"God draws straight lines with crooked sticks."

- Joni Eareckson Tada
Where I'm At With The Paranormal

Ever since I was a kid I've always enjoyed the paranormal. Unsolved Mysteries was like crack going straight into my veins (is that where they inject the stuff?). I have to admit, though, I want to believe. So there's your caveat, and now I'll proceed with where I'm at in my belief -- or non-belief -- in four big paranormal realms.

1. Bigfoot. I'm a believer. I won't go into details, but there is simply too much evidence to ignore. There is a North American great ape. They are few in number, and probably the most elusive animals on earth. They're out there. Bet the farm.

The book that put the final nail in my coffin of sasquatch doubt.

2. UFOs. There's something up there. These things are shiny, seemingly metallic, faster than any known military or civilian jet, and very interested in conventional aircraft, since there are so many documented instances of UFOs being seen by pilots, military officials, et al.

With that said, I don't know what they are. I don't hold to the extra-terrestrial hypothesis, but I don't dismiss it. I simply don't know. If the thought of intelligent extra-terrestrials spooks you or makes you think the idea is incompatible with Christianity, see C.S. Lewis's essay, "Religion and Rocketry."

About UFOs, here's the book that changed my mind.

3. Ghosts. They're probably either the result of overactive imaginations or demonic forces. I don't believe that human spirits can somehow hang around after death and do stuff like pulling your covers off at night.

4. Alien abductions. Like ghosts these are either the figments of people's imaginations (sometimes induced by sleep paralysis), or they're demonic in origin. I don't believe advanced lifeforms are visiting earth, abducting people, strapping them down to tables and drawing their blood with ridiculously long needles. If aliens are so advanced, they can figure out anything they need with a drop of human blood. Regardless, abductions aren't happening. That's not to say that some people may truly believe alien abductions are happening to them, but that doesn't mean they're real. The mind is a funny thing, and the spirit world is beyond understanding.

Of course, on all of the above, I could be wrong. ;-)

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Comments on "Where I'm At With The Paranormal":
1. Flyaway - 04/07/2012 8:28 pm CDT

1. Bigfoot could exist. I believe there are dinosaurs roaming the earth in uninhabited places too. But what difference does it make?
2. I don’t believe there are UFOs. My reasoning is this—God choose the earth because it was one of the smaller planets, He choose Israel because it was small, so that when Jesus came to earth this was the only world He came to as earth and believers are small and insignificant, so He could show His Glory! The UFOs could be evil spirits.
3. Ghosts are probably demonic forces. Jesus was the only human who came back to earth.
4. I would say that alien abductions are also demonic forces. Have you ever known a Christian who has been abducted?

Of course I could be wrong too.

2. Bird - 04/07/2012 8:39 pm CDT

1. Bigfoot could exist. I believe there are dinosaurs roaming the earth in uninhabited places too. But what difference does it make?

The same difference it would make if there are dinosaurs roaming the earth. ;-) Seriously, though, obviously it doesn't change the world if sasquatch exists, but it does change the science books. For me, though, the real difference comes in acknowledging the breadth of creation, and satisfying our God-given curiosity. As sons of Adam, we want to name animals like our forefather did.

Have you ever known a Christian who has been abducted?

No. I suspect, though, that people are reluctant to talk about it if they think they've been abducted.

3. ZZ - 04/07/2012 9:43 pm CDT

Wow, I consider myself a pretty committed Christian, but this blog just went down several notches in my view.

Bigfoot COULD exist, but so could Unicorns and Leprechauns. And I might win the lottery.

UFOs. Three words: SPEED OF LIGHT. Can't be exceeded, ever, by anything. Other habitable stars are too far away. They'd never get here.

4. Bird - 04/07/2012 10:18 pm CDT

Bigfoot COULD exist, but so could Unicorns and Leprechauns. And I might win the lottery.

There's no credible evidence for unicorns or leprechauns. (But, yes, you might win the lottery.) It's easy to debunk BFs when you compare them to obviously mythical creatures. Straw men are easy to knock down.

About UFOs, you're assuming the extra-terrestrial hypothesis as the only explanation. Granted, it's a possibility, but the existence of UFOs can't be dismissed simply because you think travelling faster than light is impossible. I'm not well versed in physics, but I've read enough to know that dogmatic claims about what can not be done are not always tantamount to the truth. (I've read about bending space-time to circumvent great distances in space, etc.)

Thanks for you comments!

