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Paranormal Belief and Creativity: The association between paranormal belief and creativity

Updated on March 27, 2013

A correlation between paranormal belief and creativity?

A personality trait which has been supposed to correlate with paranormal belief is creativity.

Numerous research studies have investigated the association between creative personality and belief in the paranormal such as:

  • Murphy (1963)
  • Joesting & Joesting (1969),
  • Davis, Peterson & Farley (1874),
  • Moon (1975),
  • Tobacyk and Milford (1983)
  • Schlitz and Honorton (1992)
  • Thalbourne and Delin (1994)
  • Thalbourne (1998, 2005)

The majority of studies have found a significant correlation between them.


Creativity is known as the ability a person has to create.

In other words, it is defined as the appearance of “a novel, relational product, growing out of the uniqueness of the individual” (Rogers, 1995; pp. 350).

Cal Cooper's brief example of how paranormal belief is viewed and explored in psychology and parapsychology

Studies investigating the association between paranormal belief and creativity

One of the first was that carried out by Joesting and Joesting (1969). This study was examining the correlation between creativity and paranormal belief. The results had showed creativity to correlate positively with belief in the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP).

Davis et al., (1974) also found belief in ESP to be positively correlated with creativity and sensation seeking. Another study carried out in 1975 investigated belief in extra sensory perception among art students (Moon, 1975). The analysis indicated a significant correlation between art students and belief in extra sensory perception.

After this research study, no other similar study was carried out, until of course the 1990s when research in this area had began again.

In 1994, Thalbourne and Delin carried out a research study and found that creative personality is indeed associated with paranormal believers. There have been suggestions made concerning creativity’s correlation with psi belief (Murphy, 1963) and there is also experimental evidence that supports artistic creativity in psi believers (Schlitz and Honorton, 1992). Moreover, sensation seeking, which is a close correlate of creativity, has also been found to positively correlate with Psi belief and spiritualism (Tobacyk and Milford, 1983). Brown et al. (1974) on the other hand found an association between creativity and belief in astrology.

In 2005, Thalbourne traced 8 studies which had found correlations between creative personality and paranormal belief. The studies identified, were Joesting and Joesting (1969), Davis, Peterson and Farley (1974), Moon (1975), Thalbourne and Delin (1994), Thalbourne and Delin (1995), Thalbourne, Bartemucci, Delin, Fox and Nofi (1997), Thalbourne (1998 and 2000), Thalbourne, Keogh and Crawley (1999). Four of these studies have already been mentioned above (Joesting and Joesting, 1969; Davis et al., 1974; Moon, 1975; Thalbourne and Delin, 1994). Therefore, studies carried out by Thalbourne (1998; 2000) and Thalbourne et al., (1997) investigated transiminality correlates, finding correlations with creativity, paranormal belief as well as mystical experiences. In 1994 and 1995, Thalbourne and Delin, explored paranormal believers’ clinical status as well as personality. In both studies correlations were identified between paranormal belief and creative personality. Thalbourne et al. (1999) carrying out a similar study also found a relationship between belief and creativity. From the meta-analysis of these studies, Thalbourne consequently indicated that there is strong evidence supporting that belief in the paranormal is correlated with creative personality.

Creativity's association with certain types of paranormal belief

The existing evidence indicates that there is an association between paranormal belief and creativity.

However, some studies support that creativity is associated with specific aspects of paranormal belief, such as:

  • Psi belief (Murphy, 1963; Schlitz and Honorton, 1992),
  • Spiritualism (Tobacyk and Milford, 1983)
  • Belief in extra sensory perception (Moon, 1975)
  • Belief in astrology (Brown et al., 1974).

Extrasensory perception: Cal Cooper

Generally, creativity has been regarded as the expression of one’s imagination. The Dictionary of Psychology (Reber and Reber, 2001) sate’s that imagination is considered creative and constructive.

Therefore, since there is evidence showing to support the existence of a relationship between paranormal belief and creative personality, another question may rise concerning whether an association exists between paranormal belief and imagination.


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    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      6 years ago

      Hi Anna,

      Well half of the research on this subject supports that individuals with higher levels of imagination are more likely to accept that paranormal events exist. However there is the opposing side which supports that such events are false because they are simply created from people's imagination.

      Thanks for reading Anna, your comments are truly appreciated! I hope you find my other hubs on this subject as interesting.

      Have a nice day,


    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      Interesting hub, well written and researched.

      Is it the case that those with vivid imaginations are just more open to accepting the existence of the paranormal, rather than their minds manifesting falsely its existence purely from their imaginations.

      I think so, very thought provoking and interesting :)

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for your comments and for stopping by CrisSp! I am glad you have found this hub interesting.

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is thought provoking; very interesting topic. Well presented with amazing video clips.


    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      6 years ago

      Interesting point rasta1, it is possible for a paranormal believer to make his/her imagination a reality, depending of course on the types of belief held as well as the degree of his/her imagination.

      In several research studies, paranormal belief has been found to have a significant relation with imagination. I tested this my self as well, while carrying out a research study in University. My findings supported that paranormal belief and imagination were linked.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting rasta1.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      You have to take into consideration that paranormal believers eventually end up making their imagination become a reality.

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      First, I’d like to thank you all for your lovely and encouraging comments. Also, I would like to thank you all for your support and for voting my hub in the Hub Nuggets competition. I am very happy to inform you that it won first place in its category :)

      gramon1: It is true that our society leads people, as you said, to “reject any paranormal possibility that is not openly supported by our religion”. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      VendettaVixen: Thank you very much :) I am glad you have found my hub easy to read.

