Specific Christian Paranormal Beliefs

 

Duncan, Donnelly and Nicholson (1992),  conducted a study to determine if a person’s  level of religious beliefs were predictive of their paranormal beliefs. Those that scored higher in their beliefs would score lower in paranormal beliefs. These researchers used surveys to determine which religions believed what types of paranormal beliefs. 

 

Results showed that those that tested higher in Protestant Christian beliefs were more likely to believe in the devil or possession of the devil, witches, but did not believe in reincarnation or haunted houses, compared to other religious orientations. Catholics were more likely to believe or somewhat believe in astrology. Overall, those with lower levels of religiosity showed higher beliefs in the paranormal.

 

This would lead one to believe that the less committed a person is to their religious belief or practices the more likely they would believe in paranormal phenomena.

Submitted by: Bridget Cotton

Reference:

Duncan, D. F., Donnelly, J. W., Nicholson, T. (1992): Belief in the Paranormal and Religious Belief Among American College Students. Psychological Reports, 70, 15-18.

 

Artistic Psychics

Cardena and associates bring to light a prominent trend in psychical research. Namely, that artistic ability and creativity appear to be strongly associated with psychic ability. Famous artists, such as Frantisek Kupka and Victor Brauner, have each shown instances of psychic ability through their art.

The parapsychology community finds the above examples in line with research from the last several decades. Formal psychic testing in laboratory conditions has shown that artists and creative individuals do well in PSI tests, ranging from a 40 to a 75% hit rate of correctly selecting targets sent in controlled conditions. Note that the average rate from analysis of PSI studies is approximately 33% (where chance guessing is 25%).

It is also the case that some famous writers have also personally reported paranormal/psychical phenomena. Cardena and colleagues report on Ted Hughes (Poet Laureate). Hughes practiced altering his state of consciousness through occult methods and regularly attended several Ouija sessions. Hughes personally recounts several psychic or paranormal encounters involving visions of spirits who would provide information to him.

 

 

Creativity, Occultism, and Psychicism. One and the same?

 

Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Cardena, E., Iribas, A., & Reijman, S. (2012) Art and psi. Journal of Parapsychology, 76, 3-26.

Get Involved With The Paranormal

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would like to thank you all for keeping up with Paranormal Facts. As always, we hope you have enjoyed some of the science behind all of the paranormal encounters people report. Our campaign has been very successful, with over 8000 visits to our page last month, and 1200 regular viewers! Each month we see a substantial increase in our readership, and that makes all of us happy.

I want to remind everyone that we’re offering a free layman’s parapsychology course on the website, and the Paranormal Experience Registry (PER) is up and running. Yes, the PER takes some time to complete. But, your donation of time will eventually help everyone who has had a paranormal experience as we anonymously share our findings.

Finally, if you like Paranormal Facts, or have taken our class, consider showing your appreciation with a donation. We have re-occurring donation plans that cost less than a cup of coffee a month!. Our non-profit has a Guidestar Silver Rating, so you can rest easy that no shenanigans are going on with your donation. Every dollar helps us maintain research like the PER, Paranormal Facts, and future services.

If there is something you would like to see from ISRAE, don’t be shy. Email us at blaythe@israenet.org. We’re open to your suggestions or requests.

Paranormal to the People!

Dr. Laythe

Parapsychology Class On-Line

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We’ve been promising a free parapsychology course, and we are proud to announce that it’s ready for its first round of online students. Included are fifteen sections and a hearty (optional) quiz if you want to test your knowledge.

What do I need to do?

  1. Go to www.israenet.org/classes and click the link!
  2. Read and examine the content at your own pace!

This is our first release of the class, so please feel free to provide us with feedback (constructive comments only, please). Email blaythe@israenet.org with any comments. I’ll be checking into the class periodically.

Part of the Public Service We Provide At ISRAE,

Dr. Brian Laythe

The Religion Curve Deux

 

Baker and Draper conducted a study to see if people who had moderate levels of religious belief would also have corresponding levels of paranormal supernatural beliefs. Researchers also wanted to see if there was a relationship between religious beliefs/practices and the belief in the paranormal, of God’s existence, and the belief in the Bible. 

