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The psychology behind belief in the paranormal

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Humans have long been fascinated by the supernatural and the unknown. From ghost stories and urban legends to reports of UFO sightings and encounters with cryptids, belief in the paranormal has been a common thread throughout human history. But what drives people to believe in things that cannot be scientifically proven? What is the psychology behind belief in the paranormal?

There are a number of psychological factors that can contribute to a person’s belief in the paranormal. One of the most significant is the human tendency to seek explanations for the unexplained. When faced with something mysterious or inexplicable, our brains naturally try to make sense of it. This can lead people to believe in the paranormal as a way of providing an explanation for phenomena that cannot be easily explained through traditional scientific means.

Another important factor is the influence of culture and media on our beliefs. Paranormal fiction novels, movies, and television shows have long been popular forms of entertainment, and they can shape our beliefs about the supernatural. When people are exposed to fictional stories about ghosts, demons, and other supernatural beings, they may be more likely to believe in these things in real life. This is known as the “media influence hypothesis”, which suggests that exposure to paranormal media can lead people to believe in the paranormal.

Additionally, belief in the paranormal can be a way for people to cope with feelings of powerlessness or uncertainty. Belief in ghosts, for example, can provide comfort to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, as it suggests that the deceased are still present in some form. Similarly, belief in paranormal phenomena such as psychic abilities or alien encounters can give people a sense of control or agency in a world that can often seem chaotic and unpredictable.

Of course, not everyone who believes in the paranormal has had a personal experience that they cannot explain through traditional means. Instead, belief in the paranormal can often be a way for people to make sense of their own fears and anxieties. For example, someone who is afraid of the dark may believe in ghosts or demons as a way of externalizing and personifying their fears. Similarly, someone who is anxious about the future may be more likely to believe in psychics or fortune tellers who claim to predict future events.

In conclusion, belief in the paranormal is a complex phenomenon that can be influenced by a variety of psychological factors. From our natural tendency to seek explanations for the unexplained to the influence of culture and media on our beliefs, there are many reasons why people may believe in the paranormal. Whether it is a coping mechanism for dealing with uncertainty or a way of making sense of our fears, belief in the paranormal is a fascinating topic that continues to captivate and intrigue us, as evidenced by the popularity of paranormal fiction novels and other forms of media that explore these themes.

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Joie Lesin – Author of Speculative Fiction
https://www.jlesin.com/

Joie Lesin is a Minnesota-based author of speculative fiction. The second edition of her novel, THE PASSENGER, will be published by The Wild Rose Press.

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