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Green Lady Cemetery. The Big Questions. Is It Real? If its real, why can we not prove it? If it is not real, why do we continue to believe it? Why does America need ghosts, UFO’s and bigfoot?. Essential Texts. Paranormal Nation (obviously)

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Green Lady Cemetery

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the big questions
The Big Questions
  • Is It Real?
  • If its real, why can we not prove it?
  • If it is not real, why do we continue to believe it?
  • Why does America need ghosts, UFO’s and bigfoot?
essential texts
Essential Texts
  • Paranormal Nation (obviously)
  • The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen
  • Aliens, Ghosts, and Cults by Bill Ellis (and anything else by Bill Ellis)
  • Psuedoscience and the Paranormal by Terrence Hines
  • Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend
  • Our Haunted Planet by John Keel
history s pendulum
History’s Pendulum
  • Paranormal beliefs have existed since the beginning of time
  • Religion is a form of paranormal belief
  • While belief is persistent, there are periods of time when the belief becomes part of social movements
  • In examining these social movements, we can begin to understand the paranormal’s importance
a time of scientific revolution
A Time of Scientific Revolution
  • The Malleus Maleficarum published in 1486 - The Hammer of Witches
  • Copernicus publishes De Revolutionibus 1543
  • Catholic Church originally hailed Copernicus’ findings but by the time Galileo published his defense in 1632 they had changed their minds
  • The Copernican Revolution changed the way mankind conceived the universe
social conditions
Social Conditions
  • The witch craze occurred during a time of increasing literacy rates, increasing government control, and the Renaissance
  • Was largely perpetrated by the educated elite sending magistrates to towns and villages to spread fear of witches and carry out interrogations and executions
  • Began largely with persecuting outsiders, loners and medicine women but quickly spread to the aristocracy
clash of science and faith
Clash of Science and Faith
  • Cognitive Dissonance - Psychological conflict resulting when previously held beliefs encounter new, contradictory information
  • The educated elite were the first to know of Copernicus’ findings and understand the social effects of that information - an usurpation of control
  • The witch craze was a form of social cognitive dissonance resulting from the displacement of God by science
the beginning
The Beginning
  • The Fox sisters begin communicating with a spirit using knocks and raps in Hydeville, NY 1848
  • People quickly began to flock to see them perform
  • Skeptics quickly began to critique and offer explanations, which resulted in more belief rather than less
  • Was a working class movement in US but an aristocratic movement in Europe
major names
Major Names
  • Margaret and Katherine Fox
  • D.D. Home
  • Florence Cook (and boyfriend Sir William Crookes)
  • Eusapia Palladino
  • The Society for Psychical Research (later the Center for Skeptical Inquiry)
major scientific revolutions
Major Scientific Revolutions
  • Electricity!!
  • Telegraph invented four years earlier
  • Photography (Spirit photography)
  • Charles Darwin and On The Origin of Species
evidence of dissonance
Evidence of Dissonance
  • Darwin’s theories called into question the existence of man’s soul and the existence of God
  • Alfred Russel Wallace
  • Many spiritualists claimed to communicate with past great scientists who emphasized the interconnectedness of life
  • The more science investigate Spiritualism the more people believed
  • The Spiritual crisis of WWI ended the movement
major dates
Major Dates
  • 1947 Kenneth Arnold flying near Mt. Ranier, WA saw what he described as “skipping saucers.” Flying Saucers was born
  • 1947 Flying Saucer crash reported in Roswell, NM
  • 1952 radar tracks multiple UFOs over Washington, DC - Several instance over the week, reports of discs in formation
  • 1952 Project Blue Book Began
  • 1961 Betty and Barney Hill claim abduction
scientific revolution
Scientific Revolution

Beginning of the Cold War

Sputnik 1957 (Stephen King remembers)