It is thought that people who have a stronger commitment to religious organizations and have a higher investment in those beliefs would also show a lower belief in the paranormal. People who believed that the Bible held a strong authority over religious practices would also show a lower belief in anything paranormal. Although there is a belief that some aspects of supernatural events are part of religious beliefs. For example, the Devil, Heaven, Hell and Angels are positively associated with the belief in God and traditional religion. Yet, religions often are suspicious or negative towards more general paranormal events such as: telepathy, reincarnation, astrology, or Psi is considered negative in regards to religious affiliations.

Results confirmed this tendency. Those with traditional religious beliefs/practices (i.e. Catholic, Protestant, and other religions.) had  higher levels of belief in the paranormal than to those of evangelical beliefs (Conservative Christianity). Those who had a belief that the Bible has “human errors” also show a higher level of paranormal beliefs. Subjects that held a theistic belief  (i.e. higher power or cosmic being, but not traditional religious views) showed the highest degrees of belief of the paranormal.

Thus, belief in the paranormal with religion appears to be a function of to what extent you are committed to a particular faith, and how conservative your beliefs about religion are.

Submitted by: Bridget Cotton

Reference:

Baker, J. O., Draper, S. (2010): Diverse Supernatural Portfolios: Certitude, Exclusivity, and the Curvilinear Relationship Between Religiosity and Paranormal Beliefs. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49(3):413–424

Give Time to the PER

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If you’ve taken the time to visit our website, you know that we’ve been preparing a comprehensive study of paranormal experiences: The Paranormal Experience Registry. Our goal is to collect thousands of responses from people across the US and UK. Once we collect enough responses, we will anonymously post the general results so that others who have had paranormal experiences can compare their experience with others.

Our hope is that this will provide some comfort to those who’ve had negative experiences, helping them to know they’re not alone.

SO, if you are unable to support us in other ways, PLEASE consider sharing your personal paranormal experiences on the site. The PER takes some time, but it’s going toward a common good and will (hopefully) serve as a comprehensive registry for paranormal encounters of all sorts.

 

 

 

Just go to www.paranormal-exp.org and prepare to answer several questions. Science is thorough, meaning registration may take some time. Think of it as community service, but please register!

Dr. Brian Laythe

Evolution and Spirituality?

In Kelley et al. 2010, Kelley wrote a review on how paranormal and traditional religious beliefs play a role in the fear of death, anxiety, and terror.  Kelley found that traditional religious beliefs and paranormal beliefs have parallels with a belief in heaven and hell and that the soul outlives the body. In addition, it has been suggested that paranormal beliefs may replace traditional religious beliefs and serve as religious beliefs in themselves. Most studies, however, have had difficulty finding positive correlations between religious belief and paranormal belief due to the level of religiosity in those with more traditional religious beliefs, such as with Catholics and Protestants. Both Catholicism and Protestantism share the belief that phenomena cannot be easily debunked by science. In regard to the fear of death and terror, the researchers found a decrease in anxiety, whether the subject held traditional religious or paranormal belief, depending on their level of religiosity.

Although there is no solid evidence that religious and paranormal belief can alleviate a person’s fear of death and terror, a person’s level of commitment toward their belief system may have an impact. People who scored higher on an intrinsic belief system demonstrated a difference in their level of fear of death and terror. Some studies have suggested that people with lower belief in the paranormal are more likely to have strong traditional religious beliefs.  However, these individuals may be restricted by their disbelief in some aspects of paranormal phenomena, as seen often in Catholicism and Protestantism. The researchers found that people who did not attend church regularly were more likely to believe in paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, reincarnation, etc. than in traditional religious beliefs. On the other hand, those who did attend church regularly were more likely to believe in traditional religious beliefs than in paranormal phenomena but were more accepting of supernatural phenomena.

Submitted by Bridget Cotton

Reference

Kelley, M. P., (2010). The Evolution of Beliefs in God, Spirit, and the Paranormal. I: Terror     Management and Ritual Healing Theories. The Journal of Parapsychology. 74, 2, 335-357.

 

Donate

Exorcism? Only If You Ask Nicely

Many religions still hold that exorcisms are effective in freeing their congregation from evil spirits and the devil. Many of these religious followers are willing to undergo an exorcism to rid themselves of horrible thoughts and actions.  But what happens when a congregation forces an exorcism against a member’s will? Is it the congregation’s right to do everything in its power to free a member from their possessor, even if they do not have that member’s consent? In the court case Pleasant Glade Assembly of God v. Schubert (2008), one teenage girl developed PTSD after two forced exorcisms.  The jurors believed that the church had trumped their religious freedom on the basis that someone was injured.  However, the judge disagreed and overturned the verdict, dismissing the case.

