Paranormal activities have been the subject of debates since the medieval times. There are those who believe in the existence of things beyond this earth, and those who do not. Over the years, certain events have occurred which beg for explanation. Ghosts, BEK's, mysterious orbs, unusual creatures, demonic possessions, UFO's. With so many paranormal sightings, I must ask how can so many people be crazy? It can't all be sleep paralysis, alcohol and drug fueled hallucinations, or simple paranoia.
One side of the divide has accepted these events as true paranormal phenomena, based on gut feel or actual experience. The other side, the skeptics, have attempted to debunk it based on the lack of forensic evidence. Their argument is that there are scientific explanations for those events regardless of how unexplained the events might be. In other words, even if we cant explain it, it can be explained. The tangible proof of a simpler, or more plausible explanation, has yet to be obtained. Now obviously, paranormal occurrences are mysterious events that are not easily understood, weaving many layers of personal experience with religious belief (or lack there of), fear of ridicule or skepticism for sharing an experience, and most often much later - the meaning of the experience to the witnesses themselves.
In reality, there are paranormal experiences that can be explained easily. Medical experts report that damage to a certain region of the brain’s right hemisphere can be responsible for paranormal events like sighting moving and invisible objects. A form of epilepsy can cause the feeling that a person is being stalked by a presence. Some other experiences are attributed to one neurological phenomena or another. A young psychologist claimed he saw a reflection of an old man when he looked in the mirror. Experiments revealed that the illusion was a result of the reflection being viewed in the half-light; the brain labors to construct the outlines of the face, so it fills the missing pieces with appearances of animals, skulls or old hags. Therefore, isolated paranormal events can be as a result of alcohol, brain activity, light or drugs. However, there are those, in which none of these factors is the cause.
The biggest, or most common question people ask about paranormal experiences is about authenticity or "realness". Now giving a direct answer to this question is tricky because everyone needs something different to accept a new idea into their cannon of beliefs. Having a complete understanding of the paranormal is a journey that is both spiritual and philosophical. Evidences provided are mostly fragmented memories from the experiencer which are often disjointed and lack a sense of time. So hard evidences that the skeptic requires, things that can be analyzed in a laboratory, are scarce. Occasionally, a Bigfoot print or tuft of hair will emerge only to be found inconclusive. Thus is the nature of paranormal phenomena.
In all fairness, a sighting occurs when one least expects it. Most every story you read involves someone waking from bed due to an unexpected sound or light, while driving home, walking in the woods, etc. All times when the witness had no expectation of a paranormal sighting and thus was ill prepared for the experience. Even in this modern age of cell phones at the hip, few of us know how to react when something outside our normal routine happens. Moreover, proper tools and devices that can aid in recording these activities are not available. While the Black Vault has developed UFO Detector software, I doubt it really works as planned.
So what do you need to believe in the paranormal? If we go on forensic evidence, I can't provide you much. If you are open to the idea of "majority rules", then consider the results of a survey which shows that 242 million American citizens have a belief in one form of the paranormal or another. In addition, one of five Americans claims to have seen ghosts or strange creatures. Testimonies of individuals who have experienced paranormal activities can be very convincing, and based on the Gallup poll there are many of us who believe these witnesses:
When the data was further analyzed, Gallup found that 73% of Americans believe in at least one of the 10 items listed above, while 27% believe in none of them. A Gallup survey conducted in 2001 showed little change in acceptance of paranormal experience in mainstream culture: the 2001 survey provided similar results finding that 76% of those surveyed professed belief in at least one of the 10 items.
As I gather stories from witnesses, those who share them with me and allow me to share them with readers here, I am humbled at their courage. Often they have faced the ridicule and scrutiny when they publicly shared their store before. So to face that again, with me a stranger, takes some courage. I'm sure some would argue they are just looking for the attention, but I honestly never felt that from those I talked to. In fact, I personally think they were hoping I did have a more plausible or sensical explanation of what they witnessed.
What do I believe? I believe a lot of it is explainable. But not all of it. I'll be the first person to admit that most of what is published is nonsense. I am co-founder of the Facebook Group Skeptical Believers in the Unexplained, I wrote on the Water Tower UFO Hoax, and more recently tried to uncover a hoaxer that published a series of photographs which he claimed were a UFO. So let's just say I listen to both sides of the debate. So I ask again, do you believe? What is your opinion of the paranormal. If you have not formed an opinion, research and examine the evidences we do have: there a plenty of case studies, books and literature, and maybe most importantly the stories of the witnesses themselves. Of course be skeptical and filter what you read, look for reputable authors who look at both sides of the coin because there is plenty of false information about the paranormal on the internet.
If you have a story to share, contact me through Black Diamond Social Club. Here are some of the sightings that readers have reported to me that I recently shared to the site: