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)
Shackleton, Presence, Third Man