Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have...

...a complicated relationship with the paranormal.

On the one hand, it is completely and totally bogus.

On the other hand, I have accumulated, and continue to accumulate, a lot of very weird personal experiences, to the point where I wonder if my own outright rejection is justifiable any longer.

It could be chalked up to - I've lived so many years, I should expect a certain number of weird happenings, and I simply remember them so clearly (by virtue of their relative oddness) that their number is inflated by comparison to my other, less memorable, experiences.  But this isn't intellectually satisfying.  It's waving away evidence on the basis that there's not more evidence available - without any basis for deciding what an appropriate level of evidence would be.

Of particular concern to me is that the weird events are -not- randomly distributed.  My last home was weirdly full of them.  Waking up one morning to discover the oven turned on and an object placed inside, for example (and very obviously very recently - it had only just started to melt).  Twenty year old medical documents belonging to a previous occupant of the house (presumably, they weren't mine) showing up on a floor that had been clean the night before.  Night terrors, which I haven't had before or since, involving shadowy figures standing over my bed and staring down at me.  (I had two of those, one night after another.  The first was a typical night terror.  I wasn't afraid or in dread on the second, however, which is atypical - in fact I was irritated about being woken up for this crap again, and took it out on the shadowy figure.  That it didn't happen again, after happening two nights in a row, I count as a third oddity.)  Other extremely atypical dreams, including one in which I died.  Footsteps on floorboards, odd scratching noises, places in the house which felt fundamentally wrong, odd behavior of electrical devices, other things, all of which could be individually dismissed, but which amounted to a very bizarre period in my life, which ended as soon as I moved out of that house.

Those were hardly the only moments, but they were the most pronounced; while the non-randomness of the oddities throughout my life generally suggest against the possible explanation of Littlewood's Law, the extremely high degree of clustering of bizarre events in that house outright denies it.

There are other things I feel more reluctant to get into, relating to the relationship between my intuitions and the world at large; these at least, in most cases, have plausible explanation in that I'm simply extraordinarily good at thinking.

But as I have grown older I have grown decreasingly inclined to dismiss outright those with unsubstantiable beliefs.  If nothing else, I see with increasingly clarity how one could believe those things, even if my own preference and position is that they do not hold true.


  1. Marvelous explanation of the thought process. I have no such experiences, but I hope that I would approach your experience with the level of careful thought that you have.

  2. I get what you mean. I am an atheist but have a whole list of weird experiences. I posted on them here just to witness that even atheists can have odd experiences. The question is, as you say, what do we do with them.