My younger brother and I could not be more different. We look alike (although knowing him, he’d probably say that he’s hotter and in his words, much more “awesome”) but we think differently and view the world at two extremes. He’s a logical thinker and believes that if something cannot be proven with cold, hard evidence, then it isn’t true or doesn’t exist.
This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in logical reasoning and the scientific method. Regular readers know how much I rely, nay, insist on backing my theories and counsel with facts. This is what we do at Queendom: We assess, we test theories, and we analyze data. But I also allow myself to maintain an open-mind, because there are just some experiences I’ve had that the skeptic and researcher in me cannot explain. Like how does a psychic across the ocean whom I’ve never met know explicit details about my life? And I don’t mean random shots in the dark laced with ambiguity. It’s like she peeled back my layers to reveal the real me, including thoughts I think to myself, verbatim. Part of me is toying with the idea that she’s planted a nanny cam in my apartment. I suspect my cat is involved too.
So here’s my confession: I’m well-educated and have studied human behavior for a decade. I’m a researcher, statistician, and blogger. I like reading journal articles and research studies.
And I believe in the paranormal.
I giggle when I watch Big Foot reality shows but so hope they find evidence that he/she/it exists. I love watching ghost hunter shows but only in the daytime. I knock on wood, worry about breaking a mirror, and chastise myself when I knock over the salt (and proceed with the whole, “throw-over-the-left-shoulder” ceremony). I’ve also used a Ouija board and contacted some pretty weird beings.
Now, you’d think that as education increases, belief in paranormal phenomenon decreases. I mean, that’s exactly what we found when we analyzed the data from our Paranormal Beliefs Test. I chose a random sample of 702 people over the age of 30 with different education levels. Here’s how those with at least some high school education compared to people with a Ph.D./Doctorate:
- Belief in the afterlife – 78 vs. 54 (some high school vs. Ph.D. respectively; the higher the score, the stronger the belief).
- Superstitions – 29 vs. 17
- Folklore/Myths/Legends – 56 vs. 41
- Fate – 71 vs. 49
- Witchcraft – 53 vs. 33
- Psychics – 74 vs. 51
- Telekinesis – 61 vs. 42
- Aliens and UFOs – 62 vs. 44
- Karma – 70 vs. 58
The problem is that other research studies are inconsistent. Some have shown that educated people are actually more likely to believe in the paranormal than uneducated people. My mom didn’t complete high school but will scoff at the idea that a place is haunted (but for some reason, wouldn’t let me go out one day because a black bird flew into the window and therefore, would bring my doom if I went outside. Yup.).
So what convinces me that there’s some truth to the paranormal and the like?
- For one thing, sheer size and probability. With a universe so huge, how could it not be possible that there’s life on other planets, for example?
- Unexplored pockets of the world. Maybe Big Foots, Loch Ness monsters, or Krakens hang out in places that we can’t reach due to extreme weather conditions, depths, or heights.
- Experts sometimes get things wrong. The existence of giant squid, narwhals, giant pandas, and platypus was debated until they were found in the flesh.
Plus, it’s just fun to think that there’s more than us humans walking around.