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Friday, May 8, 1998 Published at 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK

Talking Point

Do you believe in the paranormal? Your Reaction

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If paranormal were meant simply to be an occurrence outside the normal range of human events, of course the paranormal could be believable. But what is usually implied is the supernatural, and that is false, by definition. As soon as a "supernatural" event occurs, it is thus part of the natural world and is no longer "beyond nature".
John H. Stanley, USA

You will never believe in the supernatural until it happens to you. That was the case with me. I was an avowed, college-educated sceptic until two inexplicable events transformed my perceptions of "reality". Last year I dreamed I was aboard an aircraft shortly before it crashed. When I woke up, the top story was about an aircraft that crashed in exactly the same manner as I had dreamed. There is no way to prove, record, or substantiate such a thing-- that is, until it happens to you!
Mark Lind, USA

Just because the aren't the machines to measure paranormal activity, it does not mean it is not there. Many events are classed as paranormal for the simple reason that people do not understand how to describe these events; this is comparable to "Acts of God".

As Mulder of the X-Files would say,"I want to believe." Who are we as mere mortals to question the existence of hither to unknown possibilities. Anything is possible, and that should be the credo of any clear minded individual. Bias prior to investigation is healthy, as long as it doesn't infect the outcome. Words of wisdom in an age of rational thinking.
Frank O'Brien, USA

Of course I believe in the paranormal. I also believe that Elvis lives and that both Glasgow Celtic and Scotland have a chance of lifting soccer trophies in 1998.
J. McInespie, USA

People should be clear to distinguish between the paranormal and the supernatural. The paranormal is that which cannot be explained by current science; the supernatural is that which is inherently inexplicable by science, which is not bound by the laws of nature. I certainly believe in the paranormal. Of course there are phenomena which science cannot currently explain or investigate, it would be sheer arrogance to think otherwise. I don't believe in the supernatural, however, and a lot of claimed paranormal experiences are just nonsense and easily explicable.
Mathew, USA

Paranormal are believable.They are the part of life. They are with in us.They find attention for they are blessed or cursed.
Shahid Azeem, Pakistan.

Belief in the paranormal is very beguiling but is based on intellectual laziness. Just because something seems to lie outside our normal expectations, doesn't mean it can't be explained by science, or even just trickery. The fact is that there is absolutely no concrete evidence at all that these paranormal phenomenon exist. The problem is that people, including broadcasters, do not subject these claims to the scrutiny they deserve. Often people complain that science can't explain everything, but this misses the point of science, which as well as being a collective body of knowledge, also means a methodical appraisal of evidence to verify whether observations are significant.
Alex Holmes, UK

The paranormal exists only to satisfy our need to solve problems or draw "logical" conslusions between unrelated events. The paranormal is no more valid that a horoscope.
Douglas Stevens, USA

To start, paranormal life is something you may 'choose' to believe in. But now, I ask, where did the idea of paranormal life come from? It had to have been thought up, right? Who in the world came up with an idea like that without contact or such? That's basically my thinking...
Melissa, aged 13

I would love to see evidence of anything "paranormal". Perhaps even wishful thinking is not enough. One might also need the gift of self deception.
Ray Hammill, United Kingdom

Believing in the paranormal is just a way of looking at the stars, for a blind man. Mulder and Scully are both kind of modern hero, for a less ideal society.
Audrey Fouche, France

"Just because you cant measure it - doesn't mean its not there" - the same is true of radio waves, xrays and even electricity! Was lightning once thought of as "paranormal" just because it was not harnessed and controlled by man?
Terry Phipps, UK

The media has a major influence on the way we see things. 20+ years ago, TV & film dramas based on the paranormal tended to conclude with a scientific & rational (modernist) explanation. Now dramas don't ask the question "does the paranormal exist?", but build their stories around the assumption that it does. This can only affect the way the public perceives the paranormal.
Peter Goodridge, UK

I think that belief in the paranormal is related to poor general quality of education. Proper schooling teaches kids rational thought. It's sad that in an age when so many advanced technological feats are accepted by so many, there remains both an incredible ignorance of the fundaments of science and how things work, and such faith in unproven pseudo-science. "Unproven" is the word. Science demands proof but astrology, crystals, ufo's... all of that stuff fails to prove itself when put to the test.
Tony Brower, USA

The problem is this: too many people are willing to write off the "paranormal" without investigating it. Unfortunately, they go on to conclude that this means that the phenomenon will not stand up to scientific investigation, which is an unfair induction. The phenomenon may or may not be real, but we will never know unless we conduct rational investigations.
Max Hammond, UK

