Popularity of paranormal soars

As children know, Halloween is a time to let the imagination run wild. A survey of religious beliefs, however, shows that adults do the same, and not just for Halloween. Baylor University’s expansive survey found what it termed a “surprising level” of paranormal belief and experience. According to a Gallup Poll, about 75 percent of Americans hold some form of belief in the paranormal – extrasensory perception, ghosts, telepathy, clairvoyance, astrology, communicating with the dead, witches, reincarnation or channeling.

Some religions, such as Wicca and neo paganism, draw deeply from the wells of reincarnation and spells. Some traditions or cultures mix elements from traditional, organized religion with the supernatural. Yet most religions are laced with elements of mysticism or the surreal: Consider a voice coming from a burning bush, water turned into wine, lamp oil that lasted eight days, prophets and angels in the Quran.

October is a rich time to explore why so many people believe in the paranormal and how those beliefs are reflected in everyday actions and popular culture. After all, religion and the paranormal share a common challenge: Just because we can’t prove it, does that mean it’s not there?

Background

Why it matters

Both nonbelievers and people of faith blur the lines between what they’re sure about and what they sense could possibly be. Ordinary people have had dreams that came true, encountered coincidences that don’t feel like coincidences, felt the presence of someone they love who has died. Many wonder: How big is the world, and what does it mean to believe in the divine?

Definitions

  • Supernatural – attributable to a power that goes beyond or violates natural forces.
  • Paranormal – an event or perception that involves forces outside the realm of scientific explanation.
  • Ghost – the disembodied spirit of a dead person.
  • Extrasensory perception – perception that occurs beyond the usual senses.
  • Spiritualism – the belief that the human personality survives death and can communicate with the living, usually through the use of a medium; sometimes called spiritism.
  • Clairvoyance – the ability to see things out of the range of normal vision.
  • Astrology – a type of divination based on the movement of the planets and stars.
  • Channeling – the occupation of one person’s body by another’s spirit.

Supernatural sightings: Day of the Dead

Starting at midnight Oct. 31, many Hispanics, particularly Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This celebration, in memory of those who have died, fuses elements of an indigenous Aztec celebration with the Christian commemoration of All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). It is built around the belief that on this day, the spirits of the dead return home to their loved ones. The spirits of children (angelitos or angels) come first, followed by the adults. Festivities include candlelight vigils in cemeteries, altars set up to welcome departed spirits home (often adorned with favorite treats, including liquor and cigarettes), and decorations of skeletons, skulls, wreaths and crosses.

Supernatural sightings: shopping

The website eBay has a metaphysical section (which falls under the category: “Everything Else.”) This is where shoppers can visit the “Old Hags Metaphysical Mall” to buy a Wooden Pentacle Altar Table or pick up an 83 Magical Herb Spell Sampler Kit. Sellers advertise haunted dolls that can move on their own or cause lights to flicker. There are traveling witch kits, spells, daggers, potions, crystal balls, haunted rings and love spells. Sometimes, a glimpse into the marketplace – what aficionados are interested in and likely to buy – can open the mind up to the world of the practitioner. This Halloween season, what’s kitsch, what’s fun, what’s serious for practicing pagans, and what’s hot?

Supernatural sightings: samhain

Many Wiccans and neo pagans celebrate this end-of-summer holiday on Oct. 31. Samhain, with roots in ancient Celtic tradition, marks the closing of the harvest season and the beginning of winter and is seen by some as a time when the space between the living and the dead is especially thin.

Supernatural sightings: paranormal romance

The market for romance books is huge. It’s a $1.4 billion industry, according to Romance Writers of America. Paranormal romance books, with everything from sexy shape-shifters to My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006), are one of the hot trends in the field. Romance Writers of America gives an award each year for the best paranormal romance book and has a special-interest chapter for authors who write futuristic, fantasy, time-travel and paranormal books.

