The Paranormal


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Virginia Beach, VA
It was inevitable that I ask this question :) I hope I'm in the right place on this forum to ask as well. My question is, what is paranormal activity evidence of?

Being a man of evidence, I am especially interested in paranormal activity, b/c it seems to suggest evidence or point to life after death which could point to evidence of a creator

Specifically about paranormal activity, I am thinking of hauntings, ghosts, and most interestingly poltergiests. But please, don't limit yourself to that.

Such things have been documented by science in recent years. From photos of ghostly figures, to unexplainable occurences in houses or places, and even to documented poltergiest cases...there is proof that there is paranormal activity, our eyes have seen it, noses smelt it, ears heard it, body felt it, and surely the tongue has tasted it. That's why this is so exciting to me! Difficult to prove, but it does exist.

But what is this activity for? Most humans react with fear, instinctivly (sp). Is some of it pointing to the spirits of those who have passed away? How does this fit in with religion? Does it prove the existence of a specific creator? Or perhaps prove a world of existence that we know next to nothing about?

thank you for the post.

life after death does not imply a creator, it is just a continued existence. paranormal activity also does not imply a creator, just activity that is beyond our ability to explain... for now :)

though i tend to be a "man of evidence" as well, there are some things that simply cannot be measured and are thus outside the perview of science proper. these things still exist, in my opinion, and thus we deal with them in a different way.

needless to say, as a religious adherent, i believe that there are some things that one takes on faith simply due to not having the experience yourself. in my tradition, for instance, i take the teachings of rebirth on faith. there is evidence that i accept as valid, but in the end, this is a matter that is not subject to measurement (at least not yet!) and therefore i have no problem accepting it on faith.
But what is this activity for? Most humans react with fear, instinctivly (sp). Is some of it pointing to the spirits of those who have passed away? How does this fit in with religion? Does it prove the existence of a specific creator? Or perhaps prove a world of existence that we know next to nothing about?

My comment:

Baha'is believe that the universe is much larger than we can presently account for and that we do have souls, and further that here are spiritual worlds. So we do not necessarily deny there is paranormal phenomena but there are likely also "grey areas" where people have exploited the crudulity of others. Here I'm referring to some of the spiritualists and clairvoyants who do this for a living, etc.

The priority though is living in this life and acquiring virtues and reflecting the attributes of God. Recognizing Who the Manifestation of God is for this age is also important.

To unduly focus on the paranormal could divert your attention from much needed tasks in this life and further could affect your spiritual developement in the next world.

The above is a fair summary I think of the Baha'i views on the subject.

- Art
Hi, Adamante! Good discussion question.

Speaking from a Wiccan perspective, now . . . I'd have to say that such phenomenon are not proof of life after death, but they're certainly highly suggestive. In my experience, there are several possible causes, and the answer may involve all--or none--of them.

1. Hauntings and such do in fact represent the spirits of people who have died. Many hauntings appear to be caused by the spirit of someone who died under circumstances that seem to have left them confused, or tied to one place. Sometimes they're called "earthbound spirits," and appear to be trapped on this plane, or even unaware that they've died. This is the traditional view of hauntings and ghosts.

2. Certain people or events--especially those charged with a great deal of emotion--may somehow leave an imprint on a particular place, which sensitive people can "replay" under certain circumstances. Wiccans of my tradition refer to these as "wraiths," which we think of as beings created by strong emotions or belief, beings either nonintelligent or of very limited intelligence, linked to that spot. The feeling one gets upon entering a very old church or a powerful religious site such as Stonehenge we see as being the effect of wraiths, and they could explain some haunting activity as well.

3. On a more physics-oriented level, some have hypothesized that sensitive people can actually manifest a kind of a cross-over in space and time, literally seeing events long past. The famous encounter of the two English school teachers in the Trianon gardens at Versailles a century ago would be an example of this kind of manifestation. This might also explain the type of haunting where a spirit is seen to perform the same act over and over again, without appearing to be aware of the observer, though this could also be a kind of "psychic movie" imprinted on the site, as described in point 2.

4. Most poltergeist cases are now believed to be paranormal manifestations by a troubled pre-adolescent living in the house, rather than evidence of the Dear Departed. Such cases tend to end once the child goes through puberty.

