There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in God, nor do I believe in any of the dogmatic ideas that follow. In light of this some might question my penchant for the paranormal, as much of the paranormal derives from a religious belief, i.e. ghosts are the product of the immutable soul. I admit, however humbly, that there does appear to be a bit of a conflict between atheism and paranormal research.
To clarify, I don’t think of myself as a paranormal researcher, though much of my attention has been focused on paranormal topics over the last three years. So that label wouldn’t be far off the mark. I don’t, however, go out hunting for ghosts; I’m much more of a theorist, so to speak.
When I started this blog, I wanted to pursue topics that were interesting to me, and admittedly, I hadn’t come to the conclusion that I was an atheist at that point. I was just a writer with an empty page, and it seemed to me that paranormal topics were somewhat popular at the time. I’ve written about ghosts and demons, and monsters and boogeymen, among many other mysteries. Along the way, while I researched post after post, I searched my proverbial soul and eventually came to the conclusion that I cannot abide by the theological assertions of religion. Though, it was less of a revelation than it was a slow and subtle awakening.
Much of what I’ve written, I admit, is in conflict with atheism; or rather it could be interpreted that way. I’ve come to think of my paranormal pursuits in terms of science and logic, nevertheless I feel an odd compulsion to apologize for my words.
To resolve the ensuing conflict I submit that much of my interests can be thought of in scientific terms. For instance, the traditional idea of ghosts and ghostly phenomena is such that their origins follow from the idea of a soul. The primary hypothesis for an explanation of ghosts is the Dead Person Hypothesis or DPH. This suggests that ghosts are the disembodied souls of people who have passed on, a familiar idea to most. What I assert, however, is that ghosts derive from much more subtle energies in our atmosphere, similar to electromagnetic fields, and can be thought of in terms of science. I take each of the various phenomena that are often thought to be connected to ghosts and deal with them individually, apparitions and other haunting type activity, EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), and photographic evidence to name a few.
What I’m saying is, essentially, that ghosts are not the souls of dead people. Now, I’m not talking about your average haunting. 99% of what most would call paranormal phenomenon is either pure hoax or a condition of the mind, Pareidolia for example –a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.
It’s the remaining 1% of all paranormal cases that, to me, requires a closer look. In my mind, these few instances of “spiritual” phenomena, which seem truly unexplainable, are potentially understandable through physics and electromagnetic theory. I believe that constructs like the subtle energies found in zero point fields and the effects of electromagnetic fields on the brain can explain a large number of ghostly experiences, but I don’t think this invalidates the phenomenon.
I believe there’s a link between paranormal experiences and religious experiences, as I discussed in my previous article titled The God Helmet and the World Grid. As discussed, Dr. Michael Persinger used intricate electromagnetic fields via his “God Helmet” to elicit feelings of religious and paranormal experience. And the fact that these feelings can be artificially generated suggests to me that such phenomena are the products of our brains interpreting naturally occurring fields of the same type.
In this regard, I’m able to reconcile, in my own mind, the divide between a spiritual and an atheistic perspective.
But ghosts aren’t the only thing I write about. A large portion of my attention has been on cryptozoology and specifically Bigfoot. And quite simply, I endeavour to keep my mind open to the possibilities. I’m reminded of the discovery of the great apes in central Africa in the 1860’s. For many years there were stories of hairy beasts living in the mountainous rainforest of the Congo, and these stories were largely thought to be mythological by the Western world. That is until they were discovered to be a real life creature. As far as Bigfoot is concerned, it seems to me that there is more evidence for the existence of a large bipedal hominid in North America (and other locations around the world) than there is for the existence of God, what with the many foot casts and eye witness reports. And while I admit that a large portion of that evidence is certainly false or misidentified, there is I think, like the ghosts, a 1% rule with Bigfoot.
While this may seem like a man trying to rationalize some very irrational things, I would have you know that the dichotomy that exists between the assertion that I am an atheist and my penchant for the paranormal is something that has weighed on my mind for quite some time. The above is nothing more than a wandering train of thought, exploring the space between each belief.