It’s been a long day. At last you settle your weary body down into your favorite chair. Ah, it feels so good. As you sip some tea, your eyes wander toward the window and catch a glimpse at the last moments of the beautiful sunset. Darkness is slowly creeping in. Everything is still. A calm and peaceful feeling fills the room. You decide that tonight’s the night to rescue that Stephen King novel from the table and finally finish it.
Was that a tapping sound in the hallway? You look up, but now there’s only silence. Must have been your imagination. You pick up the book, search for your spot and continue reading. Soon there’s a knock on the wall. What was that? You know you heard something that time. Both ears perk up at attention. Oh, it was obviously just the dog. But then something touches your foot. You nervously peer over your shoulder. There’s the little guy snuggling up next to you. So why didn’t he hear that?
Oh, this is ridiculous. Of course, the old imagination is running wild. You’re reading that book. So you decide to forego any more nonsense and put the book away for tonight. Perhaps it’s better to read it tomorrow morning. What’s one more day anyway? Besides, the light will be better for your eyes. Maybe you’ll watch TV instead. Ya, that’s a good idea.
You pick up the remote and surf through the channels. Something interesting catches your eye. It’s one of those paranormal programs. You can’t seem to get enough. It’s all so intriguing. Soon you forget about the sounds. You get comfortable in the chair and try to relax once more.
Suddenly, there’s a cold spot next to your fingers. You wave your hand around trying to determine exactly where the cold is originating. Who’s there? Feeling foolish, you reach for the blanket and cover up instead.
Has this ever happened to you? Come on, it’s ok to admit it. You’re not alone. So many of us have a hunger for a scary book or movie. We love to watch the mediums and investigators on TV every week. In fact, I’ll tell you a little secret about myself. I schedule my activities around my favorite shows. And if you call me during that time, don’t expect me to answer the phone. Obsessed? Maybe.
Why are we obsessed with the paranormal? Why is it that we have so many questions? What is this insatiable thirst for knowledge that is unquenchable no matter of how much information we absorb? Regardless of your age or where you live, we all hold one thing in common. We tend to fear uncertainly. We become preoccupied with the unknown. However, our preoccupation with the unknown is really nothing new. Throughout history people have always wanted to believe there is something beyond the veil.
Researchers have found that the #1 fear people have is death. Could it be that our own mortality frightens us to a point? What happens to us after we die? Is there indeed some afterlife beyond the veil? Are we able to communicate with those who have passed? Are they able to touch us? Do we reincarnate? Did you know that 75% of Americans believe in spirits, haunting, clairvoyance and telepathy? 71% claim to have had a paranormal experience. 56% believe spirits are actually souls of loved ones. 20% believe in reincarnation.
So it seems most people feel it’s perfectly natural for us to explore the paranormal. It fuels our curiosity and helps us better understand the afterlife. It calms our fears knowing that we have some control. But why do some people become totally obsessed with it? Why do they act as if they are addicted? Perhaps it’s the result of the brain chemistry.
At the first sign of fear, the body sends a signal that begins in the amygdala region of the brain. A chemical called glutamate is dispensed to other areas of the brain. The body either freezes up or involuntarily jumps. A second signal is sent to the hypothalamus area. This is where our system is put into fight-or-flight mode. Our heart rate and blood pressure elevate. Adrenaline is pumped throughout the body. You feel as though you are a super hero. But everyone has a different chemical response to thrilling or frightful situations. Another one of the hormones released during this time is dopamine. This gives the brain a “high” and a feeling of euphoria. Some people get a greater reaction from the dopamine response than others. Their brain tends to release a greater amount of the hormone. So in effect, they crave more and more as would a person with an addiction. This would explain why it’s sometimes difficult to control.
No doubt the paranormal will continue to captivate us. How could it not with the massive surgence of TV programs and movies about the subject? The important things to remember are to proceed with caution, respect the spirits you encounter and to quote a famous man, “Be careful out there!”
Cheryl L. Carter
Medium, Reiki Master, Numerologist and Paranormal Investigator