The Oxford dictionary defines ‘levitation’ as ability to rise or cause to rise in the air especially in superficial defiance to gravity. In more simple terms, levitation is a psychokinesis phenomenon in which people, animals and even objects rise in the air in the absence of any visible physical support. Sometimes, these objects even float or fly about. There are various situations in which this phenomenon has been said to occur. They include shamanism, mediumship, mystic rapture, demonic possession and even trances. While magical and spiritual adepts are mostly said to control levitation, a few levitation cases seems spontaneous.
There are several general attributes in most if not all cases of levitation. The whole period of levitation ranges from a few seconds to several hours. In essence, a lot of concentration is required for levitation otherwise one should be in a state of trance. There have been numerous cases where a physical being in a state of levitation has been touched and at that instance fallen back to the surface instantly.
Many levitation instances of religious icons or saints are usually accompanied by a luminous glow around the levitator’s body. There have been numerous recorded cases of levitation in most of the world’s major religions including Christianity, Islam and Buddhism among many others. In fact, almost all religions in the world have a recorded instance of levitation. A common case of levitation is that of Joseph of Cupertino, a Roman Catholic saint who is said to have levitated regularly. Accounts say just before he began levitating, he normally gave a short, sharp shriek. He has been said to have levitated for as long as two hours at times.
Saint Theresa of Avila is another Roman Catholic saint well known for levitation. She said that she experienced levitation during various states of rapture. Sister Anne of Incarnation, one of the eyewitnesses to Saint Theresa’s levitations, said she normally levitated for about thirty minutes a distance of one and a half feet off the ground. Saint Teresa stated on several occasions that these instances of levitation used to scare her but she could do nothing to control them. In fact, during those instances, she never lost her consciousness. She always saw herself as she was lifted up into the air.
In the early years of the twentieth century, a Passionist nun called Gemma Galgani claimed to have levitated during rapture. Buddhism and Hinduism have also reported many instances of levitation. A 13th century yogi from Tibet named Milarepa is accredited with possessing numerous occult powers. Among these powers enabled him to rest, walk and sleep while levitating. These feats were later said to be imitated by the fakirs and Brahmins of India.
The ninja warriors of Japan were also said to have several successful instances. In Eastern philosophies, levitation is said to be attained through secret techniques such as visualization and breathing. All through history, the main factor used to determine whether levitation is caused by a force of good or evil has been dependent on the person who is levitating.
Saint Teresa was said to levitate during states of rapture — a good force. On the other hand, Simon Magus was judged as being evil. During the Middle Ages in Europe and even during the Renaissance, it was widely believed that levitation was inspired by an evil force within or around the person levitating. Evil creatures such as witches and wizards, ghosts, fairies and even demons were all attributed to causing levitation. Even today, many people say that it is caused by evil forces. On countless occasions, many items including tables, chairs and beds have been witnessed to float on air and even fly across without any human interference.
However, despite all these widely accepted causes of levitation from either good or evil forces, many modern scholars into the phenomenon of levitation have said that it is merely a magical trick.
Joseph Rinn, a magician, once gave a full account of fraudulent behavior observed in a séance Eusapia Palladino. In fact, he gave an explanation of how her levitation trick had been performed. The exposure was fully summarized by Christopher Melbourne. He explained how Joseph Rinn and a friend dressed in black coveralls and slipped under the table that was adjacent to where Palladino was to perform her levitation. The two noticed how Palladino carefully positioned the table to aid in the levitation and how she used it to levitate skillfully.
Some sources have used photos of levitation to prove of its possibility. However, most of these photos have been proven to be false proofs of levitation. For instance, a perfectly timed photo of somebody bouncing up and down can appear as if that person is levitating. One can identify such false photos by such indications as hair being suspended in the air and blurry body parts.
Levitation is often used by magicians to amaze there audience. If your looking to start learning magic, make sure to check out our review of Learn Easy Magic By Bryan Dean Here, you won’t be disappointed!