The judge cited the Free Exercise Clause, which states that no law shall prohibit the free exercise of religion. However, there have been exceptions made in cases of mental and physical injury, as seen in Pleasant Glade Assembly of God v. Schubert (2008). Many people were hoping the original verdict would set a precedent that churches could not use their religious freedom to openly abuse, consent, or harm someone in the name of religion, such as in a forced exorcism.

However, the judge argued that the victim had consented to the church’s practices by attending the church on her own free will.  Therefore, she had also consented to an exorcism, despite voicing her dissent. In addition, if the judge were to charge and condemn the church for their belief in exorcism, it could have been interpreted as a criticism of their religion.  That was a fight the court did not want to pursue. Despite the fact that the victim did not consent, the Texas judge ruled that is was within the church’s religious freedom to carry out practices that were important to them. Do you think the judge had a point, or do you believe that consent, no matter the circumstances, should precede an exorcism?

 

Submitted by: Bridget Cotton

Reference

Koploy, C.(2010). Free exorcise clause? Whether exorcism can survive the Supreme Court’s “Smith Neutrality.” Northwestern University Law Review, 104, 363-389.

 

Donate

Help The Cause: Donate to ISRAE

Dear Readers,

We know some of you out there donate to causes close to your heart.  Whether you’re helping organizations make health care and education accessible to those in need or donating to children’s hospitals, donating to the greater good is something to be proud of.

However, we understand that becoming a donor in today’s economy can be a significant investment of time and money. You might ask what are the benefits of contributing to our organization. Consider the following points.

We are the only organization in the U.S. and Europe that provides the general public with reliable parapsychology research and education. Given all the TV shows, myths, and controversy surrounding paranormal phenomena, ISRAE serves as a reliable source of information in a world where little of it is available.

 

There are many people who have had paranormal experiences. It can be hard to make sense out of such experiences, and people often report anxiety, crisis, and fear as a result. Paranormal Facts are here to help people cope with these issues, but oftentimes that’s not enough.

 

 

To address these experiences, ISRAE has opened the Paranormal Experience Registry. Our hope is that readers and the public will share their paranormal experiences using our scientifically designed registry. We can then help people who are in fear by providing them with summaries (while protecting the confidentiality of our registrants) of other people’s experiences. Oftentimes there is a lot of comfort in knowing that your experience is not an isolated one.

Parapsychology research does not receive one dime of grant money. There are no grants for us to apply for, and there are only four privately funded parapsychology institutes left in the United States. We are the underdog, and we are the only nonprofit parapsychology research institute with a focus toward you, the public. Every dollar you send helps keeps us solvent.

So in closing, please consider giving.  As much as five dollars makes a difference to us. In fact, a monthly contribution of five dollars helps us fund internships for students, purchase research equipment, and maintain Paranormal Facts, our upcoming free Parapsychology Class, and the Paranormal Experience Registry. We are here for you, but we can’t do it without you.

Best wishes from all of us at ISRAE,

Dr. Brian Laythe

Donate

What DOES Belief Mean Among Everyday People

 

In a somewhat unique study, Pechey and Halligan ask the question of how people actually define belief. Although the term is used widely in society and science, few, if any, have asked the fundamental question, “What is meant when you say you believe?” In order to answer the question, the researchers polled over 1,000 British participants.

 

Results after analysis indicated that belief appears to hinge on the concept of “A framework for explaining how things are or should be” (p. 92). These researchers also found that most of the population endorsed belief concepts such as influencing thoughts and feelings not temporary or passing, influencing your thoughts and behavior, and to some extent, representing being right.

 

On a personal note, although these researchers examined the common public, there is value in recognizing that these characteristics of belief may not simply apply to the common population. Scientists, religious figures, and others in authority are also likely to hold these positions, and other research shows that our beliefs are resistant to change, even in the face of facts and evidence.

 

Submitted by Brian Laythe

Reference

Pechey, R., & Halligan, P. W. (2012). Exploring the folk understanding of belief: Identifying key dimensions endorsed in the general population. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 12(1-2), 81-99.

 

Donate