Are you drawn to paranormal and supernatural activity in real life? Do you believe in Angels, Aliens, Demons, or Ghosts? Do you think creatures like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster are real, and we have not yet found proof? Come and discover the truth about paranormal beliefs.
When we believe something, the mind creates a boundary filter for our worldview to sort out what is acceptable and what is not. If something doesn’t align with our worldview, we discard it; otherwise, it will cause a dilemma.
A belief is an expectation that something is real. Beliefs are strongly held expectations about reality. So, we need to define terms the terms we use to delve into the subject.
Paranormal Terms and Definitions
Para means apart from, alongside, or next to. It is from Latin, to ward off. Normal is something that is accepted and conforms to a standard, so paranormal means something apart from or outside the norm. Super means something extraordinary. So, the supernatural is something above and beyond what is natural.
The unknown covers a range of things that each subculture labels. This way, the experience fits within the worldview. Western thought links the supernatural with the spirit world. It is where we get the concepts of angels, devils, and demons. They link the paranormal with phenomena like UFOs, aliens, and cryptozoology creatures. It includes a range of things from popular culture, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, zombies, and vampires.
Discover the Truth about Paranormal Beliefs
If you believe in aliens and you see something unusual in the sky, you will classify it as a UFO. If you believe in spiritual entities, the same event is an angel. So, your beliefs will tell how you how to classify your experience.
The truth is most people have a lot of experiences that do not fit within the norm; they just learn to ignore them. Paranormal and supernatural activity in real life is often unexpected. If it does not fit within our worldview, we have two choices. We can ignore it or try to resolve the unexplained event.
Are you seeing a shadow person in the corner of your eye? The Spector appears as a dark show with glowing eyes and can linger and move around. It is one of the most common unexplained types of experiences. Most people ignore it because it is scary and unsettling.
The reason they forget it is simple. It doesn’t fit with anything else in their worldview. So, unless they are asked about it, they don’t even recall it. This kind of experience is unexpected. This differs from the kind of experience we find in religious services.
Those who attend a charismatic Christian service know what role-playing or acting is expected. When the preacher touches you, you must fall on the floor. This kind of role-play is important. It makes the participant an accepted member of the sect and bolsters the preacher’s credibility.
Chapman University (1) does an annual survey on what people in the USA fear. In 2017, a survey showed almost 75% of Americans have fears about the paranormal. This survey helps us discover the truth about paranormal experiences. What do you think about the data?
It is also surprising that nearly one in five Americans believe in Bigfoot. More than half believe that Atlantis once existed.
A Gallup poll (2) from 2019 shows some interesting trends in the belief in God. They were asked three questions.
1) Do you believe in God? 87% answered yes. Those who answered yes were asked two follow-up questions below.
2) When asked if they were sure God exists, 75% still answered yes. That means 25% of those who believe in God aren’t sure their beliefs about their imaginary friend are correct.
3) They were asked which comes closest to describing you:
- I am convinced that God exists.
- You believe there is a high probability that God exists.
- I think God exists, but I have doubts.
- God does not exist; this is just an imaginary friend.
Interestingly, 64% of those in the survey say they have no doubts and are absolutely convinced God exists. Of those who believed in the existence of God, we asked what the reasons for their beliefs were. They could check more than one:
- Family tradition, 90%
- Cultural requirement 50%
- Holy texts 70%
- Because of a personal crisis, 30%
- An informed decision after reviewing the facts for or against this concept 0%
Paranormal and Supernatural Activity in Real Life
Our blended learning process starts with a readiness-to-learn assessment, in which both the learner and teacher spot any potential roadblocks to learning. This process includes a poll of beliefs. Our research shows there is a wide range of beliefs about the subject of a higher power.
Our poll shows about 60% of all participants believe in a higher power. Most of those who have imaginary friend also believe in Angels and demons.
Belief in God does not extend to the belief in ghosts or other unknown phenomena. People who believe in God, angels, and devils may not believe in haunted places, UFOs, and cryptozoology creatures.
1) Religious Superstition. This group believes in spirits like gods, angels, demons, and ghosts.
2) Belief in Aliens, UFOs, and Cryptozoology.
3) Freethinkers use science, facts, and evidence to arrive at conclusions.
4) Fringe Believers/Thinkers. These people can share some elements of all four groups. As strange as this seems, there are several people in this group. They typically come from highly religious family backgrounds. So they are fringe believers who maintain their religion to keep family and social ties intact.
We should care about what people believe. Why? Because what people believe shapes our world. A subculture creates a set of beliefs. If religion can control the cultural narrative, it can program its values into the culture and dictate what is acceptable and what is not. They can do it directly by making their values law. Or they can force be indirectly by social dominance. So the cultural narrative is a barometer of the health of our society.
During times of stress, people report more paranormal events. We see this happening with the pandemic. Perhaps there are more unknown phenomena, but the increase in stress is also a factor.
