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The allure of the paranormal

Updated on July 13, 2016
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What is paranormal anyway?

It seems as though the general population loves a good mystery. Strange occurrences, unexplained disappearances, hauntings and other oddities have captured the imaginations of cultures world wide. While there has always been an interest in the unusual, in recent years, that interest has seemingly turned into an obsession.

The fascination with the unexplained is certainly not a new one. In fact, there is one word used to describe the things that cannot be easily unexplained: paranormal. By definition, the word paranormal means "Very strange and not able to be explained by what scientists know about nature and the world".

Unexplained and wildly popular

Some people just love a good old fashioned mystery. The kind of event that has all of the important elements: innocence, love, revenge and of course an untimely death. It is somewhat understandable how a person who was wronged, or even murdered, would seek justice as a restless spirit. These kinds of stories can be found going way back in history. Some people are sympathetic toward the wronged spirits and attempt to help them find peace.

Not all paranormal events have these specific elements. Some are even more mysterious such as an entire commercial airplane just vanishing into thin air. Reports of vanishing jetliners are not the only odd occurrences that are noteworthy. Reports of people disappearing without a trace have also been documented for years. These disappearances are not associated with kidnappings or runaways. One moment there, and the next they were gone.

Perhaps the strangest part of all this unexplained phenomena is how popular the stories are with the general public. Locals of an area may sit and talk about a mysterious event that occurred over a century ago! This is commonly known as folklore, myths or legends. No matter what you call it, some of these stories have documented evidence that they did happen. That evidence could be part of the reason paranormal events are so popular.

Another reason for the interest in the paranormal could simply be because it offers a break from the mundane world we experience everyday. People can stretch their imaginations and maybe even open their minds to the possibilities of the unknown. For some, it also proves that there may be a form of existence after physical death.

Ghosts, hauntings and aliens

Ghosts-

The idea of ghosts is a very old one. World history is peppered with ghost stories. Ghosts are generally considered to be restless souls with unfinished business of some sort. These ghosts are wandering the earth in search of closure. Not all ghosts are friendly either, some are supposedly mean and potentially dangerous to the living.

In some stories, the ghost does not realize he/she is dead. This is believed to be caused by the death happening suddenly. For example soldiers on the battlefield suffering a surprise attack from the enemy. Some of those soldiers might have died before they even hit the ground.

Hauntings-

People, places and even things are believed by some to be haunted. The term "haunted" is often associated with the presence of an entity such as a ghost. A familiar example is a haunted house. A house that has had one or more tragic events is likely to be considered haunted by the ghosts of those events. Ghosts may make their presence known to the living in a number of ways. For example a ghost may make sounds or move objects in a room. In some accounts, the ghost is visible to the naked eye for a short time before fading away.

However, in other instances, the haunting is believed to be residual energy left by people or events from the past. This is considered an imprint and usually occurs in buildings and even outside. Think of an imprint like a recording. What is special about these kinds of recordings is that only certain people are able to hear or see them. Even if ghostly people and activity is observed by these people, that doesn't mean it is actual ghosts. They may be witnessing those recordings of people and activities, but nothing more.

Aliens-

These beings from other worlds have developed quite a following. Evidence has been discovered that some ancient societies believed in aliens, making the concept of "Little green men" a bit more alarming. After all, if the ancestors saw/believed in them and documented their existence thousands of years ago, it is worth investigating with open minds.

In one way of thinking, humans are rather arrogant to assume they are the only intelligent life in existence. It is reasonable to assume that humans do not know everything about the planets, solar systems or galaxies. Scientists cannot definitively say that life doesn't exist outside of earth. Because of this fact, aliens are considered paranormal.


Zombies and their place in the paranormal field

Vampires, werewolves, cursed mummies and zombies are all classic horror movie icons. Vampires, werewolves and mummies have not really crossed the threshold into the paranormal. They are still not considered a real possibility. Zombies on the other hand, could become more of a reality than people might think.

The concept of a zombie is not a modern one. There are old religions that believe in the ability to create zombies through magic and ritual.There are people who believe there will be a chemical war or other events that will result in the creation of a zombie apocalypse. These people have been preparing for the possible zombie fest for years now. The scariest part about this thought is it is not beyond reason. Certain diseases and drugs can create a zombie like state in people.

What ties zombies to the paranormal field is their penchant for eating human flesh. What is it that triggers this desire in otherwise normal human beings? Through movies and books, theories are out there, but that is all they are, theories. It is not certain whether such a devastating event will ever happen, but it is scary to think that it could.

What could end such an evil and disturbing event? The mere thought of shooting your own brother or neighbor in the head to keep them from eating you is the type of thing nightmares are made of. What about the living? There are no guarantees you could trust your own mother during a crisis like that. Every man would be out for his own survival. Resources would quickly be depleted and people might be willing to kill each other in order to steal supplies. Zombies may not be a threat now, but who knows what the future holds.

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What it all means

The first documented use of the word paranormal was in 1920. It is a sort of umbrella term for things science and logic cannot yet explain. Most of those things, like aliens and zombies, can be quite terrifying because there is no way to wrap them up in nice neat explanations. People, as a whole, tend to fear and even hate what they do not understand, yet they are captivated by those same things.

The allure of the paranormal is that it cannot be reasoned away nor can it be ignored. It is exciting, scary and not normal by most standards. There is a good chance that as long as the earth exists, there will be reports of paranormal phenomena.

© 2014 Tammy Cramblett

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      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Darklings!

      Have you ever met yourself in public?

      Or get a strong urge to leap from a bridge!

      sweet dreams

      the gadfly

    • Tammy Cramblett profile image
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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      Thank you Colin323! I find sudden death one of the more reasonable explanations for the occurrences of some ghost sightings and paranormal activity. One thing I like to keep in mind is that not all paranormal events are scary or threatening. Some are fun and mischievous and some are kind and considerate. I agree with you, some people seem to be more in tune with paranormal activity than others. I hope one day research and studies can be conducted without the current stigma. Although, paranormal phenomena is much more widely accepted now than it was fifty years ago.

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      Colin323 2 years ago

      You capture very well in this article both the fascination and repulsion, or fear, most of us have for the unexplained or inexplicable. Your final paragraph is a succinct summary of this paradox for us. I was particularly interested in your explanation for ghosts in relation to sudden death - with the spirit of the deceased not realising or accepting their earthly life was over. I hadn't thought about that, but it is a convincing explanation for some apparitions. Some people seem to be more receptive or tuned to phenomena than others, which merits more research too, I feel.

    • Tammy Cramblett profile image
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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      Hello Lantokey! Again you bring up another good point. I have often thought about such things as early age celebrity deaths. There are just enough examples to make one wonder if there isn't some sort of paranormal cause or connection or...something. Thank you for your thought provoking comments!

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      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings!

      This tyme i have to offer as paranormal the exclusive '27 club'.

      Exclusive! You need to be among the dear departed celebrities who left us at the early age of twenty seven. This has got to be more than co-incidence, more than synchronicty, more than just a spike in statistics. You can go back as far as the late 19th century to see actors, musicians and other entertainers who have met this fate and if we can possibly include those of all nationalities and races it would exceed for more than is thought.

      Keep the faith

      the gadfly

    • Tammy Cramblett profile image
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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      Hello WiccanSage. Thank you for your comments. I have always tried to find logical, if not scientific reasons to explain paranormal events. I have found that in many cases, there just isn't a logical explanation. I have had enough personal experiences to accept that some things just are what they are. I think those things are part of what make life an interesting journey :)

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Such an interesting discussion, for sure. There's always that small, skeptical voice inside of me that speaks up and says 'maybe it's not all real', but with my own experiences and the experiences of others it's so hard for me to accept that nothing beyond our understanding exists. Ghosts, in particular, are hard to deny-- I've just seen too much. I try to keep an open mind though. These are some great points you bring up here. Thanks for sharing, voted up.

    • Tammy Cramblett profile image
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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      Hello Lantokey. Yes you are right about rosemary having symbolic significance. Your experience at Dion Fortune's home sounds interesting as well! Neither of these events seemed scary or unsettling and that is always a good thing. Not all supernatural activity is meant to scare or harm. In my opinion, sometimes spirits just want to reach out and let us know they are here and are friendly. Thank you for sharing!

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      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Darklings!

      I have been pondering the phenomena of the rosemary bush occurrence and serches of Dion Fortune web sites have revealed no mention of it.

      The herb rosemary is quite symbolic in itself and has a pleasant pungent odour when picked. Possibly this instance may become another legend as in the Glastonbury Thorn. I've stayed as a paying guest in the home that Dion Fortune had built for her retirement and did experience a sensation of being drawn into a vortex as i slept or perhaps it was a dream,but it wasn't scary at all.

      sweet dreams

      the gadfly

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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      Well, that does sound rather odd, having rosemary growing up from rock. Hmm...not sure what to make of that. It is interesting to say the very least!

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      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings!

      Not quite two weeks ago i was in Glastonbury, England and paid my respects in the towne cemetary to the grave site of the late Dion Fortune the 20th century author of numerous esoteric novels. The burial plot is edged in Pentland stone, a type of granite. Possibly more co incidental than paranormal but a sprig of Rosemary is growing out of the rock. The chances of a seed in a rock fissure sprouting and becoming a small bush is either due to the wonders of nature or a phenomena to say the least BUT why to Dion Fortune who may she repose in peace.

      the gadfly

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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      Thank you Billrrr! I appreciate your comments. I am glad you had the courage to share your encounter. Some people have scary experiences and are unwilling to talk about it. I think it is harder to be skeptical when you have had your own experience. My first paranormal experience happened when I was about six years old.

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      Bill Russo 2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Nice work here Tammy. Voted up and interesting.

      I never thought too much about the paranormal until one scary night when I met a pot bellied hairy little swamp creature, while I was walking with my dog. Twenty years later, I wrote about it on HP and it led to my story pretty much going around the world online and in print publications, one documentary film and a television show on Discovery.

      If you had asked me a quarter century ago if I believed in the para normal, I would have said that I was open minded but had never seen anything that couldn't be explained. After my encounter, everything changed.

    • Tammy Cramblett profile image
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      Tammy Cramblett 2 years ago from United States

      I am interested in hearing about your experience!

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      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings!

      Allow me to relate my supernatural experience to you.

      Let me see! Where to begin?

      I'll be back, in the mean tyme 'keep the faith'

      Gadfly