Paranormal Phenomenon: Fact or Fiction
"Dead men tell no tales," so the English Proverb tells us. However, many people have seen or heard the ghosts of these dead men. There has been a substantial debate for many years over paranormal phenomenon, whether it is true or false.
Research, Question and Hypothesis
"Are ghosts real, or just a figment of our imagination?" has always been very controversial question. After through investigation, we believe that this phenomenon does in fact exist.
Skeptics have always existed on the subject of paranormal phenomenon. Some tales of ghosts are thought to be legends, but the origins of these stories are rarely known to anyone. Most stories remain mysteries to just about everyone. People find some stories very hard to believe, therefore there are assumed to be false. Take for example, the story of Queen Anne Boleyn: "She is a headless specter that walks the Tower of London with her head tucked under her arm" (Cohen x intro).
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On the other hand, some stories exist with facts to back them up. Facts like recordings, photographs, and other visual or audio aids. There are indeed, many differences in beliefs when it comes to this subject. A paradox exists on believing or not. These people that do believe in ghosts see them as a friendly presence. People, who do not believe, however, think of ghosts as a terrifying sight. They are "scared to death" to see one (Cohen ix intro).
Paranormal experiences are defined as those instances in which persons perceive phenomena that appear to defy scientific explanation (MacDonald 35).
No matter what kind of stories are heard or told about paranormal phenomenon, there will always be some kind of proof that this material really does exist. Many stories have been told about ghosts that have estranged people. Most of these stories are told to scare. What people do not realize is there is an array of different phenomena. A typical ghost to most folks is one that makes noise and moves objects. This indeed, is a type of ghost. They are known as poltergeist. The word poltergeist actually means "noisy spirit" (Cohen x intro). A poltergeist lets itself be known by making strange noises, and moving objects. These ghosts are usually hostile and propose a threat to humans most of the time.
A crisis apparition is said to be a ghost of someone that has died or of someone who is in danger. Some say that when a distant relative or friend dies or is in
grave danger, the ghost of that someone will appear to them wanting help (Cohen x intro).
Just about every American or person for that matter has heard the story of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. The Headless Horseman is a great example of an incomplete ghost. These ghosts are apparitions who are seen lacking limbs, head, ears, eyes, or other body parts. These ghosts return looking for their missing body parts (W. Haden Blackman 187).
"There are certain causes of mortal death that inevitably result in a spectral manifestation" (W. Haden Blackman 86). The top ten causes of ghost inducing deaths are as follows:
10. Poisoning: This is usually classified as an intentional consumption of
a lethal substance. A ghost returns to wallow in self-pity.
9. Starvation: What is basically deprivation of food. Most victims die a
lonely and lost death.
8. Disease: Victims usually die of an incurable sickness. Epidemics that
kill off small villages, give rise to a ghost that feels it has
been cheated of its earlier life.
7. Drowning: When a person drowns beneath the waves of the ocean,
a lake, or a river, usually come back as a "pale specter who
wanders the shores near the site of their demise" (W. Haden
6. Immolation: Or in other words, death by fire. People who suffer this
terrible death sometimes survive long enough to "feel their
eyeballs rupture" (W. Haden Blackman 87). Most ghosts
return as a fiery spirit still encased in flames.
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5. Strangulation: Usually caused by hanging, "being choked, autoerotic
asphyxiation, or by means where the wind pipe is crushed"
(W. Haden Blackman 87). Death by lack of oxygen to the
usually generates a ghost.
4. Severe body or head trauma: This death involves being crushed,
trampled, or mauled. This causes severe internal injuries.
ghosts rarely come back with sign of trauma.
3. Shooting: This includes people who are killed by a single bullet, or
bleed to death after being shot numerous times. Ghosts are
normally those of police officers and gunfighters.
2.Stabbing: This is classified as a death caused by a sharp object.
"Some receive several blows form an axe or have their
brains punctured by a screwdriver or awl, resulting in
instant death" (W. Haden Blackman 87). The resulting
ghost may have "blood stained garments or the murder
still embedded in their bodies" (W. Haden Blackman 87)
1. Decapitation or dismemberment: These victims have lost extremities or
their heads as a result of battle, murder, or even a mishap
during an attempt to hang themselves. These ghosts come
back in search of their lost body parts. Headless ghosts are
always very violent and are willing to kill anyone to
achieve their goal (W. Haden Blackman 86-87).
Many people in the world today see paranormal phenomenon as being limited to just ghosts and hauntings. That is where the fault is, what people don't see are the activities between the lines, for example, necromancy.
Necromancy is a very old paranormal activity. "The oldest account of necromancy was set by the Roman writer, Lucian. He was visited by Sextus Pompey, the son of Pompey the Great" (Cohen 232). With this in mind, consulting the dead for purposes of foretelling the future does the act of necromancy. This activity is not to be done at home, for it is known as the most dangerous operation in magic (Cohen 232).
On a much broader scale come paranormal related events such as déjà vu, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Déjà vu has a very close relationship to income and age. The older are less likely to experience déjà vu than younger people and those with higher incomes are more likely than those with lower incomes to do so. Déjà vu is also more likely to happen to those with more education. These findings strongly suggest that while déjà vu may be a psychological experience, it is highly influenced by social factors (MacDonald 38).
Findings have shown that telepathy has a common effect with déjà vu with the similarity being found in education. The higher education one has, the greater the likelihood he or she is to experience telepathy. Sex is also a key factor in telepathy. Women are more likely to report experiencing telepathy than men (MacDonald 38).
Clairvoyance or the ability to see events happen at a great distance as they are happening is reported the least among these types of phenomena. Clairvoyance and contact with the dead are particularly strong elements of the vodus religion. Generally, elderly are less likely than the young to report having had a clairvoyant experience (MacDonald 39).
Conclusions and Further Research
Paranormal experiences in the United States increased over the period between 1973 and 1984 but declined in 1988 and 1989 (MacDonald 41). This may be due to a number of factors. But there is one that stands alone which is social factors. Over the period of increase, factors such as drug use and the massive change in foreign nations, such as the falling of the Berlin Wall, may have contributed to the rise.
Several ideas and hypotheses exist on the popularity of the paranormal. First, paranormal beliefs function to reassure humans that there is something beyond death. Second, paranormal beliefs and experiences are related to the uncertainty of the human condition. Thus, reports of the paranormal vary historically, rising during times of social instability and falling during times of social tranquility. Finally, paranormal beliefs and experiences are socially constructed. Certain socialization factors shape individual views of reality in such a way that some persons are more likely than others to believe that paranormal phenomena are real, and to report that they have had paranormal experiences (MacDonald 41). Clearly, evidence exists that ghosts and paranormal phenomena are real, and are not just a piece of a wild imagination. As Andrew Marvell quoted, "The grave is a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace."