of presences are perceptual, and as such the paradigm of the perceiver is the unit of measure.. A chemist, a scientist, a psychologist and a metaphysisist will possibly perceive the presence differently.. It can also be argued that without the stresses of physical and emotional hardship and life threatening situations one can't rec... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by spud the mackem 7 years ago
Perhaps.. In your paradigm, yes.. These kind of presences are perceptual, and as such the paradigm of the perceiver is the unit of measure.. A chemist, a scientist, a psychologist and a metaphysisist will possibly perceive the presence differently.. It can also be argued that without the stresses of physical and emotional hardship and life threatening situations one can't receive that kind of help. Spud the Mackem nailed it.. Tks Prof T. There are several times that I have been in life threatening danger and I cannot explain how it seemed that someone/thing was telling me what to do next to av... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by White Crane Feather 7 years ago
Maybe somone can actually sense the presence of somone/thing that's actually there.
Comment icon #9 Posted by back to earth 7 years ago
If you read a detailed account of what transpired during that expedition, it is nothing short of miraculous ! Amazing coincidences and good fortune, following the bad that is. Another' presence' isnt that unusual ... even Jung had his 'spirit companion' or 'daemon' . http://www.philipcoppens.com/jung.html
Comment icon #10 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
Check this then, a womans voice calls for help which alerts the cops... (but shes been dead awhile http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=278968


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