Updated: Apr 25
At some moment in time, all of us have been part of a conversation regarding the paranormal and it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions, especially if (up until that point) they’ve never revealed their opinions before.
Nowadays, most people keep an open mind on the topic and that’s expected. We live in an age where an open mind is crucial for our development and advancement -scientists need to think in uncommon ways and have flexible thinking in order to discover and innovate, historians are adapting their views on our ancestral past as new discoveries are made, and even society is adapting the way we view, interact and support behavior that would have been shunned or mocked a decade ago.
However, when the topic of ghosts, the paranormal or even life on other planets is raised, you can always feel a moment of tension as people wait for a split second to see the reaction of others. Nine out of ten times, people respond positively (or at least humor the other person), as most love a good ghost story and respect opinions. But there are some who immediately react in a dismissive way, even mocking the person or cutting them off before they’ve had the chance to finish.
So what makes that person so confident in their dismissal?
And how do they argue their case without sounding arrogant or close minded?
To investigate this, we start with the first (and most respected) category of people:
It’s just not my thing
This group of people won’t try and counter your views with an argument or wade in with vague facts to sound superior to you. They won’t make you feel stupid, they won’t laugh at you. They don’t want to debate it; they simply don’t believe in it.
And that’s fine, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and paranormal enthusiasts shouldn’t push to change theirs.
The paranormal isn’t their thing, but they respect that it’s yours.
The “Religious” view
A difficult and often vocal group of people, religious (along with atheist) challengers seem to be the most active on social media and forums. I’m guaranteed at least one message a month from a religious or atheist challenger – completely out of the blue, they’re contacting me without any provocation on my part, and I’m not (knowingly) entering their circles or promoting my views directly to them.
It always fascinates me to hear a religious person dismiss the paranormal as bullshit, especially when most religions believe in an afterlife/spirit world.
There’s a witch who can communicate with spirits in the bible, the Quran talks about spirits/Jinns and possession, King Saul is clearly seen to summon and interact with Samuel’s ghost and Christians happily believe that there’s a devil knocking about the Earth manipulating people?
I’ve had one gentleman from America confidently tell me that ghost encounters are made up and there is no evidence to support the existence of ghosts. He then decided to rant at me about Jesus Christ for a full three paragraphs – Jesus being the son of a God, a man who could perform magic/miracles and who’s evidence of existence in history is sketchy at best!
The atheist view is a little easier to understand as it threatens their belief system. As they don’t believe in an afterlife, they’re unable to accept that the body has a soul or spirit at all - if they did, where would it come from and where does it go?
Tip – If you’re ever mocked or made to feel stupid for believing in the paranormal by a religious challenger, simply turn the tables on them and ask if they believe in Dinosaurs.
Because of their belief system in creation, they either have to argue against the existance of dinosaurs or admit that part of their religious texts are fabricated or wrong. If they admit that, they also have to accept that other areas of their doctrine could be fabricated or mis-informed too…such as their views on the supernatural.
The “I’ve never seen anything, so it can’t be true” way of thinking...
This is a fair view. Many only believe what they see, hear and witness for themselves.
These guys aren’t always trouble makers, they just need to see it to believe it.
Not everyone has witnessed a paranormal event and even if they have, they may not have realized their experience was a supernatural one.
That strange bang could have been something outside, or something falling over upstairs? Maybe the figure seen briefly in the corner of their eye was just their imagination, or a shadow created from something else in the room?
You don't have to see or experience something yourself in order to accept that it may exist. I've never seen a platypus, the surface of the moon, the northern lights or an Amazon tribe member, but I accept that they're out there.
You could say that TV and photographs have provided me with proof, but if ghosts caught on camera can be faked or manipulated, how do I know that the world isn't taking the piss with some of these things (have you seen what a Platypus looks like)?
It's fine for people to say this but doesn't provide enough to dismiss the paranormal as "untrue".
Sometimes, people just shut you down or dismiss you through fear.
They don’t want to admit it, but the fact that they don’t even let you finish is often a clear giveaway that they feel uncomfortable with the topic.
They’ve convinced themselves that the supernatural is nonsense because they have to. They’re scared of the possibility. They don’t want to think about a spirit watching them or potentially appearing in front or behind them. They will shit their pants!
They may laugh at you or mock the possibility as a front, but deep down they’re hoping that you’re wrong because they can’t deal with the thought of you being right.
People like this will aim to put an end to the conversation quicky. They won’t let you go into detail, and they will try to turn the conversation or stop others from participating. They may bring it up again at a latter date, but it’s always in a teasing or mocking way, usually to ensure that you don’t try and speak about it again because this is what you'll get.
The best thing to do – don’t spook these people, avoid talking about it again when they’re around. They don’t like it, they feel nervous & defensive, so respect their boundaries.
The “Armchair Scientist”
Aaaaaaah, don’t we all love them. Give them a search engine and access to Wikipedia and they’re immediately an expert on the subject…Any subject. The guaranteed comment from an armchair scientist, is that there is no scientific proof of the existence of ghosts, monsters or the supernatural. Of course, there is no proven scientific evidence that these things don’t exist either, but stay clear of mentioning that one, otherwise you’ll be in an argument for hours!
Remember what we covered in the introduction about the key skills of a scientist? A good researcher needs to maintain a flexible way of thinking, keep an open mind to help with discovery, innovation and learning. But unfortunately, Barry the estate agent doesn’t have those skills, he’s just going on the information he’s found on the internet to back up his argument.
History is full of examples where scientists or creative thinkers were mocked or ridiculed for their suggestions and ideas. When Geophysicist Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of continental drift, he was mocked and laughed at by his peers who referred to his theory as "delirious ravings". Charles Darwin famously faced ridicule, attack, and public outcry for his theory of evolution, and in 1920 Robert H. Goddard was publicly humiliated in the New York Times for suggesting that man could travel into space using a rocket.
The bottom line is – People will always dismiss theories and laugh at ideas, but it doesn’t automatically mean that they’re right and you’re wrong!
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Feel free to comment and add your thoughts (ideally on the website as nobody does!) as I’d love to hear your views. You can contact me directly through our facebook group, the ParaNexus, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org