In order to explain Walk-Ins, it is necessary to make the assumption that we as individuals have a "soul" (or at least a psyche) that is separate from the body. In fact this assumption is necessary for many of the features of Multiplicity but here, this is the starting point.
Let's look at a single person, one who is not born multiple. At some point between conception and birth (depending on your personal belief) the soul will enter the body, come into being attached to the body, or otherwise become associated with the body, and the sum total of genetic material and soul/psyche becomes a person. That soul remains associated with the same body until the body's death, upon which event it either reincarnates, or goes to an afterlife, or dissipates, depending on your personal beliefs.
Occasionally, things don't quite work out that way.
Sometimes it becomes desirable or necessary for a soul to enter a body after birth, during childhood or even adulthood. Sometimes this happens in conjunction with a near-death experience (NDE); accident, serious illness or suicide attempt. What seems to happen is that the original soul, the one actually born into the body, actually does die at the point of the experience, and moves on to the next life as would be normal if the body had died. The body however, remains alive, and for its life to continue, a new soul enters the body in place of the old one.
When this happens, friends and family will note a great change in the person, for the simple reason that it is really not the same person as before; it's just the same body with a different soul inhabiting it. Memories of events prior to the NDE may be fuzzy or missing. The soul itself may not even be aware of the transition.
How does this relate to Multiplicity?
It is true that while the above are examples of Walk-Ins, they are not necessarily Multiple. A Multiple Walk-in occurs when a new soul enters the body but the original soul does not leave. There are then two souls occupying the body. It may be that the souls will swap "front" and share control of the body, or it may be that one soul remains totally in the background and acts only as an observer.
If the souls share "front" then the situation is very similar to that of Channelers. The difference between the two is that while a channeled soul shares the body for a temporary period, the walk-in is a permanent resident. The channeled soul regards "home" to be someplace else, while the walk-in brings his toothbrush and moves in.
Spiritualists used the term "Multiple Personality" (no "disorder") to refer to this very situation: a spirit who moved in for an extended period.
Is it the same as Possession?
It can be, in some cases. A Fundamentalist Christian would certainly say so. The term "possession" is generally used in a negative sense, to imply that the walk-in soul is unwelcome and dominates the body, forcing the original soul to perform actions it may not otherwise do. However, in many indigenous religions including some Southeast Asian and Afro-Cuban traditions, voluntary possession is a normal religious experience and is done for beneficial reasons. Spirits enter the bodies of worshippers to give advice and comfort. In these traditions, a spirit shouldn't usually stay on, however, and should be encouraged to go back to its own home if it seems inclined to move in for good.
If the walk-in soul is not malevolent, and/or the original soul has enough strength-of-will to keep control, then this sort of situation will not occur. It would not be true to say that all walk-ins are cases of possession, because frequently the relationship between the two souls is one of co-operation.
Odd notes on walk-ins:
- A walk-in soul need not be the same species as the body. It may be otherkin, alien, or animal, for example.
- A walk-in soul need not be the same gender as the body. While souls may not have a gender, often a soul will retain traits from former lifetimes, including preferences for clothes, speech, mannerisms, and '- yes -' gender. So a resident need not be the same gender as the body.
- It is possible to be multiple for more than one reason at once; that is, you may be a "split" multiple AND have a separate walk-in soul as well.
- If a soul can walk-in, it is often also possible for them to walk-out as well. Such a soul may abandon the body before death, The body's birth-spirit can also leave some hours or days before the body dies. (This is, of course, called a "Walk-Out".)
http://www.fst.org/welcome.htm The First Spiritualist Temple: This site gives plenty of background about early Spiritualists and their work.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walk-in Click here for more on the history of walk-ins, particularly related to Spiritualism as well as to the otherkin movement.
Edited by Bluejay Young on 2 April 2004