I've had one personal experience with what appeared to be the first type of haunting. A church near where I live was experiencing some unusual phenomenon--feelings of intense hostility or anger in certain places, doors slammed in people's faces, earrings in locked display cases unaccountably found elsewhere in the church. At the invitation of some church members (a UU church, by the way, so they weren't automatically prejudiced against Wiccans!) I got into a subjective conversation with an entity that called herself "Eleanor," conducted an impromptu solo banishing ritual, and invited Eleanor to "go toward the light." As I said, the experience was highly subjective and could be explained in many ways, including temporary insanity, I suppose, but the church has not been bothered by strange happenings since. Some of what I learned from Eleanor during the encounter was subsequently verified in church records (there was an Eleanor in the '20s and '30s, active in the choir, with a close relationship to the then pastor) though nothing so startling as to constitute absolute proof.

As to what such activity might be for . . . I'm not sure there can be a meaningful answer to that. It does happen; such cases are well-attested, documented, and have been investigated scientifically. They appear to be clues to the fact that Hamlet was right: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio." A strictly materialist-realist view of the universe tends to overlook annoying phenomenon such as these, and relegate them to the circular file.

As a side note, there are within certain Buddhist traditions various yogic practices which lead to well-developed and reliable psychic skills--telepathy, astral projection, and the like. As arthra says, though, these are seen as distractions that can hinder personal growth. The idea is NOT to practice a particular yoga path in order to develop ESP, but to achieve enlightenment.

For my money, such distractions are valuable proof that the universe is a lot wider than the materialists would have us believe. In an age of scientific materialism, it's great to have the occasional reminder that ours is a universe of wonder and awe.
Good posts all around. Forgive me of my ignorance concerning other religions. While I may know some fundementals, I lack a lot of the knowledge that some appear to have on this website.

Arthra said:
To unduly focus on the paranormal could divert your attention from much needed tasks in this life and further could affect your spiritual developement in the next world.

An interesting thing to note and something that I have read on many occasions as well. I have not ever had a paranormal experience so I am probably a bit too enthusiastic to experience one for myself just to get my own validity on the matter. But I am not very eager to set myself up to be fooled, as you also mentioned about spiritualists and clairvoyants. I dismiss the ghost stories told by a friend of a friend, etc. Hearing an individual account of an experience (i.e. what WHKeith wrote) or reading a documented scientific case of such an occurance, is what I seek. What I seek exactly, I don't know, except that I study the facts best I can and with little partiality as I can have. I have, at the moment, a pressing desire to know more of this. But of what you said, I know I need to be mindful.


Thanks for the post! What you said I've read in different places too. What you also mentioned was a personal experience, and that is quite interesting. Is this all you have experienced, regarding the paranormal?

An interesting note about your experience is that you mentioned doors slamming and earrings appearing in different places...that is typical poltergiest activity and is not usually associated with "ghosts". It has happened, don't get me wrong, but from what I have read it's rare to experience both.

An interesting read about poltergeist activity is a book called, "The People in the Attic" by Doretta Johnson. This is her "true" account of what happened to her from start to finish. And it does point towards her having a terrible's an excellent book for those interested.

Somewhat off the subject of the paranormal...if poltergiest activity can be attributed to young adolescents or adults who had a troubled childhood, it is fascinating that there is such an ability to affect physical objects without touching them physically. I believe this is now days referred to as psychotelekenisis. Try as a might, I've never been able to move anything without touching it :)

Has anyone seen such a thing? I have not, but it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
I'm actually kind of uncomfortable with the term "paranormal". Same with the term "supernatural". This is because they imply that things falling into those categories are not entirely "normal" or "natural". How do we know that they are not?

My own personal opinion, based on some experience, is that what the "paranormal" is evidence of is that we just don't know or understand completely, as yet, all the rules under which the universe operates.

I do agree with those who argue that evidence of things like the continuation of consciousness after death does not necessarily stand as evidence of the existence of God or gods. Of course, neither do I believe that the fact that organic evolution seems to go on is evidence that God or gods do not exist.

I generally follow the observation that "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

Just my opinion, for whatever it's worth.
Adamante—if you’re interested in information about recent scientific validation of such “paranormal” phenomenon as PK (psychokinesis), telepathy, and remote viewing, I highly recommend the following books:

“The Field,” by Lynne McTaggart.

“The Conscious Universe,” by Dean Radin.

“The Dreaming Universe,” by Fred Alan Wolf.

