Paranormal is any event, phenomenon, or ability that cannot be explained by the current paradigm of modern science or any accepted and approved scientific law. However, it does not indicate that the said phenomenon be it telepathy, extra-terrestrials, or angels, cannot be explained by other science paradigms in the future. In addition, many instances of the paranormal are inconsistent with the features of modern physical theory and accounts of physical or natural events. In essence, the paranormal includes those events that command a considerable degree of belief in the powers, persistent over time or abilities that modern physical science finds no experimental or rational basis (RLST 2326EL 1).
Shamanism, Magic, and Religion in the Ancient World
In the period of Shamanism, there were many beliefs that are now considered paranormal, which were accepted as normal. In addition, before the rise and development of science and Christianity, an animistic view of the world was acceptable. They believed that spirits, gods, and ghosts were everywhere in the universe, and they could inhibit objects and possess animals and human beings. In many societies, there were individuals who could communicate and control the spirits. Those specialists who demonstrated powers and abilities resembling the current paranormal were called ‘Shamans’, otherwise called witch doctors, medicine men, and sorcerers. A shaman is a feature of societies that demonstrate little technology with no organized bureaucratic state, priesthood, or class hierarchies (Enzheng 27).
Magicians in many modern societies have been pushed aside, but they do not disappear entirely. They start secretive existences away from social integration. However, in societies like ancient Roman and Greek, the phenomenon of magicians and witches co-existed with the organized society though they were not encouraged in their activities. The magical beliefs persisted through Roman times. Many Romans in ancient times were highly superstitious and could be attracted to astrology, magic, and mysteries of all kinds. However, outwardly, they were a very materialistic culture of economic exploitation and power politics, but privately they absorbed themselves in mystical, magical, and occult practices (Enzheng 32).
Science and the Paranormal
The earlier beliefs and understanding of the Paranormal form the basis of the earlier conception of the universe that stated that the communication of all living things was connected. In accordance with the standard account, the progress in today’s modern science took place because it changed the animistic view of reality with the material or mechanical nature in which occult qualities diminished. The perspective depends upon some principles, which state that if there is any change in anything, there must be a material thing creating that change. Hence, no hidden essence or spirit can be separated from the physical component (Orenstein 302).
Experimental science liberated many of the beliefs in gods, spirits, fairies, and ghosts. Science found a regular trend that was predictable in nature and holistically excluded the fantastic entities. In essence, many scientists and paranormalists believe that if telekinesis or telepathy exists, it must demonstrate scientific conclusions or be in accordance with the field of force yet to be detected. In addition, most scientists admit the reality of causation only.
Fields of Influence: From ESP to Remote Viewing
In ancient religion, thoughts and intentions alone were believed to influence the outer environment. Ancient man viewed the world as populated by spirits and conscious beings intervening in human affairs. However, man thought those beings were through magical incantation, prayers, and rituals. However, Christianity opposed animistic religion’s elements, but it retained some aspects in its early theology. A field of influence known as Parapsychology aims to produce laboratory evidence for thought transfer, telepathy (ESP), and telekinesis (RLST 2326EL 37).
However, the experiments by Uri Geller and Edgar Cayce may not demonstrate any evidence of the ability of the mind to communicate and connect across distances. The attempt to gather laboratory evidence through remote viewing is not wholly convincing. Therefore, the most imperative thing apart from the question of evidence of the existence of paranormal knowledge is the character profile of the remote viewers and the commonality of their elements (RLST 2326EL 39).
Science has raised the bar in my understanding of the paranormal by setting standard evidence required to demonstrate any paranormal occurrence. Science has challenged me to abandon the old-fashioned ways of understanding the paranormal, which have failed us for decades. The proper approach to understanding this phenomenon is to eliminate all natural causes that are supported by assumption-led techniques. Failing to understand the possible mundane causes of any incident will challenge paranormal investigation. In fact, many incidents that are considered paranormal are later challenged because, in the process, they failed to explore prosaic explanations during the time of the investigation (FitzGerald and Dustin 120).
The best way to explain paranormal incidences is to understand more about the possible ‘mundane explanation’ that yields paranormal reports. When using this approach, progress is guaranteed since all the things that are being studied are known, unlike conventional paranormal research. If paranormal reports demonstrate mundane explanations, then it is evident that the incident is always a case of a witness experiencing a situation they did not recognize or something entirely new to them or still something they knew but now an unfamiliar guise. For instance, an individual who never noticed a planet in the universe may mistake Venus for an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO). Therefore, science provides new approaches to paranormal-based identification research, including Xenonormal studies, new house effects, and EVP analysis (Irwin 17).
Enzheng, Tong. “Magicians, Magic, and Shamanism in Ancient China.” Journal of East Asian Archaeology 2002: 27-73. Print.
FitzGerald, Barry, and Dustin Pari. The Complete Approach: A Scientific and Metaphysical Guide to the Paranormal. Attica, N. Y: Summer Wind Press, 2009. Print.
Irwin, Hj. “Belief in the paranormal: A review of the empirical literature.” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 87.1 (1993): 1-39.
Orenstein, Alan. “Religion and Paranormal Belief.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 41.2 (2002): 301-311.
RLST 2326EL 10: Unit 1. Paranormal (n.d)