Whilst most of us share many obvious characteristics, the things which make us human, is that there are even more differences between each of us. For example some of us like arts such as painting whilst others find music even more appealing. Some folk find a fascination with mathematics and all matters scientific and so on.
Of course many of the folk in each group can quite happily also belong to another group. With all the variables which those differences create it is little surprise that two apparently similar people can look at the same thing and see it, or rather perceive it to be different. And so some folk will believe in an Astrologer’s ability to accurately predict their future whilst others will find the notion risible and of course there are others who will listen just in case.
Parapsychology is often thought by some people to be the study of paranormal events and things that go bump in the night. In one sense it is and in another it is not. Rather, it is a scientific study of how humans react in the presence of apparently paranormal events or circumstances. It is a study of psychology within the context of apparently paranormal events.
For example, if any of us were to stare into a coal or log fire we would eventually be able to see a human face appearing in the flames and embers. The reason why that happens is because as part of our most ancient survival abilities, our brains or minds are hard-wired to see the human face. Even if someone is far off and beyond our eye’s ability to see clearly who it is, our brain will endeavour to compensate for the failing eyesight and present us with an image of our friend or relative.
Strange lights in the sky can be interpreted in many different ways by different people. Much of the way we each perceive different events can be attributed to our then state of awareness. There are indeed many different states of awareness. There is normal everyday awareness, there is deep sleep, mild sleep, there are the altered states which we may find ourselves entering whilst listening to music, reading a gripping book and very commonly of concentrating on driving, especially on motorways.
Overarching all of the above are our mindsets and belief systems. Some people believe in the existence of UFOs because they have seen programmes and films which convince them of their existence. Others believe in UFOs because they look at the night sky and reckon that it is simple maths that there just has to be some other lot as well as ourselves. Others of course believe that it is all nonsense and another example of mass hysteria.
In the field of criminal investigation we come across several supporting disciplines which taken together effect the investigation. For example, the forensic psychologist make be asked to provide a profile of the offender to assist the investigators to identify possible culprits.
However, it is the investigator who will complete and manage the whole process of tracking down that culprit. Paranormal investigators investigate paranormal events looking for evidence and in that process they will often call upon the skills of the Parapsychologist as part of their team.
Parapsychologists are also involved in what is known as pure research where they use their knowledge of psychology and research methods to analyse the behaviour of humans in apparently paranormal events.
In this book we will look at all of the factors which act upon us in situations where paranormal events seem to be taking place. We will examine mediums, psychic fraud, alien abductions, UFOs, ghosts and hauntings, the placebo effect and other effects such as out of body experiences.
However, the ways in which we all think in those paranormal situations are governed largely by how we think, act and react in quite normal everyday situations. Much of this paper will therefore rehearse that material.