Man on the moon 1969

Doomsday Clock, brink of extinction

evidence of dissonance1
Evidence of Dissonance
  • Films of the time: The Day the Earth Stood Still and Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
  • February 24, 1942 Battle of Los Angeles
  • George Adamski and the Contactee Movement: messages of peace and warnings
  • Area 51 and the JFK assassination and the Condon Committee
  • Erik Von Daniken and The Chariots of the Gods
the merger of spirit and technology
The Merger of Spirit and Technology
  • The Contactees communicated with aliens in much the same way as Spiritualist mediums, and said many of the same things
  • In light of technology a new form of spiritualism developed based on space travel
  • Daniken’s theories of alien origins allowed God to be replaced with a technologically superior civilization
  • The UFOs were constantly reported in the areas of nuclear facilities and military bases
  • Was a more working class phenomenon
america returns to the witch hunt
America Returns to the Witch Hunt
  • Institutionalized classic folklore of witches sabats
  • This belief was spread largely by therapists, police, and media
  • Resulted in thousands of ruined lives, false imprisonment and the longest, most expensive trial in history
  • Lead by the educated elite
  • Most panics were in suburbia and rural areas, where the idea of satanism meant a challenge to held American values
leading up to the panic
Leading up to the Panic
  • Counter-culture revolution leaves people feeling that society is in the midst of collapse - Stephen King’s horror
  • 1966 - The Church of Satan opens in San Francisco
  • A number of high profile murders in the 70’s committed by professed satanists
  • Ozzy Osborne and Heavy Metal
  • “The Exorcist”
  • Dr. Lawrence Pazder and “Michelle Remembers”
key points
Key Points
  • Michelle Remembers
  • Repressed Memory Theory and Multiple Personality Disorder
  • McMartin Pre-School trials and Kathleen McFarlane
  • Dr. Bennett Braun and New York Presbyterian
  • Cult Cops
  • Ostention in the youth
  • Satanic Panic lacks any scientific cause for social dissonance
  • Rather it was the culmination of the counter-culture in their children - reaping what they sowed
  • Perceived advances in psychology led to vast mistakes and the institutionalization of ancient beliefs
  • The rise of “Experts”
jumping the shark
Jumping the Shark
  • Geraldo Rivera’s 1988 Special
  • Cornerstone debunks Mike Warnke in 1992
  • Dr. Cory Hammond, Fourth Annual Regional Conference on Abuse and Multiple Personality disorder
  • Law suits!
  • The McMartin trial ends 1990
  • “The irony, of course, rests in the fact that a science, one that delved into the consciousness of man, became so ambiguous and decidedly dark with religious and paranormal foreboding that it became the very thing it feared - a cult whose absolute faith and belief in its own fantastical world-view superceded any objective inquiry or contrary information.”
  • The Satanic Panic was looking inward rather than out at space or life after death
  • “The darkness was not found without, in the vast conspiracy of satanic kidnappers and killers, but rather, within - in the fears, fantasies, and myths that created a universal consciousness of gothic tales and evil conspiracies.”
so why does america need ghosts ufo s and bigfoot
So Why Does America Need Ghosts, UFO’s and Bigfoot?
  • “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.” -Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House
  • As science and the modern world strip away enchantment and mystery, faith pushes back.
  • Mankind not only desires mystery but, in fact, needs mystery as a condition for life
  • The paranormal provides mystery and in that way functions to keep us sane.
“Man wants to find and experience the marvelous, and the analyst tells him how matter-of-fact everything is, how clinically explainable are our deepest ontological motives and guilts. Man is therefore deprived of the absolute mystery…” Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death
  • We need Bigfoot stalking the woods and ghosts in the attic because the mystery is essential, it gives us reason to continue on and allows us to find our own answers to the big questions.
so what is the answer
So What is the Answer?
  • The paranormal is first and foremost a personal experience.
  • An experience that calls into question our very existence
  • Science cannot answer the greater mystery of why we are here, only a form of faith and belief can do that
  • The Question is the Answer - questions are roads to growth, answers are dead ends
what do you choose to believe
What do you choose to believe?
  • “And what do you remember, finally, when everyone has gone home and the streets are empty of devotion and hope, swept by river wind? Is the memory thin and bitter and does it shame you with its fundamental untruth - all nuance and wishful silhouette? Or does the power of transcendence linger, the sense of an event that violates natural forces, something holy that throbs on the hot horizon, the vision you crave because you need a sign to stand against your doubt?” Don Delillo, Underworld