Radin’s book, especially, is useful in showing how statistical probabilities were calculated and how the various experiments were set up to eliminate fraud and error. McTaggart’s book is wonderful in providing a general overview of the topic, along with an interesting discussion of the zero-point field (a kind of base-state for the universe as predicted by quantum physics) and how that might explain ESP and related phenomenon.
Adamante said:
What you also mentioned was a personal experience, and that is quite interesting. Is this all you have experienced, regarding the paranormal?
Well, I suppose it depends on what you would call “paranormal.” Probably the most dramatic incident I’ve experienced directly happened when I was cross-questioning my teacher in the Craft. We were in her kitchen as she cooked dinner. She’d been telling me about her dead husband, Chris, with whom she holds frequent conversations, just as though he were still here and a part of the coven.

At that point, I was very much into “objective reality,” knowing that *subjective reality* can be quite different for different people, and wanting to know what was REALLY going on. I said something to the effect of, “If Chris would just do something to prove his objective reality!”

At that moment, a spatula struck the refrigerator about a foot from my head with a loud clatter and fell to the floor. My teacher was no where near, she was in full view, and her back was to me, so I know she didn’t throw it. No one else was in the house at the time. I did NOT see the spatula actually fly through the air, but it struck with considerable force. My teacher insisted that it had been hanging up on a rack on the other side of the kitchen.

What happened is typical of poltergeist phenomenon, but was also typical of some mediumistic/spiritualistic phenomenon. The fact that it happened just THEN, in apparent reply to my impertinent statement, strongly suggests (though does not prove, of course) that Chris’s spirit was present, aware of our conversation, and able to manifest to a degree physically.

However, the vast, vast majority of experiences are not nearly so dramatic. As a witch, I see what Jung called “synchronicity” as being the outworking of nonphysical manifestations. In other words, if I do a spell for some needed money, I don’t expect to have that money materialize out of thin air . . . but if it arrives in the mail in the next few days, to MY mind at least, the spell worked.

I do a lot of work with the tarot. Now, it is patently true that reading the tarot is as much psychology as anything else, and a reader can read just about anything into the fall of the cards. However, I have seen MANY readings—enough that I now count on this happening—where the odds against a certain combination of cards occurring is literally astronomical.One example: I did a reading for a woman once to determine the advisability of a certain course of action. The last card drawn—the outcome—was a particular card that clearly meant “go for it!”

The next day, I did another reading for her, based on the fact that she’d followed that course of action, so now what? The first card drawn—which represented her, her significator—was the same card that had been the outcome the night before.

Yes, the cards had been thoroughly shuffled—and used for several other readings in the meantime. There are 78 cards that can be read either upright or reversed, and there were two spreads of ten positions each. A mathematician friend of mine calculated the odds of that happening as something like six trillion to one. What CAN’T be measured is the wonderful synchronicity of meaning—the outcome card of one spread becoming the significator of the next—and that was a presentation of meaning completely outside of any meaning that I, as the reader, could attach to it. In other words, there was something special—paranormal, if you will—about the fall of the cards that had nothing to do with the meaning I attached to them.

All in all, though, I agree with littlemissattitude: the paranormal is what is outside of the “normal” (whatever THAT is!) only for the moment!
This post is fast becoming what I'd hoped for. I can read camp fire stories all day from a website. Most are legends or something they heard once upon a time, etc. All the information , insights, and experiences posted here are appreciated...and your opinion littlemissattitude is worth a lot, thank you for posting.

As I mentioned before I have never experienced anything "paranormal." I will admit to one thing happening to me, indirectly that I can verify (to myself anyway) and that was also verified by measurments of sophistication.

I am still an active duty Marine and at the time I was deployed to an exercise at 29 Palms, California sometime in January 2000. The exercise is a very common Marine Corps exercise, called CAX (Combined Armed Exercise). It's purpose is to bring different elements of the Corps together and practice war.

I was filling a position for an intelligence analyst (different than my MOS of Signals Intelligence, but some similarities) at the ACE (Air Combat Element.) When things were reported destroyed they would radio in to us and we would update a map that had the location of the "enemy" and what we surmised to be their strength. It's a busy moment and inside the rough metal building, there is much dust in the air and it is also very cold. The wind blows the sand around and keeps you miserable no matter where you are. Nevertheless, I worked at updating positions and I would radio back and forth to ensure accuracy. From air combat missions, to ground combat, to reconniassance, all of it was going on the same time. The ground would shake when the tanks lined up to head out into the field and the air would buzz with the helo's, Harriers, and Hornets.

A SSgt came into the ACE building I was at telling me they had captured a UFO on tape. Of course that is interesting to me, but I was sure it was a joke and besides I had a lot of work to do. The SSgt pleaded with me to come look...and finally he did peak my curiosity with his pleading. We both walked to an area across camp that the Harrier guys used for mission debriefings and the like. The pilot of the Harrier that saw the UFO was in there and more than eager to share his story as he was getting out of his flight gear. He was excited, and that is understandable.

