The Research and Writings of Donna Higbee
Donna Higbee, CHT
In the summer of 1994, I became aware of a very strange
phenomenon, human spontaneous involuntary invisibility, which was apparently
happening to people in the U.S. When I checked with other researchers and
discovered that a number of them had also heard of such cases, I decided to
place an inquiry letter in several well-known journals, asking other
researchers and the general public if they had any experiences of this nature
that they would like to share with me. Besides the publication of my inquiry
letter, my inquiry was placed on several of the Internet bulletin boards. The
letters began pouring in, giving me a broader picture of this phenomenon. I
want to share a few stories with you and pass on some of the information I have
come across during this past year.
My inquiry letter told the story of Vera in Ventura,
California, who tried to get assistance in a post office, only to be completely
ignored by other customers and the postal clerk. I have kept in touch with Vera
and she has had other apparent invisibility experiences in stores and other
public places. Sheila in Roanoke, Texas, continues to have invisibility
experiences, some of which have occurred in restaurants and at the
airport. Glenda in Fort Worth, Texas,
has had these experiences occur in a cafeteria and a movie theater. Most of the cases that I have researched have
been in the U.S., although I do know of cases in England, Europe, Australia,
Puerto Rico and Brazil.
In every case I have heard about or personally researched,
the person is physically still present, although unable to be seen or heard.
From the point of view of the invisible person, the world looks normal and they
have no idea that they cannot be seen or heard by people around them. I will address how this might occur a little
further along in this article, but first I want to give a few examples below.
The quotes are directly from experiencers’ letters to me.
Jean in Tucson, Arizona, wrote me of her experiences. She has had them occur in the library when
she attempted to check out books and in clothing stores. The following is a quote from her letter,
showing the humor with which she deals with these occurrences. “I’ve had
this happen in stores, in restaurants, and many places. I remember joking to a friend of mine one time
that I felt like I could walk into a bank, help myself to a pile of bills and
no one would ever see me because I was invisible. There is no physical reason why I should
be. I’m taller than average for my sex
and age group (I’m fifty-five years old and 5’9″), referred to as
good-looking, and I’ve always worn my hair red.
You wouldn’t think a tall woman with red hair, high heels in a purple
dress and dangle earrings would be invisible, would you?”
Or the story from a thirty-seven year old man, Peter in
Gloucestershire, England, who was at a private party in 1987. He walked upstairs to use the bathroom and
was followed by a woman who also wanted to use the bathroom. The woman motioned for him to go first and
she stood outside the door to wait her turn.
Peter used the bathroom, opened the door and walked out into the
hallway, closing the door behind him. He
went on down the stairs and walked over to some friends and started talking to
them. They all ignored him
completely. He though they were playing
a joke on him, so he walked away and found his girlfriend and asked her for a
cigarette. She, too, acted like she
didn’t see or hear him. Peter was
getting angry by this time and thought the joke had gone too far. He decided to walk back upstairs and catch
the woman coming out of the bathroom and ask her for a cigarette. “…I walked back up the stairs and, on
reaching the bathroom landing, I came across the girl again who was standing
outside the bathroom door, clearly still waiting for me to come out. When she saw me, her face dropped in surprise
for clearly she thought that I was still in the bathroom.” Peter returned to the party downstairs and
everything was normal again and he was able to be seen and heard. When he questioned his friends and girlfriend
as to why they had ignored him, they all swore that they had never seen or
heard him. Obviously the woman upstairs had not seen him come out of the
bathroom and go downstairs.
Then there is the case of Melanie in Ventura, California,
who became invisible while sitting on her own livingroom sofa and staring at
the wall, lost in her own thoughts. Her
husband was walking around the house looking for her but could not see her
sitting there, only several feet away from where he was walking. This lasted for approximately ten minutes,
then she was suddenly visible again. Her
husband was quite upset with her and thought she had been hiding from him. She assured him that she had been sitting
there all along, but to this day, he does not believe her.
Or, how about Jannise in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who has had
a number of invisibility experiences throughout her life. The one reported here
lasted longer than usual. As a teenager,
she fell in with a group of friends who decided to see if they could actually
steal something from a department store and not get caught. As luck would have it, the entire group was
caught and taken into custody, including Jannise. They were taken to the police station and one
by one were questioned; all, that is, except Jannise. Although she was standing right there, no one
paid the slightest attention to her; not the police, the guards, or the office
personnel. She finally just got up and
walked out of the police station without ever being questioned or anyone
attempting to stop her. When she later
talked with her friends about what happened in the police station,
“…they didn’t even recall me being taken into custody at the department
store. Yet I rode in the police car with
everyone else, and they thought I was still at the store.” No one had seen her from the moment the
police had arrived on the scene in the store until some time after she had
walked out of the police station unhindered.
