Normalizing the paranormal
For some, the idea of paranormal existence seems unfathomable. But instead of disregarding the idea, they should be more open to it.
One can look at it through the lens of those who are devout in their religious or spiritual faiths. The idea of spirits from heaven and hell, such as angels and demons, are evident in many religions. Although they take various forms, people have witnessed these beings time and time again. Some Haitians believe in vodou as part of Roman Catholicism, communicating with family spirits for protection. This is similar to some strains of Christianity; many Catholics believe to have witnessed God through prayer, hearing Him speaking to and protecting them with angels.
I am not one to deny other’s paranormal encounters; just because people can’t see each other’s paranormal experiences doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
Beyond more traditional faith encounters, others have been witness to paranormal activities in everyday situations. Recently, there were ghost sightings and supernatural occurrences at The Aurora Inn in Ohio near the bar and in some of the motel rooms. One of the long-time bartenders, Diane Sworan, claims she saw a female ghost dressed in a blue bonnet and apron. Moments later the ghost disappeared.
Experiences like this are very difficult to explain and some people use a fallacy called “the burden of proof” to claim that paranormal believers’ defenses are weak. For example, if someone says that possession by demons is real but they can’t prove it because no one else can see them, non-believers use the burden of proof to discount the believer’s story.
It’s a very simple argument to fall back on; however, when it comes to the paranormal, there’s very little that we can do at the moment to acquire tangible evidence.
We have to be open-minded to the possibilities. Humans are still evolving, and there are plenty of unknown phenomena which have not yet been explored by humankind. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t exist.
There are people who have had near-death experiences and claim that they have died and come back to life with a second chance to live. They’ve claimed that they had a sensation or vision of the afterlife, which is astounding. These experiences cannot be measured by any type of human tool kit and should not be seen as falsehoods.
The concept of ghosts, demons and other supernatural beings existing should not be thrown aside as if it weren’t real. There is so much that still needs to be uncovered by scientists and psychologists. We don’t have the answer to everything.
The paranoia behind paranormal beliefs
There are a few reasons why I don’t worry about ghosts or paranormal activity in general. The first and more practical reason is that I believe in the power of a full eight hours of sleep. I can’t afford to stay up late and lose sleep over some disturbing horror s**t that I’ve read or watched.
This belief works in relationship with a few things — my own fear of mortality and the pain of physical trauma, coupled with my own radically secular beliefs that free me of fears of possession, evil spirits, etc.
I do believe that our minds are a terrifying place, and that our subconscious imaginations have their own way of twisting and altering the realities we see and hear to manifest some really f****d-up images.
But our dreams, like our perceived realities (what we think we see and hear), have logical explanations. Sometimes when I was a kid and couldn’t sleep at night, I swore I could hear something reminiscent of a glass being placed on the kitchen counter, and I let my fear lock me into place. I let myself believe that Mr. Sandman was pouring himself a cold glass of milk. In reality, those incidents could have been assigned a number of logical explanations — the water filter, the sounds a building makes when it settles, something beyond the thin drywall that separated our tiny apartment from our neighbors’.
I think that staying away from horror films and media has made me less susceptible to irrational fears of paranormal activity. If what we dream and fear and think originates from the knowledge already present in our brains, why poison our conscious minds with images that are likely to manifest those fears? My own mom was watching original horror films like “The Omen” and “Dracula” when she was just a kid — and she continues to watch cult horror films. Not surprisingly, she strongly believes in paranormal activity, even claiming that she has seen spirits in broad daylight.
One day while my mom was visiting my apartment, she swore something brushed up against her, but I was in the other room. The building is like, a hundred years old, but I have no evidence to prove that there is a paranormal presence.
Okay, a couple weeks ago I ate an edible before bed, and I thought it was a dud but then it hit me. My mouth was dry, my head was spinning, and my cat was making these weird, inquisitive meows and staring up at nothing in particular. And I thought I could feel this presence and I couldn’t fall asleep while my cat was chasing ghosts around the apartment. But cats are f*****g weirdos, especially at night! So why would I believe myself, why would anyone believe me, when there are logical explanations for these feelings of paranoia?
People! There’s some really scary, f****d up s**t that goes on in the world, like, oh I don’t know — climate change, state sanctioned genocide, the US Food and Drug Administration, the meatpacking industry, militarized border patrol, the Executive Cheeto and his white cheddar cracker cabinet. The list literally goes on and on. So, why the f**k am I gonna worry about ghosts and ghouls in a time like this?