Twenty years ago, I stared across my Ouija board at my friend’s face, her look of shocked disbelief mirroring mine.
“You’re moving it,” she said with a forced chuckle.
“No. I thought you were,” I answered.
We watched as the plastic planchette moved in a perfect circle. Stealing her nerves, my friend asked a question to which she knew I wouldn’t know the answer. I followed-up with the same. Both times, we got the right answer.
Determined not to be frightened, she said in a half-mocking voice, “Is that all you can do? Go around and around in circles? Why don’t you do something different?”
The planchette stopped for a few seconds, and then slowly started to take the shape of the infinity symbol. In and out it weaved, and then started picking up speed. I looked at my friend, alarmed.
“Can you please stop pissing the ghosts off?!”
“Um, we’ve got to go now,” she called out, shakily. “See you next time.”
The planchette slid over to the “Goodbye” word scrawled in the right-hand corner, and finally came to a stop.
I look back on this experience with the cool objectivity of a seasoned psychology researcher. But to this day, I still can’t figure out how that damn contraption works. Subconscious nudges, perhaps? Who knows. But my appetite for the paranormal arose that day, and has yet to be satiated. I gobble this stuff up, no matter how many admonishing and mocking glances I get from my über commonsensical, there’s-a-logical-explanation-for-everything brothers. I don’t get it: They can get worked up over fantasy hockey (hello, your team isn’t real and you’re not an NHL coach), but I’m the crazy one because I believe in ghosts. Right.
Anyway, with notions like “women’s intuition” and “old wives’ tales,” it’s almost as if women were fated to be intertwined with the paranormal. Even the senseless and misguided witch hunts that plagued Europe and America during the 15th to 18th century targeted women almost exclusively. In modern times, research we conducted at Queendom reveals that although belief in the superstition has tapered off, women are still more likely than men to believe that there is more to this world than meets the eye.
Collecting data from 11,377 people who took our Paranormal Beliefs Test, we compared women’s and men’s beliefs on paranormal phenomenon life witchcraft, aliens, ghosts and folklore. In some cases, the differences were quite staggering. Women were more likely to believe in notions like fate and karma as well as psychic phenomenon, while men limited their beliefs to more scientifically based unknowns. For example:
- 78% of women (compared to 51% of men) believe that we are meant to cross paths with certain people. Women were also more likely to believe in soul-mates (63% vs. 43%) and destiny (61% vs. 42%).
- 65% of women (compared to 49% of men) think that certain people are destined for greatness.
- 71% of women (compared to 56% of men) trust that there is life after death.
- 72% of women (compared to 52% of men) believe in ghosts.
- 66% of women (compared to 47% of men) feel that the future can be predicted and that prophecies can come true.
- 48% of women (compared to 30% of men) believe that they have several past lives.
- 33% of women (compared to 16% of men) believe in the predictive accuracy of palm readings, 41% believe in horoscopes (compared to 25% of men), and 49% believe in mind-reading (compared to 36% of men).
- 67% of women (compared to 52% of men) believe what goes around comes around, and that people will get back what they give to the world (i.e. angry, hostile people are more likely to live in an angry, hostile world).
- 34% of women (compared to 26% of men) believe in curses, while nearly a third of women (30%) also believe in black magic (compared to 26% of men).
As for men’s beliefs:
- 39% believe that the Bermuda triangle poses a danger to ships and airplanes (compared to 26% of women).
- 43% of men consider it entirely possible that aliens have either already landed on Earth or will do so in the future (compared to 36% of women), while a whopping 70% of men have no doubt that there is life on other planets (compared to 58% of women).
- Slightly more men than women believe in Big Foot (26% vs. 22%), alien abductions (18% vs. 14%), crop circles (25% vs. 22%), and in the conspiracy theory that governments are hiding proof of alien existence (40% vs. 36%).
Surprisingly, an equal amount of men and women (36%) believe in the Loch Ness monster (21%), and that the world will end in an apocalypse of Biblical proportions.
Essentially, what the results of the study basically tell us is that men tend to lean more toward phenomenon that can be measured or observed scientifically.Even if images of yeti or UFOs are suggestively blurry, many guys still believe that it’s only a matter of time before proof is found. In contrast, women’s beliefs in the paranormal are more likely to revolve around romantic notions, like fate and destiny, and the possibility of moving beyond the veil of death. In fact, 70% of the women in our study believe that two people who are meant to be together will be, while less than half of the men believe this to be the case. Women tend to be more open-minded in general, willing to stretch their mind beyond the seemingly impossible. They are also more likely to trust and listen to their intuition.
Personally, as long as I get to watch paranormal investigators like Zak Bagans hunt ghosts every week, I’ll believe in anything he finds, including the Tooth Fairly and Nessie.