What are the spiritual implications of werewolves, ghosts and vampires – characters who might not be mortal, who are tortured, who practice the dark arts and can inflict pain – offered as heart-swooning protaganists? Is it possible to fall in love with evil?

Supernatural sightings: martian apparitions and miracles

Rumors regularly fly about Marian apparitions and miracles – ways in which the Virgin Mary reportedly appears and sometimes heals. Mary is said to have appeared to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531, to Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858 and to children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Some say Mary still does appear. There are periodic reports of statues or relics that weep or move, often drawing huge crowds of the curious and faithful. Consider exploring these phenomena against the backdrop of official Roman Catholic Church teaching.

Millions have made pilgrimages to Medjugorje, a village in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the Virgin Mary has reportedly been appearing and giving messages since 1981. Talk to Catholics from your area who’ve made the trip. What do they think about all this?

Supernatural sightings: youth

Are teenagers and young adults more likely to believe in the paranormal than their elders? Does level of education play any role in people’s views? The Baylor survey determined that “education explains little of the variation in paranormal experiences” but found that those who’d attended college were actually more likely than those with a high school degree or less to have witnessed a UFO or used alternative medicines or therapies, and those aged 18 to 30 were more likely to consult horoscopes, visit psychics or visit a place they thought was haunted. In other words, more education did not make people more skeptical.

  • “Higher Education Fuels Stronger Belief in Ghosts”

    A poll of nearly 500 college students, reported in the January-February 2006 issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, found that college seniors and graduate students were more likely to believe in paranormal concepts than freshmen.

  • “Religion and the Paranormal”

    The National Study of Youth and Religion, in a nationally representative survey of more than 3,000 American teenagers, found teens to be open to the idea of the paranormal while remaining somewhat skeptical. Relatively few were certain they believed in things such as psychics, astrology or communicating with the dead. But 40 percent of the teens surveyed said they may believe or definitely believed in astrology, 39 percent in communicating with the dead and 27 percent in psychics or fortune tellers. Teens were less likely to believe in the paranormal if they routinely attend religious services. For example, 49 percent of teens who never attend services said they definitely or maybe believe in astrology, compared with 35 percent of those who attend services weekly and 22 percent who go more than once a week.

Supernatural sightings: screams on the screen

Television and movies reflect popular culture. Shows with paranormal and supernatural twists have included Heroes and Medium on NBC, Smallville and Supernatural on The CW network, Ghost Whisperer on CBS, Lost on ABC and Bleach on Cartoon Network.

On the big screen, check out The Covenant (teenage boys from supernatural families), The Return (Sarah Michelle Gellar haunted by visions of murders), Déjà vu (Denzel Washington with precognition), Stranger Than Fiction (Will Ferrell hears a voice), Bug (Ashley Judd with creepy-crawlies everywhere, but are they real?) and Sixth Sense (Haley Joel Osment is able to see and hear those who have passed away but need closure).

Articles

Polls

  • “Three in Four Americans Believe in Paranormal”

    A June 2005 Gallup Poll found that three in four Americans express belief in at least one paranormal belief. The most popular were extrasensory perception and haunted houses.

  • “Poll: Majority Believe In Ghosts”

    Read a Feb. 11, 2009 CBS News poll that found that nearly half of Americans’ belief in ghosts and the supernatural.

  • “What People Do and Do Not Believe in”

    A Harris Poll from 2009 found that four of 10 Americans believe in ghosts. About a third believe in UFOs, 23 percent in witches and 26 percent in astrology. One in five believe they were reincarnated from another person.  71 percent of Catholics and 79 percent of Protesants believe in the Virgin Birth, compared to 61 percent of all American adults.

  • “Paranormal beliefs, from prophetic dreams to Atlantis”

    Evangelical Christians were the least likely of all religious groups to believe in the paranormal, and belief in the paranormal tended to decline the more one attended church. Those most likely to believe in the paranormal came from the “other” religious category – meaning not Christian and not Jewish. Read a Sept. 12, 2006, USA Today story summarizing the research findings.

