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Defining the Paranormal

Updated on September 10, 2012

If you break down the word paranormal into two parts, "para" means beyond and "normal" is that which is customary or common, so paranormal means beyond normal. So where do we go from there? Paranormal is usually perceived as anything that cannot be seemingly explained away by everyday "normal" occurrences or even known science.

The paranormal can take many forms and may be entirely different for each individual. It could be the standing up of your hair on your arms or neck or just the feeling of being watched while moving through a space. Your own intuition plays an immense part in what you may be able to perceive that would not be considered normal. If you allow yourself to be open to new experiences and to what the world around you has to say you are more likely to go with your intuition then someone who is a hard-core skeptic. Skepticism is not in itself a bad thing when it comes to the paranormal, a healthy level allows the individual to be able to rule out other causes for what they may have seen, heard, or felt. You would not want to interpret dripping water as a knock and so on, so a bit skeptical is a good thing when it comes to the paranormal.

Hard-core skeptics on the other hand are those who cannot even consider the possibility that there might be more to death than rotting away in the ground and they are those who are so close-minded that they indeed limit their own experiences to those that they may think will be the "sure thing." Science used to mean the investigating and/or researching of the possible, the hard-core skeptic is not going to be open to investigating the paranormal as to them it is all "hog-wash." Those who believe in the paranormal are almost routinely called "mentally deficient" by the hard-core skeptic or told that they need to get mental help because they obviously are not "normal." These hard-core skeptics limit themselves with their closed mindedness not allowing themselves to even consider that there may be things that happen every day that cannot be explained away by their own knowledge or that of science.

The true believers of the paranormal will know that they are not alone in their beliefs as almost 50 percent of people believe in some form of the paranormal. There are many different categories that seem to fall under the heading of the paranormal besides ghosts or spirits, UFO's, extraterrestrial life forms and cryptids all seem to fall under the paranormal. Some may believe in all or only one, it is not an all or nothing belief when it comes to the paranormal, each individual has their own beliefs and all forms of what is considered paranormal have been around for as long as there have been people to believe in them.

For years the term "ghost" has been synonymous with the soul or the spirit of a person after they have passed. Animism is the belief that everything in nature has a soul and this is what we see when the "shell" has been cast aside leaving only the soul of the person, animal or plant. Artwork from various ancient cultures has either depicted the soul as a bird or other animal (which could also lead us to reincarnation but that is a subject for another day) but in the ancient Book of the Dead from Egypt we find that their depiction is just as the person looked in life down to the clothing that person wore. With the plethora of available TV shows concentrating on the ghost and spirit part of the paranormal and the things that have been captured on video and tape it is amazing that there can be such hard-core skeptics left in the world.

UFO'S and extraterrestrial life forms have also had a huge following and even though there have been many scientific theories centered on the possibility of UFO'S and extraterrestrial life, no definite proof has ever been forthcoming. But the belief in the possibility has never died either, you have groups that dedicate their lives to the discovery of planets with other forms of life on them and scientists themselves have conducted a variety of tests and have a hypothesis for every conceivable explanation of this form of the paranormal. To this day Area 51 is still a hot topic with this group of believers.

Cryptids, one of my personal favorite forms of the paranormal, although I would not consider it to be paranormal in any way, a cryptid is some form of animal whose existence has not been confirmed, the study of this is called cryptozoology. These kinds of creatures have also been talked about for years and still the possibility leaves us all wondering, the most famous of cryptids would be considered the Yeti, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, werewolves and vampires. The lesser known cryptids would be along the lines of the Jersey Devil, the Chupacabra and the Mothman. All of these have been "spotted" at one time or another over the years and most often it is not just one individual who has had a run-in with one of these creatures, but hundreds, if not thousands over the years.

No matter if you believe in one or none of what is considered to be a paranormal occurrence the definition does not matter as much as the belief that you may feel about a certain subject and what you may have experienced for yourself. You never know, you may be the one who offers up proof to the world that the paranormal does exist. Happy Hunting!

"Animism" Free Dictionary

"UFOs and Extraterrestrial Life" UFO Evidence

"Cryptids" Cryptozoology

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