I have a respect for the paranormal. The unexplainable fascinates me. My brain likes to figure things out, and when it can’t, I am left in frustrated awe. Like that time I was sitting at my desk on a dark and stormy day. I was trying to think of the best way to write something, and when faced with writer’s block, I tend to stare blankly at something other than my screen in hopes of divine inspiration. My gaze happened to fall on the can of apple juice sitting on my desk. Within seconds, I watched as the can moved 3 inches to the left, all by itself.
I didn’t scream.
I didn’t cry.
I didn’t say a word.
I laughed. And laughed.
“So this is what it’s like to go crazy,” I thought to myself humorously. “Bah. It’s not so bad.”
After a thorough investigation by my boss to make sure there was no practical explanation for the movement (I wanted a second professional opinion that I wasn’t insane), we concluded that I saw what I had thought I had seen: an example of paranormal phenomena.
Despite my experience, when I was reviewing the results of our study on paranormal beliefs, I was a little surprised at first to discover that women are more likely to believe in paranormal phenomenon than men. I watch tons of paranormal reality shows – everything from “Ghost Adventures,” to “Finding Bigfoot,” and (yes, read this carefully) “Deep South Paranormal,” where a group of self-proclaimed hillbillies hunt for ghosts.
Here’s the funny thing: Almost all of the investigators on these shows are men. So why are women more likely to believe in things that go bump in the night and to watch these shows? And I mean other than the fact that Zak Bagans from “Ghost Adventures” is yummy (ladies, you need to watch this show!).
Well, the term “old wives’ tales” says it all. Even “female intuition” has become a catchphrase. Women just seem to have an inexplicable connection to the unknown, the unexplainable, and the mysterious. So despite the continued rise of reality shows with men investigating ghosts and Sasquatches, data we collected at Queendom from 22,320 people who took our Paranormal Beliefs Test indicates that women are more likely to believe in paranormal or mystical phenomena including:
- Karma – score of 74 for women and 56 for men (on a scale from 0 to 100) (It’s like we’re born giving ourselves guilt trips!)
- Psychics and predictions – 66 vs. 49
- Religious doctrines – 69 vs. 53
- Fate – 65 vs. 51
- Witchcraft – 45 vs. 34
- The afterlife – 56 vs. 46
- Telekinesis – 49 vs. 41
- Folklore, myths, or legends – 49 vs. 46
Women were also more likely to believe in the possibility of:
- Soul mates – 62% of women vs. 43% of men
- Angels – 65% vs. 46%
- Miracles – 71% vs. 53%
- Healing through faith – 48% vs. 39%
- Palm reading – 33% vs. 16%
- Mind reading – 49% vs. 36%
- Telepathy – 52% vs. 40%
- Reincarnation – 43% vs. 27%
- Past lives – 48% vs. 30%
- Horoscopes – 41% vs. 25%
- Ghosts, spirits, and poltergeists – 71% vs. 52%
- The dangers of the Bermuda Triangle – 42% vs. 39%
- The existence of the city of Atlantis – 33% vs. 29%
In addition, 42% of women report having first-hand experience with paranormal phenomena (e.g. seeing a ghost) compared to 33% of men. The only area where men have a stronger belief than women relates to the existence of aliens (43% of men vs. 36% of women), conspiracy theories that the government is hiding proof of alien existence (40% vs. 36%), and the possibility of life on other planets (70% vs. 58%).
Why the contrast? Why believe in the possibility of little green men in distant galaxies but not the rising dead? Here’s our theory: Men typically pride themselves in being more rational. They are practical, and rely on reason and logic – they want evidence to prove theories. So the possibility of there being life on other planets makes more sense, theoretically and mathematically, than the existence of spirits, for example – despite the great technological advances in parapsychology. The vastness of the universe lends credence to the possibility that we are not alone, not to mention the fact that NASA has spent millions of dollars investigating – and discovering – other planets that have all the basic requisites to sustain life.
Women, on the other hand, have been shown in several studies to be more in touch with their emotions, and to a greater extent, their intuition. They are not afraid to trust and follow their gut feelings, even if they don’t have any solid proof or facts to base this decision on – when something doesn’t feel right they listen to that inner warning. This is perhaps why women are more receptive to the existence of spirits or angels. Just because something cannot be proven through scientific methods, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
So, in the end, it’s not that one gender is more open-minded than the other – it’s a matter of different perspectives on paranormal possibilities.