The Paranormal and Perception
We come into this world with 5 basic senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell.
As we grow as children, I have noticed with my own kids that they accept what they see at face value. And it is not until later on after first being conditioned by their parents and then TV, School and the media do they start to begin to have prejudice towards many subjects. How many times as a child did you ask your friends? Do you believe in ghosts? Or UFO’s only to be shot down by someone who says that those things don’t exist. My Dad, teacher - or the TV said so. For example: Some people believe that a child’s imaginary friend is a ghost or spirit guide, they often are told by parents that their friend does not exist. After a few years the friend disappears either because the parent has ridiculed the child or the child simply grows out of it’s psychic ability.
It is a real pity that as parents we push our prejudices on to our children. I am what would be considered an open-minded parent when it comes to things of a strange nature. And at times I have even heard myself say to my kids things like: “what a load of rubbish” and so on – about something they say. Like many things such as racial prejudice, skepticism begins in the home. I was lucky enough to have two “fairly” open minded parents but compared to me they are like night and day. I consider myself quite skeptical when it comes to investigating the paranormal. But at the same time I am quite willing to accept the impossible as possible. I have had in my life two paranormal experiences that I believe were very real and I believe that this is quite unremarkable compared to other individuals. The question now needs to be asked why certain people have one of more paranormal experiences compared to people how have never had one?
Does it come down to perception or is it something more physical such as right/left brain preference. Right brain people tend be more intuitive, arty, musical and so fourth. Left-brain more logical, mathematical and scientific. Ask pretty much any Left-brain person about paranormal activity and they will tell you that it is all rubbish that can be explained away sensibly and logically. Therefore this type of individual is 1) Less likely to perceive a paranormal event and 2) If they did experience something they would most likely dismiss it. On the other hand a right brain may be far too willing to accept everything they experience. Right brains also tend to be fantasy prone personalities.
Presently our main schooling system is based on left-brain logical thinking. Personally I hated school. I found it difficult to learn in the way that I was being taught - although I was pretty good at science. Because of this system of schooling do we neglect the right brain children over the left-brain who win all the awards and get all the praise? And the poor right brain kid who is good at art and music feels less important and ends up feeling less valuable to society in their adult life. Therefore the right-brained kid is indoctrinated into left-brain thinking and represses natural talents and gifts. Such as possible psychic ability, once this part of their brain has been “turned off” they could tend to perceive more like a left-brain. What could become confusing to a turned off right brain is that they may receive psychic information and don’t know how to deal with it or process the information. Resulting in confusion, which could lead to other “disorders”? They could then be prescribed medication, which sometimes makes matters worse. Unfortunately for most of us when we reach adulthood the damage is already done. We become less able to experience psychic phenomena.
I believe many people have their feet placed too firmly on the ground. Because people get bogged down in their mundane existences e.g. work, family, financial concerns etc. We tend to forget about our place in the universe - we are a race of primates that lives on a rock that travels around a star. And many people are far too busy concerned with our mundane everyday activities to be think about Ghosts, Poltergeists, UFO’s or Cryptic animals. The human being who lives in a modern country lives much of their lives indoors. Most of us live and work in cities. We get up in the morning get dressed in our dwelling, hop in our car and trot off to work, which for most of us is indoors or in suburbia. We finish work come home cook dinner and watch TV or do some other activity that is located indoors. This does not give the individual an opportunity to experience any paranormal activity whatsoever.
If this is the case it is not surprising that the most common paranormal experience is a ghost or haunting which are mainly centred on a home, building or a particular person. Could this be the reason that other types of paranormal phenomena such as UFO sightings, and Cryptic animals are not seen as frequently? With regard to Cryptic animal sightings - I quite often like to get out in the bush and wander around and see what I can see. But it is very rare to see a regular animal such as a Wallaby or Kangaroo living or dead. Let alone see a Cryptic animal such as a Yowie, Big Cat or Thylacine. As far as Cryptids are concerned it is the people who spend much of their time in the bush that see such creatures (i.e. loggers, hunters, bushwalkers, campers and people who live in blocks that back on to the bush). Numerous Yowie sightings by locals in the Blue Mountains NSW are a testament to this theory.
Many believe that psychic ability is passed on genetically from parent to child. Historically the village Seer would pass on their talents to their children. Most people who have psychic ability have children who experience things like telepathy and precognition. Could it simply be that the child’s mind is open to possibilities because their parents have encouraged them to follow their intuition and gut feelings. Is this where it comes down to perception or belief? If we believe something is possible it is probably more likely that we could experience it. Perception is a funny thing - if someone perceives the world as a violent place then that person will most likely see people fighting in the street and catch all of the violence on the nightly news. The same can be true for people who perceive paranormal/psychic activity. This person is far more likely to experience the paranormal than the person who is only concerned about work or the footy score. An example of this exists called the Sheep/Goat effect. A term coined by Parapsychologist Gertrude Schmeidler in the 1940’s. In Psychical research it was found that a person who believed in Psychic ability (the sheep) was more likely to score higher in PSI tests, than the non-believer (the goat).
I suppose for most people something has to be experienced to be believed, and I think it is unfortunate that western society has forgotten it’s spiritual path, which some other cultures have kept alive. E.g. the Native American Indians, African tribes and some Asian cultures - it was societies like this that embraced visions and spiritual quests. Perhaps the insights that a spiritual life provides give deeper meaning and therefore more happiness to our lives.
Copyright Murray Byfield 2005