What actually is happening?
Why is this occurring? We don’t
have answers for these questions yet.
But in trying to learn more about invisibility, I came across some
information which I want to share with you.
Human invisibility has been written about for
centuries. Indo-European and pre-Aryan
shamanistic beliefs accompanied the peoples who eventually migrated into the
Indus Valley (approx. 2,500-1,500 B.C.E.).
Here, men and women of great spiritual attainment, superior knowledge,
and extraordinary powers came to be called rishis. The Vedas, which form the basis of Hinduism,
emanated from the teachings of the rishis, starting around 1,000 B.C.E. In these texts, we find descriptions of the
rituals and techniques of the Hindu priests, sounding very much like the
magical and shamanistic abilities of the old sorcerers, magicians and shamans. Later in Hinduism, around 700-300 B.C.E., we
find the secret doctrines, called the Upanishads, which were written for
students. Within the Upanishads, there
is a section called the Yogatattva, which gives the rich mystical philosophy of
the discipline and theory of practice for attaining knowledge of the essence of
God. A serious student of raja yoga was
taught that certain supernormal powers, called siddhas, were a natural outcome
of gaining mastery over one’s mind and environ-ment, and were used as valuable
indications of the student’s spiritual progress. One of these yogic siddhas was human
invisibility. Patanjali, author of the
Yoga-sutra, which is one of the earliest treatises among the early Indian
writings, attempts to describe the process whereby human invisibility
occurred. He says that concen-tration
and meditation can make the body imperceptible to other men, and “a direct
contact with the light of the eyes no longer existing, the body disappears.” The light engendered in the eye of the
observer no longer comes into contact with the body that has become invisible,
and the observer sees nothing at all. There is not a lot written about how this
occurs; the explanation of the process whereby invisibility was brought into
being was most likely left up to the teacher to impart to the student directly.
We move ahead in time and find that from the thirteenth
century on, numerous texts in Europe refer to similar abilities, performed by
sorcerers and magicians who had the power to make themselves invisible, like
the shamans (both ancient and modern), and the yoga masters in India. Some other cultures in which shamanism (and
the ability to vanish) has played a major role are the Aborigines of Australia,
the archaic peoples of North and South America, and the peoples in the polar
Next we look at Rosicrucianism, which started in Europe in
the fifteenth century. Among the papers
of that time, there are a number of them that talk about invisibility. A brother in the Rosicrucian fraternity wrote
a paper on how to walk invisible among men, and there is evidence that this was
being taught in those early days. H.
Spencer Lewis, the founder of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis in
San Jose, California, stated that one can gain invisibility with the use of
‘clouds’. He says that clouds or bodies
of mist can be called out of the invisible to surround a person and thus shut
him out of the sight of others. According
to Lewis, this secret practice is still taught in the mystical schools of
today. The written literature on this
subject supports the statement that the cloud is the basis of the Rosicrucian
Interestingly, a man named John Macky, who was an early
Masonic leader (the early Masons were believed to be an offshoot of the
Rosicrucians) taught a method whereby any man could render himself
invisible. Another offshoot of the
Rosicrucian fraternity, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, left manuscripts
describing the ‘Ritual of Invisibility’.
These manuscripts talk about surrounding yourself with a shroud, which
is described as looking like ‘a cloud’.
It is said that Madame Blavatsky, of the Theosophical Society, witnessed
this invisibility for herself and was actually given the secret, thereafter
accomplishing this for herself on several occasions in front of witnesses. The literature on the Spiritualists in the
U.S. shows that there is no doubt they, too, knew about the cloud and its
So, just what is this cloud? We are looking for something
that is between empty space and actual physical matter, something unseen by the
naked eye but very much in existence.
The Rosicrucian Manual tells us that “the first form into which spirit
essence concentrates preparatory to material manifestation” is electrons. When spiritual essence gathers into very
minute focal points of electrical charge (due to certain conditions), we have
the creation of electrons. Science
reports that such a cloud of free electrons will absorb all light entering it;
it will not reflect nor refract light waves, nor are light waves able to pass
through a human being. Consequently the observer’s eye sees nothing there and
the person surrounded by such a cloud is invisible. Since light is necessary for human sight,
when there are no reflected or refracted light waves bouncing off a person and
hitting the observer’s retina, the person is not able to be seen and is not
visible under normal circumstances.