Does a rise in anxiety enable us to see more? Or, are e paranormal experiences a symptom of stress? Is this a way for the mind to cope with the stress of the pandemic?
To discover the truth about paranormal beliefs, we must look at how our beliefs affect the mind. We know delusional thinking is not healthy. Many see religion as the major cause of delusional thinking. So, religion is the cause of an acceptable form of mental illness.
“Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.” — Richard Dawkins
The line between religious superstition and pseudoscience is hazy. Some feel that angels and demons also fall into the category of pseudoscience. Aren’t spirits living things? What about you? Do you believe in both spirit entities or just one? What about the reality of other entities, like fairies or ghosts? How do these differ from beliefs in other things like aliens, the Loch Ness Monster, or Bigfoot? Supernatural activity in real life is often an unexpected event. We are forced to make an immediate assessment when we run into these situations. We must decide if or how it fits within our worldview.
The belief in UFOs and aliens is widespread. What does the belief in UFOs have in common with the belief in spirit apparitions? What do angels, demons, and aliens have in common? On the surface, they seem like different things. Could these simply be different ways to describe supernatural and paranormal activity?
How we identify and categorize an experience depends upon our worldview. Our worldview acts like a filter. It tells how to classify things we encounter. These judgments are not reality. They are just labels we use to categorize our perceptions. We automatically filter the experience to fit our worldview. When things don’t fit, we have a dilemma. Most people learn to ignore those things which don’t fit. That way, there isn’t a problem. When the event is too large to ignore, it causes us to engage in our fight, flight or freeze reaction. This is the response to fear. We fear what doesn’t fit within our worldview.
Everyone has a unique worldview. It reflects our interpretation of a particular subculture. Even people within the same subculture have slightly different beliefs. The person sitting next to you in Church does not have exactly the same beliefs. You likely agree on the main points, which creates a bond with that community. It is why religious leaders repeat the fundamental points of the religion in different ways. It reinforces the main points of the belief system. The more extreme the beliefs, the more reinforcement is needed.
Discover the truth about Paranormal Beliefs in Our Cultural Narrative
Folklore or science? These are the two primary sources that can control cultural narrative. Whichever can dominate the cultural narrative can also dictate the values of the culture. Can you see how folklore affects your worldview?
1) Science is a systematic approach to finding facts. Science uses logic and rational thinking processes to find answers and solve problems.
2) Folklore is a body of stories based on myth and superstition. This is where the beliefs about angels, aliens, and demons come from. Folklore contains stories that explain these paranormal and supernatural beings.
Paranormal activity runs on a spectrum. It goes from superstition on one side to verifiable evidence on the other. Most encounters with the unknown cannot be verified. Some legends are proven to be true.
In the 1930s, there were sightings of a prehistoric fish called Coelacanth. These reports were discounted as pseudoscience. The fossil record places these fish in the Late Cretaceous period, 60 million years ago. Everything changed in 1938. A fisherman caught one of these fossils and brought it for examination. They turned legend into fact. Many people are waiting for this discovery of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Until we have verifiable evidence, their existence remains folklore.
Facts can become part of folklore. It happens when the cultural narrative mixes superstitions with facts. The factual element adds validity to the substance of the superstition. Some cultures used their knowledge of the sun’s eclipse to validate their mythology. An eclipse is a factual celestial event that can be tracked and predicted. Ancient calendars accurately predicted when these events would occur. So, they combined their knowledge of these events with folklore. It gave them the power to use these events to manipulate.
If we believe in angels or other spirit apparitions, we will see them when we encounter paranormal phenomena. If you believe in UFOs, the same light becomes an alien spacecraft. Both interpretations of the event are accurate in the eyes of the beholder. The problem is, neither could be correct. These two elements become traditions that shape our cultural narrative. There is tension between these two opposing sources. The values of these superstitions are often illogical and promote bias and prejudice. For instance, believing that a black cat crossing your path brings bad luck is a superstition. In turn, this superstition becomes the justification for killing black cats.
A freethinker is someone who understands their cultural narrative. They care about the difference between folklore and facts. This distinction helps them see beyond the bias and prejudice of folklore and superstition. Understanding the source of our beliefs allows us to examine them and decide whether they make sense. Let’s look at an example.
Paranormal Beliefs in Angels, Aliens, and Demons
The belief in spirits is one of the main aspects of Western religion. We can trace these beliefs directly to the ancient mystery religions of the Mediterranean (circa 1 BCE). These religions come from Persia, Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria. Here is where you find all the doctrines which are the backbone of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
The truth about their doctrines came to light thanks to the discovery of The Rosetta stones in Egypt in 1799. The engravings enabled us to read ancient Akkadian and Sumerian cuneiform languages. By the 1850s, the mythology of the Abrahamic faiths came to light, and this revelation could not be discounted. So they explained it away:
“The Church has borrowed without hesitation from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and to all nations. In such matters as these, Christianity claims no monopoly or originality.” (3)
“Angel, from the root meaning, one sent: messenger. The Hebrew word used to denote indifferently either divine or human messenger. But the Septuagint renders it with both significations. The Latin version, however, distinguishes the divine spirit from the human. Angels in the Bible generally appear in the role of God’s messengers to mankind. Whereas, the Semitic belief in genii and in spirits that cause good or evil is well known. They have both good and Bad Angels..” (3)
The above quote shows the concept of Angels pre-dates Christianity. It is a roundabout way of admitting the folklore of angels existed in the cultural narrative. They simply adopted them (Genii and Spirits). It also shows how they (try to) explain the apparent conflict between the two God systems in the mystery religions. The argument is that the lesser God is assumed to be inferior and does the superior’s bidding. The angels and demons are agents of the superior God and carry out both good and evil.