'The Paranormal' is a dreadful term which quite understandably wards off serious investigation and research. Unfortunately, when you look into anamolous events (i.e. occurances which appear to be contradictory to normally understood scientific principles) such as precognition you inevitably attract fringe elements and low-brow media coverage. Certainly the British public is too credulous, and needs to be better informed. Perhaps instead of the media creating tacky tabloid coverage of 'The paranormal' we clearly separate serious ongoing research from X-Files mania, by dealing with topic sensibly and critically.
Scott Wilson, UK

Could it not be said that the post-Newtonian world of Quantum Physics in which (for instance) sub-atomic particles can be in two places at the same time is, by any sensible definition of the word, 'paranormal'? Or does 'paranormal' mean any theory that does not emanate from scientists in white coats or expensively funded laboratories?
Graham Boston, UK

I was never sure whether I believed in the paranormal or not until I saw the ghost of a medium sized dog this November. As a consequence, I have revised my views, but remain aware of hoaxes and the power of suggestion.
Alex Bayley, UK

To borrow the idea from "Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance", gravity did exist even before it was noticed and named. So until these paranormal phenomena are scientifically proven to many, it may sound silly but science has to advance more before it can be appreciated.
S. Kumar, India.

The problem is this: too many people are willing to write off the "paranormal" without investigating it. Unfortunately, they go on to conclude that this means that the phenomenon will not stand up to scientific investigation, which is an unfair induction. The phenomenon may or may not be real, but we will never know unless we conduct rational investigations.
Max Hammond, UK

Paranormal claims have always failed to come up with the goods. I cannot help but laugh at such wonderful claims that never eventuate, although I could almost cry at the numbers of people who blind themselves to the real universe by latching on to charlatans.
Patrick O'Sullivan, Australia

I believe that many paranormal events are genuine and have experienced some myself. A hunch that something is going to happen... and it does. Knowing what someone is about to say. I believe there are some true psychics and alot of phonies. The capabilities of the mind are not completely understood, so anything is possible.
Colleen O'Hara Schewlakow, USA

Opinion polls in which participation is voluntary are often meaningless. The results are skewed by people who disagree with the "accepted" view of subject in question. Not that I'd expect most believers in paranormal activity to understand that, it being far too complicated. People who "champion" the paranormal usually do so out of some form of reaction against science. They see science as a religion and not as a tool. When they say "scientists don't understand" they should say "we don't understand", after all science is just our collective understanding.
Keith Rollett, UK

Most people I know have experienced some incident of déjà vu' or correct intuition or some such experience. Why should it be considered any more fantastic than for instance worldwide radio or internet communication?
Hari Barker, USA

If paranormal powers existed some of the people who had them would use them for criminal purposes (i.e. they could read someones bank-card security code from their minds). But I have never heard of crimes carried out with paranormal powers. Does this mean that paranormal powers only work in co-ordination with our laws. Or, in fact, do the powers fail to exist at all.
Duncan Hurwood, UK

Many people have particular mental and or physical abilities, which are beyond the scope of the mass majority. But, is this paranormal? I for example, can predict winning numbers for horseracing and lotteries by using numerology. Although I can reproduce my results or finding on any day, this art is not a recognised science and thus, it falls into the realm of the paranormal. I believe whatever the mind/spirit can conceive and bring about is part of the latent abilities humans are born with and therefore quite normal. I do believe there are somethings that fall outside of the human experience. I would classify these as paranormal.
Stanford E Gable, USA

The greatest argument against the existence of things termed as 'paranormal' is that they cannot stand up to scientific testing. Firstly many things which science now embraces would not have held up to scientific testing with the facilities and theories of 14th, 15th, 16th centuries etc. Secondly, we cannot prove the existence of God by scientific means, but no-one tells the millions of people of many different faiths around the world that they are 'just being silly'.
Alex Dollar, UK

Many of us seem to be precluding these events to be 'unreal', and yet the word we are all using is para-NORMAL. Should society not start building a serious interest in the subject just so more about the actual truth can be found out, therefore leaving all the 'quacks' there are in every single country to one side? Would this not make this society much more mature and aware of itself? Surely, by getting to actually know more, we would be fooled a lot less.
Joseph A. Graells, Spain

The fascinating thing about the paranormal is why so many people would like it to exist. There seem to be an in built human wish to believe there is more to life than meets the eye. Religion used to fill this need, now it seems to be the paranormal. What next?
Tony Williams, UK

The so-called paranormal experts are simply entertainers and magicians. All of their "powers" can simply be explained away as tricks and fail any stringent scientific tests.
Alan Moore, UK

Forty years ago I spoke to a very gifted lady who held an item belonging to me and then proceeded to forecast. She listed five things that would happen in my life. Four happened exactly. These events altered all my perceptions about time and freedom of choice. But I know that precognition is a fact and I don't really care if anyone believes it or not. I just know that there is a lot more to the Universe than anyone can know.
John, Australia

