March 27, 2023

Over the past twenty years, there has been a dramatic increase in paranormal researchers and paranormal societies. These groups thrive on investigating things science can’t explain, such as telekinesis, extrasensory perception, and ghosts.

Believers in paranormal activity typically put their faith in a world without God. If there are ghosts, he says, there is potentially a scientific explanation, but we don’t have enough data to verify it. Read down below and find out more about paranormal activity.


Under this definition, paranormal activity is considered to be within the confines of “science,” even if it is not immediately explainable. The theory states that anything that appears to be outside science simply hasn’t been studied enough yet and eventually has a natural explanation.

The term paranormal is applied to those phenomena (also called anomalous) which are contrary to the laws of physics and scientific assumptions and which, if measured according to the scientific method, are found to be non-existent or, in the case of an existing phenomenon, in any case explainable based on current knowledge.

According to parapsychologists, on the other hand, there would be phenomena that cannot be explained according to current scientific laws and the majority of parapsychologists expect future research to explain these anomalies, even if they believe that they will not be explainable until a revolution is made in current science. The definition of anomalous phenomenon is given by the parapsychologists themselves, since it would be a question of phenomena that are difficult to explain on the basis of current scientific models.

Science does not recognize the existence of the paranormal, whose phenomena are, to date, unproven. The associations that conduct research and operate checks on alleged paranormal phenomena, such as the Italian CICAP, have a similar position, noting that to date no paranormal phenomenon has ever been proven to exist.

In fact, there is no rigorous and universally shared definition of the term. Some use it only to refer to the field of study of parapsychology , i.e. the so-called ” extrasensory perceptions ” such as telepathy , clairvoyance, precognition, the supposed “powers of the mind”, such as telekinesis and pyrokinesis, and the manifestations of ghosts. Generally, however, the word “paranormal” is used in a broader sense, to include all phenomena considered scientifically unreliable or unexplainable, such as out-of- body experiences, the Bermuda Triangle, miracles, the powers of the fakirs, etc. The Journal of Parapsychology defines as “paranormal” ” any phenomenon which in one or more aspects exceeds the limits of what is considered physically possible according to the scientific assumptions of the moment “.

The other characteristic that the alleged paranormal phenomena have in common is the lack of objective evidence to support their actual existence: numerous examples of such anomalies are reported, but these are generally undocumented testimonies or experiments carried out in a way that is not rigorous enough to be able to rule out cheating or self- suggestion. There are basically three reasons why paranormal phenomena are erroneously spoken of:

  • natural phenomena mistaken for supernatural : for example, atmospheric phenomena or terrestrial aircraft mistaken for UFOs , or phenomena that are little known (such as ball lightning ) or counterintuitive and therefore considered erroneously unexplained: for example, the so-called ascents and descents ;
  • autosuggestion : for example, people who believe in good faith that they have telepathic faculties;
  • false paranormal phenomena produced by deception: for example, the phenomena of spiritualism produced by the Fox sisters .

Studies on the paranormal

Paranormal research is conducted by parapsychologists. Parapsychology began to use an experimental approach as early as the thirties with Joseph Rhine. Between the 1950s and 1970s, various research centers were born, including within universities. From the 1970s onward, consideration for paranormal research steadily declined. The research was considered inconclusive and parapsychologists faced strong opposition from their academic colleagues. Some effects that appeared to be paranormal, for example the Kirlian effect, disappeared when tested under close supervision. Many US research laboratories were closed. After twenty-eight years of research, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory closed its labs in 2007.

Paranormal and religion

The differences between the paranormal and religion must first of all be researched on an empirical level: while the statements relating to the paranormal refer to the physical world and therefore can be the subject of scientific investigation, religion belongs to the world of metaphysics and therefore not susceptible to investigation.

Despite this, the two fields often touch without necessarily meeting each other: before the religious rite, for example, of the Eucharist, in transubstantiation, the Catholic Church affirms “the conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the Body of Christ, and of all the substance of the wine in the substance of His Blood », although «However, the sensible characteristics of the bread and of the wine, that is, the “Eucharistic species”, remain unchanged. In some cases, however, there may be points of contact between the paranormal and some religious phenomena (so-called religious paranormal ), such as miracles for example: in these cases, we are dealing with empirical phenomena (and as such susceptible to scientific investigation), to which religion attributes certain causes and meanings.


