Viren Swami et al. (2010) examined belief in extraterrestrials. There is debate on whether beliefs in extraterrestrial life, such as aliens, were related to the measurement of paranormal belief. Their study hypothesized that there would be common themes and relations between extraterrestrial beliefs and multiples factors, such as age, mental illness, paranormal belief, superstition, and conscientiousness.
The study used an 11-item extraterrestrial belief subscale and an 18-item paranormal belief scale that measured whether the participants had these beliefs. Findings of the study suggested that paranormal belief, more so than ESP and belief in the afterlife, were related to belief in extraterrestrial life.
These researchers also found a relationship between participants beliefs in extraterrestrial life and mental illness. More specifically, they stated that with higher extraterrestrial life beliefs, subjects report having more unusual experiences than others. An obvious finding in the study stated that openness to new experiences also relates to extraterrestrial life belief and experiences. An open minded individual could be more prone to believe that an experience could be an extraterrestrial experience.
Submitted by: Jossalyn DeLeon
Swami, V., Pietschnig, J., Stieger, S., & Voracek, M. (2011). Alien psychology: Associations between extraterrestrial beliefs and paranormal ideation, superstitious beliefs, schizotypy, and the Big Five personality factors. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(4), 647-653. doi:10.1002/acp.1736
In the world of parapsychology, Poltergeists are considered a different breed of haunting than what you traditionally see in T.V. shows. German for “noisy spirit/ghost”, a poltergeist is believed by parapsychologists to be the unconscious psychic action of someone living in the home. Whereas many would attribute objects moving and noises to spirits or ghosts, Poltergeists often center their activity around a young girl or boy, and often around the age of puberty.
Unlike hauntings, which often continue in a location for years, a Poltergeist is more of a temporary episode, often not occurring for more than a few months. William Roll, the foremost expert on the phenomena, has always believed that these ghostly episodes were the result of teenagers with repressed emotions. These emotions then manifest in psychic episodes of objects moving, breaking, or physical attacks on family members.
Is Dr. Roll right? Are Poltergeists really just psychic activity, as opposed to spirits or ghosts? If you don’t immediately dismiss his meticulous investigation of these accounts, the theory is sound. It is important to note that poltergeists do not account for all haunting accounts, just ones where activity appears to center around a single member of the family. And unfortunately, research on haunt phenomena is lacking, and worse, poltergeist cases have been rapidly diminishing in the last few decades. ISRAE specializes in this type of haunting research, so if we discover more about hauntings or poltergeists, we promise we’ll let you know about it.
Submitted By: Brian Laythe
Roll, W. (1972).The poltergeist. New York, Doubleday.
Does the occurrence of near death experiences increase your religious beliefs or spirituality? Khanna et. al. states that it does play a role in your spiritual well-being. Multiple previous studies have reported that they have seen a great amount of people who before their NDE having little to no belief in religion or spirituality, and dramatically increase their spirituality after the incidence.
It is reported by NDE individuals that they have gained a new meaning for life, loss of fear of death, and a greater love for people, the environment, and life overall. As these studies have looked at the relationship between the growth in beliefs and near death experiences, Khanna and colleagues looked at the spiritual well-being, specifically.
In the current study, NDE’s were measured, as well as spiritual well-being. The depth of these experiences and the depth of increase in well-being were also examined. Results found that the individuals who had reported having a near-death experience tended to have a greater gain in their spiritual well being. It is suggested that regardless of religious orientation before the NDE, these NDE’s could potentially be a spiritual intervention for the individuals.
Submitted by: Jossalyn DeLeon
Khanna, S., & Greyson, B. (2014). Near-Death Experiences and Spiritual Well-Being. Journal Of Religion & Health, 53, 1605-1615.
