Bilocation, or sometimes multilocation, is an alleged psychic or miraculous ability wherein an individual or object is located (or appears to be located) in two distinct places at the same time.[1] Reports of bilocational phenomena have been made in a wide variety of historical and religious contexts, ranging from ancient Greek legends and Christian traditions to modern occultism.

In ancient GreeceEdit

The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras is said to have been capable of bilocation. According to Porphyry (writing several centuries after Pythagoras):

Almost unanimous is the report that on one and the same day he was present at Metapontum in Italy, and at Tauromenium in Sicily, in each place conversing with his friends, though the places are separated by many miles, both at sea and land, demanding many days' journey.[2][3]

A similar story is told of Apollonius of Tyana, who was supposedly present simultaneously in Smyrna and Ephesus.[4]

In religion and mysticismEdit

 
In 1774, Alphonsus Liguori claimed to have gone into a trance while preparing for Mass. When he came out of the trance he said that he had visited the bedside of the dying Pope Clement XIV.[5]

The concept of bilocation has been linked with shamanism,[6] Theosophy,[7] Islam (especially Sufism),[8] and Jewish mysticism.[9]

Hinduism and BuddhismEdit

It is also one of the siddhis of Hinduism and Buddhism.[10][11] Several prominent Hindu gurus, including Neem Karoli Baba,[12] Sri Yukteswar,[13] and Lahiri Mahasaya,[13] have been reported to have this ability.

ChristianityEdit

The history of Christianity contains many reports of miraculous bilocations. Among the earliest of these is the apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar. This is an alleged appearance of the Virgin Mary in Caesaraugusta, Spain, in the year 40 CE, at a time when she is believed to have been still alive and living in Jerusalem.[14]

Other Christian figures said to have experienced bilocation include Saint Drogo,[15] Anthony of Padua,[16] Francis of Paola,[17] Francis Xavier,[18] Martin de Porres,[19] María de Ágreda,[20][21] María de León Bello y Delgado,[citation needed] Alphonsus Liguori,[5] Gerard Majella,[22] and Pio of Pietrelcina.[23]

However, Catholic philosophers disagree as to whether a person can really be physically located in two places at once, or whether the bilocations of the saints only take the form of non-substantial apparitions.[24][25]

WitchcraftEdit

In the 17th century, persons accused of witchcraft were often reported to appear to their victims in visions, even if they were known to be elsewhere at the time. The trials at Bury St. Edmunds and Salem included this "spectral evidence" against defendants. Matthew Hopkins described the phenomenon in his book The Discovery of Witches.

New Religious MovementsEdit

The English occultist Aleister Crowley was reported by acquaintances to have the ability to bilocate, even though he said he was not conscious of its happening at the time.[26]

SkepticismEdit

Skeptical investigator Joe Nickell has written that there is no scientific evidence that bilocation is a real phenomenon and that cases are often from anecdotal reports that cannot be verified. Nickell listed self-delusion, hoaxing and illusion to explain alleged cases of bilocation.[27]

Cultural influenceEdit

Bilocation figures heavily in David Lynch's film Lost Highway (1997) and Thomas Pynchon's novel Against the Day (2006). Bilocation also plays a part in the Christopher Priest novel The Prestige. Additionally, the phenomenon is explored in an episode of The X-Files, "Fight Club", and several season two episodes of Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, including "Dead Ringer".

A mystical story that involved Soviet author Yevgeny Petrov served as inspiration for the film Envelope (2012), starring Kevin Spacey.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Guiley, Rosemary E. (2001). The Encyclopedia of Saints. Facts on File. p. 383. ISBN 0-8160-4133-4.
  2. ^ Porphyry. "The Life of Pythagoras (para. 27)". The Tertullian Project. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  3. ^ Riedweg, Christoph (2005). Pythagoras: His Life, Teaching and Influence. Translated by Rendall, Steven. Cornell University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-8014-4240-0.
  4. ^ Philostratus. "Life of Apollodorus (4.10)". Livius.org. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b Tannoja, Antonio (1855). The Life of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori. Baltimore: John Murphy & Co. pp. 370–371.
  6. ^ Znamenski, Andrei A. (2004). Shamanism: Critical Concepts in Sociology. New York: Routledge. pp. 248–249. ISBN 0-415-33248-6.
  7. ^ Olcott, Henry Steel (1895). Old Diary Leaves: The True Story of the Theosophical Society. G. P. Putnam's Sons. p. 388. ISBN 0-524-07951-X.
  8. ^ Smith, Grace Martin; Ernst, Carl W. (2011). Manifestations of Sainthood in Islam. Gorgias Press, LLC. pp. xvii. ISBN 978-1-61143-819-2.
  9. ^ Samuel, Gabriella (2007). The Kabbalah Handbook: A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism. Jeremy P. Tarcher. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-58542-560-0.
  10. ^ Comfort, Alex (1984). Reality and Empathy: Physics, Mind, and Science in the 21st Century. SUNY Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-87395-762-8.
  11. ^ McEvilley, Thomas (2002). The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies. Allworth Communications. pp. 102, 262. ISBN 1-58115-203-5.
  12. ^ Dass, Ram (1979) "Miracle of Love", Dutton edition, in English – 1st ed
  13. ^ a b Yogananda, Paramahansa (1997). Autobiography of a Yogi, 1997 Anniversary Edition. Self-Realization Fellowship (Founded by Yogananda) ISBN 0-87612-086-9.
  14. ^ Peterson, Larry (12 October 2017). "Did you know the 1st apparition of the Blessed Mother was an act of bilocation?". Aleteia.
  15. ^ O'Connell, Christian E. (16 April 2015). "Rediscovering Saint Drogo of Sebourg". Crisis Magazine.
  16. ^ Da Rieti, Ubaldus (1895). Life of St. Anthony of Padua. Boston: Angel Guardian Press. pp. 47–48.
  17. ^ Guiley 2001, p. 117
  18. ^ Bartoli, D.; Maffei, J. P. (1858). The Life of St. Francis Xavier. London: Thomas Jones. p. 336.
  19. ^ Guiley 2001, p. 228
  20. ^ Muller, Michael (1888). "The Catholic Dogma". TraditionalCatholic.net. Chapter V, Part II, §8. This holy virgin ... appeared, by way of bilocation, to the savages, not less than five hundred times, instructing them in all the truths of our holy religion.
  21. ^ Harris, W. R. (1919). Essays in Occultism, Spiritism and Demonology. B. Herder Book Co. p. 64.
  22. ^ Saint-Omer, Edward (1907). Life, Virtues, and Miracles of St. Gerard Majella. Boston: Mission Church. pp. 160–164.
  23. ^ Day, Malcolm (September 2002). "Blood brother: Padre Pio". Fortean Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-03.
  24. ^ Siegfried, Francis P. (1913). "Bilocation". Catholic Encyclopedia – via Wikisource.
  25. ^ Kelly, Brian (28 September 2010). "The Miracle of Bilocation (It Isn't a Problem) and Happy Feast Day Saint Michael". Catholicism.org.
  26. ^ Booth, Martin (2000) "A Magick Life: Biography of Aleister Crowley", Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, ISBN 0-340-71805-6
  27. ^ Nickell, Joe. (1993). Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures. Prometheus Books. pp. 216–218. ISBN 1-57392-680-9