I asked for him to show me this UFO, and he did. He turned on a tape. The tape is recorded on every mission by the Maverick missile. The Maverick missile seeks out Infrared (IR) energy and automatically "locks" on to the strongest IR signature. So basically, it locks on to whatever is producing the most heat.

The video looked normal enough. It was night time though, but you can still see pretty well b/c of the night vision capabilities. The pilot told me that he also had on his Night Vision Goggles (NVG's) as well at the time. As I watched the tape, I saw a train track and a train was coming down the track. There was a light at the front of the train and it was naturally the hottest thing, so the Maverick locked on to the light. About the time the trains headlight passed out of the picture, the Maverick simply wandered around until another light come into the picture. It was moving towards the train. The Maverick locked on instantly. The pilot reported seeing nothing outside through his nightvision goggles. The light looked as if it could be a cars headlight, but it was not on a road, it was still heading towards the train none-the-less.

The object approached the train and it wasn't moving that fast. As it was about to make impact with the train, it became apparent that it was not on the ground b/c it passed over the train! The Harriers were then flying toward the deck at around 600 knots, according to the pilot. This object then elevated slightly and took off with much more speed...the Maverick was unable to keep track of the object and it dissapeared off the screen.

There was more than one aircraft in the air, but I don't recall if they had recorded anything or not. I just remember talking to this pilot and viewing his tape. The other aircrew knew of it b/c there were jokes about being on the TV show "Sightings". I don't know why they could not see the object with their night vision goggles either.

I suppose it could have been an anamoly with the Maverick missile, but in that case nothing would have showed up on tape. Same thing that if the tape just had something wrong with it, the Maverick would not have locked on to the target.

I don't know what it was. It was definetly unidentified and it was flying, hence the "UFO." I'm not saying it was alien related or some kind of spiritual encounter. All I can say is I saw it b/c our equipement recorded it, and a pilot of an aircraft was there...and that's about all I know.

In the end, it was something. I have no doubt about that. I have no answers, but I have an experience that can point to a world "that we just don't know or understand completely, as yet, all the rules under which the universe operates"
Paranormal entertainment

I still have to come across a report of a so-called paranormal sighting that is not entertainment, bereft of any useful purpose like invention of a better mousetrap.

About God and life after death or resurrection or reincarnation, they are useful to mankind in society; but you don't have to belong to any school of religion or any brand of religion.

And just don't hurt anyone even just emotionally over your beliefs in these matters. Don't kill and don't get killed for them. And don't go into politics to propound and propagate your beliefs.

Susma Rio Sep
I have no doubt that ghosts exist, I've seen too many of them to discount them and believe that for those people who are 'gifted' to be able to see & communicate with them are given the gift from the Divine as proof that we do not 'die' when the mortal body fails.
In my belief people fear the sighting of ghosts (and believe me, just cos I can see them doesn't mean to say I like the sight, cos I don't) because it is a reminder that one day we will die. Its a thought that is more than just sobering. It is also interesting that children who can see are not frightened by the apparation that they see. Children haven't comprehended the full reality of death and have no opinion of it.
Yes, poltergeists can be the product of teenage and young adult minds but having been the target of poltergeist activity, I believe that the spirit charges itself with the energy of the living person to fuel its activities. Young adults/teenagers have a surplus of energy.
Some spirits that are seen are earthbound, some are not. Some are the spirits of caring friends and relatives who come to the aid of their loved ones in times of crisis or worry. And I believe that some earthbound spirits are there to remind mankind of the atrocious way that they died....for example the spirits that have lingered in the Tower of London. For houses, some spirits remain there because they simply loved the home that they lived in and didn't wish to leave. I have too many tales of ghostly activity.....this post would go on forever if I were to include them!!!
Paranormal activity overall, I believe that there is more in heaven and upon earth that man's 5 senses can account for. Although, I have to say, some things that have been atributed to paranormal activity will have a perfectly logical explanation. Maybe in time to come we will understand exactly what happens in the infamous Bermuda triangle
The Ghost(?) in my House

Here's a true story for you. Is it a ghost?
I live in a house built in 1912 by a man named McMinn for his wife and himself.
The house was sound when we purchased it, but needed restoration.
We completely restored the kitchen space to its original layout and added modern conveniences in a way that did not distract from the period of the place. It had suffered a bad remodel in the '60's. Our restoration included new plastering and paint and flooring and completely refinishing old cabinets.
After the restoration, each morning upon arising we began to smell the scent of fresh bacon or ham. I went outside to see if the delicious scent was coming from neighbors, but no such scent was outside, only inside. When I had guests staying, they would wake up and come to the kitchen complimenting me on the delicious aromas only to find I was serving them fruit! :eek: (Some of them denied being in the least "sensitive" to such things, and we had not told them the story.)
My intuition says this is the first lady of the home, glad that her kitchen in the home she loved is restored, and cooking breakfast once again... but of course no proof is offered.
By the way the aroma of fresh bacon/ham was not present prior to the restoration, and so far as I know, no fresh ham or bacon was utilized in the plaster, paint, tile glue or flooring :)
What do you think?