  • “Losing My Religion? No, Says Baylor Religion Survey”

    The 2006 Baylor Survey of Religion found what it termed a “surprising level” of paranormal belief and experience, although “those beliefs and experiences tended to be confined to people outside traditional religion,” the report states. The survey was funded by the John Templeton Foundation and conducted by the Gallup Organization from October to December 2005. It found that more than half of those surveyed believe that dreams can foretell the future or reveal hidden truths, 37 percent believe that places can be haunted, about a quarter believe some UFOs are probably spaceships from other worlds and nearly one in five believe it is possible to communicate with the dead.

National sources

  • Lesley Armstrong Northup

    Lesley Armstrong Northup is an associate professor of religious studies at Florida International University in Miami. She wrote “Homosexuality in the Evolution of American Christianity,” a chapter in the volume Religion & Sexuality: Passionate Debates, edited by C.K. Robertson.

  • Alexander Seinfeld

    Alexander Seinfeld is a rabbi and an expert on Judaism and the supernatural and has given talks on the subject of Judaism and ghosts, necromancy and astronomy. He is based in Baltimore.

  • Leonard Norman Primiano

    Leonard Norman Primiano is Chair and Professor of Religious Studies at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa. He contributed a chapter on the supernatural on television in God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture, edited by Eric Mazur (Routledge, 2000). A recent publication is “I Wanna Do Bad Things With You: Fantasia on Themes of American Religion from the Title Sequence of HBO’s True Blood” in God In The Details: American Religion In Popular Culture.

  • Mary Roach

    Mary Roach is the author of Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (W.W. Norton, 2005), in which she investigates claims of life after death and attempts to understand why people believe in reincarnation despite a lack of “proof.”

  • Lynn Schofield Clark

    Lynn Schofield Clark is Associate Professor in Media, Film, and Journalism Studies, and Director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver. She directs the Teens and the New Media@Home Project, which studies how young people use new media technologies. She also is the author of From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2003), which is based on extensive interviews with U.S. teens and considers how presentations of the supernatural in the media help shape the religious views of teenagers. She says there is a trend toward the “normalization” of psychic powers and mystical experiences reflected in contemporary television shows and movies.

  • Alan Jacobs

    Alan Jacobs is an English professor at Wheaton College in Illinois. An evangelical Christian, he wrote about how Harry Potter’s magic fits with faith in an essay in First Things. He is the author The Narnian: the Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins, 2005).

  • Wendy Martin

    Wendy Martin is a professor in the department of classics and religious studies at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario. In 2004, she presented a paper on how television shows depicting the supernatural influence people’s belief systems.

  • Emily D. Edwards

    Emily D. Edwards is an associate professor of broadcasting and cinema at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author of Metaphysical Media: The Occult Experience in Popular Culture (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005), which looks at how movies and television portray supernatural beliefs and the influence of the occult on popular art.

  • Christine Wicker

    Christine Wicker is the author of two books on the supernatural and paranormal, Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead and Not in Kansas Anymore: The Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America (both Harper Collins, 2003 and 2005 respectively). She says there is more “magical thinking,” in part, because people are more skeptical of science and because theories of the “so-called new physics” support various religious, spiritual and magical ideas. She can also discuss the history of “Christo-magic,” the magical thinking of different types of Christians throughout American history.

    She says there is more “magical thinking,” in part, because people are more skeptical of science and because theories of the “so-called new physics” support various religious, spiritual and magical ideas. She can also discuss the history of “Christo-magic,” the magical thinking of different types of Christians throughout American history.