Interestingly, the Church talks about the Septuagint as a document that needs translating when they commissioned it to be created as a version of the Tanak. The Church presents the Septuagint as their version of the Tanakh. The Septuagint is not a direct or accurate translation. It is a collection of works based on the Tanakh, with many additions and changes. The Septuagint contains entire chapters that are not in the Hebrew source text. It also omits complete sections. It mistranslates areas that tie and provide textual authority to the New Testament.
The Danger of Folklore
What people believe matters. Folklore becomes dangerous when it takes the place of facts and logic. It becomes even more dangerous when folklore is used as a basis for public policy and laws. When mythology is given preference over facts and reason, people suffer. It is a paradox they must maintain to justify prejudice, bias, and discrimination.
Magical thinking is the tool that gives folklore the power to overcome logic and facts. This downward spiral begins with the belief in an imaginary friend. The concept of God seems innocent enough. What does it matter if you give credence to the existence of Odin or Jesus? The problem is magical thinking is a slippery slope. It makes people susceptible to extremist ideologies.
Supernatural activity in real life makes us choose a path. It forces us to choose a path. The experience can inspire greater freethinking. Or it can promote more tunnel vision into mythology. It depends on what dominates your worldview.
“When fairy tales are written in the west, they’re known as folklore. In the east, fairy tales are called religions.” — Paul Henderson
“When knowledge is scant or conflicting, folklore takes over.” – Paul Smith
The amount of exposure you have will affect your susceptibility to the programming. The more you expose yourself to the source of the propaganda, the greater the influence it will have.
You can determine your level of indoctrination by making a list of your paranormal terms and definitions. Your terms and how you define them may differ from those we present. If you find out why they differ, you will learn a lot about the programming of your cultural narrative.
Different Categories of Western Religion Devotees
1) Those on the fringe of the belief system have less contact with harmful programming. They attend fewer meetings than other levels. So, they retain a higher level of personal autonomy and are the most likely to leave the cult. They retain their membership in the religion because of family ties or cultural necessity. They see the inconsistencies. However, because of peer pressure, they still support harmful social initiatives. They can become freethinkers and leave the cult if given the right tools.
There are ways to help people think for themselves. If you have a relationship with a fringe believer, you can help them expand their thinking with a process we call the unconventional approach to save a believer. It will take a significant investment in time. Also another process to help people expand their minds is Comparative Analysis. It’s a structured form of comparative religious study.
2) Moderate believers are the backbone of the religion. They attend meetings weekly, sometimes daily. It exposes them to heavy doses of propaganda. Even if they know the facts contradict their beliefs, they have learned to ignore them.
You will find they have few personal or business connections outside of the religion. Their contacts cement them into the belief system. They have a high level of exposure to mind control tactics. This makes them more susceptible to extreme beliefs. Religious media occupy much of their time, reinforcing harmful programming.
Because of their enthusiasm, they can be powerful advocates for the truth if you can get them to see the facts. This takes an investment of time, but it is possible. We use a process called an unconventional approach to save the believer.
3) Hardline Devotees Attend more than one meeting weekly and take advanced courses in the sect. They identify strongly with the belief system. Their personal identity is fused with the religious sect.
4) Extremists often become leaders if they are charismatic. These people lead or inspire others to commit violence in the name of their God.
It is common for extremists to be involved in promoting conspiracies and lies daily. They study and listen to radio and TV programs, reinforcing their beliefs. The cult becomes their identity. People like Jim Jones, Jim, and Tammy Baker, exemplify religious extremists.
The need to believe overrides any argument or fact that threatens their worldview; their religion programs them to reject any idea that threatens their worldview. You will waste your time trying to point out factual and logical errors. All this does is create conflict. There’s a better way to win them over.
“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. Mcafee
You need to question the dominant cultural narrative. If you study it, you will find it contains many harmful ideas. It is the source of many things that are enemies of progress. It contains justification for gender preference and systemic racial stereotyping and discrimination. This narrative also taints our ability to assess experiences outside the norm. You may be surrounded by supernatural messages from the universe. But you do not see them because they fall outside of your worldview. What are you missing?
(1) The Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 4 (2017)
(2) How Many Americans Believe in God?
(3) The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, 14 Volume Set (1907)