Approaching the paranormal from a research perspective is often difficult because of the lack of acceptable physical evidence from most of the purported phenomena. By definition, the paranormal does not conform to conventional expectations of nature. Therefore, a phenomenon cannot be confirmed as paranormal using the scientific method because, if it could be, it would no longer fit the definition. However, confirmation would result in the phenomenon being reclassified as part of science.
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Despite this problem, studies on the paranormal are periodically conducted by researchers from various disciplines. Some researchers simply study the beliefs in the paranormal regardless of whether the phenomena are considered to objectively exist. This section deals with various approaches to the paranormal: anecdotal , experimental , and participant-observer approaches and the skeptical investigation approach. An anecdotal approach to the paranormal involves the collection of stories told about the paranormal. Charles Fort — is perhaps the best-known collector of paranormal anecdotes. Fort is said to have compiled as many as 40, notes on unexplained paranormal experiences , though there was no doubt many more.
These notes came from what he called "the orthodox conventionality of Science", which were odd events originally reported in magazines and newspapers such as The Times and scientific journals such as Scientific American , Nature and Science. Reported events that he collected include teleportation a term Fort is generally credited with coining ; poltergeist events; falls of frogs, fishes, and inorganic materials of an amazing range; crop circles ; unaccountable noises and explosions; spontaneous fires ; levitation ; ball lightning a term explicitly used by Fort ; unidentified flying objects ; mysterious appearances and disappearances; giant wheels of light in the oceans; and animals found outside their normal ranges see phantom cat.
He offered many reports of OOPArts , the abbreviation for "out of place" artefacts: strange items found in unlikely locations.
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He is perhaps the first person to explain strange human appearances and disappearances by the hypothesis of alien abduction and was an early proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Fort is considered by many as the father of modern paranormalism, which is the study of the paranormal. The magazine Fortean Times continues Charles Fort's approach, regularly reporting anecdotal accounts of the paranormal. Such anecdotal collections, lacking the reproducibility of empirical evidence , are not amenable to scientific investigation. The anecdotal approach is not a scientific approach to the paranormal because it leaves verification dependent on the credibility of the party presenting the evidence.
Nevertheless, it is a common approach to investigating paranormal phenomena. Experimental investigation of the paranormal has been conducted by parapsychologists. Rhine popularized the now famous methodology of using card-guessing and dice-rolling experiments in a laboratory in the hopes of finding evidence of extrasensory perception.
In , the Parapsychological Association was formed as the preeminent society for parapsychologists. In , they became affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Today, many cite parapsychology as an example of a pseudoscience. By the s, the status of paranormal research in the United States had greatly declined from its height in the s, with the majority of work being privately funded and only a small amount of research being carried out in university laboratories.
In , Britain had a number of privately funded laboratories in university psychology departments. While parapsychologists look for quantitative evidence of the paranormal in laboratories, a great number of people immerse themselves in qualitative research through participant-observer approaches to the paranormal. Participant-observer methodologies have overlaps with other essentially qualitative approaches as well, including phenomenological research that seeks largely to describe subjects as they are experienced , rather than to explain them.
Participant-observation suggests that by immersing oneself in the subject being studied, a researcher is presumed to gain understanding of the subject.
Criticisms of participant-observation as a data-gathering technique are similar to criticisms of other approaches to the paranormal, but also include an increased threat to the objectivity of the researcher, unsystematic gathering of data, reliance on subjective measurement, and possible observer effects observation may distort the observed behavior. The participant-observer approach to the paranormal has gained increased visibility and popularity through reality television programs like Ghost Hunters , and the formation of independent ghost hunting groups that advocate immersive research at alleged paranormal locations.
One popular website for ghost hunting enthusiasts lists over of these organizations throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Scientific skeptics advocate critical investigation of claims of paranormal phenomena: applying the scientific method to reach a rational, scientific explanation of the phenomena to account for the paranormal claims, taking into account that alleged paranormal abilities and occurrences are sometimes hoaxes or misinterpretations of natural phenomena. A way of summarizing this method is by the application of Occam's razor , which suggests that the simpler solution is usually the correct one.
It carries out investigations aimed at understanding paranormal reports in terms of scientific understanding, and publishes its results in its journal, the Skeptical Inquirer. Richard Wiseman , of The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry , draws attention to possible alternative explanations for perceived paranormal activity in his article, The Haunted Brain. Wiseman makes the claim that, rather than experiencing paranormal activity, it is activity within our own brains that creates these strange sensations. Michael Persinger proposed that ghostly experiences could be explained by stimulating the brain with weak magnetic fields.
