For centuries people have believed in the Paranormal and also reported to have experienced such phenomena (Haraldsson, 1985; Haraldsson and Houtkooper, 1991; Ross and Joshi, 1992; Moore, 2005; Irwin, 2009).
As the years go by more and more Paranormal beliefs as well as experiences seem to be revealed. However it is rather our understanding of them (beliefs and experiences) that has increased. Surveys have shown that approximately fifty per cent of people have one, or more than one paranormal beliefs, and also that approximately fifty per cent of these support that they have experienced a unique paranormal event themselves (Irwin, 2009, pp. viii).
But are these phenomena real or not?
This is rather a question which still cannot really be given an accurate answer. There is still considerable debate concerning this area of study and continuous research is conducted investigating the existence of these phenomena.
Nonetheless, paranormal phenomena are considered to be cases which lack scientific explanation, rather than scientifically unaccepted (Irwin, 2009).
According to Irwin (2009, pp.vii) there are numerous beliefs which are undertaken as, and therefore called “paranormal”. Such beliefs are extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokenesis, telepathy; beliefs in life after death as well as beliefs in spirits; beliefs in astrology, magic, New Age Therapies, witchcraft, Wicca, etc.
Interview: Dr. Lukoff from the Mental Health, Wellbeing and Spirituality Conference in Dundee Scotland (2005)
Paranormal belief and experiences
A survey carried out by Haraldsson in 1985, showed that there are numerous people who believe in, and who support to experience the ‘paranormal’.
Moreover another survey, carried out by Gallup and Newport (1991) investigated paranormal belief in 1236 Americans.
The results had showed:
- three out of four people read their horoscopes in the newspaper,
- one in four showed to have a slight astrology belief,
- one in four supported to have experienced telepathy,
- one in four believed that ghosts exist,
- one in six stated that they had seen a UFO.
Telepathy: Experienced by twin sisters
Belief in Fairies: An author's experience and view
Personality differences between believers and non believers?
Some, such as Irwin (1993), Kennedy (2005), Thalbourne and Haraldsson (1980), argue that paranormal beliefs are associated with personality. There also has been research conducted to test if there is a correlation between personality and paranormal beliefs (Eysenck, 1967; Kanthamani and Rao, 1972; Tobacyk and Tobacyk, 1992; Rattet and Bursik, 2001). From the findings of the studies carried out, it has been suggested that there are personality differences between those who believe and those who do not believe.