Most Outstanding Case of Levitation in History, Witnessed by Multitudes: Expert Discusses
By Tara MacIsaac , Epoch Times
Most scholars avoid delving into historical records of levitation and other forms of psychokinesis. Dr. Michael Grosso, however, has deliberately delved in. The implications concerning human nature and its latent potential are as important to understanding our present and future as any lessons history has to offer, he said.
“It seems to me that if … any of the stories about levitation are true … they’re important for at least one major reason,” Grosso said. “They add to the evidence that renders the idea of materialism quite untenable.”
For millenia, human society had various “methods of dialogue with the divine,” he said. Within the past few hundred years, however, humanity has increasingly turned to an absolute materialism, denying anything that has not been physically measured. Yet glimpses of something more are not fanciful; they are grounded in real experiences.
Michael Grosso, Ph.D., in his home in Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 4, 2015. (Tara MacIsaac/Epoch Times)
“There are ways back to the poetic, magical, and transcendent dimension of human experience,” Grosso said. He received his philosophy doctorate from Columbia University and is unofficially affiliated with the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia. He has written a book about a particular case of levitation that he said gives every indication of being genuine. He was under contract with Oxford University Press to publish the book, but his contract was terminated when he refused to tone down the claims about levitation. It will be published this year by Rowman & Littlefield under the title, “The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation.”
St. Joseph of Copertino (1603–1663) sometimes hovered a few inches above the ground, sometimes flew high in the air—in front of large crowds all over Italy. The church canonization process involves in-depth investigations, and thus many written records, including 150 eyewitness testimonies, providing detailed information about Copertino’s levitations.
Some people today may tend to dismiss any such accounts as the delusion of religious fervor or the backward superstitions of a relatively primitive society. But, said Grosso, “A fact is a timeless entity.”
Regarding potential objections from skeptics, he said: “It doesn’t hold water—not for 35 years, and all the witnesses that were involved. … The character of the witnesses was of the highest order—cardinals, a pope, the inquisitors themselves.”
Levitation was well documented in the case of Saint Joseph of Copertino, who was considered something of a nuisance by the Church. There is no reason to consider the church’s account fabricated. ( Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons )
The church at the time didn’t have a motive to falsely boost a performer of miracles, Grosso said. There’s no reason to believe the church records give anything other than the hard facts, he added. Copertino faced as much distrust as welcome from the church over the decades. He was moved from location to location and received vague warnings against levitating—likely because he was powerful in his ability to draw a large following wherever he went.
Copertino was even under a kind of house arrest in Rome at the same time as Galileo Galilei, albeit for very different reasons. One was a mystic, the other a driving force of modern science, both were viewed with mistrust.
The church could have easily labeled Copertino a heretic instead of a saint—it could have explained his levitation as a symptom of diabolical possession. He did stand trial. But, said Grosso, the inquisitors “could see this guy had no secret motives, he was completely humble, and he was embarrassed by his abilities.”
He did not intentionally levitate. He levitated while in a state of ecstasy. At certain points during mass, Copertino would apparently become so affected that he would enter an altered state of consciousness and begin levitating. He was oblivious to everything around him, though he caused quite a stir. It interfered with his ability to conduct masses.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino is believed to be a flying saint in Christian tradition. ( Public domain )
There’s a reason people today don’t randomly start floating while in line at the grocery store, Grosso said. Copertino had the right conditions. Not only was he in an altered state of consciousness—an ecstasy, due to his faith, which seemed integral to his ability—he was also a product of his time.
It’s not that people of that time were more gullible or more likely to participate in some mass delusion. It’s that the Reformation of the Church, the Baroque culture, the common practices of fasting and entering into solitude, all created a kind of environment in which one could more easily enter an altered state of consciousness.
It was a mentally jarring time. Could an event or change in modern society create similar circumstances?
This would require a mass “disruption of ordinary human existence,” he said, which would propel us into a collective state of consciousness more open to our latent abilities. Rather than some catastrophe or traumatic event, he would hope this could be achieved if science unites with a quest for higher consciousness.
Copertino and others throughout history as well as in our time across many cultures, have displayed various supernormal abilities. Copertino was also said to perform healings and to emit the “odor of sanctity.” If a single person could develop all the latent abilities reported in scattered accounts, “What you would have is a super human being—a superman, a superwoman,” Grosso said.
Psychokinetic abilities may not always flare out in dramatic displays like Copertino’s levitations. Perhaps people all over the world today are exercising psychokinesis in more subdued forms, and maybe without even realizing it, Grosso said.
“Could it be that [these latent abilities] represent the composite potential of the future evolution of humanity?” he asked. “One can only hope that something like this might turn out to be true.”
You can pre-order Grosso’s book, “The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation,” on the Rowman & Littlefield website .
Featured image: Levitation was well documented in the case of Saint Joseph of Copertino, who was considered something of a nuisance by the Church. There is no reason to consider the Church's account fabricated. ( Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons )
The article ‘ History’s Most Outstanding Case of Levitation, Witnessed by Multitudes: Expert Discusses’ was originally published on The Epoch Times and has been republished with permission.
this particular topic has always intrigued me, certainly in dreams one can levitate (and it's great!), but clearly in "the real world" it's impossible. With that said, I don't see many skeptical responses on the web to the dozens of purported witnesses of this (even a Pope?). Were they seeing someone jumping ? could they not discern jumping from floating / flying? What also troubles me: in my brief reading about St. Joseph several articles mention matter-of-factly that he was considered to be what we now refer to as "severely mentally retarded" (*their* words, not mine). Yet in this article it's mentioned that the levitations "interfered with his ability to conduct masses." A severely retarded person was conducting masses? This is a red flag to me that there's a disconnect somewhere in this timeline, and therefore everything is suspect. So what was he - 'troubled' or mentally retarded?
Look -- Regardless of his altered state of consciousness, his ecstasy of faith, and the power of the divine (in none of which I doubt his sincerity), the fact is he was a large non-flying animal - a human being. Neither his mind or his spirit would alter this fact of physics: People who are off the ground fall.
I believe very strongly in the powers of the mind and the spirit. I also know that people, even Christian authorities, spread rumors, tell stories, create legends, and come to believe their own illusions. And I believe that Dr. Grosso just wants to sell his book.
We think of life in terms of all we can see, There are things at work in this world beyond human perceptions. We have been taught what is 'normal' since before we learnt to read and write and the average ego wont accept anything out of this norm. We have also been kept busy with distractions, like chasing money, wealth and power so we dont sit back and question anything. We are fed chemicals like fluoride, and pharma medications, let alone FDA approved ones that are in almost every food you can buy now. We are being controlled by corporations who spend big dollars on ways to control us, that can afford to do it, because we pay them to.
This would require a mass “disruption of ordinary human existence,” Any kind of evolution for the human race revolves around this. Advancing our technology isnt human evolution, advancing our weapons, our tools, 'conquering' other planets/moons isnt evolving. Perhaps the ordinary human existence was disrupted a long time ago, and here we are today.
The divine is within, if you dare to look hard enough, those with power in this world, only have it because theyve fooled the rest of us into believing that 'power' is real.
I am in desperate need of help. I have been searching for so long and I don't know anyone to turn to.
If you can help, please reply. If you can't, I understand and my apologies for taking up your time.