Is Paranormal Research Really Science?

Like many of my human peers, I have an insatiable desire to understand my environment.  Knowing this, I’ve come to appreciate some of the lesser known, and often ridiculed, sciences of metaphysics and parapsychology. This same quest of charting the unknown is seen in ghost hunters and paranormal researchers. Very often these folks have experienced something beyond understanding, and want to recreate it in a scientific manner. Studying energies, ghosts and, yes, even faeries is not considered classical science, and metaphysical researchers are often branded as kooks and charlatans.  Is there validity to their work, and can it be considered true science?

The short answer to both questions is yes, paranormal occurrences can be tested with science and technology.

At the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, researchers and scientists work to bridge the gap between science and the paranormal. The Center has ties to Duke University, which established a parapsychology laboratory in the 1930s to research paranormal phenomenon such as precognition, apparitional experiences (ghosts), dreams, clairvoyance, near-death experiences, and reincarnation. Using state of the art equipment, experiments are conducted to collect data for further research.

Duke is not alone in the study of parapsychology.  In the early 1900s, Stanford University was the first academic institution to open a research facility for the study of paranormal events in a laboratory setting.  Today there are two Universities that have active parapsychology labs.  The Division of Perceptual Studies, a unit at the University of Virginia’s Department of Psychiatric Medicine, and The University of Arizona’s Veritas Laboratory.

To study experiences that lie outside the normal range, or that have no scientific explanation, one steps into the world of metaphysics.  This branch of philosophical science works to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world.  In essence, metaphysics gives us the tools to study ourselves, in our own environment, experiencing ourselves in that environment.

When we look at these words, and see how they work from the inside out, it is clear that the academic world believes in the supernatural.  So why must we make fun of individuals who devote their life to the study of ghosts, psychics and that which lives between the realms? Aristotle believed that metaphysics was just as important as the other subjects, and deemed it the “Queen of all Sciences.”

Know that I’m not an academically certified scientist, nor do I even play one on television, but I am a very hard-core researcher of all things science, technology and that which bridges the two. In my life I’ve encountered things that go beyond my understanding.  And, while trying to explain the situation to others, have found myself working to recreate the parameters in which the event happened.

Science! Technology! Answers!

Now this is where I really start geeking out.  For years there were no tools for studying the unseen sciences.  To prove the existence of air, you could hold up a piece of cloth and see it float away.  Showing that ghosts exist, however, was not so easy. Despite what your relatives may have said about the the old Johnson house down the road, the ability to see any type of energy moving around was difficult.

Enter technology.  The same tools that NASA uses to see far into space, or listen for stars to sing songs, are quite similar to what professional paranormal researchers use.  Along with the high-tech gear they also use things like voice recorders, digital cameras and thermometers.  Using the scientific method and technology, those who study the unseen are coming back with quantifiable data that begs for further study of the metaphysical sciences.

I do have to put a bit of my spin to this, because of my deeply held beliefs and opinions.  As stated above, my life has been enriched with experiences that defy understanding.  After going to ministers, pastors and priests, and being rebuked (for lack of a better word), I went to the researchers.  Then my studies took me to the mystics and shamans of the world’s faith systems, so that I could get a deep understanding of what “unseen” meant.

During this journey I learned that there are those who really want to know about what is outside of us, and what is all around our world.  This was not done to sensationalize or debunk, but rather to share with others that we, all of humanity, the cosmos and all of the Universes, are really more than the sum of our parts.  Sadly, I’ve also learned that there are those who would use this to debunk, shame and sensationalize those who had paranormal experiences.  No matter what we believe, or what our faith system may be, there is no place for shaming others for how they walk in this world.  We are called to give help, not to judge.

- Kim Upton, Rogue Geek Tech Editor

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About Jonathan Ryan

Jonathan Ryan is a novelist, blogger and columnist. His novel, 3 Gates of the Dead, published by Open Road Media, is in bookstores everywhere. The sequel, Dark Bride, will be out in April 2015


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