Paranormal Activity: Truth or Fiction?
Every person in life came across something that he could not explain. But are there really phenomena that do not lend themselves to logic in principle? They are called differently, recorded in photos and videos, pseudo-scientists are studying, but they can not prove their existence. But there are also events that until now could not be explained – or did not want to not cause hysteria among the people.
Why do people in the 21st century still believe in paranormal phenomena? It turns out that science has found good reasons and even some benefits of believing in the supernatural. Arthur Conan Doyle spoke with ghosts through mediums, and Alan Turing believed in telepathy. These men, who were known for their sharp minds, could not give up faith in the impossible.
And you can also join them. According to recent research, three-quarters of people believe in paranormal phenomena in one form or another, and one in five is confident that they have seen a phenomenon such as a ghost.
Classification of paranormal phenomena
Many people who study abnormal phenomena can not form them “together.” In fact, there is no common science or pseudo-science that would study everything that goes beyond knowledge. Scientists of different spheres often refute the “abnormality” of cases – physicists, chemists and psychologists.
If you try to divide the inexplicable into groups, then you can adhere to this classification. The first include so-called superstitions and bordering with occult things: luck from the hare’s paw, conspiracies, Friday thirteenth and so on. They, more often than not, are based on religious beliefs, including ancient ones.
But religion, unlike science, holds constant beliefs about all situations, in connection with what once, perhaps, there were prerequisites to believe in superstition – now common sense, more often than not.
But many can be useful for their own safety – for example, you should not eat with a knife (because you cut yourself, not because you’ll be angry), and crossroads should be feared – especially with poor visibility for drivers.
Similar to superstitions are the paranormal patterns. They include various spheres of pseudoscience: palmistry, astrology, numerology, fortune telling. They, like superstitions, do not appear out of nothing, but also relate to the unknown phenomena.
There are also paranormal forces. Science knows a lot of real unexplained abilities and abilities of people, but a number of them are still perceived as fiction – magic, telekinesis, predictions.
There are (in the opinion of parapsychologists) and paranormal entities – “earthly” (ghosts, spirits and poltergeists), and extraterrestrial (aliens). In the informal classification they go together, but, explain the mediums and ufologists, they have completely different nature.
Although many continue to believe in almost all paranormal phenomena, science has long been able to refute some of them. In particular, scientists have identified the main reasons why “ghosts” appear, demon-possessed people and many other fantastic things.
Disorders in the brain
Intrigued by these persistent convictions, psychologists decided to study why some of us can not get rid of old prejudices and folklore. Their findings show that the belief in the paranormal has some hidden virtues.
At least, this should lead you to thinking, but do you have the right ideas about the world. Some paranormal experience can easily be explained by impaired brain activity. Information about poltergeist, which moves objects, is associated with damage to certain areas of the right hemisphere of the brain, which are responsible for visual processing of information.
In addition, some forms of epilepsy lead to the fact that a person begins to feel someone’s presence next to him. Perhaps this is what caused the belief in the “shadow people”, which is hiding nearby.
The phenomena described above are now perceived as neurological disorders, while some visual illusions can occur even in a healthy brain, creating mythical creatures.
For example, one young Italian psychologist looked in the mirror one morning and saw a gray-haired old man looking at him. His later experiments confirmed that such illusions are quite common.
When you look at your image in the dark, your brain is most likely trying to build the contours of your face and at the same time fills in the missing information. This can lead to the appearance of skulls, witches and even disgusting animals.
Thus, a combination of exhaustion, drugs, alcohol and lack of light could contribute to single observations. But what about the experience of people like Conan Doyle, who seemed to see otherworldly phenomena every day?
Psychologists who study religion have long suspected that the belief in the paranormal can be a kind of shield from the harsh reality of our world. The idea is that when something unexpected happens – death, natural disaster or loss of work – the human brain begins to search for meaning in this chaos.
This is such a perception of reality that when we can not gain control over some events, we pass it on to other actors, even if they really do not exist. If you ask a person to remember the time when everything is out of control, he will begin to see some illusory forces that helped him to cope with everything.
So, some people begin to see patterns in the random movement of the stock market. But this can also be manifested by combining unrelated events, such as the belief that, having knocked on the tree “for good luck”, you can pass an important interview.
This is another common way with which we try to understand events. Thus, we begin to think that the storm was caused by an evil spirit, and the disease appeared because of the demon, and we can not admit that we have no control over these events.
If a branch begins to knock on your window, you tend to think that this spirit is trying to say something. We believe in ghosts, because we do not want to think that there are a lot of accidents in the universe. Again, very often we feel calmer when we feel less control over our lives.
Given such strange twists of the mind, perhaps some people tend to see hidden patterns and motivations, and this explains why some are more superstitious than others. In addition, such people can not understand why others do not share their worldview.
Not so long ago, a study was conducted in which skeptics and believers took part. They had to look at the animation from the moving figures while being scanning the brain.
People who believe in paranormal phenomena are much more likely to see some goal behind these movements, and this is reflected in the greater activity of the brain in those parts that are associated with the “theory of reason” and the understanding of the motives of other people.
In addition, people who believe in the supernatural often see hidden faces in everyday photographs. In addition, believers may have a weak cognitive “inhibition” in comparison with skeptics. This skill allows you to get rid of unwanted thoughts. Therefore, even if from time to time we are all frightened by strange coincidences, skeptics can force themselves to get rid of these thoughts.
For example, you thought about your mother, and two minutes later she called you. Skeptics will simply laugh and say that this is a funny coincidence, and immediately start thinking about something else.
On the other hand, people who believe in the paranormal are more confident in their decisions, even if they are based on unreliable information.
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The benefits of believing in the supernatural
Nevertheless, most researchers agree that skeptics should not be too critical of people who have such beliefs.
In the end, one study showed that different superstitions can improve productivity. For example, favorite talismans during the test significantly improved the results of subjects, as they increased their self-confidence. During another study, it turned out that the “lucky” ball during the game of golf increases the probability of getting into the hole. And even such simple words as “no feathers or feathers” or “I keep fists for you” increased the agility of the participants and their ability to solve complex problems.
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