      ALexK2009: Thank you for bringing this matter up, I also have wondered whether the high use of computers today has a negative effect on Psi and creativity. I will try to do some additional research and let you know what I come across.

      onegreenparachute: Thank you, I am happy you found this interesting :) This subject was one of my favorites while studying psychology. Since this is your favorite subject, you may also find my other hubs on this topic interesting. I hope you enjoy reading :)

      Hally Z.: Thank you so much Hally. I will be putting up a hub on Psi belief soon to explain more :)

      JamaGenee: Thank you for both your kind comments and votes. I am very glad you enjoyed reading this topic :)

      Beata Stasak: Very interesting point Beata. I have always thought, and found, that people with high levels of creativity are usually highly sensitive.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      7 years ago from Western Australia

      Very interesting hub about links between creativity and paranormality, I have always suspected the close link between creativity and sensivity that is closely linked with seeing unseen and hearing unheard....

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Considering my father's extremely psychic and creative mother is responsible for my own paranormal and creative abilities plus those of several cousins on that side, I'd have to say these studies were/are on the mark!

      Voted up and interesting! ;D

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Chris, what a great piece! Voted up and interesting. I think that creativity involves unexpected and new neuronal connections being made in the brain, which is also needed for a true belief in things we cannot readily see and feel. I do wish you had explained what psi belief is, though.

    • onegreenparachute profile image


      7 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      A very interesting Hub on my favorite subject. Thanks for your research Chris.

    • AlexK2009 profile image


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Extremely interesting, I had wondered about such a link.

      I also wonder if the increasing use of computers is killing creativity and hence PSI.

      I suppose there is a reason why there seems no link between creativity and PK, but I cannot think of one yet.

    • VendettaVixen profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      I really enjoyed your hub, Chris. Lots of interesting information presented in an easy-to-read style.

      Congratulations on your Hub Nuggets nomination and award.

    • gramon1 profile image

      Guillermo Ramon 

      7 years ago from Miami

      As others have pointed out, creativity is intrinsically related to an open mind. This influences greatly how we accept information. Our society leads us to reject any paranormal possibility that is not openly supported by our religion. Therefore, the average person will tend to reject any psychic activity, dismissing it with explanations that tend to be less plausible than the phenomenon itself. Even phenomena that could be easily explained through a direct analysis of the phenomenon, such as animal intelligence, is rejected frequently by scientists, and dismissed as aberrant behavior, instinct, or coincidence.

      In my experience, the only people who I know that are firm believers in psychic experiences have had the experiences. Some people who have the experiences do deny them. However, when the experiences are clear and numerous, denial becomes very difficult.

      It is also possible that psychic experiences are a sub-set of creativity. The same brain areas may control both.

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for reading cryptic, very interesting question. I will be sharing a hub on paranormal belief and imagination soon, I hope you find an answer to your question :)

    • cryptid profile image


      7 years ago from Earth

      Very interesting. Are creative people just better able to imagine all the possibilities of the universe? Great hub!

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      How to- Answers and Pamela: Thank you both for reading, commenting and voting. Much appreciated :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a very interesting hub about creativity being related to paranormal activity. Certainly some people seem to have a lot more esp than others. Congrats on your Hubnugget nomination.

    • How to - Answers profile image

      L M Reid 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      I agree totally with those findings. Creative energy comes from the Universal Mind and our belief and acceptance of this allows us to let them into our lives.

      Thanks for SHARING. Up and Interesting

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      Thank you very much ripplemaker :)

      I am very happy you have found this topic interesting. I will be sharing more soon.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is truly very interesting information about paranormal belief and creativity. Made me ponder...

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Head this way to read and vote

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      Thank you all for stopping by and reading, I really appreciate your kind comments and votes :)

    • keenteen profile image


      7 years ago

      Chris..I totally agree with you on this. I think its because creativity and paranormal belief come from the same side of the brain.

    • samtebbutt profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      Very interesting hub.I find parascyhology an interesting subject. I am interested in different explanations. Would it be unlikely that a parascyhologist would have a paranormal experience?

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting studies Chris. Creativity generally equates with an open mind. But, when whats considered a supernormal phenomena makes itself known to someone, well, creative or not, that person knows they've just experienced something they'll never forget and they're forever more out of any box they may have been in. On second thought, there are those that if a supernatural entity pinched their nose, slapped their face, and whisked them to a strange dimension and back, would check themselves into a mental institution pronto refusing to believe any such experience could be real.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Chris, It's always intriguing to me when science tackles invisible or abstract phenomena. Such a daunting task of assessing creativity and paranormal beliefs through the lens of scientific study, and yet interesting observations emerge. It's one step to sense or suspect or think something; but each step, when guided by careful observation and study, ultimately yields leaps in human achievement through understanding and knowledge.

      Your presentation is clear and authentic.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      7 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Fascinating hub! And like Gypsy this hub does make a lot of sense. During very intense periods of working with my imagination, paranormal activity has increased. For me I think that spiritual energies can use the imagination's energies and/or they perhaps work through the imagination as they work through the mind overall. This is just my own thought.

      This was a very enjoyable and absorbing hub! Voted up!

    • Chris Achilleos profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      I am very glad you have found this information interesting. Thank you for commenting and sharing your own experiences Rose. I really appreciate your support and votes :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Especially for me it makes a lot of sense because I am very sensitive to the world beyond and there are times when I write a poem it's as if the words seem to whisper in my ears. Of course depending on the subject but especially when I have written poems about someone who has passed on. Thank you for this great info.


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