5. ZZ - 04/07/2012 11:23 pm CDT

I AM well versed in physics, and the speed of light is absolutely, positively, impossible to exceed. The entire universe could not exist otherwise, it's one of the most fundamental laws of physics. Like 1+1=2 (laws that were written by God, IMO). Suggesting creatures can break these laws is actually a little blasphemous. Like Ahab's quest for the whale.

Space-time is not an object that can be bent. It's a theoretical framework used to measure things. Bending space-time is like "bending" the electoral system. This is all science-fiction talk.

Guys, buying into stuff like this is how Germany fell for Hitler. Be careful. You don't need a general curtailment of skepticism to maintain strong faith in the things that ARE true.

6. Flyaway - 04/07/2012 11:52 pm CDT

ZZ --you should have been in on the pants on the ground discussion! That one sank even lower!

7. Andrew - 04/08/2012 1:19 am CDT

Guys, buying into stuff like this is how Germany fell for Hitler. Be careful. You don't need a general curtailment of skepticism to maintain strong faith in the things that ARE true.

How on earth could this post, of all posts, prove Godwin's law in a mere five comments? Man, the internet is awesome.

8. Jared - 04/08/2012 4:52 am CDT

Andrew, I was just about to post the same thing!

Record timing. From Bigfoot to Nazism in 3.2 seconds.

9. Shrode - 04/08/2012 6:50 am CDT

Bird,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you say that you believe in UFO's, that means you believe there really are "Unidentified Flying Objects", not that you believe they are alien in origin. Correct? In other words, the common assumption is to equate the term "UFO" with flying spaceships containing aliens, and that's not what you are saying. You are using the term literally - that there are flying objects that have yet to be identified.

And by denying alien abductions later, you seem to be denying the existence of aliens visiting our planet correct?

I just wanted to help you clarify, because it seems that some of our readers may be jumping to the conclusion that you believe that aliens are flying space ships all around, and I don't think that's what you are saying. Correct?

Also, Bird's just speaking for himself here, btw. :-) He's a friend and a brother, but that doesn't mean he's right about everything.
:gblo:

10. Bird - 04/08/2012 7:07 am CDT

Shrode, you are correct, sir. ;-)

To clarify for ZZ, I haven't "bought into" anything, with the exception of sasquatch. But BFs being real -- IMO -- has nothing to do with the supernatural. There are nut jobs out there who think that BFs are supernatural beings, I'm not one of them.

And the only thing I truly believe about UFOs is that they are up there, or they at least appear to be there.

Happy Easter, everyone!

11. Karl - 04/08/2012 7:25 am CDT

Unless BF's bury their dead, I don't see how a north american population of great apes, however few in number, could have remained undetected for so long. Leaving aside the fact that no live sightings have been adequately documented, one would expect that at some point carcasses or bones would have turned up.

I've heard the first-hand account of a friend who believes he encountered a BF as a teen some 30+ years ago while on a camping trip with his dad and brother. The story is hair raising and I completely believe that he experienced what he describes - and I have no explanation for what it was. But I still have a real hard time believing a population of great apes could exist undiscovered in N America. The scientific objections to this that I have read, seem too much to overcome.

12. Karl - 04/08/2012 7:39 am CDT

On UFO's, I think the majority of sightings if not all, are instances of people seeing things or phenomena that are "known" but just not known or recognized by them.

alien abductions - no.

Ghosts - I don't think we are told enough about the spirit world to know for sure here. Bible-based objections or adamant declarations of what ghosts can and can't be, seem to be based on stacked inferences from a relatively few texts. Peter thought Jesus was a ghost/spirit when he saw him on the water; I've always enjoyed that tidbit. Most cases of reported ghost stuff = overactive imagination, IMO. But IMO some may be spirit activity of some sort or other.

13. Bill - 04/08/2012 9:38 am CDT

As expected, Bird has brought back the MOJO . . .

14. Jared - 04/08/2012 12:39 pm CDT

It is very rare to come across deer remains in the woods too, but they don't bury their dead. Stuff decomposes quickly in the woods, and especially quickly where Bigfoot is thought to live -- deciduous rainforests and the like -- where conditions are damp and there are plenty of other wildlife to help dispense with remains.

It surprised me to learn that the mountain gorilla (silverback?) wasn't discovered until the early 20th century. So it's possible -- even if not probable -- that there is a small breeding population of ape in the vast wilderness of North America.