Oxford University Justin Barrett has theorized that "agency" — being able to figure out why people do what they do — is so important in everyday life, that it is natural for our brains to work too hard at it, thereby detecting human or ghost-like behaviour in everyday meaningless stimuli. James Randi , an investigator with a background in illusion , feels that the simplest explanation for those claiming paranormal abilities is often trickery, illustrated by demonstrating that the spoon bending abilities of psychic Uri Geller can easily be duplicated by trained stage magicians.
In anomalistic psychology , paranormal phenomena have naturalistic explanations resulting from psychological and physical factors which have sometimes given the impression of paranormal activity to some people, in fact, where there have been none. Many studies have found a link between personality and psychopathology variables correlating with paranormal belief. Bainbridge and Wuthnow found that the most susceptible people to paranormal belief are those who are poorly educated, unemployed or have roles that rank low among social values. The alienation of these people due to their status in society is said to encourage them to appeal to paranormal or magical beliefs.
Research has associated paranormal belief with low cognitive ability , low IQ and a lack of science education. In a case study Gow, involving participants the findings revealed that psychological absorption and dissociation were higher for believers in the paranormal. In an experiment Wierzbicki reported a significant correlation between paranormal belief and the number of errors made on a syllogistic reasoning task, suggesting that believers in the paranormal have lower cognitive ability.
A psychological study involving members of the Society for Psychical Research completed a delusional ideation questionnaire and a deductive reasoning task. As predicted, the study showed that "individuals who reported a strong belief in the paranormal made more errors and displayed more delusional ideation than skeptical individuals".
There was also a reasoning bias which was limited to people who reported a belief in, rather than experience of, paranormal phenomena. The results suggested that reasoning abnormalities may have a causal role in the formation of paranormal belief. Research has shown that people reporting contact with aliens have higher levels of absorption, dissociativity, fantasy proneness and tendency to hallucinate.
Findings have shown in specific cases that paranormal belief acts as a psychodynamic coping function and serves as a mechanism for coping with stress. Gender differences in surveys on paranormal belief have reported women scoring higher than men overall and men having greater belief in UFOs and extraterrestrials. In a sample of American university students Tobacyk et al. According to American surveys analysed by Bader et al. Polls show that about fifty percent of the United States population believe in the paranormal.
Robert L. Park says a lot of people believe in it because they "want it to be so". A study that utilized a biological motion perception task discovered a "relation between illusory pattern perception and supernatural and paranormal beliefs and suggest that paranormal beliefs are strongly related to agency detection biases". A study discovered that schizophrenic patients have more belief in psi than healthy adults.
Some scientists have investigated possible neurocognitive processes underlying the formation of paranormal beliefs. It was also realized that people with higher dopamine levels have the ability to find patterns and meanings where there aren't any. This is why scientists have connected high dopamine levels with paranormal belief. Some scientists have criticised the media for promoting paranormal claims.
In a report Singer and Benassi, wrote that the media may account for much of the near universality of paranormal belief as the public are constantly exposed to films , newspapers , documentaries and books endorsing paranormal claims while critical coverage is largely absent.
Kurtz compared this to a primitive form of magical thinking. Terence Hines has written that on a personal level, paranormal claims could be considered a form of consumer fraud as people are "being induced through false claims to spend their money—often large sums—on paranormal claims that do not deliver what they promise" and uncritical acceptance of paranormal belief systems can be damaging to society. While the validity of the existence of paranormal phenomena is controversial and debated passionately by both proponents of the paranormal and by skeptics , surveys are useful in determining the beliefs of people in regards to paranormal phenomena.
These opinions, while not constituting scientific evidence for or against, may give an indication of the mindset of a certain portion of the population at least among those who answered the polls. The number of people worldwide who believe in parapsychological powers has been estimated to be 3 to 4 billion. A survey conducted in by researchers from Australia 's Monash University  sought to determine what types of phenomena that people claim to have experienced and the effects these experiences have had on their lives. The study was conducted as an online survey with over 2, respondents from around the world participating.