The term energy healing refers to natural healing processes that occur when energy is redistributed or released. Energy can be blocked by illness or disease. What if there was evidence that Sigmund Freud helped develop modern forms of energy healing? A great deal of Freud’s work centers on the ebb and flow of energy. Freud’s concepts of cathexis and dynamic theories show this trend. Cathexis is the concentration of mental energy on one particular object. This can be unhealthy because it blocks the normal flow of energy. In Freud’s theories, he discussed the tensions that arise when various aspects of the personality that are in conflict, or conflicted flows of energy. This tension can result in fixation or a complex.
There is evidence that Freud administered the three basic forms of energy healing in his practice. The first form of energy healing applies physical equipment to the body to promote natural healing. An example of this in Freud’s therapy would be electrolysis.
The second form of energy healing involves the healer using their own body to influence energy ,such as the practice of hypnotherapy. The third type of energy healing is referred to as radiant healing. This is when a healer channels energy from the universe to encourage healing. An example of this free association, a technique used in psychoanalysis which was designed by Freud. Psychoanalysis uncovers and releases blocked or unbalanced energy, which according to the authors is energy healing.
Submitted by: Autumn Hockenbury
Edwards, D. J., Edwards, S. D., & Phil, D. (2010) Sigmund Freud: Pioneer in Energy Healing. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16, 219-222.
Anne F. Smith and Janette Simmonds looked at religion and help-seeking. Their study examined whether different groups of religion (mainstream, alternative, and no religion) encouraged more or less help-seeking behaviors. The mainstream religions included Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The alternative religions were defined as Paganism, some forms of Buddhism, Wicca, and New Age spirituality. The no religion group were agnostic, atheist, no religion, and rationalists. Smith and Simmond’s results showed that majority of the participants agreed that religious beliefs should be taken into account. Every religion agreed counseling was beneficial, yet tended to all say they would seek guidance from a personal relationship before seeking professional help.
The mainstream religion group stated that they would seek help from a priest more than the other religious groups claimed. The alternative religious group claimed that they would seek help from a psychic more so than the other religious groups said they would. The non-religious group stated that they would seek help from a relative and friend more than the other groups. Why do people tend to find professional help acceptable in society, yet do not choose that as their way of seeking help? Smith and Simmonds state that it is possible that people prefer to working issues out with close friends and relatives and then seek out professionals.
Where do individuals of the belief systems stand when it comes to paranormal beliefs? The nonreligious group resulted in having the lowest amount of paranormal belief (Traditional Religious Belief, Psi, Witchcraft, Spiritualism, Extraordinary Life Forms, and Precognition). The mainstream religions had higher belief in traditional religious beliefs. The alternative religions had higher belief in Witchcraft, Psi and Precognition.
Who do you tend to seek help from and does religion or the state of no religion play a role?
Submitted by: Jossalyn DeLeon
Reference: Smith, A. F., & Simmonds, J. G. (2006). Help-seeking and paranormal beliefs in adherents of mainstream religion, alternative religion, and no religion. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 19, 331-341.
In a case study examining the content of 3920 of his own dreams, Paquette asks the question if dream content contains meaningful symbols and content that may indicate psychic information. Although not commonly known, a great deal of debate has occurred within psychology over the meaning of dreams. Some researchers claim that dreams are just the brain processing information collected over the day. Others claim that dream content has symbols that access our unconscious minds. Some parapsychologists have had previous success with psychic dreams.
Paquette discovered that less than one percent of the reviewed dreams contained clear symbol content. This finding was in contrast to 11 dreams that represented psychic content that was later experienced (precognition). Paquette, although analyzing his own content, makes the case that symbols alone are relatively rare in his dream cycles.
So are we more likely to have a precognitive dream with a direct image of events to come? Or, is it more likely the case that we will see some type of symbol that we have to interpret? Paquette’s experiences suggest that our dream images, if precognitive, will contain very direct imagery, which we will experience later. Reader beware, case studies are often not reflective of large sample studies, but Paquette’s research may tell us something down the road about psychic dreaming.
Submitted by: Brian Laythe
Paquette, A. (2016). The rarity of unambiguous symbols in dreams: A case study. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 30, 199-216.