How is this cloud created intentionally? That is difficult to say. There are references to and descriptions of
invisibility and its creation in the writings of secret societies, but most people
don’t have access to these writings. One could go to India and become an
apprentice or student of an Indian guru or teacher to learn these techniques,
but that probably is not practical in modern life. To the everyday person, the knowledge of how
invisibility works is a mystery.
With this being the case, just how are people having
experiences of spontaneous involuntary invisibility? I wish I had the answers, but we are still in
the midst of our research. If indeed
they are forming the light-absorbing, free-electron cloud around themselves,
they are doing it unknowingly and without knowledge of the method. Since some kind of focused mental thought
process must be employed to make the cloud form around oneself, then it might
be that these people are doing this unconsciously.
At the start of my research, I was interested to see if
there was a correlation between human invisibility and people who report having
experiences with non-human entities. It
is known that invisibility is one of the components making up the abduction
phenomenon. The first several people who
came to me with invisibility experiences were abductees, and I hoped to show a
link between abduction and human invisibility.
But as I continued to get letters from people having experienced
invisibility, I could see no direct link between the two. It seems that just as many non-abductees are
having these experiences as are abductees.
There is the possibility that those reporting to be non-abductees simply
haven’t remembered their experiences and are, indeed, actually abductees. If this is the case, it will be difficult to
give accurate findings. At this point, I
am simply calling for more data and hoping that some patterns become obvious.
I find it interesting that the people having these
invisibility experiences seem to be people with higher than average psychic
abilities. Possibly they are able to
traverse other dimensions and command natural forces, knowingly or
unknowingly. Researchers of the
paranormal are having a field day as people are reporting experiences with what
they term ghosts, angels, extraterrestrials, and interdimensional beings.
Spontaneous involuntary invisibility is just another mystery to add to the lot.
In our culture, we have sayings such as “she looked
right through me,” “they acted like I wasn’t even there,”
etc. There are several reasons why
someone might use that kind of phraseology.
There has been the supposition that minorities, and to some extent
women, are somehow less in our society.
Thankfully, this attitude has been undergoing a change in recent
years. But a person who falls into a
category that society has traditionally considered less in importance might
take on the sterotyped role and believe it to be true to the extent he feels so
unimportant that, to him, people don’t even notice him. He feels invisible. Another reason could be the mental health of
the person involved. Severely depressed
people can experience what is termed nihilism or the feeling of such
uselessness and worthlessness that they feel invisible to people around them. A person with extremely low self-esteem might
feel he is unworthy of being noticed, therefore he feels invisible. In these cases, the feeling of invisibility
is a subjective one on the part of the experiencer and is not necessarily based
in fact. And I think we have all had the
experience of a person simply not paying attention to us and not seeing us or
what we were doing. But if we were to go
up to them, stand directly in front of them and speak to them, their attention
would be drawn to us and they would interact with us.
The phenomenon of human spontaneous involuntary invisibility
is quite different. My research has
shown the people to be well adjusted, well educated and taken totally by
surprise at the occurrence of invisibility.
Often it takes several such occurrences before they realize that they
are truly invisible during certain times to other people. They attempt to
interact with those around them and simply can’t be seen or heard. This produces frustration and, in many cases,
a sense of fear at something which they don’t understand. There is a big
difference between a person purposely not interacting with you because of some
cultural or personal reason versus a person not interacting with you because he
can neither see nor hear you. A case in point:
I recently had a phone call from Joe L. in Fullerton, California who was
very bewildered and needed to talk about what was happening to him. He had just returned from a restaurant where
he was seated at a table by himself drinking his tea after having finished his
dinner. Joe was sitting forward in his
chair and intent upon something happening out the window and did not notice a
man pass behind his table and take his jacket from the back of his chair. When he finished his tea, he stood up to get
his jacket and found it missing. He reported this to the maitre d’ and was told
that the man who turned it in had said no one was sitting at the table and he
assumed that the party had left, so he turned in the jacket. Joe had had several such invisibility
occurrences within the past three months and was quite disturbed over them. As
I continue to get letters and phone calls, I realize that there is much more to
be learned about this fascinating phenomenon.
For those readers who find human invisibility interesting, I
want to recommend a little paperback book entitled, Invisibility by Steve
Richards (see references below). This
book goes into much greater detail about how the electrons absorb light and how
you can create this cloud around yourself.
Since I’ve not attempted to do this, I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but
it seems well researched and is most interesting.
I welcome any comments and personal experiences you may care to share with me regarding invisibility.
Aranya, Swami Hariharananda. Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, 1983.
Eliade, Mircea. Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1969.
Richards, Steve. Invisibility. The Aquarian Press, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB, England. (ISBN 1-85538-168-0) 1982.