The ‘Third Man Phenomena’ – Angels, Spirits, What?

During his final epic struggle across the hostile, uncharted terrain of South Georgia, the famous explorer Ernest Shackleton felt the presence of another being alongside him and his team, urging them on to reach the salvation that had eluded them for so long. It wasn’t just him either – his companions felt the benevolent presence too, and it was a comfort to them.

After Shackleton returned to civilization and told the world about his experiences, a whole host of other adventurers came forward with their own stories of the so called ‘Third Man’. Before Shackleton’s story came out the fear of ridicule had been too great for them to share their own encounters, but after a while the sudden flurry of reports could no longer be ignored.

It has been suggested that the ancient belief in ‘guardian angels’ has its roots in the Third Man, as the benign presence appears only at times of greatest need, when survival seems all but impossible. Without exception, these spirits or angels or whatever they are guide the struggling man or woman to safety. Encouragement is sometimes given by the Third Man simply being there, but occasionally the help will even come in the form of lucid words and clear directions.

The phenomenon has now been widely reported for many years, particularly by those who find themselves in grave danger in hostile environments, and especially if they are alone or in a small group, as was the case with Shackleton and his team. There is remarkably little variation in the reports, with some explorers so convinced of the presence of another human that they even turn around to give them food, only to be surprised that there’s no one to take the offering.

The majority of the reports come from climbers and mountaineers, including the famous Reinhold Messner, the first man to summit Mt. Everest without supplementary oxygen. This has led many people to speculate that the phenomenon is nothing more than a hallucination brought on by the extreme mental and physical stress that high altitude mountaineers inevitably undergo, exacerbated by sleep deprivation and oxygen starvation.

However, a number of solo sailors have told of their encounters with the Third Man, as have polar explorers, often at sea level in the frozen wastes of the Arctic, so the lack of oxygen can’t be a reliable explanation of these spirit guardians. Sleep deprivation is a common theme among the kind of cutting edge adventurers who seem most likely to meet their ‘guardian angel’, but there are also accounts from well-rested, otherwise entirely unremarkable people caught in exceptional circumstances. Soldiers caught in the heat of war have also reported the ‘Third Man Phenomena’. Other examples comes from survivors of the 9/11 tragedy with these people crediting their survival entirely to an unseen, benevolent presence guiding them through the flames.

It also seems unlikely that any hallucination would display such uniformity across so many different countries, different cultures, different centuries, and different kinds of danger. Even being earthbound isn’t a common thread between the various accounts, with aviators and astronauts also reporting encounters with the Third Man.

Could it be that the Third Man is a product of raw human desperation to cling to life when all hope is lost, a backup system hardwired into our brains by eons of evolution, forgotten over the long millennia? That would be the preferred explanation of John G. Geiger, the author of The Third Man Factor, a book dedicated to exploring the Third Man phenomenon. Geiger does an excellent job of collecting stories from around the world from those who have had remarkable ‘Third Man’ encounters (and in the retelling of these intense, death defying events).

Unfortunately, Geiger seems to want to dismiss any spiritual or religious explanation and instead tends to want to ‘cherry pick’ Third Man encounters that can fit a scientific explanation. Geiger would have greatly benefited, and his book far more interesting, if he had been open to and willing to at least explore the idea of spiritual beings or non-material beings who at times come to assist men and women in grave situations.

Psychic Kate

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In his book, Proof of Heaven, neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander points out how prejudice scientists are about anything ‘spiritual’ and the need for science to begin the process of becoming more open minded about the possibility of a spiritual universe (see Scientist Discovers Afterlife).

For skeptics, there likely will be no acceptable explanation for the Third Man Phenomena except a scientific one. For the more mystically minded and/or open minded people, the Third Man may be a new, revealing clue to (or even confirmation of) spiritual beings. What we all know for sure is that there is a Third Man phenomenon and the reports of this experience continue to grow … and it is one of those mysterious events that seems to straddle the paranormal and the scientific.

Would like to learn more about your personal guardian spirits? Give Psychic Kate call at 1-866-327-9032. Also, check out Ask The Spirits for more spirit mediums.