The Paranormal and The Open Mind

I was watching TV last night and with it being Wednesday I ended up on Ghost Hunters and then watched the premiere of Ghost Mine on the SyFy channel. Don’t worry, this isn’t a review of either show, I’m just giving the reason for today’s topic (in case I actually find one).

I watch a lot of the ghost hunting shows. Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State and I really liked and miss Most Haunted. Those are my mainstays, I do venture to others now and again when there’s nothing else to watch. I watch these shows for two big reasons. They are entertaining and manage to keep my attention. Secondly, I do believe in the possibility of ghosts and the paranormal in general. Despite the fact that I’ve never seen a ghost or really anything paranormal live and in person. I just have an open mind on the subject.

My serious interest in the paranormal began back in late 1998 when I first discovered a late night radio show hosted by Art Bell. If you get a chance Google him and if you’re lucky you might actually find old clips of his shows which you should give a listen to. He covered the paranormal, conspiracy theories and aliens. He was the X-Files of radio. He took calls from listeners for the first hour of the show where they could talk about anything, then had a guest on for several hours to talk about whatever unusual topic they had. Art is a believer of an open mind, letting the listener decide for themselves what to believe or not to believe and, if the guest was full of crap, giving the guest enough rope to hang themselves (so to speak). But enough about Art, you get the idea I really liked the show and that’s the point of the paragraph.

I do believe in the idea that there’s likely just as much that we don’t regularly see in this world compared to what we can see. I would love to actually go on a ghost hunt like those in the series I mentioned. I figure one of three things would happen; I would have an actual experience, I wouldn’t have an experience but based on observing the methods used to collect evidence I would continue to support the work, or based on observing the methods I would find them to be total imbeciles and stop believing they were doing anything close to science. Besides, it would likely be fun as well. Heck, I’d go with any of the groups above even if I didn’t end up on TV to see how they actually worked.

I also hope and think that we aren’t the only intelligent life in the universe. If we are, to borrow and paraphrase a line from the movie Contact, it’d be an awful waste of space if we were it. Besides, I’m a Star Trek fan so I really want there to be Vulcans and Andorians out there. If there are aliens out there, do I believe they’ve come here? Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never seen one so I can’t be sure. But as always I keep an open mind to the possibility.

I do point out the distinction that I do believe in UFOs as UNIDENTIFIED Flying Objects. I have had an experience where I saw a bright green fireball looking thing in the sky one night. I will grant you that later it was confirmed to be a meteor (one of the first I’ve ever seen by the way), but initially I was unable to identify the object. I had seen meteor showers before in sky, but never something like that. It was very cool though.

So overall the topic of today is, keeping an open mind and being open to possibilities. What was once true can change. It was once believed that the sun revolved around the Earth and that was proved to be untrue. It was once believed that the world was flat, untrue as well. I know full well that I don’t have all the answers and I know full well that collectively we don’t have all the answers to the universe. I know that I’m not right all the time which is the main reason I keep an open mind on things.

Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean you can’t have beliefs and things you stand for or against. It just means, leave the door open enough just in case you might be wrong. I had a teacher in high school who never liked to say there was 100% certainty on everything. “There’s always that 5%.” she’d say. That has always stuck with me, and one of the main reasons I keep an open mind on things. Because I’ve found she’s been right 95% of the time.


Originally published January 17, 2013