It could well be a ghost but one that is showing its pleasure on what you have done. The kitchen is often considered the heart of the house and you have (from what I'm reading) restored it to its former glory.The scent of cooking bacon is a lovely one and certainly a lovely way to show you that the former occupant approves of the changes that you have made. (Or maybe she is cooking you never know!!)
Still entertainment

Phi said:

My intuition says this is the first lady of the home, glad that her kitchen in the home she loved is restored, and cooking breakfast once again... but of course no proof is offered.

What do you think?

I still think it is good entertainment. But where or from whom or what does the entertainment come from?

My intuition says this is the first lady of the home...

Would you like to ask your reasoning mind also, making a very systematic search for the source of the bacon smells?

You might never come to any source accessible to your other senses like taste, touch, sight, hearing; but you should continue being curious.

I am myself afraid of the so-called paranormal or abnormal or psychic or preternatural used to describe phenomena which have not been traced to their sources that can also be detected by machines. But fear is one thing, keepiing our reason intact and functioning is another and more useful. Like feeling libido is one thing, doing something about it or accommodating to it is another.

There are contrivances I think in the market that can detect and analyze odors. It will be a good pastime to use them for determining exactly what and where the odors of frying bacon come from.

In the meantime, the phenomenon is good entertainment and I am happy for you, it does not scare you stiff. Now, if the house also has the sound of a rooster crowing in the morning at six, that should be good and very useful

Brians says that smell of bacon is welcome unless the tenants are vegans.

I share his sentiment.

Susma Rio Sep
You are right in that I am not in the least afraid. There was never any sinister element to it, just an arousal of curiosity.In fact when my husband and I first began to smell it, we tried to think of every rational explanation, and coming up with none, we began to rather ignore it, and stopped mentioning it. Which is why when we had guests, we had not mentioned it to them. It had become "normal" to us, and we had not really given it much thought for a while. Now I don't even smell it anymore. Maybe the phenomenon has stopped, maybe I or we have normalized it right out of our own noses! :)
From personal experience I have found from time to time that spirits let a person know of their presence via scent, its usually a scent that isn't usual in the household (even after exhaustive searching, particularly when one gave off a scent/pong like really sweaty socks, and the scent can't be found) and it is acknowledged that it maybe something else. We often associate people in life with many things, one being scent and maybe that's why they do it this way. Those that announce their presence with a pleasant scent IMO they are alerting those in the household that they are there in a non-threatening/frightening manner. Once we associate the 'unusual scent' with the spirit in question, it goes.
suanni said:
Those that announce their presence with a pleasant scent IMO they are alerting those in the household that they are there in a non-threatening/frightening manner. Once we associate the 'unusual scent' with the spirit in question, it goes.

How interesting that you should say so. Not long after those guests had left I was working on yet another room's restoration, and in a happy mood appraising what I was just finishing, I said aloud, "Well, Mrs. McMinn, how do you like it?" And no, I didn't get any answer, just laughed at my own silliness and continued my happy chore. but your comment makes me recall this. So if you are correct, and if it really was a ghostly visitation, perhaps I associated the scent correctly, and Mrs. McMinn could go back to being "inscentable?"
If she is still around, I certainly don't mind: it was built for her, so to me it is still more her house than mine. :)
I think with your attitude towards the house and if Mrs. McMinn is still about (if the house was indeed built for her she may well be, looking after her 'baby') she will no doubt approve. Sounds like she is most certainly approving of your restoration of the house. :)

I wonder what kind of grief she gave the occupant who brought in the 60s stuff!!!!;)
I have a friend who lived in an old house, and like you was in the process of renovating it. He was aware of the spirits in the house and would talk to them, explaining what he was doing. He didn't get any odours, probably because he could 'feel' them but felt that they weren't threatening to his occupation of the house. His attitude was it was their house before he took it and they had as much right to be there as him, if not more so.