"Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside the range of normal or scientific explanation or that indicates phenomena that are understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure."
I write about ghosts and hauntings and I obviously have a strong interests in ghosts and hauntings. When I began writing true ghost stories in my blog a little over a year ago, I was mostly interested in the folklore and the ghost stories themselves. Oddly, I had given little thought to the theory or reality behind the stories. I just loved the stories. I had a few paranormal experiences myself involving hauntings, but I had no opinion whatsoever on the world of the paranormal outside of the ghostly. Over the last year, I have met so many other people that are interested in the paranormal and otherworldly that I've had to question my belief in all paranormal things. Of course, the world of the paranormal is incredibly broad and includes ghosts, UFOs, cryptology, esp, witchcraft, faith and spiritual healing and many other topics.
This brings me to my main question. As people who are interested in the paranormal, where do we draw the line? As paranormal enthusiasts do we believe in everything paranormal or just one or two things? I think that line is different for all paranormal enthusiasts. I also find the line is completely variable. I've known people who believe in aliens but think ghosts are ridiculous or who believe in ghosts but think Bigfoot is nonsense. I know people that love ghost stories but think magic and witchcraft is foolishness. I found this chart on wikipedia. This survey questioned people as to whether or not they believe in certain areas of the paranormal:
Farha-Steward Poll Results for Belief/ Disbelief in Paranormal Topics (Don't Believe is Not on Chart)
Believe Not Sure
astrology 17% 26 %
channeling 10% 29%
clairvoyance and prophecy 24 % 33%
communication with the dead 16 % 29%
demonic possession 40% 28%
ESP 28% 39%
extraterrestrials visited Earth in the past 17% 34%
ghosts/spirits of the dead 39% 27%
haunted houses 40% 25%
psychic/spiritual healing 56% 26%
reincarnation 15% 28%
telepathy 24% 34%
witches 26% 19%
Other surveys by different organizations at different times have found very similar results. A 2001 Gallup Poll found that the general public embraced the following: 54% of people believed in psychic/spiritual healing, 42% believed in haunted houses, 41% believed in satanic possession, 36% in telepathy, 25% in reincarnation, and 15% in channeling. So, it seems that almost half of the population believes in ghosts, hauntings, and faith healings. Almost 65% of those surveyed, either believed in or were open to the possibility of hauntings being real. However, very few people embrace the notion of aliens having visiting the earth and clairvoyance.
Lately, I've been drawn to magic and witchcraft as a paranormal endeavor. As a good Catholic girl, I was brought up to believe this is evil, so I can't practice it. But I've enjoyed reading about it and learning about its history. This is something most people do not believe in within the paranormal realm. This week I did an experiment, just to see what happens. I cast a spell. Of course, I chose one that called to St. Rafael, St. Michael, and St Gabriel. This seemed natural to me as Catholics pray to the saints and ask for their intervention often enough. The spell called for me to light some candles and make three wishes. One impossible wish, on wish for love, and one wish for business and ask the above angels to help obtain said wishes. I did so. Interestingly, the candle for the impossible wish (I wished that Japan would have a speedy and painless recovery) went out almost immediately. The others burned through the night. The other two wishes were for my husband (love) and for my next novel to be published by one of the two editors that are currently reviewing it (business). If it works, I may put a check by believing in magic, if not, I'll still stay in the not sure column.
So I ask my readers, where do your paranormal leanings go? Do you draw the line somewhere or does every aspect of the paranormal interest you? Are there things you believe in and other things your find ridiculous? I noticed the survey did not include Cryptids. I would like to know where interest in cryptids would stand on this survey. I've been reading the blog Gummerfan's Monster HQ lately
http://gummerfansmonsterhunterhq.blogspot.com/ and his articles on cryptids are interesting. I wonder if that is a lesser believed in area of the paranormal? So let me know where you stand and where your limits of the paranormal begin and end.