  • Lynn Schofield Clark

    Lynn Schofield Clark is Associate Professor in Media, Film, and Journalism Studies, and Director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver. She directs the Teens and the New Media@Home Project, which studies how young people use new media technologies. She also is the author of From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2003), which is based on extensive interviews with U.S. teens and considers how presentations of the supernatural in the media help shape the religious views of teenagers. She says there is a trend toward the “normalization” of psychic powers and mystical experiences reflected in contemporary television shows and movies.

    She says that the current fascination with the supernatural speaks to the uncertainty of the times and that stories of the paranormal offer a mystical way of resolving discomfort with that uncertainty. She also says there is a trend toward the “normalization” of psychic powers and mystical experiences reflected in the current crop of television shows and movies.

  • William Dinges

    William Dinges is a professor of religious studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and an expert on American Catholicism. He says the growing divide between what is “religious” and what is “spiritual” has resulted in spirituality that lends itself easily to supernatural and paranormal phenomena. He is a co-author of Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice (2001) and can speak about the views of teenagers and young adults toward the Catholic Church.

    He says the growing divide between what is “religious” and what is “spiritual” has resulted in spirituality that lends itself easily to supernatural and paranormal phenomena.

  • Dr. Margaret Poloma

    Dr. Margaret Poloma is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Akron in Ohio. She wrote about miracles as supernatural/ paranormal phenomenon in Main Street Mystics: The Toronto Blessing and Reviving Pentecostalism (Alta Mira Press, 2003). She describes herself as a Pentecostal Christian who has experienced paranormal phenomena within the framework of her religion.

    She says one reason for the Gallup Poll’s results is that religious people regularly experience the supernatural and the paranormal, two things she says form the basis of religious belief. She describes herself as a Pentecostal Christian who has experienced paranormal phenomena within the framework of her religion.

Paranormal proponents

  • Jeff Belanger

    Jeff Belanger is the founder of Ghostvillage.com, an Internet community dedicated to the supernatural, and the author of several books on ghosts and the dead including The World’s Most Haunted PlacesWeird Massachusetts, and Who’s Haunting the White House.

  • Rick Hayes

    Rick Hayes is a paranormal communications expert. He was raised as a Christian and established LifesGift. He says that he sees no conflict between his Christian beliefs and his ability to relay messages from the dead, and that this gift makes him feel more blessed. He is based in Evansville, Ind. Contact Rick here.

    He says that he sees no conflict between his Christian beliefs and his ability to relay messages from the dead, and that this gift makes him feel more blessed.

Skeptics

  • Robert Todd Carroll

    Robert Todd Carroll is the author of The Skeptics Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) and maintains a website of the same name. He is a retired philosophy professor at Sacramento City College in California.

  • James Randi

    James Randi is one of the foremost skeptics of all things paranormal. He is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about fraudulent paranormal claims. It is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He says people believe in the supernatural because it is comforting to think there is life after death and that their loved ones are still with them.

    He says one reason people believe in the supernatural is because it is comforting – there is life after death, their loved ones are still with them, etc.

Regional sources

In the Northeast

  • Robert Thompson

    Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, has written about the depiction of religion in television.

     

  • Laurel Kearns

    Laurel Kearns is an associate professor of the sociology of religion and environmental studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J. Her main research interests are Christian responses to ecological concerns and nature spirituality. 

  • Jose C. Nieto

    Jose C. Nieto is a professor  emeritus of religion and history at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. He is an expert on mysticism and wrote the book Religious Experience and Mysticism: Otherness as Experience of Transcendence (University Press of America, 1997).

  • Yvonne Chireau

    Yvonne Chireau is an professor of religion at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and the author of numerous books and articles on the supernatural and African-American religion, including Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition (University of California Press, 2003).

  • Laura Donaldson

    Laura Donaldson is an associate professor of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. She has written about women’s beliefs in the New Age movement, which includes belief in many supernatural and paranormal phenomena.

  • David Roozen

    David Roozen, professor of religion and society and director of the Hartford Seminary Institute For Religion Research, has written about religious television. He specializes in national religious trends.

