While investigators will often proudly turn to social media or YouTube to share their findings or captures of things they believe could be paranormal, it is important to also share your non-paranormal findings too.
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Let's look at the word paranormal. A word that many of us use on a daily basis if not several times a day. Normal is what is considered to be a scientific explanation of the world around us. Para means outside of or next to, beside etc. So the 'para' refers to anything that is not considered to be normal. The word paranormal tends to be associated with the supernatural. In psychology which is a study of the human mind, the 'para' in parapsychology means the study of the human mind which is again outside what is normal. So it is studying things like telekinesis and psi ability. While I guess the dictionary argues that paranormal is defined by something that science does not recognize, human beings believe in the paranormal.
I am wondering if perhaps it is time to redefine the word paranormal. It seems to be more normal today rather than 'para'. Some may argue that the supernatural is more natural than super. As humans, I feel like we need to label things in order to understand them and process them. While we may not agree with certain labels, some are labelled as skeptics, some as believers. If you are in between you are a skeptical believer. If you see a ghost it is an apparition. If there are objects moved it is a poltergeist. We have throughout time labelled things that we don't understand in an effort for our brain to understand them more. No two sightings are the same. No two experiences are the same. Everything tends to be interpreted differently, experienced differently, researched, and investigated differently. It comes back to our own definition of that word ..... normal.
If we are not sharing our 'normal' experiences with each other, then everything 'new' that we experience is essentially 'paranormal' to us. It can be best be explained by the term xenonormal.
Xenonormal means 'the unfamiliar but natural'. When we incorporate this into our little paranormal world, it means that a person thinks that something is paranormal, when there is actually a natural explanation. To them, it is paranormal because it is beyond what they classify as normal as it is not familiar to them. Someone else could immediately come in and explain it because it is normal to them and has a natural explanation. This is the basis behind 'xenonormal'. There are many reasons why people would incorrectly believe that something is paranormal even though it has a natural explanation. I personally believe this would be more prevalent now than it was a few years ago thanks to social media. There are thousands of Facebook pages and youtube channels putting out exaggerated content. There are reality television shows telling us that every bump in the dark is potentially demonic. We are shown in movies that if we play with Ouija boards we are opening the portal to hell. While we are influenced (well not all of us) by this sensational content, there are a bunch of other reasons why someone may think something is paranormal when it isn't.
It in a lot of cases, it is really just a case of not knowing. A perfect example would be to look right up in the sky at night. Venus is often mistaken for a UFO depending on where it is sitting in orbit. Let's look at just recently in Sydney Australia where residents saw lines of lights in the sky. Many took to social media and even called into radio stations to report their UFO sighting. To them yes these were in fact UFOs and to them, they were unidentified flying objects. To a person in the know, they were actually Elon Musk's Starlink Satellites.
It is certainly a sight that would be confusing to a lot of people, especially here in Australia where we are not as used to seeing these sorts of things as say places in the US that are used to seeing Space X launches and satellites in the night sky. If this was not debunked, suddenly more and more people would see these lights and think they are seeing visitors from outer space. For some, it could even cause panic. It highlights the importance for us to share our not so paranormal moments.
I know there is often debate and discussion within the paranormal community about tv shows or Youtube programs that are cut together and something always seems to happen. Would we really watch it if it was just a few people sitting around waiting? Realistically no, so often creators try to find a balance with editing in a way to show the exciting and interesting stuff mixed with some of the normal stuff which helps to establish some credibility to the viewer. The more we show how easily a person can be influenced or misperceive something means when it happens to us, we a less prone to jump to a paranormal conclusion.
Image Source: https://www.comsol.com/blogs/is-that-a-ghost-vibroacoustic-explanations-for-false-poltergeists/
Perception is how our brain translates the things that we see and feel. It is subject to our own interpretation of a situation. People often confuse perception with that of reality. Reality is things as they really are. Our belief systems, our education, our past experiences and just who we are as a person shape how we perceive things. When it comes to the paranormal field, beliefs have a massive influence on how we perceive a situation. For example, if someone doesn't believe in ghosts and something strange happens in their house, they are more likely to blame it on some sort of natural phenomenon. Someone however who is very much into the spirit world may have the exact same experience, and their perception is that it is something paranormal. So who is right?
How reality appears to us depends on what kind of glasses we view the world in. The exact same thing can happen to 2 people in a room, yet they can both walk away with a completely different perception of what has happened. To them, their perception of the situation is their reality and in their mind, they are both right. The challenge in any situation is to separate perception from reality. While you may ask a 3rd party to decide this, again you are potentially being influenced by their own perception of what has happened. When everyone thinks so differently, how the hell are we supposed to know what the actual reality is? What actually happened?
There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
We are never going to fully agree on what is and isn't paranormal, maybe that is the point! What is paranormal to one person is completely normal to another. A grainy photo to one person is excellent evidence of the paranormal to another. In many circumstances, we are never going to agree, but what we can do is to help our fellow paranormal investigators or even enthusiasts by being more open and transparent. If nothing happens on an investigation, talk about it. If you found out that a certain piece of equipment goes off with a certain interference share the information. Not everything is paranormal and most in the paranormal field will tell you that. Once we can start to disregard the trivial things like knocks caused by the wind or a piece of equipment going off because you have an IR light pointed at, you are still left with A LOT of questions and weird things. So while we can share all the non-paranormal things, there are still heaps of potentially paranormal things left to talk about!
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