We call ourselves lots of things. Paranormal investigators, paranormal researchers, paranormalists, enthusiasts, ghost hunters whatever it is you like to call yourself! For a lot of us, our paranormal research directs us to the spirit world. We look into the concept of the afterlife, hauntings and what is a ghost. It is however important to acknowledge that the paranormal field is actually so much more than just ‘ghosts’.
To understand exactly what is paranormal it is important to understand what the word actually means. You obviously have the world normal in there. While we don’t like labels and in today’s society it is exceptionally difficult to measure what is normal to begin with, but it is a benchmark. The word para means above and beyond. So paranormal can be easily defined as being something above and beyond what is considered to be normal. Again though we have to ask, just what is normal? I sometimes argue the paranormal is actually normal which I have spoken about in the article What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.
Whatever falls under this umbrella term of the paranormal is much broader and wider scope than 'ghosts'. Some of these areas include:
This probably makes up what I believe is the majority of the paranormal community - particularly at a mainstream level. I mean if you google the word paranormal, you are given a large list of paranormal teams who do paranormal investigations searching for evidence of the afterlife. The jury is still out. Do Ghosts exist? What is a ghost? What is a haunting? Are spirits people or something else? These are just some of the things we dedicate our time to researching. I don’t need to go into this area in much detail because it is probably the reason you already read this blog. I know this area is the main reason why I am here.
Are we alone? Are UFOs ‘flying saucers’ or aircraft from another planet? Do aliens exist? What do they want?
A lot of researchers dedicate their time to researching this phenomenon. Strange lights in the sky, government coverups and alien abductions are the common things that you think about when you hear this word. It makes a large part of the paranormal community and one that is growing. It does however go so much deeper than just looking at lights in the skies. There is talk of off-world communities, secret government programs and of course the infamous ‘Men In Black’. There is a lot of information to absorb in this world and something that needs to be approached with an open mind. While this is not my chosen area of paranormal, I have been looking more and more into this category. I sometimes think some of the information is pretty out there (even for me), but it is important for me to acknowledge that the people I talk to really feel they have had a certain experience and I have to be respectful of that and their beliefs. The truth is out there!
Does bigfoot exist? In Australia, we have ‘Yowies’. What about the mythical Chupacabra? Is there a Loch Ness monster? Cryptozoology covers the search and study of animals whose existence is disputed. Big Foot is the prime example here because we have all heard of Big Foot or Yowies in some form. There are videos, photos and accounts of their existence. Quite a lot have been faked adding to the ‘myth’. Do these creatures really exist? This is what this field is searching for. Evidence of their existence. We speculate that these creatures exist, but it has never been substantiated or proven, much like ‘ghosts’ and this is what these researchers are on the hunt for.
This is a study of the human mind and what it is capable of. It is an extension of psychology and again above and beyond what is considered ‘normal’ of the human mind. It looks at areas like telepathy, extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, reincarnation, near-death experiences and precognition just to name a few. This area conducts studies and experiments to test the human mind to its limits to see if we all have ‘psi’ ability and what it takes to activate it (such as sensory deprivation etc.). It is a fascinating area and a lot of researchers who are looking into the spirit world often look into this field as well as it goes towards that question, ‘What is a haunting?’ Is it a ghost or is it really us projecting?’
This is the study of demons and the belief structure around demons. A lot of paranormal investigators also study this area as again the question often comes up, ‘Am I being haunted by a ghost, or is it a demon?’. This is a largely religious based field of study and it is important to understand that studying demonology does not qualify a person to perform exorcisms. A demonologist and an exorcist are two completely different areas and should also remain separate. Mainstream television has really catapulted this area over recent years. Suddenly we aren't being haunted by ghosts according to these shows, it is demons. I have some very strong thoughts on this as i know many of you do too, but that is a rant for another time.
It is a practice that has been around since the beginning of time. The practice of seeking knowledge or looking into the future using what is considered to be supernatural means. This covers areas such as Tarot, Runes, Numerology, Astrology, Scrying, Automatic Writing and many other methods related to ‘fortune telling’. A lot of people that practise and research this area have some sort of psychic ability, but it is not limited to those who have this ability. Anyone can research and look into practising these techniques.
This potentially doesn’t even belong in the category of ‘paranormal’, but I have included it here because of its connection to spirituality. This works with the concept that there is a higher holistic reality. It is heavily religious based. It is a form of spirituality and how you connect with it. An easy variation of mysticism that people will understand is the practice of Shamanism. It is regarded as a form of mysticism as the spirit realm is accessed through what is referred to as ‘religious ecstasy’ which is the main component of mysticism. Religious Ecstacy is an altered state of consciousness where a person is very spiritually aware and may experience visions and a form of euphoria. A lot of cultures have special ceremonies that are performed usually associated with dancing, fire and the consumption of some special ‘herbs’
This is the study of practices that include magic, and alchemy and also has a relation to astrology, divination and spirituality. It is commonly associated with witchcraft and rituals and is tied with Wicca, Kabbalah and Satanism. It is actually quite a large and detailed area worth its own post which I will cover at a later date. What you will find interesting however is that a lot of people involved in the paranormal are also ‘closet witches’ so there is definitely a close association between magic and the paranormal.
This relates to things like Gods, Goddess, Muses, Monsters, Fairies, Gnomes and all the things that ‘myths’ are made of. There often have very old and religious roots and often relate to a particular culture such as Greek or Roman mythology.
While there are usual suspects included in the paranormal list, there is a wide range of items that I know I consider being a part of paranormal research. You could also add things like a conspiracy theory, quantum psychics and a range of other topics to this list as well. Whether or not it makes it qualify to be included on a paranormal list is up for debate, but these are the areas a lot of paranormal researchers look into. As researchers, we look at a lot of different areas and I guess for me, it is the ‘supernatural’ and the unknown that draws me to all of these topics in my research. While to others, all of these categories are considered 'paranormal' because they are outside what we define as normal, to me and to you though, they are our normal, and not para at all! Is there a connection between all of them? I absolutely believe that there and that is why I think it is important to at least be open-minded to other areas of research. Once you start looking at these areas you will see a lot of similarities and that is when the work really begins!
Check out my article Is there a connection between different kinds of paranormal phenomena?
What areas do you like to research?
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