What is the paranormal? To some people the paranormal is a place of other-worldly forces, of the supernatural where you are visited by ghosts and entities that take over the mind; it is a place where you can be invested with powers of telepathy or psychokinesis, and where you can intuit the future.
To others it is a place of lunatics, crackpots and conmen, eager to believe anything, or relieve you of your money through séance or other fraudulent activity. To me, both stances are wrong.
To understand the term you need to know that ‘para’ means ‘beyond.’ In this sense, paranormal is nothing more than that which is beyond normal. Indeed, this is the stance I take in my research of the subject.
Doing so releases the researcher from belief or denial and allows the whole world of human experience to enter the subject. For instance, the mind can be a strange thing, beyond normal, so could psychology be essential to the subject.
Similarly, sociology, where people get together and the strangest things can happen. Science, religious belief and many other subjects can be brought into the field, and in doing so it is my hope that paranormal will actually be the future science for understanding what it is to be human.
That, good reader, would be beyond normal in itself.
© Anthony North, Feb 2007