One of the more common experiences that people have is hearing a voice or a loud noise just when they’re about to fall asleep. Those are the lucky ones. Others across multiple countries have reported what Hufford calls the Night Hag. These experiences include seeing, feeling, or hearing a presence when waking, and often feeling paralyzed or smothered. Are these experiences paranormal?
Hufford, a folklorist, was one of the first researchers to tackle this phenomenon. He discovered that people who had these terrifying experiences often knew nothing about myths of the Night Hag, Succubus, or other Paranormal Entities associated with these experiences. From his results, he brought forth the experiential source hypothesis, a claim that there are core genuine experiences associated with different types of paranormal phenomena.
Is there an explanation for this kind of night time attack? Yes, there is. Psychologists have studied hypnogogic episodes for several decades now. Believe it or not, in our early stages of sleep, we are capable of being both in awake and dream states. The result is that in severe cases, we can fully hallucinate visual auditory and touch sensations. Worse yet, we often don’t know were hallucinating! When added with sleep paralysis, a condition where the brain has not turned the part of our brain that allows us to voluntarily move, we end up with a night hag episode.
Psychological or not, many people have been terrified by these experiences. Researchers estimate that anywhere from 10 to 20% of the American population will have at least one hypnogogic experience. Sleep well.
Submitted by: Brian Laythe
Hufford, D. J. (1982). The terror that comes in the night. An experience-centered study of supernatural assault traditions. Philadelphia: University of Pennslyvania Press.
Carlos Alvarado, a very dedicated and published parapsychologist, reports on the rare phenomena out-of-body experiences (OBEs). OBE’s are when a person finds themselves outside of their bodies, often looking down on themselves. Alvarado in this article focuses on the rare instances when OBE’s occur while people are physically active and reports four new cases. Some interesting trends are shown.
When people are active, OBE’s are relatively rare. Alvarado examines twenty two cases of physically active OBEs. Results show that women are slightly more prone to an active OBE (27.3% versus 22.7% for men). In terms of what these people were doing when they had the OBE, the majority were talking , or driving a vehicle (Yikes). In all of these cases, people who experienced OBEs watched themselves as they continued their various activities!
Alvarado concludes that OBE’s have often been researched alongside near death experiences (NDE). As a result, not as much research has been conducted on physically active OBE. The experience of either NDE or OBE is still debated by science as to whether or not these experiences are generated by the brain, or representative of a paranormal experience. Although associated with a psychological tendency to detach the waking self from the body (Dissociation), in depth brain studies to date, have not been conducted.
Submitted by: Brian Laythe
Alvarado, C. S. (2016). Out of body experiences during physical activity: Report of four new cases. Journal for the Society for Psychical Research, 80, 1-12.
In a 2010 study by Wilson et al., researchers actually had participants perform over 15 sessions of séances. Their goal was to see if table lifting or floating would occur (Psychokinesis). Researchers were also interested in whether or not random number generators (RNG) would be affected by the séance sessions to produce non-random number series. Several meters and devices were also used during one session to examine changes in light and electromagnetic fields (EMF).
The researchers found that while RNG generators were not affected, but there were several instances of bizarre table behavior. In two instances the table appeared to move around on its own. In other sessions, the table tilted on two legs. In many of the sessions, rapping noises and knocks were heard. The researchers make no definitive claims that these events were faked, but do not claim that the movement was factual Psychokinesis.
In the session where light and electromagnetic fields were measured, there was a noticeable drop in infrared light (which is invisible to the human eye). Visual light also dropped to a noticeable level. Finally, equipment detected a noticeable increase of DC electromagnetic fields in the séance area, without any electronics or alternate sources that could account for the increase in field strength.
Fact or Fiction? You decide.
Submitted By: Brian Laythe
Wilson, M., Williams, B., Hart, T., & Roll, W. (2010). The Daniel experiment: Sitter group contributions with field RNG and MESA environmental recordings. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 24, 611-636.