Monday, 13 November 2017

Thoughts on 'The Paranormal'

The world of the paranormal conjures many feelings in us, curiosity sometimes, even fascination but more often than not it is fear, and this is usually a fear of the unknown, mixed in with influences of the movies and horror stories. There are many positive, even happy experiences within the realm of things classed as paranormal, but they have to be hunted out from behind the easier to believe and more ‘interesting’ scary ones. 

As with many things in life, especially with a subject as diverse and personal as paranormal experience, we are often only told the bad, scary things, and due to the nature of paranormal happenings there is usually a factor to expand upon for effect such as things happening in the dark of night or in an old, cold building. Tales of ghosts and spirits were used as tools to keep people away from certain places or to deter children from being naughty, and these almost ingrained feelings are naturally passed down to each generation, the supernatural is something scary and unpredictable and must therefore be feared. 

Add to this the more recent influence of Hollywood, films such as the Amityville Horror or The Blair Witch Project, based on ‘true’ events but transformed into best-selling movies by artistic licence left scores of people hyper-sensitive to strange happenings or the slightest bump in the night. This kind of movie mania isn’t just restricted to films of this type of course, just recall the fear that Jaws struck into the hearts of those who saw it, and sadly as a consequence an irrational fear of sharks the world over, animals persecuted due to a horror story and a very effective theme tune. It is a natural reaction of self-preservation of course, to fear that which we are told to be afraid of, and feelings of fear should not be ignored, but there has to be some rationality too. 

Fear of most things can be overcome or at least eased by learning – knowledge really is power. Research and information is the best defense against feelings of fear getting out of control, the paranormal is a vast and varied area of experience, it cannot all be frightening, by looking up positive tales of protector spirits and friendly ghosts for example, one can realise that nothing is all bad, and that there is so much to be gained from thinking about the paranormal in a different way, even if a person doesn’t believe in it, but that does naturally raise the question, why be afraid of something you don’t believe in?  

For those who have had paranormal experiences, they may well be unsettling or confusing, but are they to be feared? Some undoubtedly will be yes, and fear is an instinct that is within us for a reason, but the paranormal as a whole need not be tarred with the same brush, people need to make up their own minds rather than being influenced by culture. 

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