Education

Here you will find scientific explanations for many experiences that are often misinterpreted as paranormal. The purpose is not to rule out all paranormal activity as being related to human flaws, but instead, to educate people. We cannot understand what we experience without first understanding ourselves.


Hypnogogia & Hypnopompia

The hypnagogic state is experienced while we transition from being awake or falling asleep. During this time, a lot of paranormal-type experiences can occur: paralysis, auditory and visual hallucinations, even out-of-body experiences. Most accounts of individuals being woken up in the middle of the night who see dark shadows standing over them, or feeling paralyzed, can be accounted for by hypnagogia. It's known as sleep paralysis as well. This is the stage where lucid dreaming also occurs. One thing to keep in mind with an individual's account of activity that happens at night is that the person themselves are not an objective perspective. They cannot truly know if they are awake or asleep. It's important to have a non-subjective account of paranormal activity when trying to analyze it.

Articles:

  • NBC News - See ghosts? There may be a medical reason.
  • NY Time - Seeing things? Hearing things? Many of us do.

  • Wikipedia - Hypnagogia


Memory Errors & False Memory Syndrome

Memories are an important part of every person's life. We share them, relish them, and sometimes even try to suppress them. We believe our memories are real, factual captures of events and emotions that took place in the past. But that story you're telling from a childhood memory may not have occurred as you recall. Our brains are flawed and not reliable. Memories are greatly influenced from external sources. They are subject to all types of errors while your brain is saving the information and after. There's even research that suggests each time you remember an event, you're really remembering a pointer to that event, not the actual memory itself. There's many psychological and medical reasons why false memories happen. Safe to say, that just because someone "knows" what happened to them, doesn't mean it's true. Once again, we cannot rely on ourselves as source of proof because we're subjective and flawed. This is why it's so important to use video capturing equipment on investigations.

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Social and Psychological Disorders

Disorders can account for many personal paranormal claims. There's schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and just a long list of personal disorders that alter how people behave and see reality. That aside, paranormal belief is also known to be a coping mechanism for disadvantaged social, economic, or educational situations. For example, someone without much education who is struggling in life may convince themselves they have the ability to see things that no one else can; this makes them feel special and have great personal worth over other people. Many personal claims will be accounted for by some type of disorder, or medical problem. The paradigm continues here as well - we cannot rely on ourselves as sources of paranormal accountability and we must rely on equipment to record paranormal events for evidence.

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Health/Medical Problems

Our brain is what interprets what our senses collect and translates that data into information we can understand. Sometimes neurological conditions occur that affect the area of our brain that interprets our senses data. Temporal lobe epilepsy has been discussed as being a likely cause behind seeing, hearing, even smelling things that aren't there. We must be careful though to not just blindly dismiss all paranormal claims a health problems. If the paranormal events are on-going or perhaps are only continuously affecting one person in a group, seeking medical advice shouldn't be something people are offended by.

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Scientific Research Into the Paranormal

Research is being done in many fields to help explain the paranormal. It is often considered a taboo subject and difficult for researchers to get funding. There's deep-rooted religious and cultural beliefs that conflict with research discoveries, leading to willful ignorance or cognitive dissonance among a community. Science must always transcend these obstactles - or else we would still be unaware of things as basic to us as the heliocentry theory. With enough research and hypotheses, science and the paranormal will coalesce and greatly enhance our understanding of the world and reality.

Articles:

  • parapsych.org - "Memory Conformity and Paranormal Belief", Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Golsmiths Collge, University of London