The ancient Greeks already advanced hypotheses on what would be paranormal. The Pythagoreans believe the air is filled with demons. Democritus explained dreams by the penetration through the dreamer’s pores of “images” that are continuously emitted by objects, including living people. He also believed that images convey representations of the mental activity, thoughts, characters and emotions of the people who gave birth to them and, charged in this way, they have the same effect as living agents. Plato explained divination by “divine madness”.

There are four “follies”: amorous, poetic, mystical and prophetic (Phèdre , 244 sq.). It associates divination and the irrational soul ( Phèdre , 242c; Timaeus , 71de). Aristotle changed his views on the subject. Young and close to Plato, in the dialogue On Philosophy (fragment Ross 12a), Aristotle admits precognition and follows Plato in attributing it to an innate capacity of the soul, whether it is exercised either when it withdraws from body during sleep, or when she is about to abandon the body to death. In Ethics at Eudème, he traces success in divination to an irrational source “higher than mind and deliberation”; he associates the mind’s ability to dream truthfully with the melancholic temperament (124a38). In his Poetics (145b5) he holds divination to be a gift from the gods. In his last essay on the paranormal, On Divination by Dreams (464a), Aristotle puts forward a non-atomistic theory, that of external stimuli transmitted by waves, a theory based on an analogy with the disturbances which propagate in water or in the air.

5 stories about paranormal activity

The Guardian in Danger

In search of savings to pay for her university studies, a young girl was entrusted with the care of the house of a neighbor, a doctor, in exchange for remuneration. The man asked her to come home at 7 p.m.

An hour after arriving at the house, the girl received a phone call at the doctor’s home. At the end of the line, a stranger tells her that if she does not leave the house, he will kill her. Frightened, the student hung up, then looked at the display. Strangely, the person who called had used a private line.

30 minutes later the phone rang again.

“If you don’t get out of the house soon, I’ll kill you. said the same raspy-voiced man on the line .

Terrified, the girl hung up and called the operator. The latter suggested that she keep the man on the line for about a minute so that she could trace the call, if it were to happen again.

And 30 minutes later, the phone rang again. The same man. The guard managed to keep him in line, despite her terror. He kept telling her to get out of the house now or he would kill her… The operator called back immediately to summon the student to get out of the house as quickly as possible.

The call came from the second line of the house, the one on the second floor. The killer was in the house…

The Old Man and the Apple Pie

On Halloween night, an old New Jersey man was found dead in the kitchen of his home. He lived alone with his wife. The man was not of an easy nature and he cursed the children.

On the morning of October 31, the old man had painstakingly inserted razor blades into apples that he planned to distribute to children in the evening.

His wife who strongly opposed the criminal acts of her grumpy husband decided to stop the massacre planned by the old man. She made him his favorite pie and invited him to devour a good slice of it for dessert, just before the children came knocking on the door.

The man, who like a pig took huge bites of everything he ingested, asked his wife just before swallowing:

“But where did you get the apples to make the pie, I got them all this morning? »

It was by swallowing that he got the answer to his question as he slit his throat from the inside…

The neighbor

A young man lived in an apartment building. One night, someone knocks on his door. He gets up and goes to open. A woman stands there and asks him if she can spend the night at his house because her partner hits her. She reassures him by telling him that she called her family and that they will pick her up tomorrow morning first thing in the morning. The young man gives her a blanket and offers her to spend the night on the sofa.

When she wakes up, the blanket is folded on the couch and the young woman is gone. He gets ready and goes to work.

The next evening, there is another knock on his door. The same woman is at his door, only this time she is scarred with blows to the face. She asks him for hospitality a second time. Unable to accept, he offers her to sleep in the same place as the day before.

In the morning, she is no longer there. The same merry-go-round recurs throughout the week. Worried, the young man goes to the police station to explain the situation. The agent shows him a photo in which he recognizes the woman. The police tell him that this woman was beaten to death in her apartment building by her husband…

The White Lady

There are several versions of this story . According to testimonies, she would have been seen as much in Europe as in America. Here is one of many stories featuring her. Take this story as it is told by a doctor. A person who a priori is rather realistic and has his feet firmly on the ground. The testimony dates from 1977.

