In this episode, Samantha and Aaron step back from examining actual pieces of lore in order to share their own personal paranormal experiences. They examine the reasons why eye-witness testimonies of supernatural phenomena need to be handled with care, the ways their own experiences influence the way they interpret those from others, and how their training as historians has prepared them to analyze sources.
History of Paranormal Research- 2:20
Analyzing Sources- 13:46
Personal Stories- 15:55
Legend or Lie- 39:47
Interpreting the Paranormal- 44:06
The Desire to Have an Encounter- 54:07
For this episode we relied on a lot of articles to help us explain some of the thoughts we had about why people believe in the paranormal, what can influence that belief, and the power of biases. In case you’d like to look at these, we’ve divided them into helpful categories.
On the Public Belief in Ghosts
Why do People Believe in Ghosts? (The Atlantic)
The Truth about the Paranormal (BBC)
Why do We Like a Scary Story? (Oxford Open Learning)
On Dark vs. Supernatural Tourism
Dark Tourism, Explained (Washington Post)
Dark Tourism: The Most Haunted Destinations in the World (Culture Trip)
On Why We Like to Feel Scared
Why People will Pay to Feel Scared (The Atlantic)
So Why do People Believe in Bigfoot Anyway? (California Magazine)
Have Scientists Finally Killed off the Loch Ness Monster? (The Conversation)
Why Won’t Scientific Evidence Change the Minds of Loch Ness Monster True Believers? (The Conversation)
For a complete look at the Fox sisters and some pieces of nineteenth-century spiritualism, this Smithsonian article provides a good overview. Samantha also relied on previous research regarding the idea of a “Good Death” and the Civil War from Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.
Aaron and Samantha visited the Michigan Bigfoot Conference in this episode of The Saucer Life
The quotation that begins the second part of the episode is from Aaron’s book The Chaos Conundrum.
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2 thoughts on “Episode 4: The Paranormal Is Personal”
You guys have truly established this as a “high brow” podcast! ‘Mesmerism’ is rarely mentioned anymore, and usually just as a fancy way to indicate hypnotism. But referencing ‘Swedenborgianism’ is truly distinctive. Please give yourselves a pat on the back.
As for a question, how would you characterize the distinctions among these three: the spiritual, the supernatural, and the paranormal? Also, if the causal mechanism of something thought to be paranormal, e.g., dowsing, were eventually explained scientifically, would it automatically cease to be ‘paranormal’?
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