They found fairly consistent results compared to the results of a Gallup poll in A survey by Jeffrey S. A National Science Foundation survey found that 9 percent of people polled thought astrology was very scientific , and 31 percent thought it was somewhat scientific. In the Chapman University Survey of American Fears asked about seven paranormal beliefs and found that "the most common belief is that ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis once existed 55 percent. Next was that places can be haunted by spirits 52 percent , aliens have visited Earth in our ancient past 35 percent , aliens have come to Earth in modern times 26 percent , some people can move objects with their minds 25 percent , fortune tellers and psychics can survey the future 19 percent , and Bigfoot is a real creature.
Only one-fourth of respondents didn't hold at least one of these beliefs. Harry Houdini was a member of the investigating committee. The first medium to be tested was George Valiantine , who claimed that in his presence spirits would speak through a trumpet that floated around a darkened room. For the test, Valiantine was placed in a room, the lights were extinguished, but unbeknownst to him his chair had been rigged to light a signal in an adjoining room if he ever left his seat. Because the light signals were tripped during his performance, Valiantine did not collect the award.
Since then, many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal in an observed setting. The James Randi Educational Foundation offers a prize of a million dollars to a person who can prove that they have supernatural or paranormal abilities under appropriate test conditions. Several other skeptic groups also offer a monied prize for proof of the paranormal, including the largest group of paranormal investigators, the Independent Investigations Group , which has chapters in Hollywood; Atlanta; Denver; Washington, D.
Founded in no claimant has passed the first and lower odds of the test. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about unexplained phenomena. For phenomena not subject to the laws of nature, see supernatural. For unexplained but presumed natural phenomena, see preternatural. For other uses, see Paranormal disambiguation. For the film, see Paranormal Activity.
I could not get to the last page fast enough. I read this book straight through, long into the night, as I could not stop. I had to know what was going on in this awful place with these awful, evil people. Get ready to be surprised and appalled. Cain's growth was grand to watch as Ms. Wiesner developed his character. Amberlyn's character growth from depressed and despondent to caring and defending the children was masterly done.
Wiesner also skillfully created the mystery and evil surrounding Bloodmoon Manor and its residents. You will never decipher the mystery until the revelations. Wiesner had many threads to weave in this tale and she did so very well. Wiesner created characters that were multifaceted and she skillfully developed each character. Her descriptions of Bloodmoon Cove, Bloodmoon Manor and the inhabitants were so vivid I could see them in my mind's eye and I could feel the evil seething in this place. Wiesner had several plots in this story and each was an eye-opener and surprising.
My mouth fell open as the plots and mysteries were revealed. Wiesner has the ability to pull you into the storyline. This is a fast paced, well-developed, skillfully crafted novel. I loved it. Well done, Ms. Wiesner, well done! I couldn't stop reading the second book in the Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series.
The story is most fitting for Halloween!
I felt sorry for Amberlyn and Cain with the loss of her baby after her accident. They so badly wanted a child, but time after time they were denied. Cain and Amberlyn's faith had been tested with one disappointment after the next. Amberlyn decided to leave Cain and accept a nanny position at Bloodmoon Manor in order to take care of three children. I can't wait for the next book! The fast-punching conclusion will take your breath away, as God's direction vs. There is plenty of heart-wrenching pathos in this Gothic-flavored tale of pediatric nurse, Amberlyn Lyons. Her husband, Cain Lyons, hasn't even realized that his wife is missing.
He thinks she has gone back to work to salve her grief after losing her pregnancy. Only her good friend, Daniel Reynolds, intuits that she is in trouble. Not having confided her intent to anyone, no one knows where to start looking for her. After answering a desperate advertisement for a nanny, Amberlyn finds herself a virtual prisoner at the lonely, snow-bound, ancestral holdings of Bloodmoon Manor, where she has been hired to care for newly orphaned children.
Caught in a blizzard and unable to contact the outer world, Amberlyn is desperate to protect the three children and herself against the diabolical forces haunting Bloodmoon Cove. The entire Bonaiaris family, deformed in body and spirit, live in the past.
They worship their ancestors with unusual rituals, and Amber finds herself struggling to defend herself and the three children against the evil that pervades the entire ice-cold four story stronghold. This book will definitely keep you turning pages well past your bedtime. This emotionally stirring suspense will keep the reader anxiously waiting the answers at the end of the book. Be prepared to not put this one down once you start reading. Amberlyn is a woman like many that tried to balance a marriage and career. She marries a man whose parents believe women should stay at home.
