Indian Yogis performing acts of levitation have been documented as far back as 1884, but when a report and pictures were published in 1936 of Yogi Subbayah Pullavar, an Indian Guru, levitating for 4 minutes, a serious interest into Yogis and their power of levitation.
On 6 June 1936, Indian Yogi Subbayah Pullavar levitated for four minutes in front of 150 witnesses. He was in a state of deep trance and, once back on the ground, his limbs could not be unbent at first.
Yogi’s feat was publicly observed and photographed in an exhibition that occurred in South India. The Illustrated London News printed the story and photos which were taken from various angles by P. Y. Plunkett who was a witness present that day and scrutinized the entire event.
Yogi Pullavar’s assistants erected a small tent in an open area where Pullavar began by ritualistically pouring a circle of water around the perimeter of the tent. Shoes were not permitted within the area marked by the circle. Yogi Pullavar then entered the tent where he remained hidden from view for a few minutes, after which the attendants then removed the tent. Once revealed, Yogi Pullavar was seen suspended horizontally several feet above the ground. He was in a trance, lightly resting his hand on top of a cloth covered stick. He was in a trance, lightly resting his hand on top of a cloth covered stick.”
Finally, he slowly sank in a horizontal position to the ground. The entire process took an estimated five minutes to complete.
When the tent was again removed, Yogi Pullavar was lying on the ground, still in a deep trance. Volunteers were asked to try to bend Pullavar’s limbs. His arms and legs could not be bent from their locked position. Attendants had to splash water on Yogi Pullavar and rub him down for five minutes before he finally came out of his trance and was once again able to use his limbs.
Is it possible for human beings to levitate? Throughout history there have been many anecdotal accounts of people levitating. Many religions have their traditional stories of levitation. Milarepa, the great thirteenth century yogi of Tibet, is said to have had the ability to levitate. The Ninja of Japan also reportedly were able to levitate. Some of the best records of levitations are among Christian documents which indicate that over 200 Catholic Saints have been credited with levitating.
One of the more remarkable and documented accounts of levitation is of St. Joseph of Cupertino born in 1603 in Apulia, Italy. He was born in a stable, was not well educated, but yet was considered to be very wise. He fasted for 40 days 7 times a year and was able to communicate with animals. He is said to have achieved his ability to levitate after over two decades of intense spiritual practice. He levitated before hundreds of witnesses including one incident when he levitated several feet above the ground in front of Pope Urban VIII.