How common is it that spirits can materialize into a physical form/appear to you in a way that you can actually see, hear, and feel? A friend of mine who's a spirit has done it in the past. He did it to pull me out of the way of an oncoming car, stop me from falling down stair after tripping(this has happened on multiple occasions), stop me from falling after tripping or slipping, and helping me up if he was unable to catch me from falling. Sometimes when he does this he'll say something, and it sounds like he's flesh and bone(is a living person) as in I can actually hear him.
Most of the time, he doesn't materialize. I hear him in my head, I see him with my mind, and when he touches me I feel a tingling sensation where he touched me.
I'd have to meet you in person to decide whether or not you're spirit friend is real, or if you just imagine all of this, both of which are distinct possibilities.
I'm not trying to call you crazy, understand, just that I have no proof one way or the other.
If true, then yes, it's actually fairly common, IF you're connected to that spirit. Some Christians believe they can contact their Guardian Angel, and that that Angel can manifest in much that same way.
I once, while living in Florida, was riding my bicycle down the sidewalk when some yahoo decided they wanted to turn into a parking lot I was crossing. No blinker, no waiting for me to get out of the way, nothing. Dang broad almost hit me. Thing is, the person in the passenger seat yelled at her to stop because he saw me. Saved my life. I stopped about 20 feet past the car and turned to give her a piece of my mind, and to thank the passenger, but the driver was alone.
IF it weren't for the fact that my wife, on another bicycle ten feet behind me, had seen the passenger as well, I'd have chalked it up to imagination.
I have found, from personal experience, that there is no such thing as immaterial matter. If an entity cannot pull you out of harms way, as in your example, then they are either not real and you're crazy or they are evil and do not care to help. (That is not to say that helping you makes an entity good). But even in your example, your subconscious mind could have seen or sensed the danger and "pulled" you out of the way. I had an experience once where I had to drive on a flat tire and the corner of the vehicle with the flat was put higher in the air than the rest of the car by the entities helping me, so I would say this could be normal, but it still may not be real.
Still, your friend could be real or you could be crazy or it could be something else. (I know, that doesn't help.) A guy I once investigated was tied to a chair and I watched while "demons" cut him. But the conclusion I came to after working with him was that he was suffering from the stigmata effect. He was mentally cutting himself. So, it could also be your subconscious at work. It's hard to say with such little information.
My advice would be to find someone you trust and see if they can help walk you through this. Everyone hears voices in their heads. Everyone can pinpoint parts of their bodies and feel something there (think about the vibrating cellphone that's not in your pocket). You need an outside perspective that no one online can really give you.
I actually had someone do a reading for me and I told a psychiatrist about what happened. The person was able to contact/detect James(the spirit who's my friend) and the psychiatrist said what I had encountered were not hallucinations. I was able to find James' grave. Also, once when these things happened there were people around who saw it happen.
In which case it's possible that it COULD be real, but, like I said, I'd have to work with you in person before I can commit to that answer.
Lyceum had a REALLY good post about the imagination bit. I've investigated similar claims, with similar results. Most were willing to believe me and work with me on helping them, but, in one case, he wouldn't work with me. So I performed an exorcism, mostly for the placebo effect, and he hasn't been plagued since.
I have psychosis, but it's triggered by stress and the hallucinations follow a pattern.
Here's what I've figured out the hallucinations do:
1. If I see a person, they are only there for a split second and then they never see them again.
2. If I hear voices, it sounds like someone left the TV on or there's a group of people talking in the next room.
3. If there is a person, I only see them out of the corner of my eye. When I turn to look at them, they vanish without a trace.
4. The voices are NEVER directed at me. They are always talking amongst themselves.
5. They have never touched me.
6. They only happen when I've in a high stress environment for prolonged periods of time.
I also take medications for my psychosis.
Here's what my encounters with James are like:
1. His voice is ALWAYS directed at me.
2. I am not only able to feel his touch, but to be moved by him.
3. Once when he appeared, he stayed materialized for three to five minutes and didn't go away when I blinked.
4. His appearance has always stayed the same in all of the times when I saw him as someone who was flesh and blood.
If these were hallucinations: why would they be distinctly different from my other hallucinations?
Although I can see spirits as plain as you and me, I have only experienced full manifestation (*unaided) of a spirit three times in my 28 years. None has ever pulled me or pushed me. With my protection that would not be wise. I hope this helps.
*The unaided part is because of course, with the aid of evocation ritual, rites and ceremony, manifestation of some sort is pretty normal. But you don't do that to friends. It is an insult to them, when they have shown trust and gone well beyond the magician and evoked spirit business relationship and formalities. And jumping into full blown evocation rituals without experience is ridiculously stupid, especially when already sensitive. If you aren't already a little crazy (aren't we all?) pulling forward spirits into your own life is like lighting a match in a pool of gasoline. Let's just not go there... Because it won't just be one spirit. When you start treading that path, you open a doorway you can never close.
James has advised me not to try to summon or attract other spirits; he fears that they might not be too happy about it and that they might not be the nicest sorts to mingle with.
I would not do rituals to try to force James to materialize; from what he's told me it's hard to do which is why he only does it when he feels that he needs too.
After finding out what James is and finding where his grave was, he started remembering more about his life. He can only remember certain things like what he did for a living and how many family members he had. He cannot remember their names though. He says it's probably for the best that he can't remember the people very well, he said it would probably make him upset/saddened if he could remember the names.