When she suffers another miscarriage she feels responsible and she feels that her husband holds her at fault. This is heartbreaking as the two each deal with their pain alone and find themselves not sharing their true feelings. The story is fascinating as well as highly suspenseful. Something walks the halls of Bloodmoon Mansion and it is coming for Amberlyn at the time of the full moon. This is what she is told and later comes to believe when she comes to work at the mansion.
Even as the reader believes they have it all figured out there is still surprises left to experiences throughout the story. The fear builds as the reader worries about the safety of three small children and a woman that comes to love them. Amberlyn prays for help and struggles to figure out a plan of escape.
The anxiety is almost overwhelming when escape seems impossible. Love and God will be called upon to save them from the danger that stalks Amberlyn. The storyline is highly imaginative and the descriptive skills of Karen Wiesner make the scenes come to life for the reader.
As I read I kept thinking these characters are like out of an X-Files episode. I enjoyed the suspense as it slowly wound through the book building up the tension. Amberlyn, though seemingly a quiet character initially, has a gentle strength and resolve not to be a victim. And, although the character of Katerina is a nasty piece of work, I felt strangely sorry for her towards the end of the book.
There is a strong theme of faith and spirituality throughout the book. However, it never comes across as too preachy. It's more that the characters beliefs are strong enough to overcome anything. What I liked about this book is it cannot be categorized in one particular genre.
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It's a modern day gothic tale, where the heroine is battling evil and relying on the power of love and faith to get her through. It's an excellent read. After reading this book, all I can say is be careful of any answering any 'nanny' advertisements. You may get more than you bargained for. This gripping romantic drama, with paranormal elements, also has a surprising amount of inspirational content.
This novel will pull at your heartstrings while scaring you to pieces. Combining the seemingly difficult genres of gothic romance, inspirational views, and a paranormal twist provide the reader with a different type of book. One that shows that faith in God is always rewarded and that the power of the heart heals all wounds.
The members of the household talk of the dead as though they live among them. Is that why the doors are locked and the windows sealed? Katerina claims that an evil ghost walks the halls. Amber knows she made a mistake when she didn't let anyone know where she was going, and prays that God will come to her aid. A fate worse than death awaits Amber and the children if she is unable to find a way out. It is very scary as she roams through the house and the mausoleum looking for a way to leave the house of horrors. The secondary characters add to the story, particularly Katerina, who delights in the anguish of Amber and the children, but who is obviously miserable herself.
Daniel and Cain are good guys who only want to find Amber. I felt sadness for Amberlyn's loss of a child, fear for the children of the manor. Trying to feel like she had a place after four miscarriages, Amberlyn who feels responsible, runs from her husband who she believes blames her and his parents who she knows do.
Now, she was pale, her eyes sunken and shadowed with fear, her hair stringy and unkempt. The witch brought the woman water once a day, but no food. Why waste sustenance on one who was doomed? Gideon swore softly. Even now, the frightened pounding of her heart stirred his instinct to hunt. The scent of her blood, flowing warm and red in her veins, teased his nostrils.
Sooner or later, he would have to feed, and when he did, he would take it all. Perhaps it would have been more merciful to have killed her the first night Verah had brought her to him instead of letting her linger, her dread growing as she waited for him to strike. In an effort to resist the inevitable, he rested his head on his bent knees and closed his eyes.
How long had he been imprisoned in this place? A year? He had lost track of the time. There were no windows in the basement, no way of knowing whether it was summer or winter. The floor beneath him was always cold. He closed his mind to the woman sobbing beside him. They had ever been the cause of his troubles, from the mother who had abandoned him when he was thirteen to the treacherous female who had stolen his mortal life and turned him into a monster.
Verah was simply another in a long line of women he had foolishly trusted. Morbidly, he considered the fact that she would most likely be the last. A deep breath carried the scent of the poor creature beside him. He groaned softly as pain clawed through his vitals. He had spent the last five nights resisting the urge to feed on the woman.
Each evening, the agony inside him burned hotter, brighter, like a fire that could not be quenched.
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His fangs ached, his veins were shrinking, shrieking for relief. Relief that lay curled up in a tight ball on the other side of the cell. He could feel her watching him surreptitiously, taste her fear as she waited for him to sink his fangs into her throat. The hunger growling inside urged him to take her, to put an end to the physical torment that racked his body and the mental anguish that tormented the woman. September