After a long day of work, the doctor returns home one evening in the pouring rain. He sees a young woman dressed in white by the side of the road. He stops and offers to take her home. She accepts and after giving her address she doesn’t say a word.

She stays very quiet until they pass the Pont-du-Furet. At this moment, she appears agitated and frightened. When they arrive at their destination, the doctor lends her his umbrella and waits for her to bring it back.

Not seeing her come back, he rings the doorbell. A couple opens the door to him, he then tells his story and describes the young girl. The couple, visibly very moved, told him that it was their only daughter who had lost her life on a motorcycle in Pont-du-Furet years earlier.

The puzzle

An elderly woman living alone decides to do a puzzle in her living room to spend the evening. Outside, it is total darkness.

As she puts the pieces together, a strange impression takes hold of her: she gradually recognizes the decor of her living room in her puzzle, then her television, then herself seen from the front! More and more feverish, she continues.

The last pieces of the puzzle she puts together are those of the window behind her. The very last piece from the corner of the window shows the terrifying face of a man watching her!

The story of Ed and Lorraine Warren

Ed was a WWII U.S. Navy veteran and former police officer who became self-taught and self-proclaimeddemonologist, author and speaker. Lorraine is a self-proclaimedclairvoyantand medium who worked closely with her husband.

Together they claimed to have worked on over 10,000 paranormal cases.

In 1952, the Warrens founded the New England Society for Psychic Research, the oldest group of ghost hunters in New England. They have written many books about the paranormal and about their private investigations into many reported cases of paranormal activity.

The couple decidedto open a museum in the early 80s, after their collection of haunted objects began to accumulate. This museum is in the basement of the Warren residence in Monroe, Connecticut, and contains haunted artifacts and images taken during their investigations and exorcisms all over the world.

Some of their most impactful paranormal investigations


According to the Warrens, in 1970, two housemates claimed that their dollRaggedy Annwas possessed by the spirit of a young girl named Annabelle Higgins. The Warrens took the doll, telling the housemates it was “manipulated by an inhuman presence”, and put it on display at the family’s “Occult Museum”. Several horror films are inspired by this story of the Warrens:annabelle,Conjuring: The Warren FilesandAnnabelle 2: The Creation of Evil.

Amityville Horror

The Warrens are arguably best known for their involvement in the 1976 Amityville Horror case, in which New York couple George and Kathy Lutz claimed their home was haunted by a violent, demonic presence so intense it ended by driving them out of their homes. Amityville Horror Conspiracy authors Stephen and Roxanne Kaplan called the case a “hoax.” But Lorraine Warren told a reporter from The Express-Times that the Amityville Horror case was not a hoax.

The Arne Johnson Affair

In 1981 Arne Johnson was accused of killing his landlord, Alan Bono. Ed and Lorraine Warren had been called in before the murder to deal with the alleged demonic possession of Johnson’s fiancée’s younger brother. The Warrens then claimed that Johnson was also possessed. At trial, Johnson attempted to plead not guilty by reason of demonic possession, but his plea was unsuccessful. The case was described in the book The Devil in Connecticut published in 1983 by Gerald Brittle.

What happened to Ed and Lorraine Warren?

Ed Warren died on August 23, 2006, and Lorraine Warren ceased active investigations shortly thereafter. She nevertheless remains a consultant to the New England Society for Psychic Research. According to the Warrens’ official website, “She will pass the torch to her son-in-law, Tony Spera, who worked with Ed and Lorraine Warren for over thirty years.”

Ed and Lorraine have been heavily criticized over the years by many skeptics who said they were good at telling ghost stories, but unable to provide any real proof. Anyway, it is undeniable that this couple of investigators left their mark on the paranormal world. Their legacy is cemented by the dozens of horror films and television series that have drawn inspiration from their many instances of demonic possession.

Explanation why angels, ghosts, gods, demons, etc… may not exist

Hallucinogenic substances

The ability of hallucinogenic drugs, such as atropine and belladonna alkaloids, extracted from mandrake, a drug of European witches and Native American shamans, stimulate the sensation of flying and floating. Dissociative anesthetics, such as ketamines, induce out-of-body experiences. The ingestion of methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) causes the feeling of age regression, while di-methyl-tryptamine (DMT), another name for the ayahuasca of the shamans of South America, causes the dissociation of the spirit and of the body. People who take DMT say they have no body, they fly, fall, rise.