15. Bird - 04/08/2012 1:34 pm CDT

Here's a link on an experiment to see how long it takes a deer carcass to disappear after death. Within five days, it's virtually unidentifiable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBeMTy0N48A

16. Karl - 04/08/2012 7:47 pm CDT

At least in the area where the silverback was found there are other non-human primates. In north america there are none. Unless there is one giant, super-rare, super-secretive species with no littler primates. This below from Wikipedia kind of sums up the problem I have in believing:

". . . scientists cite the fact that Bigfoot is alleged to live in regions unusual for a large, nonhuman primate, i.e., temperate latitudes in the northern hemisphere; all recognized nonhuman apes are found in the tropics of Africa and Asia. Thus, as with other proposed megafauna cryptids, climate and food supply issues would make such a creature's survival in reported habitats unlikely. Furthermore, great apes are not found in the fossil record in the Americas, and no Bigfoot remains have ever been found. Indeed, scientists insist that the breeding population of such an animal would be so large that it would account for many more purported sightings than currently occur, making the existence of such an animal an almost certain impossibility."

As far as remains decomposing quickly, I can follow that a ways but not all the way to the existence of a reproducing population of a creature of that size, spread over that large of a range (I've seen them reported at least from the PNW to the mountains of TN and VA) remaining undiscovered in the 21st century, with not a single skull or skeletal remain found.

I'd like to believe. When I hear my friend's story, I almost believe. But I just can't buy it even though I'd love to be proven wrong.

17. Tony - 04/09/2012 12:31 pm CDT

I've also read somewhere that UFO activity could be demonic in nature as well. I'm not saying that I've bought into that theory. If satan wanted to distract persons from the truth, you must admit that UFO's may be a strategy that is used to deceive even the "elect" (if that were possible).

ZZ- Yes, I've read up on some physics (E=MC squared type stuff) and I subscribe to the same thought you have: nothing faster than the speed of light. I will say though, that I've read a couple of news articles of scientist "observing" faster than the speed of light with light and dark matter. I'm not sure how much faster...

I would also agree that everything I read about space and time bending in order to travel faster than the speed of light was written for Star Trek and/or was "cooked up" by a scientist that wanted to make their aliens / darwinian evolution belief system plausible.

18. Bill - 04/09/2012 3:59 pm CDT

"I've also read somewhere that UFO activity could be demonic in nature as well"

Hmm. Now that reminds me of something.

19. Robert - 04/10/2012 10:32 am CDT

What's more to be feared than UFOs is our own ignorance; but also our inclination to so readily dismiss any facts that do not line up with our own internal model of the world or adopt untruths that do.

I'm inclined against the theory of modern military activity as there are many accounts from before the wright brothers first took flight, a few references from the 1500's (usually wood-carvings), and several in religious paintings of antiquity.

Consider some of the following common presumptions:

* that the pre-flood world was not technologically advanced, or
* that the false gods of the bible (and greek pantheon) were all imaginary, or
* that demons have no body, but exist in a predominately spiritual form.

Is it possible that these are simply antediluvian spacefarers that have "come home" to a destroyed world? Are we being setup to soon welcome demons of old in an aliens-from-another-world facade?

O' the dreadful possibilities....

20. Tony - 04/10/2012 11:59 am CDT

Ah, I see. This blog post is a "front" to get book ideas for "Otherworld 2" ;

21. Milly - 04/18/2012 9:03 pm CDT

I would agree on the ghost thing except that I have seen one and my roommate did too on separate nights. We described him to my boyfriend at the same time the morning after I saw him. He was in no way evil. I have no idea why he was there but I don’t like calling him a ghost.

22. bekahcubed - 05/04/2012 2:40 pm CDT

I'm not too into the paranormal, but I'm not willing to rule out paranormal activity. The most fascinating book I've read on the topic of UFOs is Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples, and Mark Clark's Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men.

Ross et al. posit that UFOs and "alien" sightings/experiences are real but not physical. They make a case for "alien" activity being demonic based on an analysis of data regarding substantiated UFO sightings (that is, sightings that could not be dismissed as evidences of psychosis or drug use or explained as satellites/military vessels/etc.) According to their analysis of this data, UFO sightings occur almost exclusively (they might even argue exclusively--I don't remember precisely) to individuals with an occult background and in geographic areas with heavy occult activity.

The authors, two of whom are scholars at the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe are all about creating testable models--and they propose that their theory is testable in the following ways: 1) Should individuals with histories of multiple UFO sightings fully renounce their occult actions and come to true faith in Christ, incidence of UFO sightings in this population should decrease. 2) Should individuals with no occult background and no UFO sightings become involved in the occult, incidence of UFO sightings in this population should increase. (Obviously, the authors do not recommend testing their theory by experimenting with the occult.)

I have to say that this theory is very intriguing--and there you have pretty much the extent of my ability to contribute to a conversation on the paranormal :-)

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