  • Michael Brown

    Michael Brown is a professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. He has written about belief in magic and in channeling.

  • Eugene Gallagher

    Eugene Gallagher is a professor of religious studies at Connecticut College in New London. He has written about belief in sorcery and new religious movements. He is the co-author of Why Waco.

  • Paul Eno

    Paul Eno is an author and speaker on the subject of the supernatural and paranormal. He says belief in the supernatural and paranormal rises when the economy is struggling, and Hollywood is quick to pick up on the trend. Additionally, he believes human beings are wired to believe in the unexplainable. He is based in Woonsocket, R.I. Call via New River Press/Barking Cat Books.

  • William Ellis

    William Ellis is an associate professor of English and American studies at Pennsylvania State University, Hazleton. He is the author of Aliens, Ghosts and Cults: Legends We Live (University Press of Mississippi, 2001).

  • John B. Buescher

    John B. Buescher is chief of the Tibetan Broadcast Service of the Voice of America in Washington, D.C., and author of The Other Side of Salvation: Spiritualism and the Nineteenth Century Religious Experience (Skinner House Books, 2004).

  • Leonard Norman Primiano

    Leonard Norman Primiano is Chair and Professor of Religious Studies at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa. He contributed a chapter on the supernatural on television in God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture, edited by Eric Mazur (Routledge, 2000). A recent publication is “I Wanna Do Bad Things With You: Fantasia on Themes of American Religion from the Title Sequence of HBO’s True Blood” in God In The Details: American Religion In Popular Culture.

    He thinks Americans right now cannot get enough answers to popularly generated religious questions and mysteries concerning the Bible and the life of Jesus, for example. Commercial television, he believes, rarely offers nuanced discussion of belief and practice.

  • Terrence Hines

    Terrence Hines is a professor of psychology at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y., and the author of Pseudoscience and the Paranormal (Prometheus Books, 2003). He says uncritical presentation of the supernatural and paranormal in the media leads to high belief ratings. But he also thinks the human brain may be constructed to believe in “cognitive illusions,” such as the belief that prayer brought on a cure as opposed to chance.

    He says the uncritical presentation of the supernatural and paranormal in the media leads to Gallup’s high belief ratings. But he also thinks the human brain may be constructed to believe in “cognitive illusions,” such as the belief that prayer brought on a cure as opposed to chance.

In the South

  • Reg Grant

    Reg Grant is a professor of pastoral ministries and director of the Media Arts and Worship Program at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has an interest in media as a writer, producer and actor and frequently comments on spirituality. He can speak about the connection between comic book heroes and religion, the Star Wars film series’ Buddhist-style philosophy in the context of traditional Christian doctrine, and more.

  • Steven Wolff

    Steven Wolff directs the South Texas Ghost Hunters Alliance, a nonprofit group of paranormal investigators who hunt ghosts in the San Antonio area.

  • John Hannah

    John Hannah is a professor of historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. He has written about the Toronto Blessing and other mystical phenomena in the Pentecostal tradition.

  • Mark Hulsether

    Mark Hulsether, Religious Studies Professor and Director of the American Studies Program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, has written extensively on religion and popular culture. He wrote the 2007 book Religion, Culture and Politics in the Twentieth-Century United States (Edinburgh University Press). He has also written about North American liberation theologies and the transformation of the Protestant left since World War II.

  • Charles Lippy

    Charles Lippy is a retired professor of religious studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has written extensively on American religious history, including Pluralism Comes of Age: American Religious Culture in the Twentieth Century; Modern American Popular Religion; and, as co-author, The Evangelicals: A Historical, Thematic and Biographical Guide.

  • John P. Ferré

    John P. Ferré is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. His focus is on media, religion and culture. He is the editor of Channels of Belief: Religion and American Commercial Television (Iowa State University Press, 1990).

  • Alan Brown

    Alan Brown is a professor of English at the University of West Alabama and author of Haunted Places in the American South (University Press of Mississippi, 2002) He specializes in oral Southern ghost stories.