Agenticity and patternicity

“Agency” is the tendency to believe that there are invisible agents haunting the world and controlling our lives, such as gods, demons, spirits, ghosts, and “patternicity” is the tendency to attribute from known forms to formless stimuli, such as seeing an animal in the clouds or the face of the Virgin Mary in a pizza.

We tend to interpret signals from our environment by associating agency and pattern. For example, if an individual isin the middle of the plains of Africa and he hears a rustle in the grass, he will ask himself this crucial question: is it the wind or is it a dangerous predator? The wind represents an inanimate agent, the predator indicates an intentional agent. If he thinks it’s the wind, that the danger isn’t real, when it’s a lion, he will have made a type II error called “false negative”, but it will be more dangerous than if he had thought it was a lion, when it was the wind, and therefore made a type I or “false positive” error. The problem is that the type II error or false negative can cost him his life. It turns out that the safest position is to assume that all rustling in the grass comes from dangerous predators.

Magical thinking

We attribute to each thing a soul, a will and we seek to make it favorable to us. This is the basis of superstition and magical thinking. A third of heart transplant patients believe that they receive the personality of the donor with their heart. Likewise, most people declare with disgust that they will never wear a murderer’s sweater, because it is imbued with the spirit of evil.

Brain damage

Well-known neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose remarkable work in “awakening” the catatonic brains of encephalitis victims was made popular in the 1990s by the film Awakenings . with Robin Williams as Sacks), wrote a number of books describing the bizarre hallucinations experienced by his patients, such as the man who mistook his wife for a hat. These hallucinations are interpreted by those who experience them as realities independent of their brain. An elderly patient, who suffered from macular degeneration and had completely lost his sight, was diagnosed by Sacks as having Charles Bonnet 2 syndrome , because of a succession of complex visual hallucinations, such as deformations of facial features. In fact, says Oliver Sacks, about 10% of visually impaired people experience visual hallucinations. Brain imaging of these patients shows that the visual cortex is activated in different ways and in different places during these fantasies.

Coma, migraines

A Harvard professor, Eben Alexander, recounts in a book, Proof of Heaven , his near-death experience in which he says he went to heaven while in a coma due to meningitis. He claims that his cortex was at that time totally dead. However, Shermer remarks that if he remembers this experience, it is because his brain was still alive. This is also why these experiences are called “near death”. The people who live them are not dead. Oliver Sacks notes in his book Hallucinations, in 2012, that certain migraines, which he himself experienced, also produce hallucinations. He explains that if hallucinations seem so real, it is because they activate the same areas in the brain that are activated by real perceptions. What is likely is that Alexander had this near-death experience, not when he was in a deep coma, but while he was coming out of it. What is curious, says Sacks, is that Alexander prefers the supernatural explanation to the natural explanation.

Oxygen deprivation

Furthermore, near-death experiences can be induced by oxygen deprivation to the cortex. Loss of consciousness accompanied by tunnel visions with sometimes a light at the end, then blindness, the feeling of floating or paralysis, followed, after regaining consciousness, by a feeling of euphoria, peace or serenity, have been observed by James Whinnery 3 in fighter pilots subjected to extreme gravitational forces, in a giant centrifuge, to simulate the conditions that can occur during an aerial combat.

Loneliness or extreme environments

Solitary mountaineers, polar explorers, isolated sailors, endurance athletes sometimes tell of having felt a presence when certain conditions were met, such as monotony, darkness, arid landscapes, isolation, cold , injuries, dehydration, hunger, fear, fatigue, sleep deprivation. Charles Lindberg said he sensed the presence of ghosts on his transatlantic flight; Hermann Buhl, the famous Austrian mountaineer, said he heard voices, heard his name, once he reached the top of Nanga Parbat.

Whatever the external cause, a deeper cause of the feeling of a presence is found in the brain.


Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg in Why God Won’t Go Away reported that brain scans of meditating Buddhist monks and praying Franciscan nuns show very low activity in the area of ​​the brain called the Orientation Association Area (OAA) . This region has the function of orienting the body in space. People with damage to this area have difficulty walking around a house, avoiding objects, because their brain does not process the object as separate from their body. When OAA is in standby mode, as in meditation or prayer, the line blurs between reality and fantasy, between feeling in and out of body.

