Paranormal activity is a phenomenon described in popular culture, folks, and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose understanding is beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding. A few examples of paranormal beliefs are ghost hunting, exorcism, spiritualism, telepathy, etc.
The term exists in the English language since the 1920s. It means the scientific explanation of the world around is normal, and anything above, or beyond that is ‘para’.
Paranormal activity can be thought of as a subset of pseudoscience, however, the beliefs like witches, ghost hunting, UFOs, etc., set it apart from pseudoscience. Faith healing, human energy shields, are some of the topics discussed as psychic forces and have a dedicated community on the internet.
Paranormal activities involve many subjects, and the discussion can go on for a long time, but we have discussed the major and most interesting topics:
Ghost hunting is defined as investigating the places that are reported to be haunted by ghosts. Typically, a ghost hunting team will collect evidence, in support of the paranormal activity. Ghost hunters might use a variety of electronic devices like EMF meters, digital thermometers, video cameras, night-vision goggles, and audio recorders. Sometimes, they might prefer traditional techniques like interviewing or researching the haunted site.
Ghost hunters might refer to themselves as ‘paranormal investigators. Ghost hunting has been the basis of the blockbuster movie Ghostbusters. Notable ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren’s experiences have been the basis of movies like Conjuring and Annabelle. Ghost hunters use various devices and methods for investigating alleged paranormal activity.
- It is said dogs barking, or cats looking at a certain area are said to show haunting.
- An Ouija board is used to communicate with spirits.
- EMF meters: To detect unusual fluctuations in an electromagnetic field.
Ufology is defined as the study of unidentified flying objects, which are believed to contain extraterrestrial life or alien species. There have been many governments, private investigations on UFOs, but ufology has been termed as an example of pseudoscience. Area 51 is one of the greatest examples of aliens.
The roots of Ufology can be traced as early as the late 1890s when “mystery airships”, and “foo fighters” were spotted by Allied men during World War II in the 1930s. The Kennet Arnold “flying saucer” incident of 1947 popularized the concept of flying saucers. Ufology, despite governmental and private investigations, has been characterized as pseudoscience by science educators and skeptics.
A few well know ufologists are Fabio Zerpa, Juan Posadas, Joseph Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallée. The latter two developed descriptive systems for identifying objects, and for organizing the work.
Cryptozoology is defined as the study of folk legends like Bigfoot, Yeti, Loch Ness Monster, they are known as cryptids, coined by the subculture. It is neither a branch of zoology nor folklore studies, it was founded in the 1950s by zoologists Bernard Heuvelmans and Ivan T. Sanderson. Cryptozoology like ghost hunting and ufology has been noted parallels in pseudoscience.
Young Earth Creationism is a major subset of cryptozoology. It promotes Biblical convention rejecting modern science, and promotes the concept of “living dinosaurs”. According to a 2013 interview of renowned paleontologist Donald Prothero, “people who actively search for Loch Ness monsters or Mokele-Mbembe do it entirely as creationist ministers.
They think that if they found a dinosaur in the Congo it would overturn all of evolution. It wouldn’t. It would just be a late-occurring dinosaur, but that’s their mistaken notion of evolution.” Media outlets are known to disseminate information uncritically about cryptozoologists, and they have often been termed as ‘monster hunters. A few major cryptozoology organizations are:
- Centre for Fortean Zoology- UK based non-profit organization
- Kosmopoisk- Russian organization with interests in cryptozoology and ufology
- International Society of Cryptozoology- American organization existing from 1982-1998
Paranormal myths can be defined as false ideas about the existence of a particular phenomenon, creature, or supernatural being. These are called “myths” as they originate from a very true event, but are converted to paranormal events by the normal human being.
A few paranormal myths are mentioned as follows:
- Chupacabra– A misshapen creature that is believed to exist in North America and is said to drink the blood of livestock.
- Werewolf– A person believed to transform into a wolf on a full moon night.
- Vampire– A creature from folklore who is known to survive on vital essence usually blood.
- Kraken– A deep-sea creature looking like a squid, known to cause shipwrecks and then devour the sailors.
- Cerberus- The famous three-headed dog in Greek mythology known to guard to House of Hades. It devours anything that tries to escape the lord of death and denies entry to living humans to the Underworld.
- Zombie- A speechless and will-less creature who has been supernaturally created, who is automated to only a single movement, usually walking and eating human flesh.
Controlling the myths
People have been believing in myths for a long time, and it’s not easier to tell that it’s all wrong. However, we can put a control on the extent they believe. We cannot just tell people that their beliefs are baseless, but we can tell them to believe based on proof. For example, tourism earns a huge amount by selling haunted stories. And privileged sections of society are lured by these offers. Many times, gangs spread the rumor of an old building being haunted, but have you questioned, why are only old buildings haunted? why new buildings can’t be haunted. We, personally feel you cannot ask people to stop believing but, using valid points and proofs we can show them the truth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ques. What are some factors associated with the existence of ghosts?
Ans. Some factors associated with the existence of ghosts are:
- Room temperature suddenly falls
- An unexplainable smell fills the room
- Your pets start to act strange
Ques. What is some equipment used in ghost hunting?
Ans. Some important equipment used in ghost hunting are:
- Infrared thermometer
- Digital voice recorder
- EMF sensor
- Camera with night vision
- Ghost box
Ques. What is Area 51?
Ans. Area 51 is a secret Nevada base known for all alien conspiracies.
Ques. Are ghosts real?
Ans. People have tried to communicate with spirits for ages, but science has no proof of their existence. We feel they are the figments of the imagination of the human mind.