  • Gary Laderman

    Gary Laderman is associate professor of religion at Emory University in Atlanta and author of Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 2003).

  • Vinson Synan

    Vinson Synan is Dean Emeritus of the School of Divinity at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. He is an expert on the Pentecostal movement and its history.

  • Julie Ingersoll

    Julie Ingersoll is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and can discuss religion and popular culture. She has written about faith and values among Jimmy Buffett fans.

  • Phillip Charles Lucas

    Phillip Charles Lucas is a professor of religious studies at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. He is the co-editor of Cassadaga: The South’s Oldest Spiritualist Community (University Press of Florida, 2000) and general editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. His other publications include “Enfants Terribles: The Challenge of Sectarian Converts to Ethnic Orthodox Churches in the United States,” published in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions (2003).

  • Christine Rodriguez

    Christine Rodriguez is the founder of East Coast Hauntings Organization, a nonprofit paranormal scientific investigation group in Washington, N.C.

  • Marshall W. Fishwick

    Marshall W. Fishwick (1923-2006) was professor emeritus of interdisciplinary studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. He wrote on popular culture and religion, including the book Great Awakenings: Popular Religion and Popular Culture (Haworth Press, 1995).

In the Midwest

  • Paul Allen Williams

    Paul Allen Williams is an assistant professor in the department of philosophy and religion at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and was editor of the Journal of Religion and Film from 2004 to 2008. He also teaches courses on African religions, the history of Christianity, world religions, Islam and New Testament.

  • Troy Taylor

    Troy Taylor specializes in Midwestern ghosts and paranormal phenomena. He is also the founder and president of the American Ghost Society. He is based in the Chicago area.

  • Echo Bodine

    Echo Bodine is a Minnesota-based psychic who serves as a consultant on numerous television shows about the supernatural.

  • James Lewis

    James R. Lewis is a lecturer in religious studies in the philosophy department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He is the editor of Scientology (March 2009), described as a comprehensive examination of the church’s theology, growth and controversies.

  • Selena Fox

    Selena Fox is a high priestess and senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church and pagan resource center near Mount Horeb, Wis. Wicca is a neo-pagan faith that relies heavily on nature and a belief in some forms of magic and the supernatural.

    Contact: 608-924-2216.
  • William D. Romanowski

    William D. Romanowski is a professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He wrote Pop Culture Wars: Religion and the Role of Entertainment in American Life and Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture.

In the West

  • Jonathan Bock

    Jonathan Bock is president of Grace Hill Media in Studio City, Calif., a public relations firm that markets films to religious audiences on behalf of major movie studios.

    Contact: 818-762-0000.
  • Craig Detweiler

    Craig Detweiler is associate professor of communication at Pepperdine University in California. He is co-author of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture (Baker Academic, 2003). Contact 310-497-7204 (cell), craig.detweiler@biola.edu.

  • Catherine Albanese

    Catherine Albanese is Professor Emerita in Comparative Religions & Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to New Age (University of Chicago Press, 1991) and America: Religions and Religion, 5th. ed. (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 2012).

  • Bret Carroll

    Bret Carroll is an assistant professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus, and author of Spiritualism in Antebellum America (Indiana University Press, 1997).

  • Charles Tart

    Charles Tart is a professor at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, Calif., and the author of numerous articles and books on psychology and parapsychology. He edited Body Mind Spirit: Exploring the Parapsychology of Spirituality (Hampton Roads, 1997). He says one reason belief in the supernatural and paranormal runs so high is because many people feel they have experienced such phenomena personally. Media interest in the paranormal, he says, is secondary and is driven by the public’s interest.

    He says one reason belief in the supernatural and paranormal runs so high is because many people feel they have experienced such phenomena personally. The media interest, he says, is secondary and is driven by the public’s interest.

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