The authors conclude: ” Perhaps this is what happens in monks who experience a sense of oneness with the universe, or in nuns who feel the presence of God, or in those who are abducted by extra -terrestrial and which float on their beds to join the mothership “.

Sleep abnormalities and clear dreams

Extraterrestrial abduction experiences usually occur during sleep, just after falling asleep (hypnagogic hallucinations) and just before waking up (hypnopompic hallucinations). Other dream states, such as lucid dreaming in which the person knows they are dreaming and can alter the dream and sleep paralysis, are sometimes also accompanied by abduction experiences. Hallucinations can be visual, auditory, etc. Sleep paralysis is a lucid dream in which the dreamer knows he is dreaming and at the same time detects paralysis, pressure on the chest, the presence of another in the room, etc., with various emotional components.

Hypnosis and memory

Some tell during a hypnosis session to have lived an abduction by extraterrestrials. During this session, they are suggested to regress in time to recover forgotten memories of abduction and then to read, on this kind of imaginary screen of the mind, the film of the past. Michaël Shermer and Pat Linse contest this metaphor of memory which would function as a recording device in the brain. The scenarios of alien abductions are suggested by the therapists and the subjects under hypnosis only complete them. Narratives of alien abductions obtained under hypnosis are, according to Shermer, artificial constructs that have nothing to do with the actual functioning of memory.

The natural dualism

According to Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale University, we are naturally dualists. When we say “my body”, it is as if “my” and “body” were two separate entities. Likewise, the materialist conception is not spontaneous. During an experiment, Bloom tells children a story of a mouse eaten by an alligator. The children admit that the mouse’s body is dead, that its brain no longer works, but they think that the mouse still likes cheese, that it knows it’s dead… For them, if the mouse doesn’t is no longer physically alive, his mental life persists. For the child, as for the adult, the brain is perceived as a kind of cognitive prosthesis added to the soul or the spirit. The reason for the dualism is intuitive:

Our brain has been built through evolution as a “belief machine”, a belief engine , according to Shermer’s expression. Once our beliefs are formed, we seek to reinforce them by confirming them in all sorts of ways to prove ourselves right. But, what is remarkable is that, on the one hand, our brain is the source of illusions about the universe and ourselves, and that, on the other hand, it is able to understand the functioning of the universe as well as its own process of understanding.


It will be necessary to wait several decades before science penetrates spiritualism. Already Allan Kardec, its founder, was against the use of scientific techniques, but also new tools such as photography, to prove that what he said was true, that spirits did indeed exist. It is his successor who will finally let science enter spiritualism, by developing the use of photography, radiography, sound recordings, temperature taking in rooms… All this with the aim of trying to prove that ghosts or spirits actually exist.

Except that, unfortunately, the more we use science, the more we fake the facts and the results. This really handicapped spiritualism, as it was practiced by a number of dishonest people. We were more into prestidigitation! There was perhaps a sincerity of belief, but in any case not of realization.

We leave indeed the classic imagination of the ghost with its ball at the foot, which would have died a bad death, in captivity. He was not accompanied by a priest, he is deprived of burial… This is the meaning of the ball and chain, the latter prevents him from rising towards paradise and keeps him on Earth among humans. It is also said that he is in a white sheet, but it is in fact his shroud, the linen in which he was wrapped, before being buried in secret, but not in consecrated ground.

This vision, inherited from Scotland, evolved in the 19th century . The ghost has changed in appearance. It is not necessarily visible, it manifests itself through flying tables, it communicates with ouijas or materializes with the help of mediums… Ghosts and spirits cultivate the art of metamorphosis.

Spiritism also appeared in a period when wars were increasingly violent, from the Civil War in the United States to the First World War… Can the latter also partly explain the success of Spiritism?

The Civil War really led to the creation of what was then called spiritualism. And the two world wars reinforced the number of practitioners. Spiritualism gains in vigor after every great crisis. We saw it again very recently, the Covid crisis has allowed a resurgence of spiritualism. We were unable to accompany our deceased at the time of their death and bury them decently. For many, spiritualism has been a tool to communicate with these dead, to say goodbye to them, to ask their forgiveness. It was a tool to begin this work of mourning.

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