What about similarities between apocalyptic biblical predictions and the environmental, nuclear-(war,winter -perhaps even, axis\tilt resultant ) threats, as well as asteroid collision?
Paul Nankin, Australia

There are those who have opened themselves to activity with the unseen. However, co-operation with any spirit other than the one true God is insidious.
R Zacharias, USA

Definitely a link. Many times , I have experienced thoughts, that have occurred moments later e.g. If I think of a particular customer, sure enough he will ring me. If I think of something, the person next to me would say that he thought as if I prompted him to say it! This happens at least every day. Is this Paranormal?
Louis George, UK

I agree that existing scientific knowledge cannot explain away all observable phenomenon, but why should the unexplainable be so mysterious to us? Why can't we just accept that we aren't omniscient without the compulsion to define the unknown as unknowable?
Chris Cherry, UK

I believe in the paranormal. Because human being is only on one step of its long development way,not on the highest one. So we can't draw a conclusion on something which we cannot understand.
Lei Jiang, China

There is no such thing as paranormal. Con artists and TV entertainers want to promote it because it is beneficial to them monetarily. Almost all the so-called paranormal phenomena could not stand scientific tests.
Meenan Vishnu, Canada

We really use onlu a small capacity of our senses. We still have to learn a lot. I do hope however that some mysteries remain mysteries. Knowing everything does not mean that you have everything.
Pim van den Berg, The Netherlands

Why is it when there is no obvious explanation for somthing people nearly always attribute it to the "supernatural"?
Peter Waine, UK

There is no such thing as the paranormal - only the normal. There are many things which are not yet understood about the universe in which we live. The fact is that events occur which seem to defy explanation by our current theories about the world. Time and scientific application will ultimately discover why these things happen. They will then be rightly accepted as "normal" and known. Until then they are simply normal and unknown.
James Ingram, UK

I have always believed in the paranormal through my experiences as a child. I have always had a special connection with rabbits and work now as an animal psychologist. I believe there is much to learn from animals and their 'sixth sense' when trying to understand paranormal occurences. As humans we have become desensitised and have lost many instincts that brought us more in tune with events that we would now classify as paranormal.
Peter Collins, Kingston, UK

It's rubbish. Just because an event is not fully explainable using current scientific theories does not mean that the explanation lies outside the realms of ordinary science. In any case, no firm evidence to substantiate the 'paranormal' has ever been represented. There are of course many things that defy scientific explanation, such as conciousness, but that does not mean they are 'paranormal'. Scientific understanding of the universe will proceed at an increasing slower pace (yes slower) as the years go by, because so much has already been discovered already. I will not be holding my breath for a scientific breakthrough on the 'paranormal.
Douglas Kitson, UK

The X-files, is a serial which shows cases yet unsolved, not understood and supernatural. The "unsolved" are those cases, which probably don't have ample proof to make a side heavier than the other. The "not understood" cases are those which are unexplainable and unnatural. Those which are termed as "supernatural" are strange, paranormal and cannot be theorised or categorised into any field man has experienced yet. Though paranormal cases appear very rarely, the whole truth lies in the fact that they are possible and are not completely a hoax. The truth is out there!
Sulove Bothra, India

Obviously something's going on. Something that we cannot classify under our present definition for the word normal. You can realize that without having x-files exploiting something thats little understood in such a gross manner for purely commercial consumption. All you have to do is to watch the stars on a clear night with no one around to disturb you. If you look carefully enough you'll realize why no scientist claims that all mysteries are solved. You don't have to see lil green men popping off their odd-ball machines. The vastness, the emptiness, the sheer shall i say `infinitude' of our existence is ample proof that we have only scratched the surface. But, hey doing it scientifically, thats a real beginning isn't it. Let's not confuse x-files with the real thing.
Sachin Gupta, India

I believe that there are some things that cannot be explained by current science rationally, and so in some cases you have to turn to the supernatural.
John Bond, UK

To paraphrase Chesterton: when man stops believing in God he starts believing in anything. The people who reject Christianity but embrace Buddhism or Yin/Yang spirituality are intellectually feeble. They have thought nothing about the very nature of belief, why we believe and what is going on when we believe. If we reject God and embrace the paranormal, we are merely knocking down one icon and replacing it with another. Not particularly revolutionary.
C. Burrows, UK

The paranormal has fascinated man since time began. Only in more recent "educated" years has this belief been questioned . Belief in the paranormal is only a step away from faith in a supernatural being. The "establishment" accepts God at least in its creed, why then not the paranormal?
Elaine Kruse, Switzerland

Yes, I believe that there is much more beyond our five senses. But I also think that for many, if not for a mojority of people, it would be a scary and generally negative experience to get in touch with these hidden powers. Only highly spiritual and brave people can try doing this without fearing the consequences.
Irina, Russia

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