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Valentines day 2003
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PARANORMAL BELIEFS IN AMERICA?
This is an article written by a Ghoststudy viewer/member

A large majority of Americans are believers in the paranormal. Even in an educated, modern society the numbers continue to grow. Many Psychologists blame belief in ghosts, hauntings, telekinesis, and UFOs, on lack of critical thinking, education, and cultural fads. Psychologists conclude that paranormal phenomena is due to emotional and psychological issues. A growing interest in parapsychology has aided in researching explanations for certain paranormal anomalies. In fact, by proving to disprove paranormal claims, an increase of believers have emerged. Subsequently, skeptics attempts to discredit supernatural events are necessary for accurate and complete research in the paranormal field.

Studies and polls prove that belief in the paranormal is on the incline. This is due to a variety of reasons including: belief system, cultural upbringing, media attention, personal experiences, an uncertain future, and a heightened awareness on the subject matter. Surprising survey results conducted in the United States revealed that one in four Americans believe in the paranormal, and one in ten claim to have seen or communicate with the dead. Skeptics argue that polls conducted on supernatural beliefs are easily persuaded to reflect the outcome desired by pro-paranormal researchers. At the same time, parapsychologists claim that psychologists deploy their skepticism on subjects surveyed by science minded non-believers. Even though some results may be influenced by one side or the other, the fact remains that a large population believes in, or has experienced, the paranormal.

There are countless mysteries in the world that have yet to be explained. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines the word Paranormal as “beyond the range of scientifically known or recognizable phenomena: RARE, UNUSUAL, SUPERNATURAL.” This definition covers a wide range of categories consisting of UFOs, psychic surgery, poltergeists, reincarnation, curses, mystery animals, out-of-body experiences and crop circles. These represent only a small percent of the numerous accounts of paranormal occurrences. Eventually, some mysteries may be solved with rational or scientific explanation, but for now they remain classified as paranormal. For thousands of years there have been unexplained oddities stirring controversy and ridicule. Not long ago, some believers were executed for simply speaking of such supernatural events. Fortunately, today in America it is not acceptable to kill someone for believing in the supernatural. Due to the freedoms we enjoy today, information and experiences about paranormal

al anomalies can openly be discussed. This willingness to share personal accounts and beliefs, without the fear of ridicule, will allow data results to be considered more accurate and credible.

Several scientists take the position that if something is unexplainable or cannot be scientifically tested then it simply does not exist. These skeptics also suggest that such anomalies are faked or that somehow the facts are not reported accurately. At the same time, hard-core believers exist that refuse to consider scientific or rational explanations for any paranormal occurrences. This mindset is just as dangerous and naïve--as completely disregarding unexplained events. As stated in the Atlas of the Supernatural, “Both sides are wrong. The “supernatural” may be “natural”--or rather, may once have been so.” (Parker 9) The best parapsychologists are both believers and skeptics. Having the ability to examine each phenomena on a case by case basis is crucial in this controversial field of study.

Claims of paranormal experiences are difficult to ignore. Numerous controlled research studies and personal accounts could certainly not all be fallacies of the mind. Solid evidence is almost a “leap of faith” providing little one can see or touch. Like most controversial issues, the decision to believe in the paranormal or not, is a personal one. Values, reliable resources of information on paranormal events, and religious beliefs will influence what and how each individual chooses to believe. The heightened awareness and escalating belief in the supernatural will continue to rise as people increasingly share their personal experiences, and exposure on the subject becomes readily available to the American public.

Written by: Jill Humburg
mebahumbug@yahoo.com


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